Wacky Packages buyers info
Wacky Packages buyers and eBay info
A large percentage of the common Wacky Packs change hands these days on eBay. This is a truly double edged sword in the hobby,
on one hand it gives buyers and sellers a very easy forum for finding each other, on the other hand, eBay is rife with poor sellers. Your main obstacle on ebay will be getting stuff which is not massively over-graded. As often as you can find a good deal, you will get stuck with overgraded trash, so to put together a decent set typically requires buying over and over and upgrading until you get lucky and find someone with good stuff at a good price. You'll get a few steals, but when you average it all out with the dogs you'll usually find you overpaid on eBay. And eBay themselves have increasingly fascist rules every year, with increasing fees and decreasing customer service (who needs customer service when you're a monopoly), and increasing disinterest in stopping fraud (they don't care if you get burned, as long as they get their fee). This is why more and more people are fed up with eBay and look for other sources. You can either shop at the store on this site, where all wackys are accurately graded and come with a 100% no-questions-asked guarantee, or you can post on the discussion forum and try to get to know other collectors who might be able to help with extras or who might be selling off eBay.
Beyond these options it seems for now we are stuck
with eBay until the government breaks them up as a predatory monopoly (which could be sooner rather than later given how badly their greed is running away with itself).
Given all of this, there are a few things you can do to end up a happy collector instead of a bitter one.
- Be patient. When you first find wackys on the web you are likely to be amazed that any of them survived to this day. This leads many people to bid frantically on the first ones they see, thinking that they may never come up again. The reality is most wackys come up on ebay over and over and over, and prices vary tremendously. For example a complete 5th series set in EX+/NM condition has gone anywhere from $15 to $200. That amazing range should shock some patience into anybody (who doesn't have
money to burn). It is recommended that, before buying anything, you watch closely for one to two months and see what kind of ranges things are going for. Then try to get in at the lower end. You can also check out completed auctions going back about a month or so.
- If you have any doubts about an item and think it's rare enough that you better jump on the first opportunity, feel free to write me and ask - I have been watching ebay for five years and will give you my honest opinion.
- Know your grading terminology. "Excellent" or "Very good" condition sound good, but in official grading terminology VG is actually a very beat sticker, and EX is just so-so. The highest grade is NM (near mint), but NM stickers are rare, I have a box of 8000 wackys, and maybe 50 truly qualify as NM. But on ebay nearly every other auction is calling their stuff NM, or even Mint (a mint wacky is less than one in a thousand). It's best to bid only on auctions with large scans and which are well described. Beware of the term NM, and if someone is calling their stuff Mint then that should be a huge warning sign. It may sound unlikely, but half the NM wackys I buy on ebay are EX at best (that's not even EX+ but strictly EX). I haven't yet figured out what's wrong with people that they can look at a sticker with corners so rounded they look like an elephant used them to scratch his butt, and say "oh yes, they look brand new like they just came out of the pack". I can only assume the desire to get the most money they can overshadows any impetus to care about the buyer as a human being. Not everybody is like this, but in my experience with ebayers it seems about half the people are dishonest like this. The problem is you often don't know until it's too late.
- Beware of the words "rare" or "hard to find". Nine times out of ten when you see these words the seller is selling the most common Wackys of them all. For example 1979 rerun sheets or 1986 Ablum stickers are routinely described as "rare" or "hard to find" by sellers who, in my opinion, are either unscrupulously trying to take advantage of the unknowing new collector, or are honestly clueless - these Wackys are really as common as water. Even if a seller is selling them cheap, they don't deserve your business for describing such common Wackys this way.
- Check the feedback. Sellers who have 50 or 100 feedbacks, all positive, are probably safe. No guarantees, but it's definitely more comforting than a seller with 50 or so negatives. In particular, look in the feedback for people claiming the items were accurately or inaccurately described. Also be careful of sellers with fascist policies, such as "if payment doesn't arrive in 10 days you will be given negative feedback and slandared in public forums" (don't laugh, it happens).
- Ask Questions. Only buy when there is a very detailed description and scans. Don't be afraid to ask a lot of questions. You are spending your hard earned money and if the seller doesn't have the time of day to answer your questions then he doesn't deserve your business. If you have any serious doubts, don't be afraid to ask the seller if they will take an item back if it's been inaccurately described. Do this before you bid.
- Take advantage of buyers's psychology. Partial sets usually go much cheaper than full sets. If you are patient you will find someone selling a nearly full set for which you only have to fill a couple holes. A set of 27/30 cards could go for half the price of a full set.
- Bid late, bid once. For some inexplicable reason many bidders bid early and often, having a week long drawn out bidding war with others, which can only drive the price up further than it would otherwise go, and draw more attention (competition) to the auction. The smart thing to do is to bid once and at the very last seconds when there is no time for anybody to think about whether to outbid you. Figure out your top top bid, and place it once. If you lose, you would have lost regardless of when you bid because it went over the maximum you were willing to pay. If you won't be at the computer when the auction ends, register the auction with esnipe (www.esnipe.com) which is a service that will place your bid for you at the last second.
- There are few exceptions to this rule, for example sometimes bidding early is a form of marking your territory, which could be necessary because of some social relationships you have with other collectors. Some people like to place a low early bid to "mark" the auction so it's easy to find later. Aside from some special circumstances like this, there is no reason to ever bid early.
- Use insurance. Have all packages insured. A seller can easily say they sent a package and they're sorry it never arrived (whether true or not), and they will say you should have insured it, your risk, sorry. The buyer has no recourse in such a situation. If a seller will not ship insured, buy somewhere else.
- Don't buy fake unopened packs. Here is an excellent article on the subject.
- Good luck. And happy collecting!