We are probably long past the days of the traditional, straightforward hobby of card collecting, right?
First came the shiny insert, and then the autographs started trickling in. Then game used relics and serial numbered cards, redemptions, and a whole lot more of it all!
Today, even the simple question of where to buy baseball cards isn’t an easy one to answer, and includes options that stretch far beyond the local card shop experience, and even eBay.
But with that, is it a bad thing? Cards are easier to purchase now more than ever (well, not blasters or retail products in general, but that’s for another blog).
I’m talking singles, primarily—if there is a card you want, you can easily fire up any number of sites or apps and seek it out, and with great success. (There are also card value apps when you’re in research mode.) The aforementioned and biggest player, eBay, and then of course COMC, Sportlots, and more.
Which leads us to StarStock, a new trading card platform that touts itself as “The Stock Market” for cards.
The tagline in itself is enough to pique interest, as collectors and card sellers have another easy way to seamlessly purchase a card and then immediately sell, or hold and sell in the future.
Of course, there is a lot more that goes into it than that, and while some are excited with another new avenue, it’s understandable that others might be a little more hesitant, which is where this post is aiming to help.
How to Buy & Sell on StarStock
The first few sections are pretty basic, and not really unique to the StarStock experience, but steps you need to take nonetheless. Further down we really start to get into the specifics, and dissecting the new and different pieces of the platform.
Creating an Account (and Getting $10 Credit)
Like anything, creating an account is easy, and only requires a few clicks and some personal info.
Click on any of the links along the top navigation: “Collection,” “Watchlist,” “Activity,” or the person icon. Any one of these will prompt you to sign in or to create a free account.
When you click to sign-up you’ll be taken to a form that asks for your name, email, username, and password.
Importantly, to be eligible for $10 in free credit to spend as you wish, enter ballcardgenius into the “promo code or referral username” section. (Then, once you deposit $10, you’ll get $10 added to your account on top of that, and so will I, so thanks in advance; more on depositing below).
Once you’ve created an account, the next step is to fund your account, which again, is straightforward and not unlike similar actions you take with COMC or other ecommerce platforms.
Just click the person icon and then click the green “Deposit” button and then follow the prompts.
Submitting Your Form
Of course, you don’t need to immediately deposit funds if your goal is to first sell cards already in your possession. Meaning, for the time being, sending in cards and having them processed is currently free with StarStock, a big draw, and doesn’t require you to add any upfront funds to your StarStock account. You’re simply responsible for shipping.
Now, given the recent surge in StarStock’s popularity, there is a bit of a wait time. This is a recent tweet about what to expect:
Our current ingestion times are at 4-6 weeks. These are not our normal ingestion times, as we have been delayed due to COVID-19 exposures that have limited our staff. We are currently working to reduce these times back to normal— StarStock (@starstockmarket) January 26, 2021
That said, to send in cards, simply click the “send in cards” button, as shown here, which takes you to a Google Form.
Now, the actual process of sending in cards isn’t difficult, albeit a bit manual at the moment, but you will want to read through the fine print as it details which types of cards StarStock does and does not accept.
Some of the bigger points to consider:
Rookies only: That’s the starting point you should keep in mind with StarStock. If the card you want to send to StarStock is not a rookie, then put it down and walk away. If the card is in fact a rookie of some sort, keep reading as there are still some rules to follow (which differ by sport).
Current players only: Frank Gore is still a current player, believe it or not, but Rickey Henderson is not. Either way, the platform is in place to help people buy, sell, and “trade” current, active players. Gore in, Rickey out.
Certain sports only: MLB, NFL, NBA, and Soccer. So really, out of the major sports, no hockey cards on StarStock; for now at least. Again, there are guidelines for each sport, with soccer being the most strict.
Certain brands only: To be even more specific, there are only certain brands of cards allowed on StarStock. For example, when it comes to baseball card brands, here is the breakdown:
- Bowman Chrome
- Bowman Draft
“For Bowman, we’re only accepting the chrome version of ‘1st’ prospects. Non-1st Prospect cards and RC logo cards are not acceptable at this time. We are NOT accepting any ‘Paper’ prospects outside of the top 3-5 players in each set.”
- Topps Series 1
- Topps Series 2
- Topps Update
- Topps Chrome
- Topps Heritage
So yes, a lot to consider when it comes to selecting the cards you’d like to send in for selling on StarStock, but once you’ve made your selections, the rest is pretty straightforward, requiring:
- Submission #
- Full Name & Address
- # of Cards Being Sent
- List of Cards (Optional)
When it comes to your optional list of cards, some say it helps a lot, others say it doesn’t help at all; it’s hard to know.
