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  1. #1

    Trade Value and the White Whale Effect

    Writing Team Trial Article 4/5

    By: Darcy Ryan Brooke-Bisschop (aka bb_bros)

    I wrote an article recently that identified five factors that I take into account when I enter into trade discussions that allow me to go beyond the “book value” of a card in an effort to maximize my return in a deal.

    The first factor that I identified was what I refer to as the White Whale Effect. The term “white whale” is often used by collectors in reference to a card, or cards, on their want lists that seem to elude them endlessly.

    Cards can become white whales for a number of reasons. Some of those reasons are obvious, such as exceptionally low print runs, massive demand eroding the quantity of the card left available in the marketplace, or lightly broken products resulting in few cards ending up in trade lists. Others become white whales for seemingly inexplicable reasons; print runs are high or at the very least reasonable enough to expect to be able to easily find the card, and demand is not high enough for supply to be diminished in any significant way.

    Regardless of why cards become white whales, they have the potential to massively impact or swing the return that you can achieve in a trade. Thought not every trade will involve a white whale, recognizing when one does appear and approaching the potential deal accordingly is essential to making use of this tactic.

    My White Whale Effect Revelation

    It was not until fairly recently that I realized just how valuable this tactic could be. Through an e-mail, I was approached by a fellow collector a few months ago who was inquiring as to whether or not I had singles for a base set that he had been trying to complete for more than ten years old (White Whale Alert #1). He was down to a solitary, $0.25 single card remaining on his want list, and when I informed him that I had the card he needed he was elated (W.W. Alert #2).

    When he asked me what I wanted in return, I simply sent him my complete want list and told him to see if he had anything that I needed. If he did, that was great, but if he did not, I told him not to worry and that I was happy I could help him out. He said that he would see what he could track down, and I sent his card out in the mail the next day.

    A few weeks had passed since I had sent him his card and I had yet to receive any e-mails or packages from him, so I figured he was unable to find anything that I needed. To my complete surprise, a package arrived shortly thereafter, and inside was a card from my want list that far exceeded any return that I was expecting. He had sent me a jersey card that I needed that ‘booked’ at $15 (W.W. Alert #3)!

    Though this is a very extreme example, it is still one that illustrates how little the ‘book value’ of a card can impact the end result of a trade. The card he was searching for was clearly worth far more than the $0.25 ‘book value’, and in the end I got a substantial return.

    Had I been more in tune with the fact that he was in such desperate need of the card that I had, I might have been able to negotiate a card that I had a greater need for in return, but either way I cannot complain with what he provided me.

    Taking Control with White Whales

    Making use of this trading tactic hinges on identifying emotional reactions; both those of your trading partner and your own. These emotional reactions are what can drive collectors to extremes in order to obtain a card. Your ability to recognize the emotional reactions of potential trading partners, while at the same time keeping your own in check, are essential to maximizing your return in a trade.


    If you come across a collector who gives you a clear indication that a card you have is on their white whale list – think of messages or e-mails along the lines of “I HAVE TO HAVE THAT CARD!!!!” – then use that information to your advantage:
    • Try to keep the other person’s initial emotions in control of their decision making by emphasizing in your correspondence that you realize how much they seem to need your card
    • Try to be as aggressive as possible in your asking price, but ensure that you are not being unreasonable
    • Be patient; by not rushing to get the deal done you can allow them time to stew over the fact that they finally found the long-lost card
    Conversely, should you stumble upon a white whale of your own, it is important that you not overtly display to others that the card is in fact on your white whale list. Clearly, overpaying goes completely against the idea of maximizing your return in a deal, so be sure to avoid this scenario in order to maximize your return. It is actually rather simple to avoid overpaying for your white whales, so long as you keep your emotions and subsequent reactions in check.

    My own experience has taught me that it is also best not to advertise the fact that specific cards are your white whales. Obviously they need to be included on your want list in order for other collectors to know that you need them, but stating outright that a card is a white whale will lead to other collectors getting the impression that you are willing to overpay to get it.

    By recognizing white whales and approaching conversations in which they are involved in a patient and carefully considered way, you too will be able to look beyond the price guide and maximize your trade returns.

