What is an eBay 1 of 1 (1/1)?

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An “eBay 1/1” (or “1 of 1”) is a keyword trick eBay sellers use in order to capture visibility from buyers searching for true 1/1 cards. It’s also a way for sellers to make their card stand out among others—by focusing on some obscure aspect of the card that makes it the “only one of its kind” for sale on eBay.

If this sounds confusing and silly, I agree with you. You’ll typically see sellers implementing this tactic with serial numbered sports cards.

First, to provide some background, a true 1/1 card is one that contains the serial number 1/1, as is, it’s the only one if its kind that has been printed.

For example, here is a 1/1 I have in my inventory. It’s a true 1/1 as marked on the back:

2020 Topps Triple Threads - Rookie Autographs - Printing Plate Cyan #RAC-MT - Matt Thaiss /1 - Courtesy of COMC.com
2020 Topps Triple Threads - Rookie Autographs - Printing Plate Cyan #RAC-MT - Matt Thaiss /1 - Courtesy of COMC.com

Now, where the “eBay 1/1” comes in is when the card is being labeled by the seller as a “1/1” because of its unique numbering or some other aspect. For example, if there is a card /25, but it’s numbered “1/25” then a seller might call it an “eBay 1/1” because it is the first printed of the 25, and thus “special.” Same goes for 25/25, etc.

If you haven’t caught on yet, what makes this somewhat silly is that every single card in a run of 25 will be its own unique “eBay 1/1.” That is, even random baseball card 17/25 can be considered a “1/1” because it is the only “17” in the run of 25, right?

Now, I’m all for people collecting cards with a particular serial number. For instance, I think it’s cool to see a card 1/25. But the advertise it on eBay as a “1/1” while clogging up the search results of true 1/1s? That kind of stinks.

Here are some of the other ways you might see sellers claiming a card is an “eBay 1/1”:

  • Serial numbered 1/XX
  • Serial numbered last/XX
  • Serial numbered player’s uniform number/XX
  • A weird obscure error like missing foil or design flaw
  • Truly the only one available on eBay

Anyway, the list can go on and on. The takeaway for you is that eBay 1/1 really doesn’t mean anything special in most cases, so don’t let it trip you up.

In fact, in many of my saved searches, I try and filter out mentions of “eBay” or “eBay 1/1” by doing something like:

This is called a search operator, and is telling eBay to return results that include “rickey,” “henderson” and “auto” but that don’t include the phrase “ebay 1/1.”

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