Either way, there are other good reasons for documenting your submissions whether it’s for being able to double-check that everything gets posted, or your own personal accounting and inventory, etc. So, if there are reasons to put together a list anyway, you might as well attach it to your submission.
Sending in Cards
If you’re considering using StarStock, you’ve probably shipped cards before, so we won’t get into too much detail here. But, here are some guidelines StarStock has gone out of their way to mention:
Sort Properly: When sending in your cards, be sure they are sorted per the guidelines, which are stated as “by sport, set, and player.”
Use Penny Sleeves: Place each card into a penny sleeve.
Don’t Send Toploaders: Again, just penny sleeves; anything extra will slow down processeing.
Use Graded Sleeves: If sending in graded cards, then those should be sent in graded sleeves.
Ship USPS: It’s noted that FedEx/UPS do not ship to US PO Boxes, which is the only address option you have with StarStock—so, in their words, “please use USPS or a shipping company that will ship to a USPS PO Box.
c/o (your username)
Po Box 538
Mamaroneck, NY 10543
It’s also suggested to purchase insurance, and you’ll obviously want tracking in order to ensure your cards made it to New York.
Once you send your cards off, your submission is out of your hands, literally. You won’t get any type of notification the second your cards reach StarStock, so you’ll want to do your own tracking just to ensure the first part of the submission journey has been completed.
From there, you should expect to receive confirmation in a few days.
For those used to COMC and being able to at least see that cards and processing is “in the system,” you won’t get that with StarStock—at least not yet, anyway. The platform is still very new, and between this bit, the Google Forms, and other areas, it’s still a very manual process that will probably be refined over time.
Just know, it’s going to probably be over a month before your cards hit your account. But once the actual upload process begins, you’ll get another notification email.
At this point, you should probably soon see cards hitting your account. How do you know? Go to “Collection” and then check the number of cards “Owned.” This is the count of cards currently in your vault.
Once you’re confident the number matches the amount of cards you sent in, you’ll want to double-check your collection to ensure the cards sent for processing and listing have in fact been uploaded.
There are a number of filters and search options to make this a bit easier, but will take a little time nonetheless.
One of the first things you’ll want to check (after you’re sure your cards have been processed and uploaded correctly) is the assigned grades…
One of the main things that sets StarStock apart from other similar platforms is its grading system. We will dive into the details, but from a high-level:
You send your cards into StarStock where they are reviewed for condition. Depending on the outcome of that review, each card is assigned a grade, typically StarStock A, StarStock B, or StarStock C.
As you might imagine, StarStock A is the best raw grade a card can receive, while StarStock B is a little worse, and StarStock C is not good. For the technical terms, this is how StarStock describes it:
StarStock A: A card with four sharp corners for the most part, a clean surface, and clean edges. StarStock A cards could have a “very minor issue such as a slight soft/white corner, light edge chipping, scratch, print defect or slightly off-center.”
StarStock B: From there, a StarStock B will have one or a few of “soft corner, some light edge wear or chipping, print lines, light scratching, noticeably off-center.”
StarStock C: And StarStock C cards have one big, major issue, or multiple smaller issues.
Does it matter?
Well, with StarStock, grading condition plays a huge part in determining the value of your card, and thus, your selling price.
Think about it. When selling on eBay, a card might be described as mint or near mint. I mean, the seller gave it a once over and didn’t see anything major, right?
But many times, minor issues go undisclosed, whether because they were missed upon review or because the seller didn’t think they were major enough to mention.
And as a buyer, that’s your approach when buying cards, right? It’s probably unrealistic to think a card you’re purchasing raw will be a gem mint 10, so you’d expect for at least a minor issue.
Anyway, not to go far down that path, the point is, StarStock is an unbiased source reviewing the card in order to determine the condition; the condition isn’t merely stated by the seller.
It’s for that reason, when buyers are purchasing a StarStock A off of StarStock versus buying a raw card elsewhere, they should generally expect the A to have a greater chance of being in better condition.
All of this considered, this is a big reason why a StarStock A card generally sells for more than a raw version of that same card elsewhere.
Here is a random example from the first few cards featured on StarStock’s homepage right now:
Kyle Kuzma 2017-18 Base Prizm RC on eBay most recently sold for $9.04 with free shipping and $9.29 with shipping not specified.
