Seller’s Market – The State of Card Collecting Has Never Been Better!

Less than 18 months ago, Mile High Card Company offered a 1952 Topps #311 Mickey Mantle PSA 5 in our 2014 Summer auction. The card brought in just short of $16,000, a respectable price at the time. A few weeks ago, MHCC offered another 1952 Topps Mantle that changed hands for the sum of $21,549.00. While any collector would consider that a tidy windfall, it becomes even more impressive when you consider that the latest offering was not a PSA 5; it was graded PSA 2.5 GOOD+. The last two PSA5s have sold for over $57,000. As incredible as that sounds, it’s become a common event in an industry that is not only experiencing bull market, it’s reaching a level never before imagined!

Is it time to sell?

It would be really easy for us to just say, “YES!” We’re in the auction business, it’s what we do, so we’re definitely biased. But that doesn’t mean we’re wrong, because the results speak for themselves. When a 1955 Topps Roberto Clemente RC graded PSA 8 sells for $12,000 in an April 2014 MHCC auction and over $58,000 just a few weeks ago, or a 1968 Topps Nolan Ryan RC graded PSA 9 jumps from $15,000 a year ago to over $40,000 in the last public auction, you might conclude that there’s a few collectors out there that got a little caught up in the bidding frenzy. But it’s much more than that. When you deal with so many praiseworthy cards on a regular basis as we do, the trend becomes impossible to ignore. Look at the price changes that have taken place in just the course of a year: 1954 Topps Hank Aaron PSA 8 from $11,000 (Mar 2015) to over $28,000 (Jan 2016), 1955 Koufax PSA 8 from $3,400 (Feb 2015) to $8,600 (Feb 2016), even lower priced cards like a 1964 Topps Pete Rose PSA 8, which was selling for under $900 as recently as March and now boasts four sales of $2,200 or more since December. This incredible spike in prices has been across the board from the mid grades on up, doubling, tripling, and in the case of the Clemente RC, more than quadrupling in value, all while the stock market has fallen over the same time span.

Are we still on the way up?

Ha! If I knew the answer to that, I’d be on my own island sipping margaritas. But I do know this … nothing lasts forever. In the last MHCC auction, an incredible 1954 Topps Aaron RC PSA 9 brought in over $190,000, beating the previous high of $62,000 from a public auction in August 2014. Who can really know for sure whether that same card sells for $300,000 two months from now, stays even for the next 5 years or drops in price? Sure, most of you aren’t in the market for MINT Hank Aaron rookie cards, but everyone has an investment in their collection. The best advice we can offer is to take a good, long look at what you have. Is it something you enjoy, regardless of its monetary value? Is it something you can part with, maybe to help complete a different project or invest elsewhere? While we can’t predict the future, we do know that in the present, there’s never been a better time to sell. Whether it’s months from now, years, or even a decade away, eventually the music stops, prices recede, and balance is restored. Whatever you decide, we at Mile High Card Company are dedicated to being at your service.

1968 Topps #177 Nolan Ryan

1952 Topps #311 Mickey Mantle

1955 Topps #123 Sandy Koufax

1954 Topps #128 Hank Aaron PSA 8

1968 Topps #177 Nolan Ryan PSA 9

Extended bidding, the 15-minute rule and a large pot of coffee: The perfect auction night trifecta!

It’s almost show time as our Spring auction is up for preview on Monday, March 24th and goes live on Tuesday the 25th, concluding Thursday April 10th. For those of you who are participating in your first Mile High auction or perhaps haven’t been active in a while, let’s go over some of the procedures and strategies that will help you find success as a winning bidder.

