What are your thoughts on this issue?

mrmopar

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I stumbled upon a weird discussion on another card/hobby board that I am not a member of. I read some of the responses and thought it might be interesting to see what "The Bench" thought about it.

Basically here is the scenario...

You own a desirable and somewhat tough to find card and you see the same card listed on an auction site (use ebay, for example). The card rarely shows up and you think the price of this desirable card is too low, so you bid with the thought of preserving the market value of said card, but also knowing that obtaining a second copy at your bid would be fine by you. In essence, you are going to make sure you either own the card when the bidding is over or the person who does win will pay more than your bid and keep real market examples closer to your perceived value.

Real world type example: You own a Ruth rookie card. One shows up on ebay and for some odd reason nobody is bidding on it and the opening bid is $0.99. You think it should go for at least $10,000, so that is what you bid. You end up losing for $11,000. Had you not bid, the card would have sold for $2,000 (I know, not realistic, but I am making a point). Had you won it for anything equal to or less than $10,000, you would have paid and been happy to have doubles.

Is there anything at all wrong or unethical about this action in your opinion?

Remember, you may not want doubles necessarily, but you definitely do not want this card to sell under your perceived "market value" and are willing to win it to see that it sells well.

Something to think about that may be similar with regard to prices and values of new, rare items. The first copy of a card #'d to 5 may sell for outrageous numbers because of two collectors. However, when one collector secures the prize and another card is listed a few weeks later, the price may go down significantly because the first winner is not bidding on the second card. The second winner gets a sweet bargain and the first winner all of the sudden feels like they overpaid!

When copy #3 hits the market, both winner 1 and winner 2 want their card to be valued highly, so they both go after copy 3 and drive the price back up again! Neither need or even want a 2nd copy perhaps, but they don't want a new bidder to get an even better deal!!
 

JamesNevans

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I mainly do it when I see a lot going too cheap. I got a pretty good deal on some Cracker Jack parallels recently even though I had already completed the sets short of one card.
 

David K.

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I actually seen this happen......I was working on my 2003 timeless treasures gold set...100 cards in the set and only serial to #10... This guy on the Beckett Message Board had 7 of the 10 Roger Clemens cards......Tried to buy one of the poorer ones from him.....His reply...Only if that was the last card that you needed to finish the set!! It was a good offer....but since he corner the market...there was little I could do to get one from him. It sucks! Best regards, David
 
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TJCloutier

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I usually bid what I'm comfortable bidding, nothing over. If I can't afford something I'm not going to sell some of my things to be able to purchase it, well most of the time. This happens to me all the time though, I see Sheffield rc's going cheap and all though I have 2000 or so now I keep buying them if I can find them real cheap for A. if ONE person buys them super cheap and everyone sees, that alone could lower the price. and B. I don't mind having so many rc's.

There's nothing wrong with it, it's your money.
 

Yanks21

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I would be telling a lie if I said I never put down a $10,000.00 bid back in the early days of Ebay when I saw a matching numbers 1970 Chevell SS pop up at a low starting bid.

I from time to time might do it with cards but mostly if I had most of the serial runs of some numbered stuff.
 

cadets68

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I have done it, I do not think there is anything wrong as long as you buy the card and complete the transaction.

Shawn
 

Scobes

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A card's market value is dictated by what someone is willing to pay for the card - it doesn't specify who that person has to be! As long as someone is willing to pay a certain price, it doesn't matter whether that bidder has 0 or 100 copies of that card!

Scobes
 

bsatttu

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One flaw I see with this scenario is this: Using the Ruth example, if you bid on it and win it for say, $10,000, chances are you are going to loose money when/if you try to sell it. The reason it got to $10,000 is because you were willing to go that high. When you sell it, you cannot bid on it, so chances are it is going to go for lower than $10,000 since previously no one else would bid $10,000. Of course I am assuming you are going to resell some day, or else what is the point of trying to "preserve" the value?

I'm using the word "you" generically, not speaking to anyone in particular.

