PWCC Marketplace takes pride in doing things differently and breaking new ground in the sports card industry.
The largest trading card seller on eBay for the past decade, it was the first to create a vault for collectors to store their most valuable cards. It has brokered record sales for some of the highest-selling cards in the industry.
Now it has designed a new, fast-paced way to conduct monthly auctions.
“It’s different, just like everything we do at PWCC,” said Jesse Craig, PWCC’s director of business development. “We don’t necessarily follow the industry norms, and I think it’s had a lot of success.”
PWCC announced Tuesday the introduction of a new Monthly Auction that will debut on Oct. 7. It will feature more than 40,000 cards, its largest auction to date, and offer new extended bidding features designed to generate excitement, competition and keep collectors engaged throughout the event.
Bidding will open Oct. 7 and close on six consecutive nights beginning on Oct. 24. Each night will feature the closing of a sport-specific auction, starting with baseball and followed by basketball, football, hockey, soccer, miscellaneous sports and TCG (Pokémon and Magic the Gathering cards). On Oct. 29, the night after the final closing, the Monthly Auction will feature a “Round 2” to auction any duplicate cards. The second round will take place each month on the day after the closing of the first round.
The new extended bidding model allows clients to participate in a fast-paced, competitive experience that will be significantly shorter than traditional auctions. Extended bidding period will begin at 7 p.m. PST with a 60-second countdown. Any item that receives two more bids will move to extended bidding. An item that is still active after 7:30 p.m. PST will close if it does not receive a bid within a five-minute period. A single-day auction will be considered fully closed once extended bidding expires with no bid placed.
“It’s going to be fast-paced but it’s going to be fun,” Craig said.
The new software and extended bidding model, which has a patent pending, has been a big success in PWCC’s Premier Auctions.
“There has been a lot of buzz in the industry about how we close it,” Craig said. “It’s a little bit more fast-paced and it’s just got a lot of excitement the way the software works. It’s a lot of action and a lot of fun.”
The new process allows PWCC to conduct sport-specific auctions in one night instead of over an extended period. Craig said the company used to conduct baseball card auctions over four days on eBay.
“Now we can close all of baseball in one night,” he said. “We can create one event around baseball for all the baseball collectors and investors can be in the room in one night and pay attention to anywhere from a few thousand to 10,000 specific cards closing in one night.”
The extended bidding process will apply to both high-end and less expensive cards. Craig believes each sport-specific auction will be “an event” that could be live streamed for watch parties among collectors and hobbyists.
“Nobody has ever tried to close quantity with extended bidding like this,” he said. “I don’t think anyone has ever closed 10,000 cards in a single night with extended bidding. That’s what we are doing every single month for each respective sport.”
The Monthly Auction is the next step in PWCC’s move to reorganize its business on its own platforms after being banned from eBay in August for shill bidding, allegations it has staunchly denied.
Its Premier Auction for high-end cards did $12.6 million in sales in August and $10.8 in September. It also launched its own Fixed Price Marketplace, offering more than 63,000 cards from its PWCC Vault. It has done more than $3 million in sales in the last few weeks, which Craig calls “a huge success.”
Craig said the split from eBay allowed the company to create its own platforms and gain better control over its business.
“Now we control everything. We control how the software looks, we control buyer vetting, we control the full gamut and we didn’t have that ability before,” he said. “Now we have full control and that’s huge for us.”
PWCC has contracted with two third-party security firms to prevent shill bidding and ensure its auctions are above board. Tech Heads, a 25-year-old cyber security firm, will validate and maintain a firewall to prevent anyone from seeing maximum bids. Triaxiom Security will audit the Tech Head firewall, validate the confidentiality of max bids and ensure accurate bid recording. Triaxiom will release an audit report on each monthly auction, which Craig said will be published on the company’s website.
The company recently used those security measures during its Premier Auction and Craig said it had zero visibility to max bids.
PWCC also has a Marketplace Trust Team that will monitor the auction, using proprietary software that alerts them to bidding abnormalities and vets bidders to make sure they follow through with payment. If a buyer is caught shill bidding or does not follow through with payment, they will be banned from PWCC Marketplace.
PWCC also is not allowing company employees or contractors to bid on items in the auction.