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How to Sell Your Pokemon TCG Collection

Hello ChannelFireball readers, welcome back to my collecting series! I hope everyone enjoyed the holiday season and got off to a good start in the new year. I know I did, and I think I speak for us all when I say that moving on from 2020 is a great thing. If you have not already checked out my first article of the new year where I covered PSA grading in depth, I encourage you to do so! If you have any questions about grading, or just want to know more about it, that article is for you.

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Today I’ll be covering the options you have when selling your extra Pokemon cards, or even your entire collection! This can be a more complex process than one might think, don’t worry, I’ve got you covered. Here’s a general selling overview:

An Overview

Selling your extra cards can be a great way to cover the cost of some cards you want and doing so leaves you with some choices to make. Obviously, selling your entire collection (or even just a lot of cards) is a different process than selling an extra handful. I’m not here to encourage you to do so – there are those that do – this will be a valuable resource for them.

To be honest, all the options have some positives and negatives to them, this doesn’t mean they are bad though! It just means that an option that is best for one person might not be the best for someone else. With that being said, let’s look at the options and the facts about them.

Option #1: Buylists/Resellers

This is a very popular option, and honestly not a bad one. There is somewhat of a stereotype that buylists are a rip-off, but that is simply not true. They are obviously buying your cards to make money with them, which means there must be room for them to do so. In turn, you do not get full price for your cards with this method. I included resellers in the above title because they operate similarly to buy lists, in the sense that they will buy your cards on a sliding scale based on the value of the card, like how a buylist functions. They are both ways to easily sell the cards you are looking to get rid of and be paid out in a quick manner for doing so.

  • Very easy transaction, as you just type in or categorize the cards you have for sale and then send them off.
  • In all cases of selling your cards, pay attention to the condition of them. Buylist prices tend to be meant for near mint cards, meaning you might end up paying a fee or getting cards returned if you send off damaged ones without the store knowing.
  • A lot of stores offer additional money if you want it in store credit. This can be great if you are looking to sell your cards to buy new or different ones or selling your collection to transition to a different game.
  • This option tends to be very low risk if you go with a reputable store. Reputable stores all operate legitimately and will not attempt to scam you.
  • Quick payout, as you will receive payment once they process your shipment. This is at the very latest, as some stores will even pay you before you ship. This is done via PayPal goods or service though, so it will mean paying a 2.9% + 30-cent fee. This is so the store is fully covered in cases where you don’t send what is agreed upon or any other issue occurs. If they pay after they receive, is likely that you can request a different payment method to avoid losing some of your money.
  • Buylists can be frowned upon because you don’t receive the full amount a card is worth. While that is true, the fact of the matter is that you won’t receive the full amount a card is worth in most cases, regardless of how you sell your cards. There are fees associated with most of the other options and selling all your cards in one go can save you shipping costs as well. Time and risk are another thing to consider here.

Anyone who uses this method should understand what they are getting into, as it does mean getting less money in most cases but tends to mean an easy transaction with little risk. I make use of buylists for bulk frequently, and sometimes a store will have the right rate for a certain card, and I will make use of that as well. My best advice for this is to pick a store you have faith in, and consider the available rates prior to diving in. This option is not the best for everyone, but there is no shame in going this route, a lot of people do so, and it can be the best choice for someone.

Option #2: Doing It Yourself

Doing the work, yourself can be a more profitable way of selling cards if you do it right, so I will discuss the basics of doing so in this section. It might seem easy, but there is a fair amount that goes into it!

As stated above, this option is generally best for someone who is not in a rush, as selling cards yourself takes time, and some of the options below do not entail being paid out immediately. This downside does come with the upside of likely getting more money out of the ordeal, as you can sell cards for full price or close to it. There is more to that, though, as there are other fees associated with this route. Unfortunately, scams and lost packages are something to consider as well, as that is a risk you incur when you sell cards to another consumer.

As with any attempt to sell something on your own, this option does entail the most work. Additionally, no results are guaranteed, and everyone’s experience is different. Regardless of whether you think you will like this option; your opinion could change once you get started. The nice thing, though, is that you can always change your mind and how you are going about selling your cards.

Now that I have covered the overall basics of selling your cards yourself, I do have more to say. There are several options when doing it this way, so it would be best to discuss the specifics of each individually.

