The great bulk collapse of 2017.

Earlier this year I was selling off bulk for 6-7 cents a piece per C/U at troll and toad. It would go as low as 5 cents occasionally, I would just sit tight for those moments, very rarely hit them anyways. I save up bulk until I get a full Large Flat Rate box worth and send it in which came to 6,500 cards each time. I would do this a few times a year, slightly increasing over time. I am now sitting on nearly 20,000 bulk since the prices a couple months back dipped to 4 cents each. Then 3 cents. Then 2. NOW 1! Past years I used to sell it all myself in 1,000 card and 100 card lots but that became too time consuming and I can only assume that the prices of those lots has fallen as well.

It doesn’t affect me nearly as much as many others on here though I know even this forum doesn’t have too many high volume new product people. I just can’t imagine how much this affects the stores that typically deal in 10’s of thousands of bulk per month if not more. What is everyone doing with their bulk? If it heads to MTG bulk prices I may as well heat the house with it this winter.

Crazy thing through all of this is that non holo rares, ex’s, holo rares, promos and all those still go for roughly the pre crash amount while the value of C/U has plunged 85% year to date.

Anyone have any thoughts on where bulk prices are headed? Or is this the new norm?

Personally I don’t know if it is the new norm, it may rebound some, but I doubt it will ever see 6 or 7 cents each again. At least not anytime soon. With the crazy $79.99 shipped booster boxes on eBay and crazy amazon and wal mart preorders that I see come up for consumers at damn near my wholesale rates I think so much product is hitting the market it just hit its breaking point and the damage is done. The dynamic has changed. Clearly T&T has been able to buy at 4 and 3 cents finding panic sellers as they continue to lower the price.

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Sadly, I think, your best is to sell the bulk in smaller portions on eBay. I ran into this problem myself a couple weeks back when I wanted to get rid of my bulk. Nowhere near as much as yours, but it’s the same situation here in Germany. I’ve read people sold their bulk for much more earlier this year, and every retailer only buy at 3-4cent per card. I just put them up as bundles on eBay, threw in a Star and a reverse Holo and it sold decently well.

I am not really involved in this but I have two fingers to point in blame here.

The first is going to be Derium. Not a single drop of hate, I actually find his videos entertaining (but I honestly can’t stand to watch new sets being opened anymore), but he absolutely killed the bulk market it seems. A while ago he made a video probably a month after promoting their trade-in-1400ish-bulk-for-a-box scheme of them sorting and laying on and making snow angels on a massive brick of one million Pokemon cards. The problem doesn’t lie in having one million cards. The problem is what the fuck he is going to do with one million cards. Remember that he was trading boxes for these cards. That’s like 700 boxes, and I assume he can get that from his distributor for around $50-60k. How precisely are you going to use shitty common cards to make $50-60k? There are NOT enough people buying random card lots to do that on such a large scale. If he sells to somebody bigger like TrollandToad he’s probably getting undercut and losing value. Once the cards are with TrollandToad, they have the same issue. Call me out on this if I’m just an idiot and I don’t know how this works, but this makes no sense to me. Unless they have a deal with the local recycling… :thinking:

My second finger to point is at the scummy people who cheat the retail stores. This is something I heard about on Reddit. It kind of goes like this: people stock their stores that sell through walmart.com (because they aggregate other stores, it’s more of a marketplace site). They make booster packs something stupid low like $1.50 but they only sell a handful. When it goes out of stock, they leave it up. Then, they go into WalMart, sweep all of the booster packs off the shelves into their carts, and get them all for $1.50 because of the (potentially incompetent) cashiers going along with with the shitty price match policy. This person just acquired 100 10-card packs for $1.50 each. You open up six packs ($9) and you’re getting a hit (~$5+ EX card or whatever). You don’t even need extraordinary luck to make a killing off the foil cards alone. Not to mention you also get a massive amount of Trainer cards, some of which are going to be $5+ themselves. All this potential money is there and the commons and uncommons and non-foil rares are an after thought. On average we’ll say eight cards per pack fall under ‘bulk’, so at 6c each, that’s another $48 back. That is not sustainable either but I don’t know the extent to which people were doing this. It seemed serious when people talked about it on Reddit but honestly I wouldn’t trust anyone on Reddit as far as I could throw them for Pokemon.

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@miraclegro Those are some solid observations! Your point about Derium or someone of that volume is accurate. It reminds me when I was approached by that gold star dog netherlands guy. He wanted to trade me a handful of psa 10 gold star dogs, for a psa 9 illustrator. His valuation was during the gold star bubble, with a handful of copies in the pop report. Point being, certain stores valued bulk at the pattern from 1-2 years ago, which is a different market, especially in regards to the volume of new product.

Also, your second point is probably a small minority, at least I hope. I remember hearing about similar schemes when packs were weigh-able, but it was not the majority.

