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Amazon.com Gets More Active in Sports Collectibles, Going After eBay (AMZN, EBAY, CLCT)

Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) is launching a new Sports Collectibles Store and it is claiming to offer more than 2 million unique collectibles from major sports leagues and sporting events.  While this is a store rather than an auction format, there is one simple target here: eBay Inc. (NASDAQ: EBAY) with its dominance of online auctions resulting in millions of dollars per month of sports collectibles passing through the eBay auction universe.  Amazon wants a larger part of that market.

The company is aiming to bring a site for serious collectors and sports fans and offer a broad selection from official licensees of the National Football League, Major League Baseball, National Basketball Association, National Hockey League, and the International Federation of Association Football.

Collectors can now browse collectible items by item type, sport, year, team and price.  The offerings will be from trading cards and ticket stubs to game-used jerseys and autographed sports gear.

For many of these products, the store will display the authentication source and condition rating from authentication service providers like Professional Sports Authenticator (PSA) of Collectors Universe, Inc. (NASDAQ: CLCT), and other such as James Spence Authentication (JSA) and Beckett Grading Services (BGS).

You will not find that T206 Honus Wagner baseball card for sale that we just discussed.  That is for sale for $775,000 and a higher-grade sample just sold for north of $1.5 million.  More detail on investing in the T206 Honus Wagner is here.

As far as how Amazon will assure authenticity, it noted “The emphasis on authenticated selection, combined with our A-to-z Guarantee protection on purchases, allows customers to shop the new store with confidence.”

Buyers should know that this may distort prices paid in many cases.  If a wife or girlfriend wants to buy an item for an intimate other or if a father or mother want to buy collectibles for their kids, they may not have a firm grasp on the prevailing market price ranges that should be paid.

This will not derail the eBay auction dominance nor will it kill the auction houses which auction off the really high-end items.  What it may skew is all of the items out on the market in the under-$50 to $300 priced items.  The baseball memorabilia store’s top 7 items by price are all Babe Ruth signed baseballs and the rank is from over $46,000 down to $10,950.  Thanks, but no thanks. 

Lastly, keep in mind that Amazon has been selling many collectibles items.  This launch is more of a focused effort and it means that Amazon wants to attract many more sellers. The new launch is here.

JON C. OGG