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Thu June 16 2022 21:17:49

The eBay Vault from an Average Collector's Point of View

By: Don Heiden

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Will the average collector be willing to let eBay store their collectibles in a physical warehouse? In today's column, Don Heiden, aka The Auction Professor, takes a look at the newly launched eBay Vault.

"What is eBay's Vault?" may be the first question many people will have. From a basic standpoint, it is simply a way for eBay to store valuable collectibles and make money doing so. eBay, though, did not create this sort of business model. The business of someone else storing and holding onto your valuable collectibles has been around for several years. eBay, however, is one of the largest companies to do so.

I have collected items my whole life, and part of the fun of collecting (to me and everyone I know), is being able to touch and hold your collection. So, the idea of paying someone else to hold your newest acquisition seems totally wrong to me.

Still and all, I do not collect items for their value per say, but rather I collect those items because I love them, either as nostalgia from my youth, or due to my personal connection with them. Toys or trading cards I had as a child always bring back fond memories to me, and that is why I love them so much. 

Most average or traditional collectors want a physical object rather than an NFT (non-fungible token). An NFT only exists in the digital realm, and its value is not based on any form of a physical object, but rather a mythical assumption on value by the buyer.

The average collector will want to display their collection throughout their house, apartment, or office and will enjoy them on a daily basis. Being given a digital image of a collectible is just not the same thing as being able to pick it up and hold it in your hands. 

To me, eBay's Vault is a way of turning their collectibles markets into an investable commodity. For an item to be accepted into the vault, it has to be valued at $750 or higher, it also has to be graded and pass eBay's own inspection, among other requirements. 

As a reseller and dealer of collectibles, I can see the benefit of grading items to gain more value. Grading also establishes a set standard for each grade and condition, which is also important. But those are still tangible items that my buyers can hold.

This will always limit the amount of people using these sorts of services. High-end collectors and investors will clearly be the main users of eBay's Vault. While the average collector will likely stay away. 

A big fear of many collectors, such as myself, is that turning collectibles into an investment will artificially increase the costs of collecting as a whole. Comic books and trading cards are already at all-time highs, and this will likely further increase those prices. This would, in turn, also increase the overall costs of collecting in general. 

What would happen to the collectibles market if, or when, the pricing bubble bursts? Would the investors bail on the market leaving it in a free fall? I remember the 1990s and the trading card and comic book crash that happened in that decade. The values of vast amounts of items plummeted almost overnight. And that was not the first time that has happened either.

eBay has already moved into digital and investable items, through their NFT partnerships. The eBay Vault seems to be a further expansion in that direction, which is backed up by eBay's VP of Collectibles, Electronics, and Home, Dawn Block, who stated that "the eBay vault is a critical offering that will let collectors streamline and securely store their portfolio of assets." 

The key words in eBay's statement - "their portfolio of assets" - speaks volumes to me. It does not at all seem to be in the best interest of most collectors. Statements like that lead me to believe that it is only about the value investors will bring to those markets, and the amount of money that eBay could make from those investors. 

We must also consider that other businesses use the "Vault" structure to allow fractionalizing or sharing of items, so that they can then be monetized. This allows the owner of say the highly sought-after comic book, Amazing Fantasy 15 (the first appearance of Spiderman), to sell shares of the comic to many investors.

The comic book can sell for tens of thousands of dollars, which is something only a few people could afford to buy. Selling shares of the comic book would allow those with less financial means to hold a part ownership in the comic book. But they would still not be able to actually hold or touch it. 

Time will tell where eBay goes with this, or if it is successful for them. However, the typical collector will have to wait and hope that this shift in major collectibles markets will not destroy their hobby. 

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Don Heiden is a 30-year veteran of online reselling and runs The Auction Professor YouTube channel posting videos and content about various reselling platforms and topics. He is a member of the eBay, Amazon, Hip, and other affiliate programs where he may earn a commission when linking to products on those sites. Read more about the Auction Professor on EcommerceBytes.

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Perminate Link for The eBay Vault from an Average Collector's Point of View   The eBay Vault from an Average Collector's Point of View

This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Thu Jun 16 22:33:09 2022

I went to eBay section on the Vault. They are currently only accepting trading cards, and the cards have to have already been graded by one of the companies they have listed.

I would never participate in this. I don't trust eBay to not turn this into another money-making scheme to the detriment of the collector, and as Don states in his article, the fun thing about collecting is being able to see and hold a really rare item. What the point of having collectibles if you can't have them close?

