We've all probably purchased something off eBay before, and I'm sure we've all had our fair share of horror stories and/or "deals of the century." I frequent eBay quite a bit myself, but don't find myself actually buying much. I'll put feelers out there on a lot of things, but I tend to be looking for mid-range cards (i.e. not commons, not high end) and eBay really stinks for that type of thing.
You can typically get commons really cheap shipped in a PWE and high end cards are also very reasonable because usually the seller is willing to take shipping on him/herself. These mid-range cards are really a struggle though. If you're looking for a specific say $0.50 card, you can find it for $0.50, but then there's a $2.54 shipping charge attached to it... so typically simply not worth it.
Because of this, I've ended up buying lots of random cards instead. First, they are much more reasonable, and second, I love doing it because it feels like I'm opening packs since I'm not actually sure what's going to be in the lot half the time.
Prime example below. This was perhaps the single most extraordinary eBay auction I've ever won for so many different reasons.
First, the title:
Allen And Ginter Mini Inserts Lot of 36 Cards mixed lot
This is exactly the sort of listing that appeals to me. I find myself searching the keywords "Ginter mini lot" more than anything else, and this is the type of thing I'm looking for.
I clicked into the auction and this is what I saw.
Mostly 2012 and 2013 minis. Cool. A couple blacks thrown in as well. I honestly didn't bother looking at each individual card. That would take far too long. The item description wasn't very informative either:
I appreciate this. "I'm throwing cards at you. Pay me." I said okay and placed a bid on the lot.
A week later the cards came in the mail. The first thing I did was laugh. I had noticed in the listing that the cards were individually sleeved in oversized sleeves of some sort. When I got the package in my hands, I discovered what they actually were. Each individual mini was put into the world's smallest version of a Ziploc bag.
Now I won't lie, minis can be a bit tough to ship at times. The most efficient way I've discovered is to throw a bunch horizontally into a team bag and tape it up good. They tend to protect each other very well when you do this, and you can offer them even more protection with additional packaging (bubble-wrap, cardboard, ect). They do make mini toploaders as well, but those get expensive real quick.
This variant on the art of mini protection was quite new to me. I couldn't even believe that Ziploc actually made bags this small. What could one possibly want to store in these things? Buttons? Even my bags for board game pieces are bigger than these. Any ideas?
The second thing I noticed was that the person who sold these minis clearly didn't know what he had (or else he was extremely lazy). Here's a glimpse at a few of them still in their glorious mini-baggies.
Not only did I get some really big names (a Machado rookie and a Hunter black border), but I also got a no-number mini of Shelby Miller's rookie year! For reference, one usually pulls 4-5 of these NNO-minis in a CASE. They used to be numbered out of 50 and its pretty well accepted that they still run around 50 copies of each card. I was thrilled. That single card is probably worth close to double of what I paid for the entire auction!
Out of the 36 cards I even got two that I still needed for completing my mini sets!