TCGplayer

This option requires getting approved, but it is not very difficult to do so. It just means filling out the application and waiting the time it takes to get it approved. Anyone can sell on TCGplayer, and there is no membership cost either. However, there are some things you need to know before diving into the platform:

  • At first, you will be restricted in how many items you list and what your shipping charges are. This is because you are considered a level one seller, and this will change as your sales increase.
  • Each time you sell a card, you will be responsible for paying to ship the card to the customer, which can eat into the amount of money you make.

Now, the people at TCGplayer are very nice, but they are not running a charity here. Every time you sell an item, you are charged a fee. The fee works out to 12.75% of the sale + 30-cents for each transaction.

  • After an item sells, your payment is not issued immediately. It goes into a pending payout system, which you can monitor on your seller dashboard, and generally results in you being paid a week or two after each sale.
  • Outside of lost untracked package situations, TCGplayer has a very strong protection plan that covers both buyers and sellers.

For disclosure, I do a lot of selling on TCGplayer myself and I think very highly of them. While that is my personal experience, I understand that there are other options that might be better for an individual with a different set of circumstances.

eBay

This option is very similar to the one above in pretty much every regard, but there is some difference in the structure and details. Here are some facts:

  • You are also limited as to how much you can list and sell on eBay, but you should only run into an issue if you have a very large or high value collection.
  • You are also responsible for paying shipment costs here on eBay, regardless of whether you charge the customer for it.
  • eBay has similar pricing in terms of their fee structure. Every time you make a sale, you will pay 12.35% + 30-cents to eBay. It is very slightly lower than TCGplayer.
  • eBay also has a pending payment payout system, meaning you will not be paid out right away on this platform either. Though this one tends to work much faster, and generally means you are paid out within a couple business days of a sale.
  • Unfortunately, eBay does not have nearly the same level of seller protection that TCGplayer does. I won’t go into the details here, and I will say that you will tend to be fine if you handle everything well, but this is something you should investigate when deciding where to sell.

For disclosure, I do a lot of selling on eBay myself. I think their seller protection could be improved, but they offer a large customer base and are easy to work with. This is my personal experience with the website, and I know people who have different experiences with it. Some people love it, some people hate it, and that is just how the world works. I understand that while this option works for me, it might not be the best for anyone reading this, and that is a decision everyone will have to make.

Facebook Groups/Other Forums

This is a very legitimate option, despite potentially sounding a little strange. Facebook has several very active Pokemon buy/sell/trade groups, where one could easily unload some Pokemon cards.

  • This is a slower process, as you would have to piece out your collection in the same way you do for a different platform, but you would have a much more limited pool of buyers.
  • This can mean getting more for your collection, as you would avoid the fees other options demand, if you are firm with your prices and patient.
  • You have got to be careful doing this, as this probably entails the highest risk of the options. Look at references, document the details of the transaction, and do anything else that would make you more comfortable when doing this.

I do zero selling on this, as it just isn’t something I like to do. With that being said, I do partake in a very large amount of buying using groups and forums just like this. I almost never have any issues, I have never been scammed successfully, and I am always fully covered because I make payment with PayPal’s paying for goods or services option. There is a fee for this that either you or the seller will have to cover, but it means full protection for the transaction. I would highly recommend only using this payment option.

Locally

I included this option because it exists and can be great for a person in the right place, but it has a different set of boundaries than any of the other options.

  • Requires relatively active local Pokemon scene, as you would need people to sell to.
  • Requires a place to sell the cards, which can be tricky if your local meet up as just a bunch of game stores. It would be frowned upon to sell cards to other players in most stores.
  • This process would likely not allow you to sell all your cards, unless you find one person who is willing to buy it all, which likely means this is just a slightly different version of selling to a reseller.
  • This route tends to be the safest in terms of risk. If you trust the person or do it in a safe place, it is hard to be scammed in this situation and there is no risk of a lost package.

I will say, despite having a booming Pokemon scene locally, I have never really done much of that myself. I have just never liked the feeling of doing in person transactions with people, as I like to be able to think over my options and carefully make decisions without the pressure of having another person face-to-face with me. This is just my personal preference, and I have had some positive experiences buying cards locally. I am sure other people would heavily disagree with my sentiment on this, and I totally understand that, as this is a legitimate option for people to investigate.

Option #3: A Mix of Both

Obviously, this is an option, as it is just a mix of what is offered above. Doing this can be beneficial as it is a little taste of both worlds. Here are some reasons why doing a mix of both could be the best choice or what you end up going with.

