eBay Trading Card Hub – changing the collectable game

Do you want everyone on the eBay trading card hub, or the IRS knowing you own X-men #1?
X-men #1

eBay Trading Card Hub – Changing the collectable game: The vast majority of online comic book sales comes from eBay. That isn’t to say that online retailers aren’t using other websites to market and sell their comic books and collectables, however eBay is by far the most prevalent; so much so that other websites and online applications geared towards collecting comic books utilize eBay for pricing tracking and speculation.

These are services that charge fees for aggregating this pricing data in an easy to use interface so that an individual can track the value of their collection(s) or of book(s) they are interested in purchasing.

Competitive alternatives

gocollect.com and keycollectorcomics.com are just two examples of this (there are many others). If you go to their websites, you will see they track the pricing and sales of comic books, and they do this by tapping into recent eBay sales. All of this information is available for free on eBay if you choose to seek it out. You just need to search for a specific comic book you are interested in and adjust the filters to show you recent sales of that book and viola! You now have the most recent sales data for that book and can get a rough estimate of what that book is worth.

The difficult part is combining this data, especially when there are large sums of it, in order to get an accurate representation of value.

For example; if there are 100 sales of a certain comic book over the last year, eBay shows you those sales, but does not show you averages of those sale(s), or average sale(s) broken down by raw grade or CGC grade. This requires the individual to manually compile that information and calculate that data on their own. Further, you can setup alerts for recent sales of a particular comic book, but you would need to manually update your data to take the recent sale(s) into consideration to ensure your information is being kept up-to-date.

Utilizing third party applications for comic book speculation

This, in a nutshell, is why third party websites and applications like gocollect.com are so useful. They do all of this automatically for you, making it much easier to track comic book sales activity on the internet. Even though these applications are not updated in 100% real time, they still make life a lot easier by providing this information in one easy-to-use location. If the eBay trading card hub begins to offer these types of metrics through their own website it will completely disrupt the usefulness of 3rd party tracking tools and can change the game of how collectors track, monitor, speculate, and sell their comic book(s) and other collectable asset(s).

The initial beta release will focus on trading cards , but it appears obvious that the application will be expanded to all collectables once the beta testing has been completed.

What does Youtube think about eBay’s Trading Card Hub?

A great Youtube video from Comictom101 covering this topic can be seen here: https://youtu.be/6vqt4DZIM4Y

Ultimately, it will be interesting to see how this not only affects the additional tracking tools available, but also how it affects other sales and auction sites for collectables (https://www.ha.com & https://www.comiclink.com).

As of right now, it does not appear that eBay trading card hub will be charging for this service as they make money off the transactions that occur on their site, but it will be interesting to see if this changes in the future given the value of a service like this. Once this goes live across all collectables, you will have the ability to track your portfolio of collectable assets much like that of a stock portfolio with the exception being that your portfolio is backed by physical tangible assets that are in your possession.

I don’t want to ramble off topic but I will be sure to write a separate article on how I’d much rather have a 9.8 CGC copy of Hulk #181 in my possession, one of only 140 in existence (according to CGC), versus stock in a manipulated market controlled by banks and hedge-funds whom don’t have retail investors best interests at heart.

Anyway, back to eBay…

This is a fantastic move in my opinion. It will make eBay trading card hub the go-to marketplace for collectable assets beyond the simplicity of buying and selling comic books. It will create an all inclusive hub that will become the new industry standard when it comes to analytics pertaining to all things collectable (including comic books).

How safe is allowing this comic book buying and selling data to be seen?

However there is one major concern I have with this feature when it comes to data rights and privacy. Right now if you or I purchase a comic book on eBay, that information is only known by the buyer, the seller, and eBay. If these types of transactions are to be registered universally across the board within this new eBay trading application, it would eliminate any sort of privacy associated with these purchases, making it known to anyone on eBay the assets you have within your portfolio. eBay has stated that:

We pre-populated your Collection with your ebay purchases from supported categories within the last year (rolling 12 months), and that cards will be automatically added to your collection in the near future.

https://pages.ebay.com/tradinghub/

Unfortunately, this could have some potentially damaging ramifications that most people don’t seem to be aware of yet.

Before anyone begins to think that I’ve lost my mind, let me inform you that I work in technology for a living, and have first hand experience in understanding how these companies operate and obtain these obscene multi-billion dollar valuations.

It’s the data…

What about taxes and the IRS?

If you are purchasing comic books and collectables because you love them and could care less about the value, bravo! However, if you are also purchasing them for the purposes of acquiring more hard assets to strengthen you and/or your family’s future financial security, then you are going to want to know that information like this would most definitely be made available to organizations such as the IRS (if requested), and if users of the platform have no say in regards to which collectables are publicly shown as being purchased by them, this could be a problem.

I would venture to guess that most collectors buy comic books because they love them, but also because they know they are a good store of value if you purchase right – making this a bit more complicated.

So what’s the big deal?

Well, let’s say you work for a living and pay taxes on your earnings like everyone else. You save your already taxed money and decide to purchase a valuable comic book worth thousands of dollars. Should that purchase be reported to the IRS, or would it be subject to additional taxation should it double or triple in value?

Do I seriously need a self-directed Roth IRA for this?

Perhaps one way to avoid this would be a Self-Directed Roth IRA, but this is something that I don’t think many collectors are thinking or talking about, and it most certainly should be part of the discussion as their are income limitations to being able to establish one.

Please note that I’m not a financial advisor or tax professional, and you will want to consult with one if you foresee a scenario in which this may be an issue.

Beyond potential tax implications, and please understand that I’m not advising someone to not pay their taxes, but am rather stating that I believe it to be unfair to be taxed multiple times on income already taxed.

It’s important to understand that the utilization of this platform could let everyone know every collectable you own which was purchased on eBay.

Confidentiality and privacy

Do you want everyone to know that you own five copies of X-Men #1? Fantastic Four #1 or Detective Comics #1? These are just examples, but surely you catch my drift.

As exciting as these changes are within the eBay platform, please recognize some of the potential downsides of it and how it may affect you as an eBay buyer or seller.

eBay does state that:

Only you can see your collection. We do not currently support collection sharing.

https://pages.ebay.com/tradinghub/

but who knows how long that will continue to be the case and how private that information truly is. Also, the above statement leads me to believe that this may be changed in the future, otherwise eBay would have stated all collections will remain private from the very beginning.

We shall see…

Final thoughts

I do want to finish off by saying that I feel this is a great move by eBay and one that will surely solidify their platform as the place to go for buying, selling and tracking collectable and comic book values; a no-brainer, and a strategy that should have been implemented years ago.

So whomever is the brilliant mind that’s in charge of this project – my hat’s off to you sir/madam! Excellent work!

Take a look at our comic book pressing and cleaning services before selling your comics on eBay or sending them to CGC for grading.

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