In 2018, Sportlots rolled out a new “PO Box” option for buyers. It provided an opportunity for buyers to consolidate orders from multiple sellers into one big order which often results in a postage savings for the customer. Personally, I offer free shipping on Box orders.
Turns out there were quite a few people who placed box orders and had them shipped to Sportlots and never took the next step to have them shipped to their house. After 6 months and multiple notifications, the site considers them abandoned.
In early 2019, the site held a charity auction for the abandoned items with the proceeds going to the Red Cross. I put in a bid, but the price just kept climbing and climbing. While I appreciated the charity aspect, I was personally still considering the potential profit from these items. The picture in the auction listing made me estimate somewhere around 1K cards would be a part of this auction. Multiple bidders continued to push prices higher, and I just couldn’t justify the price the auction got up to.
The final bid was $841, and the site donated a total of $900 to the charity. It was a nice touch for them to round up, and they showed us all a picture of the donation receipt to assure everything was on the up and up.
Continuing with the theme of the show, the site released an unboxing video so bidders could see what all was included in the abandoned packages. Would there be hundreds of vintage cards? Dozens of 1989 Topps Greg Jefferies Future Stars?
The video started with a nice package containing a bunch of 2018 Bowman, including a fat stack of Miguel Andujar rookies. After quite a few envelopes with nothing of note, an Ohtani Diamond Kings photo variation made an appearance.
I’d say a good portion of the early orders the video showed were purchased by player collectors. Several probably had 20-30 of the same card and were people obviously loading up on their favorite player. Josh Hader, Aaron Rodgers, and Lorenzo Cain were a few of note, and there were a bunch of Bowman prospects where I couldn’t make out the name. There were so many Hader cards! I didn’t look it up, but I’m curious to see what he was doing during May and June of 2018 to be so popular in these orders.
Bulk player orders are actually a great buying strategy on Sportlots, especially for Bowman products where it can take a couple seasons for a prospect to catch on. Many times you can buy a whole stack from a bigger seller for .18 each because we sellers are slow to go in and reprice. When you have hundreds of thousands of cards listed, you can’t always keep up on repricing every player who starts to show some promise.
The majority of the orders in the whole lot were baseball, but there was one 90’s era hockey order, and a handful of football and basketball orders throughout. There was a surprising amount of Allen & Ginter mini cards. I mean, several orders of multiple cards, mostly black border parallels were shown.
My LOL card of the video was a single card order containing a 1989 Donruss Mark Lemke. My favorite card displayed was a 1976 Oscar Gamble Topps Traded. The oldest cards were from the 60’s, but there were only a handful of them.
There were a lot of cards, but there was no way they were worth over $800. I would have to think the bidders were more focused on the charitable aspect of the auction than the idea of flipping them for a profit. Or maybe they were just cardboard junkies who viewed this like a case break of the most recent release. Collectors don’t always make financially responsible decisions, and the unknown potential can sometimes drive people to pay unreasonable prices.
I don’t really understand why the original buyers would abandon their orders, but I think this is a good way for the site to address it. It sounds like they plan to do something similar every couple months with the new crop of abandoned orders. Charities benefit, the site keeps things organized, and all of us observers get some free entertainment.
What do you think? Would you take a chance on the abandoned auctions?
I love Sportlots for both buying and selling, and I encourage you to check out the site. It’s been a great avenue for me to sell off my extras, and as a set collector it’s my go to site for filling out my sets. Feel free to reach out in the comments below if you have any questions!