Just wanted to send you a very BIG THANK YOU for keeping me interested in this wonderful hobby we love. I read your e-articles frequently and appreciate how your stories relate to my own experiences and the experiences I had growing up collecting cards. I was able to complete a 1952 Topps set two years ago that my father and I started over 20 years ago and I don’t think it would’ve been possible without gentlemen like yourself keeping readers like me interested in the hobby with your massive contributions. All the best to you and your family and keep up the great words!!!
Will, thank you for the nice words and congratulations on competing that 1952 Topps set. Those high numbers are very difficult indeed.
Reader Mike Mango sets up at shows and read our columns on the give-and-take between dealers and customers at card shows. We wrote one of them on how it’s not always the dealer’s fault when a customer walks away empty handed and followed up with another on why collectors aren’t always the cheapskates dealers sometimes perceive them to be.
Wanted to ask Rich Klein a few questions about “the dealer to blame” article. I often times come across damaged cards that I would like to sell like with pin holes from being tacked onto a wall or (a trimmed border) and have always priced them at 90% off. I get a lot of complaints when the cards are vintage and carry high book values like a 1956 Topps Luis Aparicio that might have a market value of say $40 and the collector tells me why would I pay $4 for a damaged card? How much more than 90% off can I go? I see some validity to $5 for a damaged card. What are your positions with this and how do you deal with it?
Honestly, the two easiest types of cards to sell in this hobby have always been the ones priced at something like 10% and the nm-mt or better cards. The great middle is where you run into problems. Frankly, I have never had people complain about any card I priced at 10% except they wish the cards were in better condition so they could “feel they got a real deal”. But I have several clients at the local DFW area who love my box of low grade cheapies. The hardest part is getting people to actually take a look at the boxes where I have those cards but I rarely have trouble with folks thinking it’s too much.
I think stressing that you’re at 10% of a card’s value and giving them a quizzical look when they protest might not win a sale, but you’ll feel better.
Long-time reader Tom Stillman also chimed in on dealer pricing:
Enjoyed your article about prices some dealers charge. That surprises me a little bit as I would think part of the fun of being a dealer would be to keep up with player moves, trends, etc. As a fan, it would give me an excuse to follow sports more closely than I do now.
I may have told you this before as I have shared it with other collectors, hobbyists, and dealers. The thing that drives me crazy at any show is when the dealers complain to each other about the effect of eBay, “Antiques Roadshow,” or any other entity that supposed hurts their business. I go to shows to get away from my problems and have some fun. The last thing I need is to hear some guy’s problems regarding his business. That and the lack of prices on items is what keeps me away from a booth at a show.
Some dealers, just like everyone else, always find a reason to complain about something. There is little doubt eBay is an issue as most people who go to shows are very aware of eBay pricing and want to buy at or close that issue. And that’s fine—eBay is a dealer’s competition and the smart ones realize that– but there are a lot of variables on cards being sold on eBay.
We totally agree with your comment about pricing your cards at a show and to me, all cards should be priced if possible. When Beckett does not put a value on a card, what I try to do is put a “make offer” sticker on the front and my code on the back. At least that way, the customer knows there is no base price to go from.
But way back in the pre-internet world, the dealers complained when others sold material cheaper through hobby publications so I guess the more things change, the more things stay the same.
We posted our box break/review of 2014 Topps Stadium Club this week and collector Arnie Prichep had some reaction to the product.
Love your articles in Sports Collectors Daily. I get the daily email and also am a “like” on Facebook. About the new Stadium Club cards, I bought a box (paid $95 including shipping). EXTREMELY DISAPPOINTED.
I feel this was way too expensive per box for only 90 cards, and way too few current players. Quality is fantastic, but player selection (stinks) in my opinion. I was really looking forward to this set. Next year I will look closely at the checklist to see what cards are in the set before I decide whether or not to buy a box. Who knows if Stadium Club will even be back next year, I bet it’s not gonna be popular this year with their too-small 200-card base set and their too-many old players in it. A shame, this had the potential to be great, but I just get so upset when opening packs and getting retired player after retired player. Many people like those cards, but I don’t. And I know personally a lot of people that don’t like them either. A lot of buck for the few cards that will make my album.
Again, while the quality is spectacular, I do NOT like such a high percentage of the cards being retired players. This has totally ruined the experience for me. I don’t want them, I don’t like them. Period. I would have loved to see a 400 card base set with ALL current players. They could have made the old-timers cards to be inserts or variations. Player selection stinks too on the current cards. I just don’t see the attraction here except for the outstanding (photo) quality. Maybe they should have done this in 2 series. (The) first series a big series with all current players, second series a smaller one with all retired players.
Topps tried hard to come up with a great quality borderless high-gloss set, and they succeeded in the beauty area, but totally blew it with player selection.
The one aspect of Stadium Club everyone has agreed upon is the set lived up to the Stadium Club tradition of exquisite photography. No one can argue that the photographs aren’t tremendous. We did not receive the Derek Jeter card in our box but that card now features the second grouping of the famed Yankees “Core Four” which included Andy Pettitte, Jorge Posada, and Mariano Rivera.
I think the issue of how to use the retired players is sometimes hard for Topps. Personally, I thought the idea of many of the retired players brought back memories of the original Stadium Club run when many of these players were originally featured. Seeing Pudge Rodriguez or Nolan Ryan come out of the packs was pretty neat. But, we are also fans of sets featuring as many active players as possible in part because not every player gets a card today and they should.
For fun, we picked Leonys Martin, who is the starting center fielder for the Texas Rangers and including parallels he has just 46 card in the Beckett database for 2014. and of those 46 cards maybe 10 are the singular cards before the parallels. But if you are a Texas Ranger fan today would you rather see a Martin card or a star from the recent past like Pudge Rodriguez? Many would say Martin, but that is the dilemma Topps faces.
And we do not know who you received as your autographs, but most people would wonder if you would feel better about Stadium Club if you had pulled a Ken Griffey Jr. or Mariano Rivera autograph.
Our series of stories on vintage set breaks did generate a ton of interest and at least one dealer emailed us to mention they were interesting in joining that fray. With the right vintage sets, I think the idea is a winner and it’s another option for collectors who want to liquidate their sets without doing it themselves on a traditional selling site.
Toward that end, look for some information on Sports Collectors Daily this week about a fresh vintage Topps set break taking place right now that you can take part in for a very low cost. In fact, look for new ones each month as part of a new sponsorship arrangement with a ‘set breaker’.
Keep those emails coming.