One thing in life that everyone is working towards is building financial freedom. That freedom could be building up a nice retirement account, paying off your house, having additional income to travel or just have something to fall back on. As a sports card collector you have that opportunity to not only build your collection but to build an investment with your sports card collection. One way to do that is learning how to find and buy undervalued raw sports cards.
For any collector, finding that sports card collection at the local yard sale or even auction house, is something that is exciting and possible sometimes a dream come true. What is even more exciting is opening that local buy to realize you have found a nice collection of ungraded raw sports cards that have a potential to be worth a lot of money. You can even get lucky at local sports card shows or even at the National Sports Collectors Convention each year. The 2022 NSCC show is located in Atlantic City, New Jersey from July 27th through July 31st, 2022.
While finding these undervalued raw cards, and hidden treasures of sports cards can be difficult, it is not impossible. Read on to learn more about how to find and buy undervalued raw sports cards including tips and tricks to help you succeed. In addition, for any new sports card collectors we will answer that question “what are raw sports cards”.
How to Find and Buy Undervalued Raw Sports Cards
What are raw sports cards?
For novice sports card collectors, the words raw sports cards is something they have come to learn about. However, for a new sports card collector or a sports card investor, those same words don’t ring a bell and might leave you wondering what they are.
A raw sports card is a card that has yet to be graded and encapsulated by a third-party sports card grader such as Beckett Grading Services (BGS), Professional Sports Authenticator (PSA), Sportscard Guaranty Company (SGC), and/or Certified Sports Guaranty (CSG). Learn more about sports card grading by reading our sports card grading guide.
Now that you know what raw sports cards are, the next question to answer is why buy raw sports cards vs graded sports cards? To answer that question is because ungraded sports cards or raw sports cards have a lower resell value compared to the same high graded sports card. For example, a Luka Doncic ungraded rookie card might sell for $100 whereas a graded Gem Mint 10 sells for $350 (only an example).
Therefore, it is important to know how to find and buy ungraded raw sports cards while also knowing how to examine and place your own grade on a card before buying it.
Where to find and buy undervalued raw sports cards?
This is the one golden question that all sports card collectors and investors would love to have the exact right answer. Unfortunately, there is not just one right answer to this question and sometimes it can come down to being at the right place at the right time. While I have always hated hearing that saying since I seem to never be at that right place or at the right time, it is true when speaking to finding the next big sports card collection.
That said, here are some places you can find undervalued raw sports cards for you to start investing in.
Find and Buy Undervalued Raw Sports Cards – Local Yard Sales
One of the best spots to find sports cards is by hitting up your local yard sales within your community or in nearby communities. With Facebook and social media sites at your fingertips, finding yard sales are easier then ever to find. However, not every yard sale will have sports cards and sometimes you might not find any, but they are a great place to start.
In addition to sports cards, you may get lucky finding other cards such as ungraded Pokemon cards or graded Pokemon cards that can also be extremely valuable.
Facebook Market Place & Facebook Groups
A second place you can start looking for undervalued sports cards that have yet to be graded is on both the Facebook Market Place as well as by joining various Sports Card Facebook groups. This allows you to find other collectors looking to sell their sports cards. Like yard sales, the Facebook marketplace and Facebook groups may not always deliver fast results and it may take time before you come across something you like. Remember to take your time and do your research on each card before investing.
Antique Stores and Flea Markets
A third place you can sometimes find ungraded raw sports cards are at local antique stores or antique shops that might have some baseball cards available. Especially 5hidden gen antique shops that might not be as popular as others in the area or ones that you pass while your traveling cross country in small towns that don’t see a ton of visitors. Flea Markets also are a great place to stop by and check out. While sometimes a flea market may have someone selling a lot that they have landed in an estate sale or in a storage locker.
Other Online Market Places – eBay, Check Out My Cards (COMC) and Forums
While Facebook marketplace and Facebook groups are good starting points, other online marketplaces to consider include eBay, Check Out My Cards (COMC), and sports card forums. Out of those options, eBay might be one of the best options, but you must understand what to look for and how to look for it.
Understanding this can help you answer the simple question of where I can find cheap cards on eBay. One way to find undervalued raw cards on eBay is to search for cards by using misspelled words or names. For example, someone looking for a Kyrie Irving rookie card might get lucky finding one spelled like Kyree Irving or Kyrie Irvin. You can also look for sellers looking to move entire lots of a specific player or even a group collection for a good price.
