Saturday, March 10, 2012

Strasburg Investment Thoughts

* Following this strategy brings significant risks.  Please proceed with caution.

My favorite player to watch is Stephen Strasburg.  I traveled to attend his first AAA game, where I was mesmerized by his dominance.  A short while later, I attended his first MLB game in Washington, where he performed one of the greatest starting pitching debuts in history. Since then, I've been hooked.

Now, Strasburg's autos aren't cheap.  To invest in them is to think he'll continue to be lights out, even after Tommy John surgery.  But, I think there is money to be made if you find the right prices.

What I've noticed is that Strasburg (and some other big names like Harper) have auctions that end at a certain price.  Sometimes Buy It Nows are sold, well above those auction sales prices.  I think the logic behind this is bidders get a bit gun shy at the last minutes of an auction for higher end items... hence, a "lower" sales price.  Then, there are more prudent buyers who check out the Buy It Nows, where they can shop at their own pace.  The thing is, a vast majority of Strasburg Buy It Nows are severely overpriced, usually with Best Offers.  I believe a buyer who really wants a Strasburg auto (esp immediately after a solid start) will jump to the Buy It Nows and has potential to purchase the lowest price item.  Usually, this lowest priced item is much lower than similar BIN listings of the same card.  Yet, it is usually higher than the most recent auction sales prices.

For this reason, I have picked up some Strasburg autos at what seemed like bargain prices.  My goal is to price them above my cost, to a comfortable markup, with the hopes that it is the lowest priced Buy It Now available.  Then, with the hopes that a Strasburg fan snags the Buy It Now.

Here are my recent purchases:
Strasburg 2011 Bowman Sterling Ref Auto /199 - BGS 9.5 (10 Auto) -- $260
 - For me this is a no-brainer.  Base Auto 9.5 sell for $150-180, and I think I have a chance at finding a buyer anywhere in the vicinity of $300-350.

Strasburg 2010 Bowman Chrome Ref Auto /500 + Strasburg Sterling Auto -- $320
- I've seen BC Ref auctions sell for $220, so I think I have a chance at a sale with a $250 BIN.
- Sterling auctions have sold at $150.  If the BC Ref sells for $250, I can simply sell the Sterling at $150 to net $400 ($80 profit, 25%).  Or I can follow my strategy and go slightly higher than the auction and sell it for $175 BIN.  That would total $425, over $100 profit.

Strasburg 2010 Bowman Sterling Auto -- $100
- Pleasantly surprised when the seller accepted my best offer.

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