Category Archives for Sports Card Radio Mail Bag

December 2011 Sports Card Radio Email Questions

Sports Card Radio
E-Mail Question & Answers
December 2011
Free Adrenalyn Cards – No Suh – Topps Football + More
Send emails to:
sportscardshow@gmail.com

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Dear Sports Card Show
I saw your website and think it’s really cool. I also saw your contests page where you were giving the 2011 Panini Adrenalyn Football Cards out. So I was wondering, Do you still have the 2011 S2 Adrenalyn football cards available? If so, I won’t hesitate to send an SASE, but I wanted to check and make sure you still had that available first. Thanks in advance!

Answer
:
Yes, we still have about 200 cards left. The cards that I have shipped out are listed on that page. Those are not available anymore. Let me know if you have any other questions.

2011 Panini Adrenalyn Series 2 Greg Jennings Special


Dear Sports Card Show
I’m a big fan of Topps Chrome Football, but that’s about to change! Why didn’t 2011 Topps Chrome Football include Ndamukong Suh in their set? He was the Rookie of the Year, and made the Pro Bowl!

Answer
:
I didn’t even notice they left out one of the leagues best defensive players, and one with a huge fan base in Nebraska. That’s too bad, I bet if he played for one of the New York teams, he would be included every season 🙂

Hopefully they don’t ignore him in future sets, thanks for pointing this out to us, good luck with you Suh collection.

2010 Nadukong Suh Topps Chrome Rookie
2010 Ndamukong Suh Rookie


Dear Sports Card Show
I recently found your show and subbed to you on YouTube and downloaded your first 15 podcast that I’m currently listening to. I also sell on eBay and I’m curious about buying wholesale.  Any tips or places would be greatly appreciated.

Answer:
I just put this up recently:  What Kind Of Profit Can I Expect From Selling Topps Baseball Cases?

At the bottom you’ll find links to a list of wholesale distributors:  Wholesale Sports Trading Cards Distributor List

Q&A I posted from other questions similar to buying wholesale: How Do I Open A Card Store? Online & Brick/Mortar Shops Q & A

I think selling during the release date window is best – you might not see huge profits on things like Gypsy Queen or Tribute, but you’ll sell most of it at break even or small profit, before it takes a dip. Another strategy is to buy after months have past & the price comes down.

Once you get to our latest show with R&B Sports Cards Owner – he gives a lot of great tips from a guy that just went through it all.

Hope that helps, it’s an interesting business – and you can profit when the products are hot. Thanks again, let me know if you have any other questions.

Upper Deck Authorized Retailer Seal


Dear Sports Card Show
I looked online for “Topps 2011 Football checklist” and your website came up.  I could not find anything on the Topps.com sight, like I have seen in past years, so I am wondering if you will be updating the list at all.  As an example, I was looking at my “Faces of the Franchise” cards and I currently have 21 and I am missing 2 of the cards you show in your list.  However, your list only shows 17 cards, so I know it is not up to date, it must be missing at least 6.  I appreciate the info you do put out there, especially when Topps themselves do not put out a checklist of inserts.

Answer:
Yes, we do update sets – however as you saw … it’s not always easy to get them perfect. Especially with Topps, as they don’t provide checklists anymore.

I updated the Faces of Franchise set and a few others. Usually we find out about errors from collectors like yourself contacting us – and we appreciate it. I’ll try to tidy up the rest of that set as well in the coming days. If you see anything else that isn’t correct, feel free to contact us anytime.

2011 Topps Football Joe Namath & Mark Sanchez Dual Autograph Faces of Franchise Card


November 2011 Sports Card Radio Email Questions

Sports Card Radio
E-Mail Question & Answers
November 2011
Finding a Card Show – Skybox Metal – Topps Magic + More
Send emails to:
sportscardshow@gmail.com

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Dear Sports Card Show
Hi I have some codes from the Super Bowl Legends giveaway by Topps how do I get these cards? What site do I go on?

Answer:
Start at the Topps Super Bowl Legends website and follow the directions at the top of the screen. You might have to register on the site which will require an email address.

2011 Topps Super Bowl Legends Giveaway Code


Dear Sports Card Show
My husband is an avid baseball autograph collector.  He loves to go to autograph signings and get an official ball signed by the athletes.  I’m looking for an autograph show for the winter/spring of 2012 that is on the east coast from New York to Washington, DC.  I looked on your website, and I only saw a few shows listed for January.  I also couldn’t figure out how to go to the February, March, or April pages on your website.

