Sports card shops and shows were once the venues where the majority of buying, selling and trading of sports cards and memorabilia took place. That changed in the 1990s, when thousands of collectors began to discover the internet.
Most transactions are done between complete strangers with email correspondence the only interaction. Some dealers have discovered that there are collectors who prefer something a little less impersonal.
New Jersey-based Just Collect recently hitched its wagon to another Garden State company, SGC, placing an ad in the grading and authentication company's magazine.
The move worked.
"We just received our first consignment as a result of the ad," Greenwald revealed. "Two hundred and fifty 1950s and 60s vintage stars graded SGC 84 to SGC 96 worth $15,000 - $20,000. The consignor has been collecting since the 1970s and has been very active in the last ten years. He decided to thin our his collection, called our firm, and dropped the cards off the same day. "
As a company with a business model based on consignments, the move was a good business lesson according to Greenwald. Face-to-face discussion lends itself to a comfort level that usually isn't possible to attain otherwise. And, of course, it's faster.
"Many clients are quite happy to speak with you on the phone or via email and then ship the cards across the country to be sold," he said. " However, with this ad we saw an opportunity to focus on clients who may prefer to bring cards in to the office. Being based in central New Jersey, there are a huge number of collectors here, in New York City and Philadelphia, all within a 60 to 90-minute drive to our office. "
Just Collect is already offering several dozen cards from the consignment on its eBay listing page, highlighted by a 1958 Topps #47 Roger Maris SGC 84 and 1952 Bowman #1 Yogi Berra SGC 86.