Archive for trading cards

Why I chose COMC over eBay/Instagram/Twitter for sales

Posted in Commentary with tags , , , , , , on January 31, 2020 by Cardboard Icons

About a year or so ago I started to see a trend, one that had probably been around for a while, but had somewhat laid latent in my mind. What was the trend? Card sales via Twitter and other social media platforms.

It was intriguing when I started to notice them. Folks were posting stacks of cards for sale, often one at a time, with some combined shipping component. It seemed like a good idea, but then I saw more and more of them. And over the course of a week or so that seemed to be all that was popping up on my Twitter feed.

It was annoying. I muted and in some cases unfollowed some folks.

But deep inside I wondered if I could do something similar. I had (and still have) thousands upon thousands of cards sitting around and at the time I was thinking that it’d be great if I could turn some of these cards into some dimes, quarters or even dollar bills — all of that eventually adds up. However, I was stuck on one fact: A stream of card sales on a social media platform was annoying as hell and I did not want to be a hypocrite since I’d been vocal in regards to the annoyance I felt with this stream of posts. So my remedy was to create various pages on my own blog and open a Virtual Card Shop where folks could shop through the photos of stuff I had message me.

Again, great idea. But, this is akin to setting up a table of singles for sale in the middle of the forest where there is no one around — it’s not like this blog is a daily read for people. So I spent about a day screwing around with that idea before realizing that was a ton of work and the time invested hoping to make a few bucks really didn’t make sense.

Of course eBay is always an option for sale, but I had such a negative experience with the site over the last year that I’d grown to trust almost no one when it comes to selling cards. Seriously, if you’re engaging in nefarious activity such as making false claims, forcing returns on volatile commodities such as sports cards, or otherwise adding to the negativity you really need to rethink your place in this hobby.

And so for me, I have decided to return to submitting items to COMC, the consignment site that has gained popularity over the last decade. The processing fees on the site have increased over the last decade — and for some collectors the upfront cost can be prohibitive. But the site remains the easiest and safest way to move inventory you no longer want in your presence. It doesn’t make sense for all cards, and sometimes you will lose on cards you send — especially if the value of the cards is too low so do your research — but it can be a very effective way to cull funds from sales and then purchase something else.

A quick synopsis of COMC:

-Most items cost 30 cents each for processing, which includes scanning the card and placing it into your account.

-Once uploaded, YOU select the price you want to charge for your card. In some cases COMC is an exercise in sellers undercutting each other and buyers getting great deals — so you do need to pay attention.

-COMC takes a small cut of the sale (5%) and then 10% if you decide to cash out — remove your money from the site and have it sent to your paypal or via check. But if you’re selling with intent to buy something else with your money, just let the funds accumulate because COMC is really a buyer’s market.

There are other sites to sell items — I know folks have used SportLots with great success — but that also requires being ultra organized and still storing those cards in your space. Part of my goal of CardPurge2020 is to get unwanted items OUT OF MY SPACE, or at least keep that to a minimum.

That said, some have a lot of success selling via social media, and if you are, then good for you. By no means am I advocating that you stop. But for me personally, that’s not my method of choice.

That’s not to say I won’t occasionally offer items for sale or trade, but I won’t be running streams of sales, and my view of them has soften as the number of posts are no longer as overwhelming as they were for a brief stint in 2019.

That moment when you decide to buy the cards instead of waiting to trade for them

Posted in Collecting Kershaw with tags , , , , , , on February 12, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

I woke up this morning several hours before the sun rose and did the usual routine of checking eBay for new items. Among the new posts was a three-card lot of 2019 Topps Clayton Kershaw inserts.

There was the 1984 Design, and both 150th insert cards. The three-card lot was offered for sale at $1.29 + $1 PWE shipping, bringing the grand total to $2.29, which is about 75% of the cost for a single lack of cards.

And instead of mashing the Buy It Now option, I waited. And I waited. And then waited some more because I wrestled with “breaking the seal.”

You see, none of these cards are rare. They’ll all be on COMC at some point for like 50 cents each, or someone will offer me them in a trade. So I had a hard time hitting that BIN button immediately because eventually they would be mine. In some ways there is a belief in me that once you start buying cheap cards, it cheapens the act of trading as one starts to wonder if it’s worth the time and effort to find, sort, negotiate and eventually finalize a deal and ship cards. I hate that these are things to think about, but they’re all realities when trading with a partner who is not in front of you.

In this case I eventually hit the Buy It Now because when it came down to it, the low shipping cost for this lot was likely less than it would have cost me to ship out comparable cards in a trade for the same card.

Am I the only one who thinks about these things?

First Kershaw 2019 Topps parallel has arrived

Posted in Collecting Kershaw with tags , , , , , , , on February 4, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

One of the first things I did on Wednesday after sorting my 2019 Topps hobby box was check eBay to see how much the new parallels of Kershaw were going for. And just as I suspected, some were selling really cheap, like for the price of three packs, because some folks were looking to strike while the iron was hot and sell whatever they could to get back some of the money they spent.

As you know by now, 2019 Topps pack prices increased to $2.99 retail (or about $3.50 a pack for hobby in some places) as the card company decided to change some of its pack specs: Topps bumped up the number of cards per pack, and decreased the number of packs from 36 packs to just 24. It’ll take some time getting used to, but I don’t hate the change. Although there have been varying opinions from persons who who buy and break in quantity as it has changed the landscape for building complete sets or even master sets.