Answer:
Hopefully I can help you find a nice show! I have not updated the 2012 Card Show Calendar past January – as most of the information on shows past then is not available yet. I will be updating that page almost daily in 2012.

The BIG autograph show is in Baltimore in August 2012. There will be so many athletes signing there – probably several hundred over the few days.  Its by far the biggest sports card and autograph show all year. Information can be found here: NSCC National Show.

As far as the winter/spring – check out this website: NY Card Shows – the website shows up a little funky in my browser – but they have been hosting shows every month for quite some time. They should update dates and times for their 2012 shows very soon I imagine. I will also list these shows on the 2012 calendar. Quite often they have autograph guests – and they will list the dates and prices on their site.

If I hear of anything in your area I will be sure to contact you.  Feel free to let me know if you have any other questions. Good luck!

Note: Good Resources For Show Information:


Dear Sports Card Show
Hi, I am trying to find out what cards were short printed in the 2009 Topps Magic football set. Can you be of help?

Answer:
Here is a list of all the Base Set short print cards from 2009 Topps Magic Football:

2011 Topps Magic Terry Bradshaw Sp Card

2 Brodie Croyle
6 DeMeco Ryans
18 Kenny Irons
21 Ben Obomanu
26 Robert Meachem
27 Isaiah Stanback
34 John Beck
35 Justin Forsett
36 Lavelle Hawkins
44 Tye Hill
46 Chris Simms
47 Chris Brown
52 Dave Thomas
55 Derrick Harvey
58 Fred Taylor
60 Lorenzo Booker
63 Sebastian Janikowski
66 Ernie Sims
75 Sean Jones
79 Leonard Pope
82 P.J. Daniels
86 Kevin Kolb
98 Yamon Figurs
105 Terry Bradshaw
111 Kolby Smith
125 Ahmad Bradshaw
130 Shawne Merriman
131 DeAngelo Williams
136 Greg Olsen
138 Antrel Rolle
154 Marlin Jackson
165 Deuce McAllister
172 Brad Smith
174 Brandon Jackson
176 Alvin Pearman
178 Matt Schaub
180 Ronald Curry
185 DaJuan Morgan
193 Julius Jones
195 Maurice Stovall
199 Vernon Gholston
206 Marc Bulger
207 Mark Bradley
208 Owen Schmitt
211 Allen Patrick
222 Reggie Williams
224 Derrick Williams
233 Kyle Orton
236 Brian Leonard
239 Lee Evans


Dear Sports Card Show
I would like to say thanks first for a very informative distributor list page on your website. I have currently filed with my state for a reseller tax Id and should hopefully be able soon to find a distributor. I have many years experience of buying and selling on eBay as a hobby, and am looking forward to taking it on as a business. My question is about the benefits of being able to buy directly from a distributor. I would like to think that there is plenty of meat on the bone for a dealer, even on the eBay trading card market place. I know that some of/or all of the distributors on your list also sell on eBay. I am afraid that unless I could buy in bulk from the manufacturer themselves, that there may not be enough room for making a profit.

Will distributors really give me the product at a price that I can be competitive? Or can I expect to find the prices similar to what I can get on eBay? Once I get access to the wholesale price lists, I will obviously know the answer. I just wanted to ask you ahead of time what to expect.

Answer
:
You are going to find that the prices are similar (and sometimes higher) than eBay. However, sometimes you can make some money – especially in Baseball. Topps Gypsy Queen, Series 1, Tribute and a couple other sets did well this year over wholesale.

I answer this question more in-depth here about buying and selling at wholesale.


Dear Sports Card Show
If possible can an article on 2011 Sp Authentic Football be produced? I am really looking forward to the set.

Answer:
Your wish is our command! Enjoy the set – the cards look nice. 2011 Upper Deck Sp Authentic Football Checklist. Just in case there are any changes to the set upon it’s December 13th release we will update that page with additional pictures and information.

2011 Sp Authentic Chrisitan Ponder Base Card


Dear Sports Card Show
According to your checklist of 2011 Topps Linage Rookies, you show 20 players.  But I can only find 19. Your checklist shows #15 being Hank Conger’s but I have the card and it is #16.  Was hoping that you could help me out as I am trying to finish this set.