  2. #2
    Trade Value and the White Whale Effect

    By Darcy Ryan Brooke-Bisschop aka bb_bros

    I wrote an article recently that identified five factors that I take into account when I enter into trade discussions that allow me to go beyond the book value of a card in an effort to maximize my return in a deal.

    The first factor that I identified was what I refer to as the White Whale Effect. The term “white whale” is often used by collectors in reference to a card, or cards, on their want lists that seems to elude them endlessly.

    Cards can become white whales for a number of reasons. Some of those reasons are obvious, such as exceptionally low print runs, massive demand eroding the quantity of the card left available in the marketplace, or lightly broken products resulting in few cards ending up in trade lists. Others become white whales for seemingly inexplicable reasons – print runs are high, or at least reasonable enough to expect to be able to easily find the card, and demand is not high enough for supply to be diminished in any significant way.

    Regardless of why cards become white whales, they have the potential to massively impact or swing the return that you can achieve in a trade. Thought not every trade will involve a white whale, recognizing when one does appear and approaching the potential deal accordingly is essential to making use of this tactic.

    My White Whale Effect Revelation

    It was not until recently that I realized just how valuable this tactic could be. Through an email, a few months ago I was approached by a fellow collector inquiring as to whether or not I had singles for a base set that he had been trying to complete for more than ten years (White Whale Alert #1). He was down to a solitary $0.25 single card remaining on his want list, and when I informed him I had the card he needed, he was elated (W.W. Alert #2).

    When he asked me what I wanted in return, I simply sent him my complete want list and told him to see if he had anything I needed. If he did, that was great, but if he did not, I told him not to worry and that I was happy I could help him out. He said he would see what he could track down, and I sent his card out in the mail the next day.

    A few weeks had passed since I sent him his card and I had yet to receive any emails or packages from him, so I figured he was unable to find anything that I needed. To my complete surprise, a package arrived shortly thereafter, and inside was a card from my want list that far exceeded any return I was expecting. He had sent me a jersey card that I needed that “booked” at $15 (W.W. Alert #3)!

    Though this is a very extreme example, it is still one that illustrates how little the book value of a card can impact the end result of a trade. The card he was searching for was clearly worth far more than the $0.25 book value, and in the end I got a substantial return.

    Had I been more in tune with the fact that he was in such desperate need of the card I had, I might have been able to negotiate a card that I had a greater need for in return, but either way I cannot complain with what he provided me.

    Taking Control with White Whales

    Making use of this trading tactic hinges on identifying emotional reactions, both of your trading partner and yourself. These emotional reactions are what can drive collectors to extremes to obtain a card. Your ability to recognize the emotional reactions of potential trading partners, while at the same time keeping your own in check, is essential to maximizing your return in a trade.

    If you come across a collector who gives you a clear indication that a card you have is on their white whale list – think of messages or emails along the lines of “I HAVE TO HAVE THAT CARD!!!!” – then use that information to your advantage:

    · Try to keep the other person’s initial emotions in control of their decision making by emphasizing in your correspondence that you realize how much they seem to need your card.
    · Try to be as aggressive as possible in your asking price, but ensure that you are not being unreasonable.
    · Be patient. By not rushing to get the deal done you can allow them time to stew over the fact that they finally found the long-lost card.

    Conversely, should you stumble upon a white whale of your own, it is important that you not overtly display to others that the card is, in fact, on your white whale list. Clearly, overpaying goes completely against the idea of maximizing your return in a deal, so be sure to avoid this scenario. It is actually rather simple to avoid overpaying for your white whales, so long as you keep your emotions and subsequent reactions in check.

    My own experience has taught me that it also is best not to advertise the fact that specific cards are your white whales. Obviously they need to be included on your want list in order for other collectors to know that you need them, but stating outright that a card is a white whale will lead to other collectors getting the impression that you are willing to overpay to get it.

    By recognizing white whales and approaching conversations in which they are involved in a patient and carefully considered way, you too will be able to look beyond the price guide and maximize your trade returns.


    Digg: http://digg.com/other_sports/Trade_V...e_Whale_Effect

    Propeller: http://www.propeller.com/story/2009/...orum-articles/

    Yahoo! Buzz: http://buzz.yahoo.com/article/1:0433...e-Effect?usc=1

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