A lot of us do it – I know I have – you see that card you’ve been after for ages, the bids are low and there’s only a matter of hours left on the auction. Before you know it you’ve placed a bid and even won the card without properly checking the listing to make sure you’re satisfied with the quality.

So here are the steps I always follow before bidding on any trading card online – especially when its a rarity I have been searching for.

  • Make sure the card in the photo is the actual card you will receive. Good merchants with a reputation to look after will always state this in their listing. If the listing doesn’t state it then ask the seller before placing a bid and never buy a card sight unseen unless you completely trust the merchant.
  • Only buy cards where the photo is large and clear. You want to be able to see the quality of the and check the surface for obvious scratches.
  • Make sure the photo is not cropped to the exact size of the card. It is common for sellers to crop the photo exactly to the size of the card. This may look neat however it means you cannot accurately determine the quality of the edges and corners. I like to see the card placed onto a darker surface as I can make a good assessment of the card’s quality this way.
  • Use the seller’s reputation/feedback as a yard stick for how high to bid. There are merchants on eBay and other auction sites that I know always deliver high quality cards, so I am comfortable going higher in my bidding with them. Before you get to know a merchant’s reliability, play it safe to test the waters.
  • Buy grade 8+ BGS and PSA graded cards. When a card is well graded by a company with a high reputation you know exactly what to expect. These cards also re-sell well and are easier to look after.
  • If the card is regularly available watch a few auctions end before bidding. This gives me an idea of the cards’ online auction value before entering the fray myself. Alternatively you could look the card up in our Jordan Cards Price Guide. Here we will list the approximate price you could expect to pay for the card online.

I hope you find those steps useful, and if you are an online auction merchant yourself, employing them may even help generate higher sales for you.