As a rule, veteran eBay sellers post their auctions on Sunday night so that they'll end the following Sunday night. It creates an expectation of when people should be obsessively refreshing their browsers. But what happens when that Sunday is Super Bowl Sunday?
Two eBay users tried to use the playoff schedule to their advantage. User cubbies1121 scheduled a massive collection of gem mint PSA-graded 10 Peyton Manning rookie cards to end the Saturday following the AFC Championship game. Another user, probstein123, who had perhaps the only bigger collection of gem mint Manning rookie cards in the world, scheduled his auctions to end right after the Super Bowl.
I compared their head-to-head results to see if Peyton Manning's forgettable championship performance sunk the value of his memorabilia. The gain/loss values here are presented from the perspective of probstein123, the user selling after the Super Bowl.
Metal Universe: -$26.05
Collector's Edge Odyssey: +$23.41
Skybox Thunder: -$13.14
Gold Class: -$29.05
Stadium Club: +$49.65
Bowman's Best: -$30.54
Flair Showcase: -$33.11
Playoff Momentum: -$3.00
Fleer Brilliants: +$122.50
Pacific Aurora: -$80.00 (Actually the same seller against himself)
- 11 of 17 Manning rookie cards sold for less immediately after his Super Bowl performance, but …
- … The guy selling after the Super Bowl, probstein123, still came out on top to the tune of +$47.
- Probstein123's saving grace was the cards at the top of the market -- the +$100 cards -- which sold for huge margins over their pre-Super Bowl counterparts.
- There are presentation issues here: probstein123 used high-res scans instead of a pictures on the cards on a couch, which probably partly explains his success with the big spenders.
The mid- and lower-level rookie cards seemingly suffered as a result of the Super Bowl. I suspect the price point made these cards ones that non-hardcore collectors thought they could speculate on a week before the game. That bubble popped when the Broncos crapped the bed, obviously, leaving those same cards to be pursued half-heartedly by collectors, many of whom probably already had a copy of said cards.
That same phenomenon, however, may also explain why the top of the market actually went nuts following the game. Serious collectors who buy $100+ Peyton Manning rookie cards may have seen a buy-low opportunity after the game and -- not realizing they would have been bidding against the same four people regardless -- got into bidding wars that ended at $1,485 and $1,913.
Maybe those are fair prices -- I wouldn't know -- but the market for $1,000+ Manning rookie cards probably wasn't going to change, Super Bowl XLVIII victory or not. The same phenomenon can be observed in comic collecting during the run up to a big movie, as collectors try to buy all the first appearance issues of the villain before they "go mainstream." Just look at what Jamie Foxx has done for Spider-Man's lamest villain.
The big takeaway here is that Peyton Manning has about a bajillion different rookie cards, which is the reason why the sports card industry is a debased shell of its former self. For collectors, the lesson is: Don't bid on the affordable pieces during the pre-game hype. But also don't trick yourself into thinking you're going to get the deal of the century after a bad performance and find yourself unwittingly out $2,000.