30 Day Baseball Card Challenge

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Hobby Cutbacks and a Special Treat

I'm not sure where collectors stand as a whole, but I know that I've reduced the amount of my hobby purchases significantly over the past six months.  And although I am 100% concerned about the coronavirus pandemic, it hasn't played a major role in my decision to purchase less trading cards.

It mostly boils down to the sales tax I'm now required to pay over on COMC and eBay.  Now I realize 9% isn't going to make or break me financially, but anyone who knows me on a personal level will tell you that I'm sort of a cheapskate.  Sure, I might spend $100 on a card every now and then, but I always do my research and want to make sure I'm getting a good deal.

So now that I'm forced to pay an extra 9% in taxes, I'm willing to spend 9% less on the purchase price... which has made my card purchases less and less frequent.  To help you paint a picture, I went back and counted my eBay purchases in 2020.  Here's a breakdown by month:

January 2020: 17 eBay Purchases
February 20208 eBay Purchases
March 2020: 5 eBay Purchases

Side Note #1:  Out of the thirty eBay purchases I've made so far in 2020, four were not card related and three were cards purchased for other people.  That's twenty-three hobby related purchases from eBay during the first three months of the year.  I realize that might sound like a lot to some of you, but this is a fraction of the business I have done in the past.

Side Note #2Eleven of those twenty-three purchases were for my 2019 Topps Holiday Relic set build.

At first I was annoyed with having to pay sales tax on my COMC credit and eBay purchases, but I've started to realize that it's really a blessing.  I have thousands of cards sitting around at my house, at my dad's house, and in my buddy's garage that haven't seen daylight in years.  It's time to start appreciating what I already have more than investing time on tracking down cards that I want.

Obviously, I'm not saying that I'm finished with purchasing cards on eBay or COMC.  But the cutbacks are real.

Now that I've gotten that little tidbit out of the way, I wanted to show of the latest addition to my Tony Gwynn PC:

2001 UD Legends Legendary Lumber Autographs #SL-TG

I've come across this card a few times over the years and probably should have picked it up when they were selling in the $25 to $40 range.  Oh well.  This card popped up on my eBay search list with a BIN price of $55 (free shipping) and I decided to treat myself to a nice on-card autograph of my favorite athlete of all-time.

I never purchased any 2001 UD Legends back in the day, because that's right around the time I dumped my collection.  But even if I did, the odds would have been against me in pulling this card.  These signed Legendary Lumber memorabilia cards were case hits inserted in one out of every two hundred eighty-eight packs.

$55 might not be the typical bargain price I wait around for, but it sure beats buying and busting unopened product of this stuff in hopes of pulling this card.  Plus... after being locked up the past three weeks, I deserve a special treat.

What about you?

Has sales tax or the coronavirus impacted your hobby spending?

Happy Thursday and sayonara!


  1. The sales tax has, to a certain extent. I see it every time I load money from PayPal to COMC account, and it does give me pause. The COVID19 pandemic hasn't done anything to my spending habits, hobby-wise at least. Having said that, I decided some time in 2019 that I was going to just buy what I needed for the sets I was trying to complete and quit buying on impulse. I have had a habit of seeing something on a blog or Twitter that caught my interest and gone out and grabbed one for myself. I was doing that even though it had no real place in my collection.

  2. I have been going through cards that I haven't seen in years. Since I am inside until at least 04/30, I might even follow others who choose their favorite least favorite cards from sets. I have lots of sets that I haven't looked at in years.

  3. Nope and nope. I don't use ebay and COMC at enough of a rate to worry about sale tax. And I'm lucky enough to work as "an essential" so there's still money coming in.

  4. Yep and yep.

    I did figure a way out of the COMC tax. No card shows effects my addition, but to make lemonade I use the non show spent dollars on supplies I need...In the end it all works out.

  5. I rarely buy on eBay and sales tax doesn't affect my COMC strategy of selling cards and using the revenue to buy cards. My spending for the first quarter of 2020 is about the same monetarily, but that's mainly because I was able to go to two shows before everything shut down. My retail buying is down because I'm trying to be more selective this year, given that the cards haven't knocked me over for the most part. I'm also trying to spend more time organizing my cards, and I expect spending in the 2nd quarter to be down significantly.