So, even with a few bucks for shipping and fees, the most recent StarStock A has sold for around double if not more ($33.98 in the screenshot below), and in fact can sell for around double right this second if you accept the highest current offer ($25).
So, is the StarStock process a perfect process? Of course not. Nothing ever will be. The point is, there is a third party reviewing the card before it is placed for sale, which gives it an edge over a raw card not going through the same process.
Now, you might be wondering, is a StarStock A a good bet to go on and be graded as a PSA 10? Again, no process is perfect, and StarStock’s standards will differ from PSA, and not unlike what might happen when the same card is looked at by 10 different people; who then might offer up a handful of differing views…
Anyway, for more, you can check out StarStock’s latest PSA submission in which members submitted cards for grading. Here you cna see the breakdown of how many of those cards received a PSA 10, 9, or lower grade, along with the commentary about how many of those cards submitted were said to be StarStock As beforehand, etc.
Pricing Cards for Sale
Now we are getting into the nitty gritty, and really, the most fun part of selling—playing the pricing game.
As you can see from the above, pricing on StarStock is different just in terms of the price you might see a cad selling for elsewhere.
Generally (GENERALLY!) you’ll see a StarStock A selling for around 2X as much as its raw counterpart elsewhere. Graded, of course, is a little more in line with popular comps because a grade is a grade, or apples to apples where a raw card comparison is a true raw versus a cared reviewed and rated by StarStock .
So, given all of that, how do you price your cards?
The first step is to go into your collection and find the cards you want to price.
For example, if I want to start pricing out my Luis Roberts, I’ll simply go to “My Collection” and then will filter by “Baseball” and then “Luis Robert.”
Once I do that, I’ll see all of the Roberts I currently have in my vault.
How do you read all of this? Here are the main points:
There are 30 cards owned and 1 card for sale, as you can see in the top left.
Then, looking at the 2020 Base version of the card, I have “16x” (blue rectangle on top of the photo) or 16 copies of that card.
From there, you’ll see the “StarStock A” is in bold and underline right under where it says “Base,” and directly underneath that it says “You own 10 cards” which means I have 10 StarStock A copies.
You can then hover your mouse over “StarStock B” or simply do quick math to know if you have 16 copies and 10 are StarStock A, then the remaining 6 must be StarStock B.
Moving down to the “Market Summary,” this says there are currently 44 copies of this card for sale as StarStock A, and the lowest price is $32.50. It also says there are 20 offers from interested buyers, and the highest offer is $27. Then, finally, the latest sale of this particular card was for $27.50.
And this is all just from this single screen. You can also click into the card for even more info, like a detailed list of offers, sales prices, and sales history.
For instance, you can see every transaction of this card across the different grades, where the card value peaked, where it is lowest, and so on.
Given all of that info, you should be equipped to price your cards accordingly. To do so, click the “Sell” button…
You’ll see all of the current offers for the card you’d like to sell:
Again, there is one highest offer at $27, and then three offers at $26, and on down the line.
You can then enter your price, and you’ll see the amount due to fees when the card sells:
And that’s it! From here, you might get a few notifications when:
- A buyer makes an offer on a card you have for sale
- A seller lists their card at a lower price and “undercuts” yours
You can change your sales price whenever you’d like, and can even take it off the market entirely.
Now that we’ve gone through how to price and sell cards, the process is similar when purchasing.
Of course, instead of clicking to “Sell” you’ll be clicking to “Buy or Offer.” You’ll see a similar list of prices, only this time it’s all of the different prices and quantities for sale.
You can either purchase immediately at the cheapest price, or, you can put in an offer that’s lower.
For instance, I can go in and say, I’m willing to buy 5 copies of a StarStock A for $25:
Once you do so, the seller will be notified and then they have the option of selling at your offer or lowering their price to more “meet you in the middle.”
Either way, once you’ve made a purchase, the card is now yours to do with it what you want, whether that’s turn around and list immediately for sale, hold it in your vault as not for sale, or ship it home.
Shipping Cards to Yourself
I’ll admit, I haven’t gone through this process since StarStock started to grow in popularity, which means when I did it, the process was seamless and relatively quick.
Today, though, you can expect a few delays when shipping home. As StarStock states in their FAQ:
“We’re currently advising a shipping time of 4-8 weeks after we receive your request.”
The cost to ship is $.50/card + a $5.00 fixed fee (for 1-99 cards).
Ready to Go?
And really, it’s that easy! Please pass along your questions and comments, and don’t forget to use ballcardgenius as your referral if you choose to sign up!