The Ladder is a way to rank all cards in our datatabase. We rank the cards by their Ladder Score. In the Pro version there are many other rankings accessible in the Ladder such as Undervalued, Weekly % Change and Number of Sales.
This page contains some frequently asked questions that can help answer any preliminary questions you might have. If you have more questions, feel free to send us an email.
Ladder Score (or simply Score) ranks cards according to their 14-day trend.
The formula sums a card's (1) daily dollar change, (2) daily percentage change, and (3) transaction volume to produce the card's Ladder Score.
The formula is: (Last sale w/in last 14 days - First sale w/in last 14 days)/10 + ((Last Sale w/in last 14 days - First sale w/in last 14 days) / First Sale)*100 + (Quantity sold)/10.
One of Card Ladder’s primary services is vetting and organizing sports card market data. eBay is the leading public source for such data. We create profiles for sports cards that track each card’s eBay sales history. (We also collect and report data from independent auction houses and other sources where it lends additional insight into a card’s sales history).
We scrape eBay daily for new sales of every card in our system. Our research team reviews these sales and decides whether to admit them into our database or send them to "purgatory"—a list we publish daily of sales that require additional verification before we admit them to our database.
Why do we spend hours each day reviewing sales? For starters, because sports card auctions sometimes are shilled, sports cards that are listed as "sold" sometimes get relisted, and sellers sometimes erroneously title their sports card listings. Reviewing sales helps increase the likelihood that the sports card data in our system reflects sales that have truly been consummated.
The review process requires judgement. The vast majority of sales that we review every day are admitted into our database. But there also tends to be at least a few sales every day that are sent to "purgatory." For example, our researchers study bidding patterns on auctions for obvious signs of shill bidding and send those auctions to "purgatory." We do the same for extreme outlier sales (whether sold via auction, BIN, or BO) that are inconsistent with reasonable market trends. We spot and exclude obvious scams from suspicious sellers. We note when a card's market trajectory is fundamentally unusual, or if an atypical sale is admitted into the card's sales history, by including remarks in the "Card Information" section of a card's profile. We speak to buyers and sellers throughout the Hobby to obtain additional insight into specific sales. We also include links to all recent auctions as well as unusual or noteworthy historical auctions (accessible via the "View all sales" link in the card's profile).
For cards that sell frequently, only their historical auction data (and not their BIN/obo data) has been added. Such cards feature the phrase "Auctions only" above their sales chart.
A data point added to our system that later turns out to be unreliable is promptly removed.
Due to the possibility of human error, it is likely that a handful of mistakes will be made in logging data. If you spot a mistake, please use the feedback option to alert us (available at the bottom of each card's profile or by clicking the profile icon in the top right).
You can use the search bar at the top of the site to search for any card in our database.
You can search by category, grade, or specific sport (e.g., you can type in "hockey" to see the Ladder’s hockey card database).
You can also use it to filter by player (e.g., you can type in "LeBron")—effectively allowing you to create a Ladder for one specific player.
You can also search by year, by set, many more filters. Try it out for yourself, and share your search results with others.
Clicking the eBay button on a card's profile will take you to an eBay search specifically tailored to find the card depicted in the profile.
This is an eBay affiliate link. If you make a purchase on eBay using this link, Card Ladder will get a small commission from eBay. You pay the same amount whether you use our affiliate link or not. The difference is eBay sends us a percentage of the "final value fee" of which they would otherwise collect 100%.
Of course, there is zero obligation whatsoever to shop for cards using our affiliate links. But it helps us if you do.
This is a list of sales that we have excluded from our database. Why are these sales excluded? We generally exclude sales because they show suspicious bidding patterns (such as rampant shill bidding), are extreme outliers with respect to the card's current market value(such as by selling for substantially higher than identically graded copies currently on eBay), appear to be scams(such as low feedback sellers who are trying to sell a high dollar item that they don't possess), or show other strong indicia that the transaction likely will not be consumated. We put sales into "purgatory" for a limited period of time while we wait to see if further information becomes available that increases our confidence in the likelihood of the sale being consumated.
The "Feed" is a curated content hub that is updated multiple times per day.
We include all articles from the official Card Ladder blog with some of the best writers in the hobby.
We hand pick hobby content—podcasts, blog posts, YouTube videos—that we think is worthy of consuming.
We supply "Ladder Headlines" which recap and highlight the prior day's market activity in narrative form.
We generate lists of the new cards added to our database each day.
We generate lists of every card in the Ladder database that sold on the previous day. It can be particularly instructive to skim this list daily and see both prices and transaction quantities.
We notify you any time we make an update to the site.
"Shop" is a tool where you can browse popular cards ending soon on eBay. Not sure what you want to buy? Just browse the Shop and get inspired for your next big purchase. We also let you filter by category and they are sorted by ending soonest.
The dashboard displays a wealth of macro-level information about the sports card market. It updates once per day at around 6AM EST.
The "# of Sales Today" statistic represents the number of new sales of cards in the Card Ladder database that took place on the previous day that were added to the database today. For example, if our researchers approved 2,345 transactions of cards in Card Ladder’s database that occurred yesterday, the "# of Sales Today" statistic will display the number 2,345.
The "Total Sales Today" statistic represents the total dollar amount spent on new sales of cards in the Card Ladder database that took place on the previous day that were added to the database today. For example, if our researchers approved $452,306 worth of transactions of cards in Card Ladder’s database that occurred yesterday, the "Total Sales Today" statistic will display the number $452,306.
