The Economics Behind Jerseys

12182883_10103740737973192_8821916871856779716_oThis opinion piece comes on the heel of a larger discussion between collectors selling jerseys they have and other collectors knowing what was originally paid for the jersey for sale.  Many scenarios will be taken from personal experience.  This is a living article, which will be updated as more contributions come in.

There are a number of “Types” of sellers, and there is an entire complex economic system behind jerseys.  I am sure we will not be able to address everything, but we will at least try to present enough information to allow you to develop your own thoughts.

Nature of Sale

First, lets talk about the general nature of sales.  We hear it all the time, buy low, sell high, right?  What makes our hobby any different?  Where does this philosophy make a change?  Relationships.  Opinion.  Perception.

In order for a sale to happen, there has to be a demand for the item.  In game worn jerseys, there is a finite amount of product available (even though we constantly complain about quantity).  Once everything gets sold, you can’t simply turn around and make 100 more.  Our hobby is event based.

If there is nobody interested in what you have for sale, it becomes more difficult to sell what you have.  If many people are interested in what you have, its very easy to sell what you have, and thus, you can sell at a higher price.  These are basic economic concepts, but lets dig a little deeper.

Time and Availability

What factors can play a role in supply, demand and price?  Time and availability.  If something comes up for sale and you do not see it before it sells, you obviously do not get to purchase it.  Now, if this happens, you may have the opportunity to make an offer to the new owner, but you will most likely be asked to pay a higher price than what was originally paid.  Is it worth it to you?

What if you are ready to buy something, but its only for sale at a store and you cannot make it to the store?  If you do not have a person willing to purchase it on your behalf, whoever buys the item, gets the item simply because they were in a more available situation that you.  Same concept applies here in which you can offer this person an extended deal.

Types of Buyers and Sellers

Throughout my experience in the hobby, you see many types of buyers and sellers.  Some can be angering or confusing, but there is really no right or wrong to any of it.  As we mentioned previously, this is a supply and demand game.  The power here comes with choice.  If you do not like what someone does, you can choose not to purchase from that person, however, if you publicize that choice unsolicited, you could run the risk of tarnishing your reputation.  Is it worth it?

The Flipper (Seller) [ – ]

We have all seen it.  Someone buys something and immediately doubles the price on it.  Maybe they went to an equipment sale, bought a ton of items cheap and then listed it on eBay.  Maybe they had an opportunity at a very rare item which they bought, someone else wanted it as well and now there is new negotiation.  Either way, the general consensus on the flipper is negative, but should it always be?  If someone is willing to buy it at that price, are they wrong for selling it at that price?  You would probably do the same.  Does listing it for a price mean the item is going to sell?  If you don’t like it, exercise your right to NOT buy it.

The Call Out (Buyer) [ – ][ + ]

Many of us have been guilty of this.  You see something for sale at a higher price that you have seen it for previously.  If its something you wanted but were beat out on, you may have negative feelings about it.  Maybe you feel like this person is trying to take advantage of someone else, but are they really?  If someone wants that item, it will sell, however if they don’t, it won’t.

The call out generally lets their feeling on the situation become public, trying to put the seller’s affairs on notice.  This can be met with good and bad reactions.  People might be happy they were told what the seller originally paid (but if you want that piece and the only person who has it wants a specific price, does it really matter), while others might look at you negatively as they would not want someone doing the same to them.

The Favor-er (Seller) [ + ]

Some collectors know the value of friendship.  The understanding that helping someone out can generally mean help in return.  Maybe that person finds themselves in a unique situation to buy something, or you work as a team.  Whatever the case may be, this seller knows that extending a sale to someone at their cost or slightly above can create a new relationship that can benefit them in the future.

The Low-baller (Buyer) [ – ]

The opinion on this buyer can vary from person to person, but the concept is the same.  The low-baller makes an offer to a seller at much lower price than originally listed, usually 40-60% below.  Many times knowing that the item is already well below price paid.  This buyer usually has a negative connotation because the offer submitted is usually not worth consideration.  This buyer’s offers in some cases can be considered an insult.

The Justify-er  (Buyer) [ – – ]

The justify-er takes the low-baller to the next level.  This person feels like a bully.  Using the apples and oranges method, comparisons will be used to justify why you should accept the price being offered.  If you don’t insults might follow.

The Negotiator (Buyer) [ + ]

The negotiator doesn’t consider making offers that aren’t in the ballpark of the list price.  This buyer is straight forward with what they would like to pay, willing to listen to counter offers, and when its clear that a deal cannot be made, politely lets the seller know.

The Over-Offerer [ + ]

This collector sees that you beat him out on a jersey he really wanted.  He wants it more than you.  He knows what you paid.  He offers you more than you paid for the jersey that you don’t even have yet.


I like to try and make sure I am more on the favor-er side than anything.  I have made some really great friends which are more valuable to me than any amount from sales could bring in.  This has lead to places to crash (even up to an entire week), offers of places to crash, game tickets, really good deals on other jerseys and simply long-lasting friendships.

Why type of buyer/seller are you?  I am sure there are plenty of other types of buyers and sellers, feel free to describe your run-ins in the comments.