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The Groundbreaking Way Fanatics Is Changing The Sports Card Auctions Industry

Fanatics Fan Auctions

If you’ve been following our series of auction house reviews or our monthly auction house preview, you’re familiar with some of the players in the auction house business. There’s another player in the game, and a more recent entry you may know for other things – Fanatics FanAuctions

Who is Fanatics?

If you haven’t been paying attention the last couple of years, you know Fanatics as the leading provider of sports apparel. They were hugely successful and growing fast.

Since then? Well, they acquired the exclusive rights to manufacture sports cards for MLB, NBA, and NFLPA starting in 2026, a crushing blow to current license holders. Then, they bought Topps for $500 million dollars.

They have also dabbled in NFTs and now, with the launch of Fanatics Auctions, enter the sports memorabilia auction world. They will also delve into sports card breaking.

What’s different about Fanatics Auctions?

Fanatics Fan Auctions are different than the standard auction house offering in a number of important ways.

These include:

No consignments: Auction houses typically consign items from the collectors who own them and then sell them, taking a cut to serve as the middle man and provide a wider audience of potential sellers. Fanatics ONLY sell items they own or acquire themselves, not selling for other people.

No buyer’s premium: Because Fanatics doesn’t cosign, they don’t need to charge a buyer’s premium to make their money. They’re more like an eBay seller in that they make their money on profit on the item, not on fees charged to the buyer or seller.

Fewer items: Where many auction houses will have somewhere from a few hundred to a couple of thousand items, Fanatics keeps things tight with somewhere between 115-175 items per auction.

Exclusive items: Fanatics has exclusive contracts for memorabilia and autographs from some of the top athletes on the planet. This allows them to offer items that might not be readily available from other sources.

Fanatics FanAuctions Auction frequency

Fanatics Fan Auctions launched in December of 2021. Since then, they have run an auction about every two weeks, typically two per month.

Fanatics’ MLB Summer Auction, for example, ends on August 17, 2022.

Registering with Fanatics FanAuctions

In order to bid in a Fanatics Fan Auction, you must be 18 years of age or older and register with Fanatics.

The registration process is straightforward, where you enter your name, email, password, and then your address. Fanatics does require you to enter a major credit card to be eligible to bid, so they can bill the card if you win an auction or auctions.

Fanatics Auction basics

Fanatics Fan Auctions follow fairly standard bidding rules. You can place a “maximum bid” and Fanatics will automatically bid up to your maximum bid. You can of course increase your maximum bid at any point up to the close of the auction.

At any point, you can check your bid status by checking the bid status page on the Fanatics site located at My Account > Bid Status. If you are outbid, Fanatics will also send you an email alerting you. It’s worth noting that bid increments are at Fanatics’ discretion and can vary from item to item.

To avoid the snipe bidding that makes eBay auctions a frustrating affair, Fanatics has extended bidding. For any auction item that has multiple bids before the auction close, the auction will enter extended bidding upon close.

Extended bidding will last 5 minutes. If no other bids are received in that time, the auction ends and a winner is named. If a bid is placed, the extended bidding is extended 5 more minutes until there is a 5-minute window with no bids.

As soon as an auction ends and a winner is determined, the winner’s account is updated and their credit card on file is charged. This saves time compared to the typical “wait for an invoice and make a payment” approach some auction houses leverage.

Sales tax is not charged for APO / FPO military addresses, but is charged for other US states and territories, at the rate for each locality. All items ship within 3-5 business days upon receipt of payment, unless otherwise denoted on the product page.

Fanatics’ prices for shipping vary by item, vendor, and domestic vs. international. Make sure to check the shipping costs before bidding so you have a good idea of the total item cost.

Fanatics Auctions: Searching, Viewing, Bidding

The Fanatics Fan Auction offers a fairly standard bidding experience. The site features a search and the ability to filter by a number of categories, including sport, team, and player. You can sort results by several criteria and select how many items appear per page.

The Fanatics Fan Auction item page is well-designed, with a clean interface and several quality photos per item, plus a description and other info. The time left in the auction and high bid auto update so you don’t miss a thing.

Fanatics FanAuctions Bidding Screen

The final word on Fanatics FanAuctions

Fanatics entry into the auction house world with its Fanatics Auctions offering, providing a lot of familiarity to those who frequent other auction houses, but enough differentiators that it has a chance to shake things up a bit.

Fanatics is taking the hobby by storm, and this is another step in the evolution of the company from an apparel company to a one-stop shop for just about anything sports related.

Other sports card auction house providers

Of course, Fanatics Auctions isn’t the only game in town for sports card auctions. Check out our other reviews on notable auction house providers in the industry:

Mike D.

Mike D

Mike D. has collected cards for over 35 years, since he bought his first pack of Topps at the corner store in 1987. His fandom,  collecting interests, and contributions to Cardlines center around baseball in general and the Baseball Hall of Fame specifically.

Mike's collecting focus is centered on graded cards, mostly rookie cards, of Hall of Famers and future Hall of Famers. Lately, he's been enjoying dabbling in graded minor league cards. A collector/investor with a "buy and hold" approach, Mike takes the long-term view with his collection.
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