October 26, 2007
Gift Card Collecting
While the vast majority of gift card transactions on eBay are primarily for the purpose of reselling unwanted gift cards. There is a noticeable number of transactions related to the hobby of collecting and trading gift cards. Yes, people are collecting gift cards and based on our analysis of eBay transactions, the trend is growing. There are even gift card collecting websites out there. GiftCardCollector.com is one of the more popular sites.
As with most collectibles, the condition, rarity, subject matter, and popularity of the item determines its value and this holds true for gift cards. Some of the artwork printed on gift cards are quite inspiring, which could influence people to want to collect them. Unfortunately, gift cards are mass produced in quantity of tens to hundreds of thousands at a time. Compound that with the shear number of gift card brands and it could be a difficult and monetarily unfulfilling hobby to pursue. However, it seems that the majority of gift card collecting is centered around specific brands, such as Starbucks, Target, and Walmart.
In addition, Target and Walmart, have encouraged gift card collecting by offering limited release gift cards. Target goes one step further and provides a numbering scheme for their gift cards. Based on the gift card gallery available on GiftCardCollector.com, Target offers the most innovative gift cards, in shape, color, theme, and branding. Here is a YouTube video of a Transformer gift card from Target that actually transforms into a toy robot. Most collectors are interested in the gift card because it is a Transformer than it is a gift card.
The most expensive collectible gift card ever sold on eBay is the Starbucks “Team” gift card (pictured above). Supposedly, only 2,000 cards were ever printed and even a fewer amount was actually distributed at a Starbucks employee event. A Starbucks “Team” gift card sold for $1038 on eBay back in 2006. Recent auctions of similar cards sell for around $380. While the price has fallen from its high, it still commands a tidy sum. The demand for this gift card is probably more driven by collectors of the Starbucks brand than the fact it is a gift card. Unfortunately, vast majority of gift cards only sell for a couple of dollars at most. Nevertheless, it does look like a fun hobby to have, collecting and trading gift cards.