Tony Reid offers his weekly dose of happenings inside Sports Zone, the Central Pennsylvania shop where he works.
It was a busy week at the shop, full of the buying and selling of cards of all kinds, but sometimes we also serve as a sounding board for collectors.
In a recent break of 2022 Optic Football, a collector and good friend of mine had recently bought into a 2022 Optic Football box break for just a few bucks, selecting the Denver Broncos. Well, it turned out his luck couldn’t have been any better. The breaker pulled an Optic Gold Vinyl 1 of 1 John Elway Downtown for him.
He was beyond excited and wanted my opinion as to what to do with it– sell it raw immediately, get it graded or just hold onto it for a while. He came to town and we had lunch Monday down the street at a pizza joint and discussed cards, kids and life in general. There isn’t a much better way to spend your lunch hour than eating cheese steaks with a good buddy while looking at 1/1 hits. The grading option really depends on whether there’s a chance it will come back at the highest end of the scale. After looking it over with me, he’s strongly considering a submission but is still mulling his options.
New Products, Soft Sales
We managed to secure some more 2022 Immaculate College football and 2022 Elements Football but both have been been sitting on the sidelines (a.k.a. our shelves) most of the week with very few sales.
Of course, all we keep hearing is how the market is continuing to see some dramatic drops and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t see much slower sales on certain products and signs of that in store with card prices, pack prices, box prices and even the price of cases dropping.
The owner left midweek for another trip to the beach house and only a few hours after he left we got our USPS, UPS, FedEx deliveries and for the day which consisted of a pretty spectacular return of graded cards from CSG. We landed a CSG 9.5 2017 Optic Patrick Mahomes red and yellow and a number of other really nice grades. This was probably our best overall return from CSG who we have sent thousands and thousands of cards to over the past few months. The service and turnaround times have been excellent.
Friday morning we finally got our allotment of 2022 Score Football and 2022 Prizm Baseball in store. We have both products listed online and had customers in the door first thing to snag boxes of both.
We’ve been seeing a lot of people coming back in selling cards in recent weeks but this week as on a different level. It wasn’t just my friends and acquaintances, as we had a woman bring in part of a collection in that consisted of a large assortment of vintage football from a relative who recently passed away. We did what we could to make a deal and she seemed very happy to have a lot of this material off her hands. Sometimes for a seller its not about getting every penny you can out of the stuff you have in hand, sometimes the goal is to just get out from underneath a mountain of seemingly endless research and work and just make a few bucks in the process. The aforementioned woman started to do some research, poke around online and even list a few items on Facebook marketplace but quickly realized there can be a massive amount of work that goes into completing an actual sale. Multiplying that effort to sell a single card by a hundred or thousand times, can be a lot to ask an unwilling participant.
Early in the day Friday we had yet another walk in sale opportunity. An interesting man, who rode his bike from a few miles away, stopped in to tell me about all of the great cards he had, including Mickey Mantle rookies, Michael Jordan rookies and so much more. The only cards he actually produced at the time were two current year basketball cards including a base Kelly Oubre. Needless to say, I was a little hesitant to believe the high end card collection he was telling me about. That did not deter him from trying to sell me a sight unseen 1986-87 Fleer Basketball set. Like Isiah Thomas, I passed on that dea (and after further conversation he told me was missing from the set…as was Dominique Wilkins). Oh–and the he Dr. J was laminated to a page in the book because Erving is “his guy.”
The icing on the cake was the story of the Michael Jordan rookie card in his now near complete set. He had it since childhood and at one point when looking through his collection, he managed to spill chocolate milk on MJ while he was eating lunch one day. Again, I had to pass on this opportunity but it was a fun interaction with the man on the bike. Regardless of the outcomes, seeing folks who bring in cards (and stories) to the shop, are my absolute favorite moments of the day.
On Friday, another good card buddy of mine, Donnie, was in looking to do a little selling out of his two, three, four and five row boxes of goodies. Donnie is a pretty big time collector, who busts packs and boxes and is constantly wheeling and dealing online, so he always has some interesting stuff when he stops in. I managed to find more cards than I needed for the PC and we made a nice deal before he had to hit the road.
I managed to get some time off mid-week and again on Friday night for my son’s high school football game. The Altoona Mountain Lions were, unfortunately, blown out pretty bad. Nevertheless, I appreciate my colleagues at the shop covering for me and allowing me to not miss a game–win, lose or draw. I hope other shops are lucky enough to have such great camaraderie.
My son will have an opportunity to play college ball and right from Altoona we headed even further west to Grove City, PA as my son made his first game day visit. It was a torrential downpour for a good portion of the game but it was still a wonderful experience and we wouldn’t miss that for the world.
The schedule doesn’t always work out in my favor. I will be shorthanded on Monday at the shop, with hundreds of online orders waiting to be shipped and a few skids of product scheduled to arrive. I am already mentally preparing myself for what will be a hellacious day.
I hope everyone reading this had a great weekend and a better Monday than I will.