Perminate Link for The eBay Vault from an Average Collector's Point of View   The eBay Vault from an Average Collector's Point of View

by: lessthanthreerecords This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jun 16 23:05:14 2022

Even for those willing to pay good money and not actually have the item, would you really trust eBay to handle and store it properly?  I've heard stories of eBay damaging items going through the authentication process (decorative straps leaving indentations in sports cards, or shoe boxes being sliced, for example).  If eBay can't handle something for a few days or weeks without destroying it, who wants to let them hold and store an item long-term?

Perminate Link for The eBay Vault from an Average Collector's Point of View   The eBay Vault from an Average Collector's Point of View

by: comments This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jun 17 01:45:29 2022

On its face the vault can't actually work or is pretty messed up.

I 100% support ebay ensuring cards over $250 are checked for authenticity. That much works.

The card then goes to authentication and here is where things get tricky. A trained expert reviews the card......but how closely are they going to look? Is a CGC or PSA expert going to JUST authenticate the card or are they going to compare it to the listing? For example a trained expert would know immediately if a card is trimmed, not "mint", or otherwise a "problem" card. Most raw cards are raw for a reason. They graders will either be sending back most cards "that don't match the description" or will just slap it in an authentic holder knowing the collectible is altered, touched up, trimmed, or otherwise genuine with a problem they chose to overlook? It is either a certified collectible or it isn't.

Perminate Link for The eBay Vault from an Average Collector's Point of View   The eBay Vault from an Average Collector's Point of View

This user has validated their user name. by: COVID-19

Fri Jun 17 02:45:22 2022

Oh yeah, I totally want to pay for a tangible item that I'm not allowed to touch and hold. Next up, I will invest in cars that I'm not allowed to drive too. Surely that will be the next idiotic money-grubbing scheme (scam?).

Perminate Link for The eBay Vault from an Average Collector's Point of View   The eBay Vault from an Average Collector's Point of View

by: Old School Seller This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jun 17 08:13:54 2022

The collectible commodities market began the instant professional grading became a thing.  These objects are strictly financial instruments and not collectibles in the minds of their owners.  Today, if a person owns shares in a company, the investor does not get a physical paper stock certificate that they can caress.  The eBay Vault is an investment portfolio, and the values of the assets held within are subject to market fluctuations like any other investment.

Perminate Link for The eBay Vault from an Average Collector's Point of View   The eBay Vault from an Average Collector's Point of View

This user has validated their user name. by: COVID-19

Fri Jun 17 23:16:53 2022

Just wait until those 'Bring Your Dog To Work Day' crowd have an oopsie moment and let their stupid, unleashed dogs run loose into The Vault.

Perminate Link for The eBay Vault from an Average Collector's Point of View   The eBay Vault from an Average Collector's Point of View

This user has validated their user name. by: Bill

Sat Jun 18 01:16:25 2022

I was in the coin business back when the grading services came out and the trick that a lot of dealers did was send out the coin to be graded and if they did not like it they would pop it out of the holder and submit it to the other grading service. Neither one did I for the most part agree with the grade and I see coins up in auction now that I still do not agree with the grade.
It's is all a ponzi scheme.

Perminate Link for The eBay Vault from an Average Collector's Point of View   The eBay Vault from an Average Collector's Point of View

by: Snapped This user has validated their user name.

Sat Jun 18 06:50:13 2022

The practice of selling ‘shares’ in any speculative enterprise or ‘gold mine’ isn’t new.  And it’s impact and challenges to ‘private’ ownership in the face of speculative inflation aren’t much different either.

It’s reliance on the power grid is however.  Or in this case upon a pay for service warehouse who’s both service and house are of questionable quality as well.

It would seem that the ‘investment’ itself would be enough of a risk to take as already burdened by it’s ethereal nature, without adding the level of ‘insecurity’ with which eBay cloaks everything they touch.

Speaking of investment ideas though, here’s a sure thing - 10’ poles.  

Perminate Link for The eBay Vault from an Average Collector's Point of View   The eBay Vault from an Average Collector's Point of View

by: Actual Seller This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jun 20 00:04:10 2022

HUGE BUST.
Just eBay working on internal destruction by misdirecting funds so they eventually go under leaving all of us sellers essentially unemployed.

The people in charge of this country do not want us making money online.
And in time, they will have their way.

Perminate Link for The eBay Vault from an Average Collector's Point of View   The eBay Vault from an Average Collector's Point of View

by: Mazdaman This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jun 20 00:40:17 2022

I would not be a part of this for the same reasons as "iheartjacksparrow" - I simply DON'T TRUST EBAY.

eBay as spent 25 years proving how dishonest they can be in the way they've treated sellers during this time, and I see this as a new sign of their desperation.  If it's a collectible of mine, I want to HAVE IT, as several have said that part of the fun of owning a collectible is being able to hold it.  And no, I don't have a Ferrari F40 either though I'd like to someday, but that's just life.  If I can never own one I'm certainly not going to do somersaults in my grave over it.

