For all the would-be sports card (and collectible) investors out there, the back of your storeroom closet is not a safe place to secure your valuable goods. Nor is your garage or basement, for that matter. Just like most things today, a tech company proposes a better answer.
The pioneering online marketplace eBay has now completed the vault, a new, 31,000-square-foot storage facility. The vault is open now to house graded trading cards bought on eBay that are valued at over $750. Although the vault is a physical facility, it will also serve as a digital marketplace where buyers and sellers can browse and purchase cards (and additional collectibles) — akin to eBay’s additional ubiquitous product offerings.
“As we continue to see exponential growth in the category as enthusiasts merge their passions with investment opportunities, the eBay vault is a critical offering that will let collectors streamline and securely store their portfolio of assets. It’s truly the future of collecting,” Dawn Block, eBay’s VP Collectibles, Electronics and Home said in a statement.
Trading cards have to have been bought directly from eBay and authenticated by graders like Professional Sports Authenticator (PSA) and Sportscard Guaranty Corporation. The launch of the eBay vault actually comes hot on the heels of eBay’s Authenticity Guarantee push, where the digital bazaar expanded by validating $100 and over sneakers and collaborating with PSA grade trading cards valued at over $2,000.
After sending collected cards to the eBay vault, the company will take high-quality photos of the front and back of cards and document all the details for collectors to view and seamlessly list items, should they choose.
Although the vault is a physical storage facility, it’s also a digital fair where buyers and sellers can browse and purchase cards similarly to other eBay products. The opening of the vault is very crypto-adjacent. Digital assets like NFTs are not connected to anything physical, which is akin to buying and selling collectibles without ever touching them. The advantage, in addition to preserving protected physical assets, is that investors can act on market changes in an instant without worrying about auction times or other temporal considerations. This is crucial to buying and selling coveted cards in real-time games.
“With no shipping delay, collectors are able to buy and sell in the midst of critical plays, in the final minutes of a tight game, and immediately on the heels of a trade or retirement announcement,” eBay said in the statement.
On the other end, eBay’s vault system grants instant gratification of buying physical treasures without having to give up additional domestic space to house them. Trading cards have no time limit in the eBay vault, but if a buyer does want to withdraw the card, the eBay vault team will package and ship the card for a fee. Strategically, eBay built the vault in Delaware, so there’s no sales tax charge on vault item transactions.
The firm indicates that by 2023, the eBay vault will expand to include additional collectibles categories and luxury goods. Within a few years, the vault is expected to hold up to $3 billion in assets, establishing it as one of the world’s largest stores of non-governmental assets.