The gentleman who I spoke about in previous Shop Talk installments was in again this week with boxes… and boxes… and boxes of cards he was hoping to sell to us.
Like I’ve said many times before, I always enjoy going through anything that customers bring in but, to be completely honest, this gentleman is pushing the limits of what’s fun and when it becomes work.
I have it rough, I know.
It’s a process that can be very hit or miss but those old, musty, discolored top loaders could have gold sitting within them and you have to take the time to stop and look at every single card. It’s equal parts exhilarating and frustrating. You see a full row of vintage football from the 1950’s, 60’s and 70’s with plenty of potential and in the very next row you will find 600-plus 1992 Score baseball cards.
Our cardboard hoarding customer felt so bad about how much time he’s taken up over the past few weeks that he brought me a peace offering today, a coal region delicacy called Soupies.
A Soupie is an Italian styled, dry cured meat with origins found in a village in Italy called Isca.
When Italian immigrants came to the United States working jobs in the local coal mines, they brought unique recipes of cured foods that would have a long shelf life and be a portable, quick and easy snack during their long days in the mines. This delicious meat and its rich history is synonymous with the culture of the Pennsylvania coal region.
But I digress.
I don’t think I’ve ever walked through exactly what happens when customers bring cards in our store, so let me break it down for you.
Whenever a potential seller comes in and I’m at the counter I will go through the cards, card by card, for two different outcomes or reasons. First, I look to see what we need in the shop as far as what we can resell online, in store or need for certain customers who collect certain players and teams.
Secondly, I’m looking for my own selfish reasons. Most of the time, I’m seeing if there are cards I’d like to add to add to my PC and on very rare occasions I’m looking for something I might be able to flip for a few bucks.
We try to be patient and let the seller know we appreciate their coming to us, while communicating that there just isn’t a market for some things. If the shop owner is around, I’ll bring him over to get a look at some of the highlights and what I might want.
Once we’ve seen everything, we will make our offer to the seller for the entire group or just what we feel we can use. We try to be fair while building in enough room that we can profit on what we’re going to try to sell.
After the customer leaves, Jason (the shop’s owner) will generally go through what we’ve purchased with me and we’ll decide exactly what to do with it all.
This has been a process that’s worked for us pretty well over the years as everyone gets what they want and its a win-win-win as Michael Scott would say. Jason generally leans on me for knowledge on what to buy and how to price when we put them out in our boxes and showcases. When he’s not available, though, I will often make offers to sellers on my own behalf because I don’t want to buy something the store doesn’t ultimately want, especially on higher valued items.
Regardless of our protocol, it still remains quite possibly my favorite thing to do while working here. I don’t take for granted that most collectors don’t have this type of opportunity where customers bring cards in freely for sale. It’s great fun to see what walks in the door, especially when there are things we don’t often see.
Ultimately, we did find some cards to buy out of this collection that keeps on giving and we’re fully expecting to see him again.
Super Sales and Series 1
As you might imagine, the Chiefs win over the Eagles in the Super Bowl doesn’t sit well with many of our locals here in Pennsylvania but folks here have allegiances to all sorts of teams. Our online orders were booming, though, and most of the sales were for the champs.
We had many prisoners of the moment as we completely sold out of our Chiefs mini helmets, all of our Patrick Mahomes action figures and the vast majority of Chiefs cards we have in stock.
As much as the world’s been focused on football, baseball is in the air and we got cases upon cases of the brand new 2023 Topps Series 1 Baseball. The flagship Topps brand carries as much weight as any in the hobby and collectors clamor to get this product before we even had pitchers and catchers report.
No matter the quantity we get in stock, Series 1 always sells out within a day or two as we’re competitively priced with anyone online.
We also saw got 2022 Panini Prizm Draft Picks baseball product in stock late last week. At $85-$95 and a typical box having five autographs, it’s a strong seller, too, with a checklist full of young prospects.
We also got in a case of the new 2022 Immaculate Collection UFC. This is one of the higher end MMA face punching products. We also expect this one will be a quick seller. For much of my previous life, I dedicated and devoted my time to combat sports and a portion of that passion transferred over into my card collecting habits. I still just can’t pull the trigger on any current year MMA products. I’ve collected 1st autos and have PC’ed all of the big stars over the years, picking up rookies and or first licensed autographs but there haven’t been many newcomers in the past few years that have make me want to go out and buy their cards.
That wraps up a pretty well rounded week here in PA. Here’s to another fun, card filled seven days.