Monthly PWCC auctions have become events in the Pokemon community – Given a large number of cards listed and the tendency for extremely rare and valuable cards to be listed via PWCC, the eyes, and wallets of Pokemon collectors are almost always focused on the auctions. PWCC auctions of late have often set price records given the publicity, quality of cards, and high demand present within Pokemon. However, one unique issue that presents itself within PWCC auctions is the possibility for multiple of the same card, occasionally in the same grade, to end within seconds of each other.
The short period between auction end times can lead to confusing and contradictory ending prices, leading to a lack of clarity on a card’s market value. For example, in the most recent PWCC Pokemon auction, one PSA 10 Charizard ex from Fire Red Leaf Green sold for $6,000, while a second sold for $5,400–a 10% difference in value. An even starker discrepancy is a pair of PSA 9 1st Edition Base Set Charizards. One sold for $32,200, while another sold for over $10,000 higher at $42,605. The difference in value is partially attributable to variations in quality within card grades. The $42,600 PSA 9 Charizard was visibly better centered and had less whitening present on the back of the card. However, it is unclear whether that contributed fully to the massive price difference. Assuming all auctions are paid for, where does one place the market value of either card?
Beyond pricing frustrations, auctions on the same card ending within seconds of each other put collectors who understandably want to win an item at the lowest price in a bind. Especially on high-value items, it is likely a collector does not have the funds available to win two auctions. So a collector must choose which PWCC Pokemon auction to bid on, or hope to jump between auction pages if they lose on the first auction. However, it can take a couple of seconds for the eBay auction to process last-second bids and identify a closing price and winner, which may be all the time the collector has. If someone gets sniped or loses out on the first auction, they may impulsively increase their maximum bid, increasing the price on the second auction. This is borne out, as the cards ending later do tend to go for more.
While PWCC Pokemon auctions are fantastic barometers for the hobby and the prices on many rare and hard-to-find cards, the practice of having several of the same cards end within seconds of each other can be confusing and challenging for collectors. As one navigates the ever-changing world of high-end Pokemon collecting, or even just following the market, one should be aware of how this practice can inject a lack of clarity.
Ethan Pohl – Ludkins Media
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