The largest issue right now is that the people “investing” in product are doing it from an old market perspective. Some buyers & sellers are treating product as if its 2013. There is pretty much nothing new released that doesn’t have a consistent availability.

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In regard to Derium he sells all his bulk through amazon in small lots, pretty sure this is his store … based on just the 250 card random packs if he sold all 4000 of them that 1000000 cards would make at that price he’d end up with 112k. So basically a double up from the cost of buying all the booster boxes … can he sell that much bulk through amazon though, who knows.

I remember him talking about it years ago on a card shop life episode but apparantly bulk lots for MTG and pokemon sell really well through amazon, far more so than eBay because a lot of kids get given amazon gift cards and they don’t really care what they blow their ‘free pretend money’ on and end up buying bulk lots with it.

I also think a lot of people were probably just ignorant to the fact of how much you could actually sell bulk for. A lot of these youtube people when they do their price breakdowns for box breaks have been factoring in how much bulk is worth in their totals, so I’m sure there are at least tens of thousands, maybe even hundreds of thousands of people that have noticed this and are monetising their useless bulk whereas before they probably weren’t.

I know personally when I found out how much pokemon bulk was worth my jaw hit the floor, my first thought was these prices aren’t sustainable because I come from the MTG world where bulk is literally $5/1000. I thought if pokemon bulk prices are this high, someone is going to see that opportunity and take advantage of it on a large scale, and eventually at some point in the future once that cows been milked pokemon bulk will probably end up as true bulk like MTG.

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An employee of troll and toad said, on facebook, that they thought bulk prices would rise again when we get closer to the holidays.

However, I know that doesn’t mean anything.

I just sold 4800 misc bulk (common unc) for 240 on ebay, maybe that’s the way to go?

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I may have to relist my eBay bulk lots… but in time everyone will and those prices will die too. Also what drives me crazy is that troll and toad was very recently paying the same 2.5 cents they have been all year on basic energy! I sold 6500 of them a week or two back and got 2.5x what C/U pokemon go for! (they were 2 cents at that time though so only 25% more at the time)

I think long term 1-2 cents is likely where it will find a steady state. 2 would be nice as you could at least clear $100 on a large flat rate box after fees but with 1 cent that becomes $50… I am shocked how long it lasted at 5-7 cents each though. @thecharizardauthorty what are your thoughts on all this? Surely you must feel this a fair bit the amount of product you churn through.

Yep, as I said earlier. I was able to sell my bulk of 1500 cards for 80$. eBay is the way to go, for now.

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I sell 100 cards for $10 locally on offerup/letgo. I probably sell 1000 cards a month easy. I market to parents primarily who would rather give their kids 100 cards then buy them 2 booster packs.

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I’ve always sold my random bulk through eBay. I’ll pile up 1000-2000 cards along with a big mix of pins, figures, mini binders, etc., whatever I have laying around and add it all together to entice people. I’ll even save a stack of maybe 50 holos/low value EX cards specifically for when I do these lots. I used to be able to get around $100 but the last two times I did it I believe I got around $70 which still isn’t bad.

It is a lot easier to throw everything together in big piles and take some quick pictures than it is to sit there and sort everything by rarity and whatnot. Simply state in bold that it is all random with the exception of whats listed below.

The market has finally caught up with the reality that Pokemon bulk, for the most part, is pretty bad. I agree with @pierce, for what Pokemon bulk is comprised of it was extremely overvalued.

Yu-Gi-Oh! bulk is a gold mine for pre-2014 bulk and it didn’t command as high a price as Pokemon bulk which is unplayable jank for the most part.

There’s more supply relative to the amount of people buying crappy bulk lots on ebay or through stores.

I also wouldn’t be suprised that the hobby has grown to the point that people understand that buying bulk lots on ebay/through stores is a just a scam. The kids that buy these (or their parents) aren’t idiots lol People wise up and honestly it would be long overdue.

We have other factors like more product needing to or just being opened to fill orders with the rarer cards’ higher pull rates which leads to more commons in the market. Maybe the bulk shilling game just isn’t as good as it was during the Pokemon Go hype, there would be a lot more sellers in the market as well.

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See the problem is, there are too many people who sell the lots and bulk bundles to make it worth it for stores nowadays. They spend hard earned capital on boxes to trade for bulk. While you are correct in the fact that over time they do make their money back, think of time value of money and how much are they really making at the end of the day. Factor in that they compete now with thousands of people doing the same thing, because who doesn’t want to make a nice return on their own bulk…

It’s been a long time coming but I firmly believe that bulk prices won’t be increasing anytime soon. Yu-Gi-Oh packs are the same way. You open a pack and most cards aren’t even worth $1. You either need a chase card, or you are crying. The only plus side to that is, they are typically all playable in some shape or fashion. As highlighted above, pokemon prints a lot of cards that just… aren’t viable.

A few already stated it, but yeah Pokemon bulk was really high and too many people jumped into the market after Pokemon GO!

