Arbitrage Post #1 Faxandu and Fleer Jordan Decade of Excellence

This is the first post in what may be a series where I try to find and take advantage of arbitrage opportunities.

I’ll be starting with a very small amount of money. And I’m limiting my efforts to online only. As in buying and selling at different auction sites. I won’t be scouring the clearance isle at Walmart or waking up early for Saturday yard sales. So here goes.

Nintendo Faxanadu

This NES Faxanadu game is being auctioned by Jag Entrerprises. The game came up in one of my saved searches on Proxibid. I had never head of this game before now. But it sounds like a cool name and the description on the cartridge confirms it by saying, “Daggers and wingboots, mantras and monsters await you.”

By the photo, I can tell the game is used. There is no description indicating if it even works. And there is no box to go along with the game.

NES Faxanadu
Image via Proxibid

But I still thought this might have some resale potential. So I went to eBay to check and nope. There doesn’t appear to be any possible profits here.

Currently the bid on Proxibid is $6.50 with 4 days remaining. My minimum bid would have to be $7. If I won the auction at that amount, which I likely wouldn’t, my purchase price including the 18% internet premium would be $8.26. Add in the $2.50 handling charge and at least $5 for shipping and my total cost basis would be $15.26.

Jumping over to eBay to see what Faxanadu has been selling for and I see 150 recent sales. The highest sales price was $180 for a game that was still sealed although the box was creased. The next highest sale was $70 for a complete game and box in great condition. On the other end of the spectrum the cheapest recent sale was for a bare cartridge for $.99 plus $5.50 in shipping. That’s only $6.49 for the Faxanadu game.

To see the most recent sales prices of Faxanadu on eBay, click here.

Unfortunately, there are no potential profits here on Faxanadu. I would be looking a $10 loss or more.

So here are the stats for this one:

My max bid: N/A

Money Spent: $0

Time Spent: 10 minutes

1996 Fleer Michael Jordan Decade of Excellence

96-97 Fleer Michael Jordan Decade of Excellence Card
Image via Proxibid

I saw this 96-97 Fleer Jordan Decade of Excellence U-4 card on Proxibid and was interested right away. What really interested me about it was the WCG 10 grading. There are a lot of these cards floating around that are ungraded or graded less than 10. So I jumped over to eBay to look at comparable sales.

There are a ton of recent sales (653 when I searched) so that hard part is finding the right comparables. To be a great comparable, I need to find a graded card that is in the high 9s or a 10. I also need to find a card that is marked “U-4” as there are plenty marked with just a “4” in the top right corner.

Cards that aren’t graded and aren’t marked U-4 have sold for as low as $1 plus $4.90 for shipping. But that’s not what I’m looking for.

Here are some of the more accurate comparable sales that I found:

Date SoldSale TypeTitleSales PriceShipping Cost
11/15/2022Auction1996-97 Fleer Ultra Michael Jordan Decade Of Excellence 1986 #U-4 WCG 10$11.50$4.75
11/15/2022Auction1996-97 Fleer Ultra Michael Jordan Decade Of Excellence 1986 #U-4 WCG 1012.504.75
11/15/2022Auction1996-97 Fleer Ultra Michael Jordan Decade Of Excellence 1986 #U-4 WCG 1016.754.75
12/4/2022Auction1996-97 Fleer Ultra Michael Jordan Decade Of Excellence #U-4 WCG 1018.504.75
10/28/2022Buy Now1996-97 Fleer #U-4 Michael Jordan Ultra Decade Of Excellence Wcg 10 Gem Mt45.005.35
10/16/2022Buy NowMichael Jordan 1996 Ultra Fleer #U4 Decade of Excellence PSA 10 GEM MINT249.904.95
10/02/2022AuctionMichael Jordan 1996 Fleer Skybox Ultra Decade of Excellence #U-4 PSA 10265.003.95
11/9/2022Buy NowMichael Jordan 1996 Ultra Fleer #U4 Decade of Excellence PSA 10 GEM MINT274.90Free
9/26/2022Buy Now1996 Fleer Ultra #U-4 Michael Jordan Decade Of Excellence PSA 10 GEM MINT 4097279.99Free

To see the most recent sales on eBay for this card, click here.

That’s a huge range in recent selling prices. One thing I noticed is the PSA graded cards sell for a lot more than the WCG graded cards. More on that in a minute.

So based on the recent sales prices in eBays, I thought this one was worth taking a shot at. When I found the card, the bid was at $11. I ended up bidding $25. Shortly before the auction ended, the bidder that was winning at $11 came back and took the lead. They ended up winning the card at $26. At that price I think the winner has a decent chance of making a profit if they list it at the right price point on eBay.

But back to the point about WCG graded cards selling for significantly less than the PSA cards. Is there an arbitrage opportunity right there? As in, could I buy a WCG 10 card for less than $30, then have it PSA graded, and sell it over for over $100?

Possibly. The main risk here is that I send PSA the WCG 10 card and it comes back from PSA graded as a 7, 8, or 9, which eliminates the profit potential. The WCG10 would have to cross over to a PSA 10 for this to work.

It would go like this:

  • Buy WCG 10 card for under $30 shipped
  • Carefully crack open WCG slab and send raw card to PSA (this would cost $30 if a club member or $50 if not, plus $10 for shipping/handling).
  • If the card comes back at PSG 10, list on eBay for $100+ profit.
  • If the card comes back less than PSG 10, list on eBay for cost recovery purposes (take the L).
  • Rinse and repeat.

This is one of those bets where it’s a potential $100 payoff or a $60 loss. And that’s not considering the time spent in bidding, packing, shipping, selling, and shipping again. Personally, I don’t like the amount of risk that is outside of my control, in this case, the PSA grading result. Something to think about when I’m bored.

That’s it for now.

Stay rad. 🍕😎