Got some sports stuff you can’t move anywhere? Try selling it to the locals.
Flowers are starting to bloom. Lawns are growing. Garage sale signs are springing up. They might be called rummage sales if you’re in the north. Tag sales if you’re in the east. Others refer to them as yard sales. No matter what you call them, they can be fertile grounds for dumping unwanted sports cards and memorabilia in a hurry…and at a price that might surprise you.
Neighborhood sales are still popular, even with the growth of the online marketplace. Some believe they’re actually more popular because of the shoppers who come looking for items they can flip on eBay.
If your sale is well advertised in the local newspaper, you’ll have buyers and browsers lined up on your street as much as an hour before your scheduled opening. Everyone wants to spot a bargain. Some are there to buy and then re-sell your stuff. It’s all good. You just want to get it out of your house and make a few bucks for the effort. And garage sales are a lot of effort. They can, however, be worth it for collectors and dealers looking to sell off items they just can’t move anywhere else.
While planning your sale, go through your collection or inventory to decide on some candidates to put on a table. Many garage sale shoppers are flea market and antique dealers who still believe that any baseball cards are gold. Others are older folks looking for things to give to their grandchildren. That, for you, means opportunity.
Monster boxes full of various years and sports, cheap wax boxes and factory sets. Game programs. Bobbleheads. It doesn’t matter. If you have a crowd, chances are good you’ll sell just about all of it before the day is over. No auction fees. No shipping. Just cash. As long as you price it right, and are willing to bargain, you’ll make friends fast.
Women will buy, but you might also consider marketing your garage sale to men by including a mention of the sports memorabilia in your ad or putting flyers in places where sports fans and collectors might see them.
The best part about garage sales is that you don’t have a concern for space. Use half your garage or yard if you like and don’t be embarrassed to offer things that might get you laughed out of a big card show.
If you can’t move that factory set of 1990 Donruss at $2 on eBay, stick $3 on it and put it in the garage sale. Better yet, put together a collection of junk sets and price the group a few dollars higher than what you’d like to get out of it. When the shopper asks for a break on the price, you’ll be prepared to give him what he wants and get rid of that stuff once and for all.
Even if you’re not stocking your sale with museum-quality pieces, cards and memorabilia are pretty good conversation starters. Much more exciting than another rack of clothes or the exercise bike you never use. They’re also unique. Not many sales those garage sale
”regulars” attend will have them. They’re collectibles—even if they’re junk in the sports card world—and collectibles usually fare pretty well at neighborhood sales, even in this economy. You’ll have a captive audience in awe of your product knowledge and less cynical than the card show crowd.
You have to be a little creative, though. If you have a box of post-1985 cards, there will still be some Pete Rose, George Brett and Nolan Ryan cards among them. Highlight those cards by putting them in plastic sleeves and laying them on top of the box. Some buyers will buy the box just to get those big name players to give away or re-sell in their own junk shop for a small markup. The buyers won’t know—or care—that millions were made. They just know the players and in some cases, really appreciate the chance to buy them. Isn’t that refreshing?
You might also discover that your buyers know a collector. They’ll pass the word on and that person may pay you a visit during the sale or at a later date, which can lead to more sales. Many times, those collectors prefer cheap material they can buy locally without regard for future value or scarcity. They’re glad to buy in bulk from someone in the same city.
Auction catalogs and collections of sports magazines might be worth displaying. Unopened wax boxes and packs can be terrific sellers too.
If you have some sports collectibles related to your particular area that don’t do as well as they should on eBay, you might even get a better price at your garage sale. College sports programs and trading cards or cards of players who hail from your area are good candidates. A hugely popular pro team’s memorabilia can be a money-maker beyond your wildest expectations, especially with a famous name attached and if there is no sports card shop nearby.
Bulky items or framed pieces that aren’t of great value are also good fodder. You won’t have to worry about shipping them and you’ll save space—which was the real goal of all of that work to begin with, right?