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When I was young and innocent, I didn’t understand the difference between a garage sale and an estate sale. Frankly, I just thought estate sales were larger types of sales where instead of people staging items of sale in their garages, they had people wander their homes to find priced items.
Well, obviously I now know that’s not the case, with estate sales usually offering up the belongings of a person who has passed away. If those people happened to be baseball card collectors, that means there is a chance you might stumble across small and potentially huge cardboard finds.
Stopped at an estate sale this morning and likely overpaid for this box of cards/comics, but 🤷🏻♂️ You can see there there are some… Edge and corner issues. 😂 pic.twitter.com/GBL4Gb3b8r— Ryan Haack (@Ripping1Handed) May 14, 2021
What Does “Estate Sale” Cards Mean on eBay
Before diving in, one important point. If you’re in fact looking for sports cards from estate sales, my suggestion is to cut out the middle man and go direct to the source. Meaning, on eBay, Mercari, OfferUp, and other places, you’ll probably see a number of listings titled something like “estate sale find” etc.
While there isn’t any way of verifying these are in face estate sale finds, the point is, you’re no longer buying cards from an estate sale, and doing so from someone who had interest enough in them to buy in the first place. The other thing with these is that oftentimes, these lots aren’t full entire bulk collections of cards, but for smaller lots of say 100 or 500 mystery cards.
So, knowing that estate sales can indeed be great sourcing spots for your card collection or flipping habits/business, how do you go about finding them?
How to Find Estate Sales
1. Simple Google Search
Starting with the basics, what comes up in the search results when you search “estate sales near me”? For me, I see the following:
If you’re not seeing anything in your area specifically, make sure the “results for CITY NAME” matches the city you’re searching from (or searching for). Alternatively, you can simply search “estate sales CITY NAME” and you should get similar if not the same results.
2. Check Estate Sale Websites
As you see from the search results, there are a few websites dedicated to estate sales, so instead of searching for sales in your area, you can simply go to those sites.
As you can see from the above, one nice thing about the dedicate site route is that you can either search by location (zip code) or keyword like “baseball cards.”
One piece of advice when searching by keyword—think about the different way people might describe the fact that they have sports cards for sale. Some might call them “sports cards” and others might sale “sport card collection” etc.
Because of this, I like to search as broad as possible to ensure I don’t miss out on any items; as in “card.” On the other hand, you might have to wade through some unrelated results (playing card table).
With this, you have a couple of options. One, you can stick to your local area and continue searching until you find an in-person option that you can drive to nearby. Or, you can look through the listings to find those lots that offer shipping, as designated by “shipping available.” At this point, it becomes like any other online shopping experience.
3. Online Classifieds
Gone (I think, mostly) are the days of searching through physical newspapers looking for things like garage and estate sales. Thankfully, though, for those who want to replicate the no-frill experience of flipping through a newspaper there is Craigslist.com, and not only the main website, but a number of different Craigslist apps as well.
Again, the way you search is going to be your friend here. Sure, you can search estate sales and receive plenty of results, but to save time and narrow things down, search something like “”estate sale” “baseball cards”” (that is, each word in quotes) in order to bring up results that include both phrases “estate sale” and “baseball cards.”
4. Social Media Marketplaces
Facebook has also evolved into as much of a marketplace as it has a site to connect with friends and family. Neighborhood group pages, classifieds, and other areas on the social media favorite can all feature estate sales.