- Bob Means, eBay’s director of trading cards, identified the top collectible categories on eBay.
- He said sports trading cards, coins, toys, and comic books are in demand.
- Each category provides a chance for collectors to generate extra cash by reselling.
Collectibles are big business for people looking to sell in-demand sports memorabilia, toys, and other items on e-commerce sites.
eBay is a leader in the global collectibles market, which was valued at $412 billion in 2021 and is expected to grow to $692 billion by 2032, according to research from Market Decipher.
Bob Means, eBay’s director of trading cards, told Insider that anticipating which collectibles will ascend in popularity has a lot to do with being in tune with current events and pop culture.
“One of the things that’s really fascinating at eBay is all of this is tied into some sort of component of the cultural zeitgeist at any given moment,” Means said.
For example, Means said the increased interest in coveted sports trading cards in the early months of the pandemic spawned from the release of the Michael Jordan documentary “The Last Dance” and the tragic death of Kobe Bryant.
“For anybody 40 years or older, you saw Jordan play and you were reminded of his greatness with that documentary,” Means said. “The generation behind Michael Jordan were the ones that were watching Kobe play.”
The company said the trading cards category accounted for over $2 billion in gross merchandise volume — or the total value of goods sold — on eBay in 2020. It said that in the first half of 2021, an average of two trading cards sold every second on eBay.
“The other thing that’s important to remember about collectibles is that it’s super fun when we have a $2.3 million Tom Brady card sell or an $800,000 George Mikan sell, but collectibles are an independent journey,” Means said.
The company said sales of sports ticket stubs, another sports memorabilia category, climbed by 60% in 2021, with listing prices increasing by more than 65%.
Skyrocketing demand for comic books, toys, and coins
Comic books and toys are other investment opportunities for resellers on the platform. The company said gross merchandise volume for toys on eBay increased by 48% in 2021, while for comics it increased by 66%. eBay said over 63,000 new comic-book listings were added every day on its marketplace in the second half of 2021.
Means said coins could offer an even more intriguing opportunity for collectors, though coin collectors buying and selling often need to account for things like the current price of gold and silver and how old the coin is, which can affect how much a coin is worth on the aftermarket. The company said the total cash value of coins sold on eBay grew by 30% in 2021.
“A lot of these coins are also bullion-based. They might be silver, they might be gold, they might be platinum,” Means said. “So there’s a connection to the investment value of the money of the ounce rate that you’re buying it at and the ounce rate that you think you can get at a later time.”
eBay continues to pour resources into its collectibles market. Recently, the company began authenticating trading cards over $350. During its investor day in March, it unveiled plans to open a “vault” that will store physical and digital collectibles like NFTs later this year.
Means said that while reselling for huge profits isn’t necessarily on the minds of most sellers on eBay, some are on the marketplace to exploit the perceived scarcity of an item.
“I think there’s always the people who’re looking at a financial opportunity,” Means said. “Those people are just going to exist.”
Resellers sit outside of the hardcore collectibles space who purchase items because “it’s important to them from a passion perspective,” Means said.