I don't like someone else "holding" what is supposedly mine, especially someone like eBay.  Having spent 40+  years in computers, I feel the same way about "the Cloud", and back up all my data MYSELF.  After all, "the Cloud" s just a fancy name for "Someone Else's Computer", and I don't need it.

Perminate Link for The eBay Vault from an Average Collector's Point of View   The eBay Vault from an Average Collector's Point of View

This user has validated their user name. by: cfrphoto

Mon Jun 20 09:42:53 2022

Would an average collector have any contact with the eBay vault? Is storing high value collectibles any more than a niche business? Will average collectors be stuck with the bill when the business inevitably fails?

As a seller, do the benefits offset loss of control and risks associated with housing inventory off site? Would owners receive insurance discounts for items stored off site? Will "safer" storage offset risks associated with shipping items to and from the vault? What happens if a potential buyer asks a question requiring physical examination of the item?

Is the vault in a safe location not likely to flood, or suffer damage in an earthquake? How will eBay handle potential item substitution, employee theft, or other potential security risks?

Is eBay an organization capable of managing high value philatelic items? Poorly designed item specifics in the Stamps category would justify pessimism.

Perminate Link for The eBay Vault from an Average Collector's Point of View   The eBay Vault from an Average Collector's Point of View

by: Docinmd This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jun 20 10:10:41 2022

In the early 1990s I was the owner of a restoration shop and antique car dealership. I also had a personal collection of around 50 vehicles, heavy on Packards, Rolls-Royce, Bentley and other luxury cars.

I was approached by a guy in New Jersey who was a retired stockbroker. He was touting a similar situation to this ebay scam, where he would take some of my more expensive cars and store them in a large climate controlled facility. His company would sell investment percentages of ownership in my cars, with me always keeping at least 51% ownership. In doing this, he would create an investment company for each car, and sell share of the company [car].

I ignored his repeated attempts to contact me further, and I have no idea if this company ever had a single car in this ''facility''.  

Perminate Link for The eBay Vault from an Average Collector's Point of View   The eBay Vault from an Average Collector's Point of View

by: BargainzBabylon This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jun 20 13:19:21 2022

"Per say"?  Does anyone vet this guy's work?  

Perminate Link for The eBay Vault from an Average Collector's Point of View   The eBay Vault from an Average Collector's Point of View

by: BatmanOfOz This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jun 21 04:29:03 2022

I have collected What I Like for almost 50 years now!! Each item I bought Meant Something to me, and it went on a wall, in a cabinet, for me to Enjoy!
When I moved from CA to AZ, most of my things Stayed in boxes for a few years, until I ended up in my current (last?!) house 5 years ago.
It took me a Full Year to Unpack Hundreds of boxes, and get Everything Just Where It Was Meant To Go!
And now I once again Enjoy Seeing Everything...each item has Meaning and Significance, Provenience and History. And Stories! The Hunt...the Acquisition...the Memories!
Oh, and MY Disney Stock Certificate is a Work Of Art!  It may not be Worth much these days, but it's Pretty Cool to look at!
(I don't know if this is allowed...but I made a little Video Tour of one section of my house...the Disney Dining Room...if anyone is curious to see some of my Stuff!  https://youtu.be/Zz2P825P6XY )

Perminate Link for The eBay Vault from an Average Collector's Point of View   The eBay Vault from an Average Collector's Point of View

by: iwasjoe This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jun 21 11:44:53 2022

? Who is responsible for any damage to your card while it is in The Vault on the way to The Vault or on the way to Me or a buyer that don't want their card in THE VAULT? What is the cost now and will it go up will fees ever go up What happens if ebay goes bankrupt can their creditors attach my cards. If one of ebays people steal or accidently damages my card who is going to pay for that damaged card and can I inspect the card to be sure it was damaged and not going to be sold by ebay. Or any other things that can happen when dealing with  these type of items. Way to many Bad  Possibilities for me to trust a company that has shown us it is not a trustworthy BUNCH.

Perminate Link for The eBay Vault from an Average Collector's Point of View   The eBay Vault from an Average Collector's Point of View

This user has validated their user name. by: Bill

Tue Jun 21 23:59:38 2022

It sounds like eBay is desperate for money and will do anything to get it including a Ponzi scheme.  



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