eBay Announces Mandatory Card Authentication Service for Pokemon and Other Collectible Cards

eBay has announced a new program that will require all ungraded collectible cards sold for more than a certain rate to be authenticated by a third party. The program will launch in the United States starting today for any collectible card sold for more than $750. By mid-2022, that service will expand to any collectible card purchased for more than $250. The new service is intended to cut down on scammers and counterfeiters, both of which are on the rise as eBay's card marketplace has grown to become a multi-billion dollar business. 

The new system will require card sellers to ship sold cards to third-party authenticators such as CGC, who will authenticate the card and ensure that it matches the condition listed on the item's page. Once authenticated, the cards will be packaged and sent to buyers with the process expected to take 7-10 days from sale to complete. If the card isn't authenticated due to either poor condition or being a fake, the buyer will be refunded and the product will be returned to the seller. We should note that eBay currently has similar services for high-end sneakers, watches, and handbags, all of which are designed to protect high end purchases. 

Interestingly, eBay provided some additional details about its trading card transaction business, which is outpacing the total growth of the site's overall marketplace. Most notably, eBay users made over $2 billion in card transactions in the first half of 2021, which exceeds the total amount of card transactions made in 2020. Additionally, eBay has become home to a rising number of non-sports card transactions. The company reported a 536% increase in gross merchandise value (GMV) for Pokemon cards during the first half of 2021, and a 437% increase in GMV for Marvel trading cards. The two categories were the third and fourth fastest growing card types respectively, behind tennis cards and soccer cards. 

The announcement follows eBay's role in a major card scandal involving YouTube celebrity Logan Paul and the purchase of a fake booster card case for $3.5 million. While Paul didn't purchase the case off of eBay, the fake cards entered into the secondary market through the website and were purchased for around $75,000. The set was later inaccurately authenticated and eventually made their way into Paul's hands, where he very publicly discovered that the box was fake.