by, 01-14-2009 at 01:50 AM (1154 Views)
Being a member of SCF for a little over 5 1/2 years and a part of this madcap hobby for even longer, noticing changes become more and more easier to recognize.
Growing up, kids would sit on porches, in bedrooms, at school, on the bus, at the ballpark, etc., and simply trade for players they liked. It didn't matter the reason and no one cared what type of card it was. It was a simple way of the trading life.
In 1987, I was introduced to the idea that these pictures of cardboard was worth money as a guy my dad knew from work sold cards at a local card show. And it was from him I heard the most dreadful word a kid could ever hear when it comes to the hobby, Beckett. After hearing about, I had to have this magazine. So while at the next show, I got one and was amazed at the dollar amount that appeared by some of the cards. My best friend was with me and we immediately looked up his Mark McGwire Olympic RC from 1985 Topps that he pulled out of a pack. Lo and behold, it showed 50.00. We were floored. He thought he was rich because to a kid 50 dollars was everything at that time. So I had this card, a Don Mattingly RC from 1984 Donruss. Never thought much about the card until I flipped the page in reverse. There it was...80.00. Holy crap! You would have thought I was holding a gold brick the way I was gripping the card. Fortunately, I didn't damage it as I didn't know about top loaders, penny sleeves, and so forth...
So here I am, now introduced to the world of sports cards as a commodity and my innocence forever erased. Now, 22 years later, times sure have changed.
But on to what this is about...
1. Posting a card for sale and a potential buyer will find the lowest auction on eBay to tell you it sells for that price. Also, trying to buy a card and the potential seller will find the highest auction on eBay to tell you it sells for that price.
People need to realize that one auction does not set a price gauge (unless it is numbered to 10 or less and that's not always true either). Showing me one auction tells me nothing. Could have been a price war...shill bid...etc. On the other end, it could have been mislisted, ended and a bad time, etc. Also, keep in mind that some cards are going to obtain more or less interest based on things such as numbering, jersey/patch colors, crispness and clarity of autos, etc.
What a buyer and seller needs to do if they are going to go the eBay route is take the last 7 auctions for that card (you can sort completed auctions by end time). Throw out the highest and lowest prices. Take the other 5 and simply get an average (including the shipping price) and that will give you a better idea of what it goes for.
2. Seeing posts that state "I must sell" or something to that effect and then the seller is not flexible on prices.
Solution - Don't post this and waste a buyer's time if you really aren't selling. If you must sell, that means you are willing to take a price lower than what you want as you need the money. That doesn't mean accepting $2 when you wanted $20. That means being reasonable. Yes, it's your cards and you are free to sell them for what you want...but it is misleading (and will get you put on some people's "Do not deal with" list). Must sell is saying you need to get some money. Be willing to accept a little less and you'll get a lot more in return than being stingy and using "must sell" as a ploy.
3. Post that state "looking for all cards of (insert player's name here)" and in reality, the person is only looking for particular cards.
Solution - Don't waste the time of other traders. State explicit what you want. Say you want all cards, means you want everything, including duplicates. It's saying you want all base and lower-end cards. Don't say it if you don't mean it.
4. Picking on someone's collection because it is small, low-end, lesser known players, etc.
Solution - Don't do it. It was absolutely in bad taste to make fun of anyone's collection. Just because the person doesn't collect the hot names or the Flavor of the Week doesn't mean it's a useless collection. The joy of collecting is you can make it into whatever you want. Only want to do base sets, go for it. Only want to do rookies, go for it. Only collect specific players or teams, go for it. That's what's great about this hobby. You can make it into whatever you want and enjoy it. Respect all collectors and their collections.
I'm going to stop here, but the list could easily continue and it's saad to even think that. Hobbies are meant to be enjoyed, not feel like it's work. There's something for everyone in this hobby and we should embrace them all.
I'm sure you have your own frustrations and I'd love to hear them. Feel free to post them in your comments...but please post your solution to them as well...