It’s one of the hardest things to judge if you’re trying to flip collectible cards. When’s the perfect time to buy or sell, and is there any way to increase the potential for profit.
‘Buying low and selling high’ is a simplistic way of seeing things, but it is the key to maximizing revenue.
It’s worth remembering that cards are a great investment for a number of different reasons. They’re uniquely portable, and prices can change rapidly depending on how the season is going.
Just make sure you’re not the first to sell a rare card in case you price it too cheaply. Your personal experiences may vary, but we’ve listed the best times to buy and sell various collectible cards, as well as why it’s ideal to do so.
NFL cards are always popular, but you’ll see an uptick in prices if you can wait until September to offload your collection. The five-month period between September and January is the best time to sell, matching the progression of the NFL season, and there’s an extra boost during the run-up to Christmas.
Opening day is also notable, with cards being snapped up in anticipation of a good year. It’s best to sell on hype, but you could miss out on future profits if a player exceeds expectations later on in the season.
The summer months of May, June, and July are optimal if you’re aiming to buy, with June the best if you’re looking for rock-bottom prices. Cards will still be cheap during the preseason in August, but they’re only going to go up afterward.
NFL best time to buy: May, June, July
NFL best time to sell: Sep, Oct, Nov, Dec, Jan
While it’s always a good idea to keep an eye out for expensive editions, all MLB cards will ebb and flow depending on the player/team throughout the season.
Summer is the ideal time to list your MLB cards, as interest peaks with the playoff race. We’d also recommend picking up rookie cards as early as possible, as a successful season will see them multiply in price due to hype.
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Spring training will see prospects’ prices rising rapidly as the exhibition games are a good way to check out early form, so you’ll have to take advantage of the short window of opportunity for any cards you have an eye on. It’s best to buy anytime after the New Year, with prices starting to pick up again in April.
MLB best time to buy: Nov, Dec, Jan, Feb, March
MLB best time to sell: Apr, May, June, July, Aug, Sep, Oct
NBA cards are highly contested for the majority of the year, but there’s a three-month period during autumn when they should be more affordable (July to September).
The NBA season is a long one, and prices will fluctuate between October and June. Some cards will drop off during midseason, and it’s a good time to pick them up if you think a player still has the potential to turn a profit in the latter half.
If you have a mint copy of an incredibly rare card it’s a smart idea to list it up for a price you’d be willing to let it go for. Otherwise, keep an eye on fluctuations, and make sure to buy in during the slowest periods.
Prices begin to rise with the beginning of the preseason schedule in October.
NBA best time to buy: July, Aug, Sep
NBA best time to sell: Oct, Nov, Dec, Jan, Feb, March, April, May, June
As with the NBA, NHL cards are sought after for most of the year. They’re mainly wanted by other investors, as they’ve always been seen as a good commodity to flip.
Thankfully, there’s a lull during the same trio of months in Autumn (July to September), so it could be worth checking out player prices for both sports if you’re determined to make a good profit on multiple cards or players.
Hockey cards are always popular, and they tend to sell easily. As with the others, a playoff place will see prices skyrocket, and some positions tend to be worth more than others.
Upper Deck cards are some of the most unique collectibles, as the company has held exclusive NHL trading card rights for the majority of the last decade.
They’ve recently moved into e-Packs, which allow people to buy, open and store cards before they’re sent out physically by the company. It’s a nice touch, but it’s easier to make money by flipping cards instead of ripping packs.
NHL best time to buy: July, Aug, Sep
NHL best time to sell: Oct, Nov, Dec, Jan, Feb, March, April, May, June
Any part-time collector knows how to acquire new cards, but there are things you can do to add extra value before selling them on. Grading your best cards is a good way to bump up their price, and it’s worth listing them up if a website like eBay has an ongoing promotion.
Think of the time and day that your potential auction will end, and make sure to plan accordingly. Sunday night at 10 pm EST tends to be favored if you’re looking to snag a large number of American buyers on an auction site, or you could sell just after a major game if a player had a notable performance.
It’s also worth thinking about the timing of tax rebates or holidays, as cards make ideal gifts for any fan. Supply will outweigh the demand for the most desirable variations, but fewer alternatives on the market will make it easier to sell.
There’s always a good time to buy or sell any sports cards, and it usually depends on factors like player form and whether the season is still running. If you can, wait until interest is at its lowest before you commit, and sell on hype when possible.