There were also big bulk flippers locally who would trade me 1 new set code for 6x bulk com/unc. I took that deal anytime I could. This guy was just into MTG but he saw the potential in Pokemon bulk so he invested there - hard.

A lot of sellers entered to the Pokemon market just because it was hype. I did the same thing with spinners - and what I have left will never make a profit off of what I paid for them. There is still a lot of potential in Pokemon investment, but if you do not know anything about the retail market, summer will always do you in.

I do expect bulk to go back up, but not sure how long it will take now. Christmas was my original speculation, but $.01 is a hard recovery. This can be a good thing for sellers who keep a good inventory laying around. There are lots of cards I wish I had not bulked out at times. If I had the access to only those it would pay for the entire box of other bulk (Olympia, Brigette, Team Flare Grunt, Sycamore)

Don’t forget about counterfeiting. Ebay once again allowed fakes back onto the site. How can anyone compete with “18Pcs/Lots Pokemon EX Card All MEGA Holo Flash Trading Cards Charizard Venusaur” for $1.50 free shipping? Just looks at the thousands of sales these get. How many of those same parents would have invested their money in real cards made by Pokemon and not by CHINA?

If I did not know the difference you better believe as a parent I would buy my girl an 18x MEGA EX FULL ART FANTABULOUS Pokemon Cards Lot with 10k+ sales for $1.50 over a 50x card lot with a guaranteed holo selling for $8. My child is 8, she will just eat the things right?

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@funmonkey54 wrote an article predicting this a couple weeks ago and lists a lot of reasons why it was coming.

ludkinscollectables.com/blog/bulk-is-dead

I had a big chunk of bulk as well to fill out my personal collection but I’m glad I got rid of it months ago

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So I heard some interesting chatter in the MTG finance side of things this week, a bunch of vendors were talking about how amusing it was that Ogre broke the pokemon bulk market. Ogre is a well known MTG buyer on the tournament circuit, he’s at all the major events, often contracted by stores to buy for them. Apparently someone told him how much pokemon bulk was worth (as I said most magic players and finance guys have no idea how much cash pokemon bulk was worth) and he decided to make a move on that.

From what I heard he acquired and dumped so much in such a short period of time (over a million cards within a month) and has kept dumping so much bulk (millions of cards?) to troll and toad, Jason Wohlford from the gathering ground (he supplies target etc. with pokemon/yugioh repacks) and some other guys that he’s crashing the market.

I thought it was interesting to hear because this was coming from multiple MTG vendors from pretty large stores.

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It was shocking how long it all lasted really. I don’t know how it made sense to the stores like deriums and TnT to buy at such a high rate (6-7 cents per card). I mean clearly there have still been sellers at the lower prices since it has crashed, I am surprised it didn’t creep down slowly by itself over time. I think making and shipping those 100 card lots on eBay/amazon would be quite time consuming and never understood how they did it. I used to do it myself and the time involved didn’t even make sense to get the $17.99 for 99 bulk cards and a bulk ex compared to just selling it at 6 cents per c/u and 15 cents per rare, $2 per ex in bulk way larger quantities and so little time. I was selling a few a day and it just got to where I couldn’t keep up with the labor side of it besides hiring it out and even paying someone $10 an hour to do the work would result in no gain over just bulking it out myself.

Interesting to hear though. I guess whether it slowly bled down over the next several months or if it shot down quickly as it did it was something that was going to happen either way. Sounds like Ogre just expedited the process.

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I guess when it comes to bulk prices, you can say it’s all Ogre now…

:wink:

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Same here, selling locally seems to be the easiest way to go. No fees or shipping costs (beyond gas to meet up) and I haven’t had anybody try to haggle with me over price yet.

The thought of having to talk to and arrange meetings with 10 different strangers per month could not be more unappealing to me personally. I do maybe 4-5 CL buys a year and they take some time to set up. My no show rate is extremely low, and I attribute that to the fact that I am typically exchanging $1,000 plus with them for their items. They do not want to flake on that. However in the handful of sub $50 buys and sells I have tried to do on FB garage sale type sites or CL have had a HUGE no show rate. So frustrating because there is so little in it for them and often times the day of I think they realize they don’t have the cash to spare.

How much time do you have into a meetup? I mean even if you are only driving 5 minutes that is a 15 minute round trip (10 driving, 5 exchanging) and the gas and time setting it up all factored in what do you really make?

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So far I’ve had decent experiences. There is one local guy that reaches out to me every time I post something and offers me about a quarter of my asking price. Other than him, it’s been people wanting to buy cards for family members.

I’ve never mailed cards, how much does it cost to send a bulk? I just sold 475 bulk for $40 locally the same day I posted and only had to drive 10 minutes to the meeting location. Took that cash to the local game store and bought more cards for my collection. If I tried posting this, wouldn’t the eBay fees and shipping cost eat into that a decent bit?