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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Goldin Auctions Acquisition by eBay Sparks Showdown With Fanatics

  • The online giant acquires the prominent high-end sports memorabilia auction house.
  • As competitive pressures from Fanatics rise, eBay is now further fortified.
Ken Goldin

The sports collectors’ arms race is heating up and is now solidifying into two primary marketplaces, setting up an increasingly high-stakes battle for control of the burgeoning space.

Online giant eBay announced Wednesday a deal to acquire Goldin Auctions, a major player in the high-end auction segment of the industry. In buying Goldin Auctions from Collectors, eBay can now take its own sports memorabilia business that does large volumes but at generally lower price points, and pair it with Goldin’s expertise in high-end auctions catering frequently to wealthy hobbyists. 

Sports Collectors’ Showdown

And, in so doing, eBay further fortifies itself against Fanatics, which has quickly amassed its own multifaceted collectibles business, including its ownership of venerable card company Topps and its purchase last year of PWCC Marketplace. Collectors, co-owned by Mets owner Steve Cohen, will remain focused on its own grading business and will also acquire eBay vault operation as part of the Goldin Auctions transaction.

“The deals announced today further our mission of reinventing the future of e-commerce for enthusiasts,” said Jamie Iannone, eBay CEO. 

Financial terms were not disclosed, but the deal is slated to close by the end of June. Sports memorabilia collecting experienced a historic boom in interest during the COVID-19 pandemic, and new records continue to be set, particularly for unique items sparking widespread fan interest.

Goldin Auctions will continue to be run by its founder, Ken Goldin (above), who has become a prominent figure in the industry in recent years, in part through his Netflix reality series, King of Collectibles: Goldin Touch

“This deal will enhance and expand our reach as we continue to do what we do best—source incredible collectors’ items—and connect with millions of enthusiasts around the world,” Goldin said. 

Shareholders in eBay showed some slight enthusiasm for the deal, sending company shares up by 0.6% in early trading Wednesday. 

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