I digress. The Kershaw base card and parallels of it are the ones that I really had my eye. So I decided to pounce on a half dozen eBay listing featuring the parallels at a price point I was comfortable with.

The first of those purchases arrived over the weekend, and it was the Vintage Stock serial numbered to 99 copies, which I managed to get for under $12 shipped.

I have a few more on the way; I’m sure I’ll post them, especially the Independence Day one that should be here mid week. I really like those Patriot parallels.

Some will win, but many more will lose

Posted in Collcting Clemens with tags , , , , , , , on February 2, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

Yesterday I wrote about my latest 2019 Topps purchase which consisted of a retail blaster that set me back $19.99. While the contents weren’t bad, the shame I felt gave me such a feeling of guilt that I managed to channel those emotions into something positive: I rearranged my home, in particular my office/card area. While the space is “still under construction,” it’s shaping up to me a much more sufficient and welcoming area. I’ll show off pictures later.

Anyway, the purpose of this post is two fold. The first is to show off a new Roger Clemens cards that arrived yesterday, and secondly discuss the nature of the Clemens card itself and relate it to those feelings I had yesterday.

In the mail yesterday was a 2018 Topps Dynasty Roger Clemens signed patch card serial numbered 1/5. I have a thing for Clemens patch cards, especially those featuring Boston Red Sox colors. The newer Clemens goes well with the 2017 version I purchased last year, which is serial numbered to 10 copies. And those two pair nicely with my 2016 Dynasty Clemens which features a gorgeous swatch from the Astros team name and is numbered also /10.

And now here comes the serious business …

While I sometimes scold myself for buying retail Blasters, I thank my God that I am not buying higher-end products at the same clip, or even at all. Take this Dynasty product for example. These Dynasty products are priced at $389.99 on Blowout Cards — or $374.99 with the current sale — for one card … ONE. And with few exceptions, namely Mike Trout, Bryce Harper and a hand full of other guys, these products are grossly misrepresented by players whose secondary market value are often less than a quarter of the purchase price. And yes, Roger Clemens is one of those guys. I feel fortunate that my favorite player doesn’t have a major following any more … otherwise I would not have been able to acquire these three Dynasty cards over the years for a collective price that is still less than the cost of a single Dynasty pack.

I know that these so-called “one-hitter quitter” packs really cater to the Breaking culture, and in some ways a lot of us player collectors benefit when they look to sell off their unwanted hits to cut their losses. But looking at things from a bigger picture perspective, these one-hit/one-card products are damaging to collectors and their pocket books if they are buying them as unsealed products — and I know there some who actually do. Thankfully, I’m not one of them.

Why I’m sometimes scared to tell people what I collect

Posted in Misc. with tags , , , , , , on January 18, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

I was listening to/watching About The Cards (link) the other night and one of the topics that came up is one that really hit home with me.

The guys were telling stories about how sometimes they are seemingly pressured into making deals with people for items solely because the other person — who initiated the deal — invested time to separate, sort and sometimes transport or ship cards for a potential deal, even if the perimeters of the deal had not been set.

Surely we’ve all experienced such things. You tell someone you collect a certain player or set, and suddenly they’ve amassed a lot of several dozens or hundreds of cards after a few days and they expect the world in return, sometimes cash or cards of top players. And if you tell them you that you already have those cards or for whatever reason don’t want the cards there are some hurt feelings and sometimes some pressure solely because they’re making you feel guilty.

This is why I am sometimes scared to tell people I collect certain players. I mean it’s no secret now that I collect Roger Clemens and Clayton Kershaw, I do have that posted on some of my feeds. But for a time I kept that information out of the spotlight because I didn’t want to deal with these situations where people are offering me 400 Clemens cards, all from 1988-1991 and expecting that I will trade them all of my Mike Trouts, Bryce Harpers, rookies of hot players, etc. Even now that my PC guys are posted, I try not to engage in discussions where it’s an open-ended trade unless I’m feeling OK with the deal (i.e., me trading a few commons to a set collector for my PC guys). Sometimes I’ll do such deals to help someone else out.

So I have the following five general tips I offer and use myself when trading:

  1. If you’re setting cards aside to make a trade, understand that any time and effort you invest is solely on you. Do not put pressure on the trading partner to compensate you for the time and effort. If you pulled 500 cards and all I need is 50, don’t expect me to take all 500 solely because you spent two weeks putting them together — unless that was part of the agreement.
  2. If sending bulk lot(s) in exchange for someone else’s bulk lot(s), expect that the incoming lot(s) will be valued at less than what you’re sending. This will temper your expectations and possible feelings of being “ripped off.”
  3. Don’t trade high-end items with someone you don’t know or have a history with. Pretty obvious.
  4. Come to an agreement on shipping method. Plain white envelope (PWE) works for some people and in some cases. But know that using such low quality shipping can result in damaged cards. Some collectors want no part of receiving cards in PWEs, so if you’re doing anything less than a bubble mailer, that should be worked out before hand.
  5. If you initiate contact with someone who collects a certain player or team and you want to send them stuff under the guise of “just send me something later,” either 1) expect nothing in return, 2) expect that the return may not be of equal “value.” If those aren’t things you accept, then don’t send anything unless a proper structured deal is in place.