... I didn't word this very well, but hopefully I got my point across. :)

- Britt

Edit to add: To answer the original question, no, I do NOT see anything unethical about it, up to a point. Although, if you are trying to corner a market, not only do I see it as unethical, but it is also illegal here in the U.S.

BTW, historically speaking, cornering the market seldom works. See the movie, Trading Places, lol :D
 
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greyminis

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There's nothing wrong with placing a high bid on a card you know is too low as long as you're willing to buy the card should it get close to your high bid. There are definitely buyer beware situations though. And that's why I'll rarely take up a seller on a second chance offer unless it's a have to have card.

In my experience, prices on ebay fairly regularly dip on numbered cards once the release date gets further into the past and player and set collectors have moved onto the next release.

This is great for the bargain hunter in all of us!
 

chaddie84

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So let me get this right....

You see a card which you perceive at a certain value. You make a bid that's slightly below that value. If you win, you buy the item. I'm pretty sure that's what most bidders on eBay do, regardless of motive. As long as they are not YOUR items you are bidding on, I see nothing wrong.
 

Meliah

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One flaw I see with this scenario is this: Using the Ruth example, if you bid on it and win it for say, $10,000, chances are you are going to loose money when/if you try to sell it. The reason it got to $10,000 is because you were willing to go that high. When you sell it, you cannot bid on it, so chances are it is going to go for lower than $10,000 since previously no one else would bid $10,000. Of course I am assuming you are going to resell some day, or else what is the point of trying to "preserve" the value?

I'm using the word "you" generically, not speaking to anyone in particular.

... I didn't word this very well, but hopefully I got my point across. :)

- Britt

Edit to add: To answer the original question, no, I do NOT see anything unethical about it, up to a point. Although, if you are trying to corner a market, not only do I see it as unethical, but it is also illegal here in the U.S.

BTW, historically speaking, cornering the market seldom works. See the movie, Trading Places, lol :D

I don't think cornering the market on a card is going to be considered illegal:)
 

dp33

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One flaw I see with this scenario is this: Using the Ruth example, if you bid on it and win it for say, $10,000, chances are you are going to loose money when/if you try to sell it. The reason it got to $10,000 is because you were willing to go that high. When you sell it, you cannot bid on it, so chances are it is going to go for lower than $10,000 since previously no one else would bid $10,000. Of course I am assuming you are going to resell some day, or else what is the point of trying to "preserve" the value?

I'm using the word "you" generically, not speaking to anyone in particular.

... I didn't word this very well, but hopefully I got my point across. :)

- Britt

Edit to add: To answer the original question, no, I do NOT see anything unethical about it, up to a point. Although, if you are trying to corner a market, not only do I see it as unethical, but it is also illegal here in the U.S.

BTW, historically speaking, cornering the market seldom works. See the movie, Trading Places, lol :D

I'm wavering on this. On the one hand, if you're winning bid is $10,000, then that assumes somebody else bid $9,999 or whatever the ebay bid interval is at that range. So presumably you could sell it for $9,999 if you wanted. On the other hand, you're probably closer to being right if it was just a bidding war between you and someone else.

I think there are other issues at hand, like the definition of "preserving market value". To me that implies more of a long-term goal than a short sell, because it wouldn't make sense to me to do that to "preserve market value" and then try to turn around and sell it a week later. To answer the original question though - no, I don't think it's unethical. An annoyance to other collectors, probably, but not really unethical.

It does lead me to a somewhat-related topic about low-numbered cards in general. To me, there are few things worse than pulling a low-numbered card of a non-star because there's little you can do with it. I see this with Dave Bush cards, who I collect, from time to time. Somebody will list an 05 SP autograph #d/10 for $49 or the Heritage black chrome refractor #d/58 for $19.99. Low #d card, the rare hit, blah blah blah. But the seller definitely doesn't want them. And I don't want to pay non-market rates for cards (I'll admit that I'm being cheap), so the cards just sit there. I know this is in direct opposition to the OP which was about highly-desirable cards, but it seems somewhat related.
 

valediction

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I don't see anything wrong with it as long as you're willing to pay what you bid.

