We are long past the days of the traditional, straightforward hobby of card collecting.
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. (I mean, Cracker Barrel and Barnes & Noble? Who would have ever thought.)
But is it a bad thing? Cards are easier to purchase now more than ever (well, not all Prizm football blasters or some retail products in general, but that’s for another blog).
With singles, though, sure—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.
This brief description in itself is enough to pique interest, as collectors and card sellers have yet another easy way to seamlessly purchase a card and then immediately sell if they wanted, or simply hold and sell in the future.
While some are excited about another new card avenue, it’s understandable that others might be a little more hesitant—let me help break down some walls.
How to Buy & Sell Cards on ALT
These first few info sections are pretty basic, and not really unique to the ALT experience, but steps you need to take in order to get going nonetheless. Further down, though, we really start to get into the specifics and dissect the new and different pieces of the platform.
Creating an Account (and Getting $25 Credit)
Like anything, creating an account is the first step, easy, and only requires a few clicks and some personal info.
Go to Alt.xyz (this is my $25 credit referral link) or download the app. Click on the purple “sign up” link along the top navigation, which will prompt you to create a free account by collecting your name, email, username, and password.
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 “Banking & Transfers” link and then click the purple “Deposit” button to follow the prompts. (Once you make a deposit with my referral link above, you’ll soon see a $25 credit hit your account.)
Submitting Cards for Sale
You don’t need to immediately deposit funds if your goal is to first sell cards already in your possession. Meaning, rather than buying and then selling sports cards already on the ALT marketplace, you can send in your own cards to sell. In fact, sending in “investment-grade” cards and having them processed is currently free with ALT.
Here is some info to look over that touches on packaging, insurance, fees, and more.
Now, the actual process of sending in cards isn’t difficult, but you will want to read through the fine print.
Some of the bigger points to consider:
Investment-Grade: This is the starting point you should keep in mind with ALT. If the card you want to send to ALT is not investment-grade, you can still vault it, but the cost is $5 per card. And, at that point, you’re getting a bit away from what makes ALT unique and different.
So with that said, “investment-grade” includes PSA, BGS, and SGC graded cards that have a grade of 8 or higher, or, at least $100 in ALT value.
Shipping: Please remember that when shipping cards to ALT, they are still yours to worry about until they reach their destination. My preferred way to ship high-value cards is to place the card inside of a graded card sleeve, and then between two pieces of cardboard which are taped together with blue painter’s tape (you can also secure with rubber bands, which is the process recommended by PSA).
Then, wrap the entire card with cardboard in bubble wrap or inside of a bubble mailer, and then inside of a box. You’ll want to make sure that box is large enough to hold the card obviously, but small enough to where the card will not shift around a whole lot when shipped (if it is a larger box, ensure to use packing material to limit movement).
I’m also a fan of purchasing shipping insurance regardless of value, especially when shipping high-dollar graded cards. I’d also recommend documenting your submissions whether it’s for being able to double-check that everything gets posted, or your own personal accounting and inventory, etc.
The shipping address can be easily found on your personal account shipping page. For instance, my shipping label would read
Alt (#vlt_19b6knz): Ballcard Genius
71 Southgate Blvd
New Castle, DE 19720
Read More: Can you Ship USPS with an Amazon Box?
Once you send your cards off, your submission is out of your hands, literally. It has been a while since I’ve submitted cards for processing, but my timeline from August of 2021 included shipping 11 cards on 8/4/21, and receiving an email notification on 8/11/21 that they have been added to my vault on 8/11/21.
To confirm your cards have arrived and have been added you can check your portfolio, where you’ll see something like this. The cards will be listed as “buy” because they are being added to your vault, but there won’t be a purchase price because you didn’t buy them via ALT.
Once you’re ready to start browsing the ALT marketplace, the experience is pretty straightforward and similar to other card platforms you’ve used before:
Search for a card or just browse different categories using a number of filters to narrow down your options. Once you’ve found a card of interest, you can either buy it outright and immediately take possession, or you can make an offer to see if the buyer is willing to sell it for a lower price.
That said, here are some unique pieces.
Card Population Data
Because you can only buy graded cards on the ALT marketplace, data points like card “pop” or populations are easily determined and made available. So, when you’re buying a card on ALT, you don’t have to guess how rare that card in that single grade is, and can simply refer to the population data ALT has brought in for you.
As you can see in this 2021 Prizm Blue Wave Justin Fields PSA 10, with a population of 14.
If you’re like me, you never buy a card without comping it first. With eBay being the main source of truth for most people in this regard, if you’re on another platform, the process thus involves you having to switch apps, etc. just to find some data. It doesn’t take a ton of time, but it’s an extra step nonetheless.
When shopping for cards on ALT, though, all of that information is also brought into the very listing you’re viewing, which results in added convenience.
I just purchased a 2022 Bowman Chrome Draft Mojo Elly De La Cruz PSA 10 for $70 on ALT. With a quick glance at the card’s recent transactions, I can see that the $70 price tag is a few bucks cheaper than most other recent transactions:
Cards Currently for Sale
That said, while comps are important, it’s also great to know what’s currently for sale, and for how much. Again, ALT brings that data into their listings, so all together you can easily see a card’s population, its recent transactions, and how much others are selling it for not only on ALT, but on eBay as well.
Just as helpful as all of this information is as a buyer, it’s all at your disposal as a seller as well. So, if you’re serious about selling your cards, listing them around recent comps and at competitive prices compared to what other sellers are listing at, you have a great chance.
Of course, one big piece of that selling puzzle though are fees—you know, the necessary evil. Rarely will you come across an opportunity to list and sell your cards for free, but ALT does offer some of the lowest fees in the game at 5% of the total sale price on fixed price listings.
Another big piece of the sales equation is just how many eyeballs you can expect to run across your listings. With ALT being a relatively new marketplace, it’s only natural to feel that your listings simply won’t get enough visibility.
But remember, this is a growing platform from what I can tell, with new improvements and an increasing number of cards for sale as days go by.
The biggest comforting fact, though, is that you can now easily and automatically cross-list your ALT cards on eBay. Meaning, when you list a card for sale on ALT, with a click of a button you can also have ALT list that card on eBay under their seller handle. Now, not only are you listing your card on a growing marketplace geared towards graded cards, but you’re getting it in front of the many eyes on eBay.
For example, here is my Elly De La Cruz I just bought minutes ago on ALT currently listed on eBay:
Ready to Go?
And really, it’s that easy! Please pass along your questions and comments!