Over the past year, it’s gotten increasingly difficult to find new boxes of sports cards to open at a decent price. Retail products sell out as quickly as they are stocked, and hobby boxes sell for well over MSRP — sometimes even as preorders. But, the Dutch auctions on Panini Direct gives collectors the possibility of scoring new product for under the secondary market rate.

Panini Direct Dutch auction
A Panini Direct Dutch auction rarely, if ever, goes to the lowest possible price, but some good deals are occasionally had. (Image: Panini)

In a Dutch auction, Panini initially offers a new product at a certain price, and then drops that price every five minutes until the product sells out. There’s no quantity of stock listed, so it’s a guessing game as to how much will be sold and at what price it will sell out. So, if you gamble and wait too long to buy, you may miss out.

With that in mind, here are some tips on how to tackle those Panini Dutch auctions.

Watch Those Fixed Price Listings

Panini, which holds the exclusive rights to basketball and football cards, sells its products in multiple ways on its website. In addition to the aforementioned Dutch auctions, the company also sells items for a fixed price. But, rather than offer those products for the prices at which it sells cases to distributors or hobby customers, Panini prices those products similar to the current secondary market going rate.

For example, a recent listing for 2020-21 NBA Hoops sold for $350, whereas distributors initially got the same product for well under $100. You won’t get the same type of deals you might encounter in a Dutch auction; instead, you’ll pay pretty much what you would on eBay.

Check Current Secondary Market Pricing

Because of the volume of sales that occur daily on eBay, that website has become the market barometer. Many in the sports card industry regularly use eBay to set their pricing for singles, unopened box, sets, and more. So, before you start bidding in a Panini Dutch auction, check the going rate for the offered product on eBay to see if you’re getting a good deal. Sometimes the demand is so high that the products sell for the going eBay rate, but sometimes they sell for significantly less.

Add to Cart from the Start

Did you try to score an Xbox Series X or Playstation 5 at a website upon release? Well, the Dutch auctions on the Panini website are kind of like that – you’ll try to add an item to your cart and just watch a wheel spin. But, there’s a simple trick that will make this easier.

Go ahead and add an item to your cart as soon as the auction starts and when fewer people are trying to do the same. You won’t be committed to buy the boxes just yet. Once the price lowers to the price you’re willing to pay, refresh your cart and you will be able to buy at the going rate.

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