I've taken it a step further at times. I go to a card show and know a fair amount of the dealers pretty well. I've seen guys trying to lowball the dealers on cards that are fairly priced. If I see a guy doing it repeatedly, when he gets to a card I wouldn't mind having, even if it wasn't specifically one I was searching for, I'll say "if he won't doesn't take it at that price, I will" Amazing how fast some of those guys get their wallet out and pay the asking price if someone else shows interest, and if they don't, I own a decent card at a fair price.
 

bsatttu

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I don't think cornering the market on a card is going to be considered illegal:)

True, I doubt anyone would ever pursue it legally, but that doesn't make it legal. That statement was in regard to someone trying to corner the market in order to make money, which I know was not the original question. In this case I don't think it would matter what the commodity is, it would still be illegal. My answer to the original question is that I don't think it's unethical. I was just taking it a step further to say what I think would be unethical. :)

- Britt
 
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bsatttu

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I'm wavering on this. On the one hand, if you're winning bid is $10,000, then that assumes somebody else bid $9,999 or whatever the ebay bid interval is at that range. So presumably you could sell it for $9,999 if you wanted. On the other hand, you're probably closer to being right if it was just a bidding war between you and someone else.

I think there are other issues at hand, like the definition of "preserving market value". To me that implies more of a long-term goal than a short sell, because it wouldn't make sense to me to do that to "preserve market value" and then try to turn around and sell it a week later. To answer the original question though - no, I don't think it's unethical. An annoyance to other collectors, probably, but not really unethical.

It does lead me to a somewhat-related topic about low-numbered cards in general. To me, there are few things worse than pulling a low-numbered card of a non-star because there's little you can do with it. I see this with Dave Bush cards, who I collect, from time to time. Somebody will list an 05 SP autograph #d/10 for $49 or the Heritage black chrome refractor #d/58 for $19.99. Low #d card, the rare hit, blah blah blah. But the seller definitely doesn't want them. And I don't want to pay non-market rates for cards (I'll admit that I'm being cheap), so the cards just sit there. I know this is in direct opposition to the OP which was about highly-desirable cards, but it seems somewhat related.

I completely agree, especially about the "annoyance to other collectors" part.
 

mrmopar

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This was not my topic to begin with, so I am not sure exactly what preserving value meant to the original person. To me, I interpret it as buying a card at a market value and then trying to help maintain that value, or the perception of that value, even if it meant overpaying for something you already had.

If you tried to do that with mid 90s inserts for example, you might find mixed results. Many people have dumped formally great cards at bargain prices in the 2000s to recoup whatever they could in a softening market, however sellers like Burbank Sportscards holds firm, often at what many consider to be inflated prices. I'm sure they are successful often enough to make it worth while, as they are obviously losing on volume sales due to a policy of setting higher pricing to capture the best possible individual sales.

I found myself doing this many times in the past, bidding up Garvey cards I already had. Not minding if I won, but really more wanting the card to sell at a range closer to what I paid for mine. If I won, great. If I lost, the buyer was not getting a bargain at least. I didn't see it as wrong, nor do I now, as long as it's not my items I am bidding up (shilling).

Now, to the cornering the market comment. Are you saying if jaderock (for example) buys all 8 copies of the Fabric of the Game card at market rates, this may be illegal if he intends to resell them? Even if he intended to buy all of them, demand is only so great for an individual player and he may not even be able to make his original investment back. However, if anyone in the marketplace had a chance to buy any one of the copies when they sold originally, how is him outbidding all takers wrong, even if he plans to resell them and thinks he can make a profit by doing it? Chances are he won't make a profit if he was always high bidder, but it could happen.

The funny part about this topic is that on the other site, it seemed quite a few people frowned upon this type of activity! If you weren't buying it purely to own it because you wanted it, it was bad to push up the price!
 
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