Extended bidding

1952 Topps #311 Mickey Mantle SGC 86 NM 7.5+From Tuesday March 25th through Thursday April 10th at 9PM EST, anyone who is registered with us can place a bid on any item, either through our website or by calling us at (303) 840-2784. If you are not registered to bid but choose to participate and would like to be registered, that can also be done through the website or by calling right up to the final day of the auction. But at 9PM EST on April 10th, the auction doesn’t end; in fact it’s just the beginning! That’s when we go into “extended bidding.” If an item doesn’t open or has just one bidder, the auction for that item is finished and will no longer accept bids. All other items stay open for bidding but only to collectors that had placed a bid on that specific item prior to extended bidding. So for example, if an item has bids from four different people when extended bidding starts, only those four people can contend for that item until the auction concludes. To avoid being shut out, the correct strategy would be to place at least a representative bid on anything you might be even remotely interested in before extended bidding commences, making you eligible to continue bidding on that item. If the price moves higher than you expected, you can simply stop bidding. But if the price seems right to you and you hadn’t bid previously, you can’t get in at that point. By placing representative bids, it gives you all the options.

The 15-minute rule

1915 Cracker Jack #37 Grover Alexander PSA 8 NM/MTOften misunderstood by collectors, the 15-minute rule simply states that if there are no bids placed for 15-minutes ON ANY ITEM IN THE AUCTION, the auction ends and the high bidders on each item at that time have won. To be perfectly clear, because this is usually where the misunderstanding arises, the auction for a specific item does not end if it hasn’t had a bid for 15 minutes. Bidding for that item, and all items, ends if no bid has been placed on any of the 1,791 lots for 15 minutes. People often call and ask, “I’m high bidder on a lot and no one else is bidding on it, why haven’t I been declared the winner?” The answer is because the lots don’t close one at a time; the whole auction closes at once.



A large pot of coffee?

As you can imagine, going 15 consecutive minutes without any of the 1,791 lots receiving a bid will only happen in the wee hours of Thursday night, or more precisely, early Friday morning. And while that can make for an extremely long night for the bidder, believe me, it’s even longer for us! On a typical auction night, the MHCC crew puts in a 20-hour day as we will be here to answer phones as long as the auction is still live. Obviously we can’t predict when that 15-minute stretch that closes the auction will happen, but I can tell you that we’ve never gone home earlier than 3AM EST on an auction this size. The exception to the 15-minute rule is that we reserve the right to close the auction if bidding slows to a trickle (a bid every 8-10 minutes or so) before the dawn of a new day forces the auction to continue throughout Friday. We intend to send out an e-mail giving fair warning when we are approaching this point.

Bidding Strategy

As stated earlier, the best advice for success is to target anything you have even the slightest interest in and place an opening bid, making you eligible but not obligated to continue into extended bidding on closing night. Some people place their opening bids and don’t give it a second thought until the final day; others remain more active and battle for top position as they get outbid, sending a message to potential competitors that they intend to win. Over the course of the auction, you’ll receive e-mail updates of your status or when you’ve been outbid on an item, if we have your e-mail address on file. On closing night, some people go to bed once extended bidding commences and set their alarm to wake up in the early morning, hoping to snipe their desired items from bidders who have already called it a night. To avoid losing out on an item, many people place a “top-all” or “up to” bid. A “top-all” is a bid of the maximum you are willing to pay for the item. By placing this type of bid, you will be the high bidder at the lowest amount that puts you on top, but if someone else places a bid that is lower or matches your maximum, your bid is automatically increased to the next lowest winning bid and they will receive an outbid notice. If they top your maximum bid, they take the lead, so it’s important to place your bid at the very maximum you’re willing to go if you don’t intend to check back in before the auction concludes. Our software does not allow us to see maximum bids, ensuring that we remain an impartial and a neutral representative for all bidders.

As with all of our high-quality auctions, we at MHCC wish all potential bidders the very best. We’ll be here, fighting off the lack of sleep to answer questions and take bids over the phone until the auction’s conclusion. Thank you for your participation, and good luck!

1963 Topps Baseball Complete Master Set Completely PSA Graded #8 on PSA Set Registry with 8.14 GPA