  6. Even with as little as I spend on cards, I have decided not to purchase anymore until I go back to work. Only because I don't know when that will be, right now it's the 13th but it's already been pushed back once so you never know. I'm just playing it safe in case I end up being out of work for a really long time.

  7. I don't buy a lot online, anyway, but what it's impacted is that I haven't been going to card shows. Although if it weren't for the virus, I likely would have been in Singapore, where there are no card shows.

    I've just gotten to the point where I've opened the blasters I had stored up and gone through all the cards I've bought. Been doing some organizing, but I'm going to miss having cards to go through soon. Maybe I'll buy some stuff from Cardbarrel.

  8. I probably would have gotten an Opening Day blaster at Target by now. But I'm staying put.

  9. Sales tax no, Coronavirus yes.

    I've put a 10$ max on card purchases until things settle down. I am still lucky enough to have a job, but the uncertainty about where this is going to go has made me put more emphasis on putting money elsewhere for the time being!

  10. It annoyed my at first but I’m used to it now.

  11. Yes and yes. I’ve had the same experience as you including a recent “splurge”. I even started writing a draft post about appreciation vs. accumulation. I view it as a blessing to for that realization too.

  12. I wasn't thrilled with paying sales tax at first, but I have gotten used to it. As far as buying, I have cut back, but I am feeling a little guilty about it. I know I am fortunate to have a job, have a paycheck coming in, and feel like I should continue to support the people who sell cards on Ebay.

  13. commishbob - i've been following your lead on cutting back impulse buying. although this gwynn was sort of one. and i totally know what you mean on adding funds to comc. seeing the tax made me pause every time. so much that i've stopped adding money to the account.

    runforekelloggs - favorite least favorite cards? can't wait to read your posts.

    night owl - not only are you an essential... but you enjoy working from home. you're winning big time!

    johnnys trading spot - i'm going to guess that either georgia or florida doesn't have sales tax ;)

    shlabotnik report - my goal is to start using this time at home for organizing. just curious have you noticed your comc sales have slowed down since they've started charging tax recently?

    jeff laws - that's the smart call. cards are a fun distraction, but ultimately people have to pay the bills. i hope you're able to return to work as soon as possible and everyone in your family stays safe.

    bret alan - yeah... the card show scene is taking a huge hit. it'll be interesting to see if the national takes place this year. i've gotta put in a sportlots order soon. after i do that, maybe i'll check out cardbarrel

    adam kaningher - good job. i have gone to target twice since being locked down, but haven't been down the card aisle. then again... my target card shelves are usually bare.

    sean - that's a wise decision. it's good to have a rainy day fund.

    the lost collector - i'm starting to get used to it. i definitely don't mind cutting back my spending. more money goes into savings... plus i'll get a chance to appreciate the cards i already own

    steve at 1975baseballcards.com - yeah... i'm so over the accumulation aspect of my collection. i definitely need to do more appreciation. looking forward to reading your post

    the snorting bull - you're a good man. i never once gave that thought a consideration. but on the flipside... i've given those ebay vendors a lot of money over the years ;)

  14. Sales tax for sure. And COMC's incessant emails caused me to unsubscribe and block them for now. I've been buying off Sportlots which I find way better for cards, prices, and shipping speed (mostly PWEs but they offer "box" stuff too). I use eBay as a last resort.

    That Gwynn is nice.

  15. A little,I go to Sportlots more where there is no tax.

  16. Not really since I am used to paying very high fees for stuff I buy in Japan. US sales tax does not hurt my brain much.

  17. Beautiful Gwynn and sales tax has killed me this year. Since January it has eaten most of my funding and my buys haven't been as awesome as they should have been.

  18. peter k steinberg & sg488 - i rarely get comc emails. maybe they get sent to my spam folder or something. the goal is to sit down, fill out a sportlots order, and close up a few sets this weekend.

    sumomenkoman - lol. guess it's all about perspective ;)

    sport card collectors - i hear ya. i've had to adjust all of my max bids to reflect the 9%... which ends up costing me on 90% of the auctions i bid on. but if it wasn't meant to be, it wasn't meant to be.

  19. Awesome Gwynn auto! I've got the Eddie Murray version of that card.

    Thankfully here in Oregon we don't have sales tax. Love that so much after growing up in California.