30 Day Baseball Card Challenge

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Confess My Sins

I think most of us would agree... when it comes to our hobby... there really isn't a "right" or "wrong" way to collect cards.  There are an endless number of ways for people to enjoy our hobby.

However there are certain topics that often garner very strong opinions from collectors that sometimes have them choose sides.  Over the years, I've read my fair share of arguments involving the use of PWE's, the decision to get cards graded, and of course discuss the ethics behind the great pack searching debate.

Today's post revolves around the disdain for dealers who utilize the termeBay 1/1 in their listings to increase the value of their product.

If you're not familiar with the term, watch the video above.  The YouTuber does a great job of explaining what they are as he discusses his frustration with vendors who use them.  As a fellow player collector, I totally understand his frustrations and if you read the comments on his video, you'll see that his subscribers do too.

With that being said... I'm here to confess my sins and admit to the collecting world that I have actually fell for the scam and paid a premium on two separate occasions in recent months for a pair of dreaded eBay 1/1's.  

Last month, I purchased this 2015 Topps Tek autograph of Jose Altuve:

The fact that the card was serial numbered 01/25 convinced me to bid a few dollars higher than I'd normally pay for this card.  I had been monitoring a few copies on eBay and was looking to spend $15 to $20 (+ shipping) on it.  I ended up paying $22.50 (+ $3.45 shipping) for it.  

A few months earlier, I paid $7 for this 2015 Panini Clear Vision Jumbo Jerseys Prime card of Derek Carr:

I normally wouldn't go out of my way to pick up a Derek Carr memorabilia card, but this one caught my eye when I noticed it was also the first card in the run.  Had this card been numbered 02/49, I probably would have paid $3, maybe $4 tops.  But since it was an eBay 1/1... I paid a premium... although technically this wasn't an actual eBay purchase.

I realize that most collectors wouldn't pay a premium for these eBay 1/1's and I can totally see why.  However as a guy who actually collects them, I've got to face the fact that there are going to be times when I dig a little deeper into my pocket.

Does this only encourage eBay vendors to continue the trend?  Yeah.  But I enjoy collecting them... and like I said at the beginning of the post... there really isn't a "right" or "wrong" way to collect cards.

Okay, it's your turn...

What are your thoughts on vendors who try to capitalize on so called, eBay 1/1's? 

Have you or would you consider paying extra for a special serial numbered card?

Looking forward to reading your responses.

Happy Tuesday and sayonara!


  1. Maybe it's just me, but it doesn't really bother me all that much. I seem to get more annoyed with sellers that list things as "rare" or "vintage", even though said item is neither rare or vintage. And even though I don't collect any cards based on what the serial number happens to be, it seems like technically speaking, these 1/1 sellers aren't falsely advertising something. By that I mean, your Altuve auto was technically the only one of it's kind on eBay numbered 1/25, so they might as well list it as such.

  2. I don't care one way or the other. I do enjoy picking up cards with interesting serial numbers, like the first or last card in the print run, any repeating number (11, 22, 111), Christmas Cards (12/25), jersey numbers for stick-and-ball sports, door numbers for motorsports, numbers that read the same upside-down (66/99, 01/10), and even serial numbers that end in 9 (09, 19, 69, 99, 199). I may not always be willing to pay a premium for those numbers, but given a choice I will grab the card with the more interesting numbering. If someone wants to use up space in their auction listing to tout an eBay 1/1, that's fine by me. There are people out there who are willing to spend extra for them, so why not call attention to it?

  3. Eh, I think it's kinda silly, but not enough to be outraged. A card that is the first number or a guys jersey number has no more significance to me than the same card without one. I dislike the practice of listing "non auto" a lot more...so that it pops for those searching "auto".

  4. I have no issue with sellers marketing a product as an "ebay 1/1". If there are people out there that are actively searching for jersey numbers or the first/last of a print run and that drives up the cost of the sale, then that is simply supply and demand. A card is worth what someone is willing to pay for it.

    As for myself, I don't actively chase certain serial numbers so I will bid whatever I am willing to pay regardless of marketing lingo. If I get outbid, someone wanted it more than I did.

  5. I don't care either way. I think it's a silly sales gimmick and since I don't care what a card is numbered too I won't pay a premium, unless it's numbered 19 and it features Robin Yount, still probably not. I think it's used more as a search grab. It hits those guys who are searching for those rare cards in the hopes that maybe they might be interested their card. Because I mean technically any serial numbered card is the only one of it's kind.

