Immediately, I began dredging Ebay manually (someday I'll learn Python) to observe similar phenomena. Saturday, I mentioned these ridiculous observations to a friend and exaggerated a bit. I searched "gift card" and found many selling for greater than face value! The exaggeration I mentioned was "all of them sold greater than face value." Not true. Here's a bunch of real examples I tabulated in order of increasing value of the card.
While they don't ALL sell higher than face value, it's fascinating that ANY do.
Other noteworthy observations:
• Cheaper cards tended to sell for the greatest profit. PROFIT! Even frigging McDonalds!!
• The more expensive gift cards (>$100) seemed to sell consistently at a discount. I am astounded at the existence of a $500 dollar gift card. Purchasing a commitment to spend $500 in Wal-Mart for a steal of $475 isn't a bargain, it's a sentence in hell.
• The Sharper Image was an anomaly selling at a significant discount, but, has anyone ever bought their useless shit? I thought Sharper Image was just a place to stop in and play with their overpriced toys and sit in one of those massage chairs to take a load off during shopping.
• "The WalMart Effect" (you heard it here folks): If you conduct an Ebay search for Walmart, then refine the search from the sidebar by "Gift Certificate", you'll see some 60 something auctions at any one time for Walmart gift cards. For gift cards of less than approx. $150, the final bid is almost always greater than the face value of the card. It seems to happen more for Walmart than any other peddler of crap. Try it. It's amazing. (NOTE: you must mark the items "Watch this Item" so you can see the post auction final price or the item disappears, seems Ebay protects their post bid auctions quite carefully)