eBay expands authentication services for high-value trading cards

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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eBay is providing third-party authentication for select trading cards.

eBay is engaging a third-party authenticator for select graded cards sold on its platform in the U.S.

The e-commerce marketplace is expanding its “Authenticity Guarantee” for trading cards through a new strategic partnership with PSA (Professional Sports Authenticator), a trading card authentication and grading company. Beginning Monday, May 2, when a graded card is sold for $2,000 or more in the U.S., the seller will send that graded card to PSA, where a team of independent experts will verify that the card matches the listing description and that the sealed plastic holder and label are authentic and have not been tampered with or counterfeited.

Over time, eBay plans to expand the scope of this service to cover any graded card sold for $250 or more in the U.S. Collectible trading cards are a rapidly growing business. They are one of eBay’s top categories, with the e-commerce giant reporting trading card sales as hitting $2 billion in transactions in the first half of 2021, with an average of one sports trading card bought every second.

eBay first launched an authenticity guarantee service for trading cards in January 2022. The service provides authentication for single ungraded trading cards (including collectible card games, sports and non-sports) sold for $750 or more in the U.S. The company offers authentication in four key enthusiast collector categories, including sneakersluxury watchesluxury handbags, and sports memorabilia. eBay also offers an image listing tool for collectible trading cards in its mobile app.

Later this year, eBay will launchthe eBay Vault, a 31,000-sq.-ft., secure storage facility and digital marketplace for trading cards and collectibles, with plans to expand into luxury goods. Ownership can transfer from seller to buyer in a matter of seconds – without the need to re-authenticate, re-package, or ship the item anywhere.

According to eBay, keeping high-value inventory within its ecosystem is significant for both buyers and sellers. In addition, the company says the Vault will make other planned features, like fractionalization and live commerce, possible for a wider audience. Within a few years, eBay expects the Vault will hold up to $3 billion in assets, making it one of the largest stores of non-governmental assets in the world.

"As casual buyers become collectors and collectors become investors, authentication services have never been more important,'' said Dawn Block, VP, collectibles, electronics and home at eBay. "eBay is the top destination for buying and selling high value cards and collectibles, and PSA has been a leader in the authentication and grading of trading cards for more than three decades. With this latest partnership, collectors can feel even more confident in their purchases of graded cards, and eBay continues to set the standard for this category." 

"Our trading card expertise is the perfect complement to eBay's breadth and depth of inventory," said Kevin Lenane, PSA president. "For more than 30 years, we have played a vital role in the card community. This partnership allows us to help eBay create a trusted and confident experience for collectors, adding further integrity to the hobby."