  6. I don't like the practice myself. I do collect cards serially numbered 1 of whatever but I also collect cards numbered anything of whatever.

    last year I ended up getting one that was not only SN01/25, it was also his jersey number...the auction did not list the SN at all and it doesn't really show up in scans, so I didn't know until it arrived.

  7. I agree with CB -- it's a silly sales gimmick that is nothing more than a search grab, I'd say. It bothers me only to the extent that it is such a transparent BS thing -- it's beyond being a joke at this point.

  8. I was in a store looking for Browns cards and the owner was so happy to show me his autographed Bernie Kosar and Ozzie Newsome cards that had their serial numbers matched to their uniforms and he put a premium on them to reflect that. He seemed very surprised when I barely looked at them and told him that I don't care about artificial 1/1s. He didn't want to lower his price so they stayed there.

  9. I'm not a fan, but only because there are a handful of dealers who are extremely shady using the term. They make it seem to be a true 1/1 rather than an eBay 1/1. I understand that some fault has to be on the buyer, but sellers should make it clear that they card is not a true 1/1. But I digress.

  10. I agree-it is frustrating to see 1/1 as well as "rare", or "vintage" when neither are correct-or selling junk wax for way more than they should.

  11. Yeah I think it's a term that is just silly. I always use it with tongue in cheek because 1/1 has always meant there should just be one. In theory I could draw pictures on Gretzky Rookies and they would all be 1/1. Even the card companies who buy cards and try and resell them with some sort of special foiling calling them 1/1 is just as shady (I'm looking at you Leaf and ITG). If someone feels a number of a print run is special, great! I personally don't card which number of the print run I get as long as the card is in great shape and if there is a swatch perhaps its a cool one. But in the end the only right answer is the one the person purchasing the card gives :)

  12. I wouldn't mind paying a dollar or two more for the first or last card in a print run but that's about all. They're just icing on the cake when it comes to collecting. It's a bonus but if I can't get them I'm not going to lose sleep over it. As for the jersey number in the print run, it's not special at all and I won't pay a premium.

  13. Tony L nailed it. It's a transparent gimmick with the sole purpose of adding an item to legitimately special listings.
    I think the same thing about population numbers of graded cards. So it's worth more because only a few people happened to choose that grading service and happened to get that grade for a certain card? Makes no sense to me. That adds no value in my opinion.

  14. It doesn't make a difference to me the numbering on the card since the card companies have killed that too by just making X/1, X/5, X/10, X/25, X/50 and on and on it goes so nothing is rare about any of these to me. The one that does bother me is the dread "authentic reproduction" Think it can be one or the other but not both it's either Authentic or a Reproduction. Thanks, Dion

  15. It must be working to increase sales. I don't collect autos or serial numbered cards, but I could see it being annoying having those pop up in my search results increasing my shopping time as I weed them out.

  16. I'm with most here, it doesn't bother me much, and I really don't care about the serial number much whether it's jersey number, first or last serial number, I wouldn't pay a premium on that.

  17. When it comes to serial numbering, I will take whatever. I won't pay a premium. I just want the card in general

  18. I made a comment on the video. It was a bit long but basically I said Yes Ebay 1/1 is a silly and slightly stupid concept. I don't normally pay extra for those (jersey numbers, the first card of the print run, and the last card, fave jersey numbers, 42 and my birthday 44 (John Riggins #) April Four.

    Oh and another Ebay overused term "Rare".

  19. Holy cow. Great feedback guys. Some could care less. Some are annoyed. Just another hobby topic where everyone has the right to their own opinion. Thank you to everyone who took the time to leave your thoughts.

  20. I'm actually okay with someone wanting to charge (or pay) for the first or last card of a s/n parallel, but DON'T CALL IT A 1/1!!! While we're at it, I'd also like to see the death of terms like "tough pull" or "L@@K" or "extremely rare". And I think the thing that bothers me the most are cards mis-categorized as autographed when they are actually signed. When I am searching for AU cards, I don't want to see your IP or TTM stuff.

    1. Never really thought about it until your comment, but I agree. It would be nice if eBay vendors separated the pack pulled cards from he IP/TTM cards.