Like many of you, I often receive offers to purchase cards. However, unlike many businesses, I don’t go out and solicit a lot of collectors to buy their cards as that should be in the purview of those dealers who really want to do this for a living rather than just as a side venture.
I recently received a couple of offers that illustrate one of the common issues between sellers and those they’re trying to sell to. Although they dealt with different types of material, both were remarkably similar in what they were hoping to receive for their items.
What I found fascinating was that both of these sellers, one with modern cards and the other with vintage, were both assuming that most people would be thrilled with a 20 percent mark-up.
The first seller thought I could turn a big profit on some popular current players from Dallas area teams and offered the group to me at what he said was 20% off “current eBay selling prices”.
The other seller had a lot of vintage material. He had some old Exhibit cards and vintage baseball sets. While he did have a 1925 Lou Gehrig Exhibit rookie card (and that is one card which many dealers will purchase at 80%), I could not think of any other sets or cards he had that were worth paying 80% of what I could have reasonably expected to sell them for. The only people who might buy collections at such a high value are collectors who want to keep the cards or keep some and sell the rest in hopes of getting some of their money back on the deal.
Awhile back, I wrote about a seller about two hours away from me who called a with a nice but nothing spectacular collection including items such a few Fleer basketball rookie cards from 1986, as well as a 1975 Topps Yount and 1980 Topps Henderson rookie. He mentioned to me I was the sixth person he contacted and the previous five offered remarkably similar offers which he did not accept as he thought that was not enough money. At some point, the realization that his expectations were too high should begin to kick in.
Yes there are some truisms still in the business such as a collector will usually out-pay a dealer. However, a collector usually only needs one of an item while dealers will take the whole lot. And then the dealer’s next question is whether a 20 percent mark-up is sufficient for their efforts. In almost all cases, you will find the answer is no, unless as mentioned the card is a popular item such as the early Gehrig exhibit, a 1914 Cracker Jack or other extremely hot, extremely rare or extremely popular issue.
Considering how long it will likely take to sell collections (usually card by card) and the expense it takes to do it, whether through table fees at shows or online seller’s fees, most dealers won’t work on less than a double if not more. That’s my opinion. What’s yours?