On a site like COMC, look for cards that are ungraded and have low values by filtering by lowest price. Once you find some, take your time to research completed sales on eBay and if you find ones that have good sale prices graded, buy the cards, submit for sports card grading, and wait for the returned graded card. You can also post buy offers on forums for collectors looking to move collections of cards that might cost more money up front but return you a large sports card collection.
Your Own Collection
You read that correctly, sometimes the best place to find an undervalued raw sports card is within your own collection. You may be asking yourself how this is possible. The answer is if you bought cards and kept them from 2 or 5 or 10 years ago, a player you might have missed who wasn’t a top prospect now is a proven star. Once a card worth a few cents is now worth a few hundreds. Always take the time to go back through your own collection.
Find and Buy Undervalued Raw Sports Cards: Tools to Find and Buy Undervalued Raw Sports Cards
Now that you know where to look for undervalued raw sports cards, here are a few tips, tricks, and tools to use to help you be successful at landing some valuable cards at a cheap price.
Undervalued Raw Sports Cards #1 Tool: Break Stuff App and Website
One of the major tools that can be at your fingertips is the Break Stuff app that will help any sports card collector or sports card investor. With the Break Stuff app, you will have multiple tools to help you find undervalued raw sports cards.
Starting with the sites Artificial Intelligence (AI) grading tool that can allow you to grade any sports card with your smart phone or tablet and the built-in camera. Once submitted, the app returns a graded value to the card. You can then use that graded value to determine whether if it is worth buying the card.
In addition, the Break Stuff app allows users to communicate with other collectors, share cards on social media sites and even allows for payment processing.
The Center Tool
A second tool to consider adding and taking the time to learn how to use is The Center Tool. This tool allows card collectors to examine ungraded raw cards and get a feel for the condition the card is in. In theory, once you learn how to use it, you can then use the tool to determine a condition of a card before spending money to grade the card which can be expensive. If a card does not grade well, then avoid receiving a low graded card that won’t return a good profit.
Another tool that can come in useful is a Loupe. A loupe is a tool used by individuals examining high end coins and jewels. It allows you to see the object magnified then you can see any blemishes that may be present. A dinged corner or a spot on a card will hurt the value of that card.
Find and Buy Undervalued Raw Sports Cards: Tips & Tricks
Look at Rookie Card Lots of Unproven Stars
One big tip to consider is look at unproven stars rookie cards either when they are drafted or a year or two after they are drafted. Sometimes investing in these players allow you to buy higher quantity of cards at a lower value, then if the player has a great year, you can resell the cards for a nice profit. Baseball cards offer this option with the Bowman Baseball lineup that has the top prospects each year before they have arrived at the MLB level.
Examine POP Reports of Cards
Another tip that many sports card investors and card collectors don’t follow is research the Population or POP reports offered from the top sports card graders such as BGS, PSA and SGC. Using this report, can tell you how many of that specific card is graded and how many of each grade has been delivered. If you find a card that has very little 9’s, 9.5’s and 10’s, it may be worth looking for those cards to be graded. This is sometimes good with sets that are hard to grade such as older Topps Chrome Cards.
Search Misspelled Names & Years
As stated above another tip or trick is to search for cards of players with misspelled names or even years that may not be their rookie card. While this is unfortunate for the seller, over the years this is something that many collectors have taking advantage of.
Hit up as many yard sale, box auction, flea market and antique house
If you have the time to spare, hit up as many yard sales, box auctions, flea markets, antique houses and even estate sales that you can. While you might not get lucky on every trip but the more chances that are presented to you the better your results will be. Remember to use the Break Stuff app while examining cards to get a quick raw grade of the card before buying it.
Research Sports Card Investing Guides and Websites
Take time to read our sports card investing strategies for other tips and tricks to learning how to invest in sports cards. You can also research other sports card investing guides and sites such as Sports Card Investor. Use tips and tricks you find on these sites to improve your overall knowledge and understanding of the hobby.
Take time to learn about sports card grading companies and how to determine sports card grade
Lastly, take the time to learn about sports card grading and how it works. Learn who the best sports card grading companies are. Is it BGS VS PSA or PSA VS SGC or is it BGS VS SGC? Once you know more and can predict a grade before it is delivered, you can invest more into a card knowing that after submitting it you will land a higher grade.
Stay tuned for more updates on learning how to find and buy undervalued raw sports cards.