  • Sometimes buylists just have good prices on certain cards, which can be useful to make use of even if you are trying to maximize your payout by selling the cards yourself.
  • This option allows you to get quick cash for certain cards, while allowing you to take your time selling others. This can mean being able to cover what you were looking to do with the money, while maximizing some other sales that would not have been made use of right away anyways.
  • This is the pinnacle of customization, as doing it this way can allow you to pivot at any moment, decide not to sell, or continue with your plan.
  • If you decide to go with a buylist, taking a quick scan of some online groups could allow you to sell some cards at a higher price, prior to dumping the rest for a quick sale.

Honestly, even if this is not your intended route headed into things, it is a good idea to keep your mind open and consider all the options you have. It requires minimal effort in most cases and can mean an easier or more profitable transaction.


When it comes to shipping your cards, you do have options to choose from, but the main things that effect this option are going to be value and size of order.

If you have a small order of just a couple cards, and the value is low, it would probably be best to go with a plain white envelope. A stamp will cost you 50-55¢ depending on how you obtain it, and that is the cheapest way to do this. The order will not have tracking, but it will arrive with no issues a very large majority of the time, and you will have as high of a margin as possible shipping it this way. Do not overfill the plain white envelope, you must be careful with thickness. You can also purchase more expensive stamps to cover higher weight envelope shipments.

If you have a small order, but the value is higher, a first-class package is going to be the best way to ship this one. This means a small bubble mailer, which you can purchase in bulk online for very cheap, much cheaper than the post office. An average First Class Package using this method is going to cost around $3 and will have tracking. Flat Rate Small Boxes can also be used for high value shipments that contain a lot number of cards and will cost you around $8. It also comes with tracking and a low amount of insurance.

If you have a larger order, you don’t have much of a choice when it comes to shipment. Sometimes a bubble mailer can be used here, meaning you can use the first-class package method I just covered. It will be more expensive, though, as weight does effect price. Generally, a larger order is going to mean a Priority Mail Flat Rate Box. A lot of people don’t know about Regional Rate Boxes A and B, which can be ordered on the USPS website for free along with all other USPS supplies. These boxes can save you a lot of money and offer all the same protection as the Medium and Large Flat Rate Box.  This is also how I would ship a large buylist order to somewhere like ChannelFireball.com.

Whenever you ship a card, you will want to use the right materials. Here is a list of materials I have and use:

  • Top loaders: Generally you want to use these every shipment. You do not need them for bulk, and you don’t necessarily have to use these on every card thanks to the team set bags. You only want to include 1-3 cards per top loader, depending on value and risk tolerance.
  • Semi-rigid card sleeves: Great for plain white envelope shipments that contain 4-8 low value cards.
  • Team set bags: Great for shipments containing a lot of low value cards. Can also be used for other shipments as you see fit.
  • Bubble wrap: Great for filing extra space in large boxes.

Other facts:

  • Post offices lobbies tend to be open even after the main office closes, meaning you can make use of the self-service machine at all hours of the day.
  • You can save money on postage by using online services such as Stamps.com.
  • Can’t make it to the post office? USPS offers a free mail pickup, just schedule it on the USPS website.

Things you will have to decide for yourself when shipping cards:

  • Risk level: At what point do you want to include tracking? Some people do $20, some people do $50. This can really cut into your margins, so keep that in mind.
  • Risk level: At what point do you want to include insurance on your shipments? Some people insure a lot of stuff, some people have a threshold, and some people insure nothing. This can really cut into your margins, but also offers piece of mind.

ChannelFireball is always buying Pokemon cards. Simply head to the top bar, hit sell your cards and proceed to the sell now option. You’ll need to be logged into your ChannelFireball store account to access the buylist, but once there you can select all the cards you want to get paid for! If you have more questions head to the hot list & information tab. We hope to see you soon!


Now that all the options have been discussed, you should be fully prepared to handle any sales you want to make, regardless of what route you decide to go. There is no perfect answer, as everyone is different and has different circumstances, so it is best to just consider the options and make the best choice for yourself. If you decide to sell some cards, just think about things before getting started.

It is always my goal to benefit you as a reader in these pieces. If you liked this article, or any of my others, keep an eye out each week (often on Monday)! I have a long list of article topics available, but if you have any recommendations, feel free to leave a comment below! I would love to write about what the readers want to see. Additionally, if you have any questions about this article, I will answer them if you leave them below. Until next week, I hope you all have a great one and enjoy the world of Pokemon!

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