Note that, for a variety of reasons, a subset of the transactions of cards in the Card Ladder database that occurred yesterday might not be admitted into our database today. In some instances, it can take several days before sales are admitted into the database. For that reason, there will be retroactive updates to the data points on the Total Sales graph. For example, suppose that on January 2nd, $500,000 worth of transactions that occurred on January 1st were approved and admitted to Card Ladder’s database. Suppose that on January 3rd, $100,000 worth of transactions that occurred on January 1st were approved and admitted to Card Ladder’s database. The data point for January 1st will update to reflect $600,000 worth of transactions.
The "Ladder Market Cap" statistic represents the combined total dollar amount of every card in Card Ladder’s database that possesses a "market cap." A card receives a "market cap" if (1) it is graded, (2) the population of the card in that particular grade is reported on the card’s profile, and (3) the card has a "current value." A card’s "market cap" is its "current value" multiplied by its population in that specific grade. For example, suppose that Card X in grade PSA 10 has a population of 100 and a "current" value of $500. The "market cap" for Card X graded PSA 10 is $50,000 (100 * $500). This "market cap" would be included in the "Ladder Market Cap" statistic alongside every other card in the Card Ladder database. Each card’s individual "market cap" is displayed on its profile.
The CL50 tracks the aggregate daily price movements of 50 high profile trading cards.
The categories represented include basketball, football, baseball, hockey, golf, soccer, and gaming. The athletes represented span multiple generations, from the early 20th century to present. They were selected based on their cultural and historical influence on sports and the sports card hobby. The cards were selected based on their perceived status as iconic cards.
The highest grade copy of each card was chosen, subject to the requirement that the particular grade must sell frequently enough that its short term market fluctuations are likely to be captured by its sales history.
The athletes and/or cards comprising the CL50 may change over time at the discretion of the CL editorial staff. For instance, changes in collector preferences might elevate an athlete and/or card to deserve a place in the CL50 that currently is not represented.
Note that the CL50 is designed to represent the market trend embodied by 50 high profile trading cards. It is not designed to represent the market trend of the sports card hobby as a whole.
Each day, the current value of each card in the CL50 is summed and then divided by the number of cards in the index (50). This figure is then recorded and plotted on the CL50 graph.
This methodology mirrors the early Dow Jones Industrial Average, which, too, was the sum of its component stock prices divided by the number of stocks contained in the index.
A card's current value is the price for which it most recently sold. If, on the most recent day that a card sold, multiple transactions were recorded, the card's current value consists of the average price for which it sold on that day. A card’s current value can be seen on its Card Ladder profile.
The Players List is a list of all players/characters that have an iconic rookie card in Card Ladder's database. Use this list to sort by the monthly or weekly % fluctuation in the iconic rookie card's value. You can also sort by yesterday's total sales volume of all the player/character's cards in Card Ladder.
Yes. You can click on a player's name on any card profile or access the Players list page and click on a player.
The Player page displays the # of sales and total volume of sales from the previous day and how many cards and the market cap of that player tracked in Card Ladder. It also displays the sales volume for each day on a graph.
The player's key card is represented on this page with the sales graph for use as the index for that player. We also display all the cards of that player in our database.
We are collectors first and foremost. Our love of collecting is an important part of why we created Card Ladder. We will continue to buy, sell, and trade cards. With that said, we have made the following provisions in order to operate Card Ladder ethically.
We implore you to adopt a skeptical mindset when examining all sports card data, including the vetted data in our system, and especially when examining a card that is owned by a Card Ladder founder or employee. We do our best to guard against our biases, but our attempts are surely imperfect. To help remedy the potential for bias, we provide complete transparency, as described below.
A very small percentage of the cards displayed in the Ladder are owned by founders or employees. Any time one of us owns a copy of a card displayed on Card Ladder in any grade, the phrase "Employee owned" appears at the bottom of the relevant card profile. See, for example, the bottom of the card profile for Luka's 2018 Prizm Base RC PSA 10. One of our founders owns a copy of this card and it is indicated in the card's profile with the phrase: "Employee owned."
The Ladder's rankings are based on objective algorithms that are equally applied to all cards. There is no subjective judgment involved when ranking an individual card. Above, in the section entitled, "What is the Ladder?" we have disclosed the formulas used to rank cards.
Our predictive pricing requires a degree of subjective judgment; namely, it requires selecting an appropriate "comp" and selecting appropriate historically correlated multipliers. To that end, any time we offer a price prediction, we fully disclose what the "comp" card(s) are, the data points used to generate the historically correlated multiplier(s), and the computations performed. You should always cast a skeptical eye on predictive pricing, especially when the card in question is owned by a Card Ladder founder or employee. By the same token, you are welcome to help us improve our predictions. You can use the "Collection" feature to generate your own "Member Predicted Values" for any card for which we have generated a predicted value--using the same software tools that we use. We’d love it if you came up with a better prediction than us and sent us your work; it helps us improve our site!
There is editorial subjectivity involved in selecting cards for inclusion in Card Ladder's database. To help guard against potential bias, we have developed an objective procedure for determining which cards are added to the Ladder. We have described that procedure above in the section entitled "Which Cards Get Added to Card Ladder?"
Basketball and Football - Prizm, National Treasures, Select, Optic, Flawless
Baseball - Bowman Chrome, Topps Chrome
Hockey - Upper Deck Series 1, Upper Deck the Cup