Answer:
It appears as though there is no card #TR15 as you suspected. So the set runs TR1-19 with no card #15. Conger is indeed #TR16. Let me know if you have any other questions. Good luck with your set!

2011 Topps Lineage Hank Conger Rookie


Dear Sports Card Show
What are the differences in the 1997-98 Fleer Skybox Metal Championship boxes and the 97/98 Fleer Skybox Metal boxes? Which one contains the red and green pmg’s or do they both? Any info would be greatly appreciated.

Answer:
They both will contain the PMG cards – but they are different for each set:

1997-98 Skybox Metal Universe – those will be the boxes with red and green pmg’s. Every card in the base set (besides the checklist cards) have a parallel green and red pmg – the first 10 in the print run (#/1-#/10) are the green color. The rest (#/11-#/100) are the red color. I just noticed a Jordan Red was at $6,000 with time left on eBay.

1997-98 Skybox Metal Championship – from what I remember back when this set came out – this was like a ‘Series 2’ and came out later in the NBA season toward the playoffs. They have PMG cards that are serial numbered #/50 and have no color difference.

It is very difficult to pull these cards out of boxes because the set was mass produced compared to sets that are released today (and also have parallel cards #/100) – that is in part why you see the astronomical prices.

1997/98 Skybox Metal Kobe Bryant Precious Metal Gems Green /100


Dear Sports Card Show
I am writing in regards to the 2011 Topps Football Legends checklist….you don’t have Mark Ingram listed as one of the possible cards and I wanted you to know that I pulled the Mark Ingram future legends autograph relics today serial numbered 1/1. I thought you might like to update your checklist.

Answer:
Nice card! Thanks for letting me know. I updated the list with Mark Ingram – that’s one of his best cards all season!

2011 Topps Legends Mark Ingram 1/1 Autograph


Dear Sports Card Show
Do you guys know anything about this football card Randall Cunningham black & white photo?

Answer:
That was part of the 1991 Pro Set Football set – I believe it is card #712. It doesn’t hold a lot of value because they made so many of those cards during that time period. I am not sure what the background image is of. If you have any other questions feel free to email me!

2011 Pro Set Randall Cunningham #712


Dear Sports Card Show
I have enjoyed visiting your website last season to get the hockey
product checklists. I have not seen a Score checklist yet and was wondering if you were going to be posting them soon?

Answer:
Thanks for visiting the site! I was able to finally get around to completing the 2011-12 Panini Score Hockey Checklist. Enjoy the set!

2011-12 Score Hockey Brad Marchand Glossy


Dear Sports Card Show
I was looking through my 2011 Topps Football Cards and I noticed a base card, David Garrard, card #88 that had ridges on the top. Is that special from a value standpoint or just a mistake made by Topps?

Answer:
I think what you have there is a misprint card that happens when the “clamps” that squeeze the top & bottom of the packs (packaging) together probably snagged the top of your Garrard card. As far as value – it actually might raise it slightly – but very slight. Long term there is a possibility those type of cards might be worth more – like misprinted money/currency is. It’s probably worth putting aside and hanging onto just in case there ever is a demand for those type of mis-printed cards.

2011 Topps David Garrard Mis-Print Clamps


Dear Sports Card Show
I see you have listed on your 2010/11 Playoff Contenders Hockey Checklist on the site that the Tyler Seguin rookie ticket auto is a short print of /99 made. Was curious if that was a misprint or where you got the info? Hoping it came from the company. Please let me know all you can of the production run of the seguin rookie ticket auto.

Answer:
My mistake. Only #136 Magnus Paajarvi has a confirmed print run of 99 copies. The rest are limited to /399 or less but I could not find any information to confirm the total amount of copies for Seguin.

2010-11 Panini Certified Tyler Seguin Autograph Ticket


Dear Sports Card Show
I need help concerning the 2011 & 2009 Goodwin Champions cards.  Could you please tell me the book value of the following 2011 cards: Barry Sanders #57, Cam Newton #78, Rogers #80, Eric Lindros #32, Alex Ovechkin #89 & Abe Lincoln #156.  Also how do you tell the difference between the night & day versions of the 2009 set?  I have a Lincoln #16 card with a dark background but really do not know the difference. If you don’t provide this info, could you tell me where I might find it.

Answer:
As for the values, I’ve been using www.priceguideapp.com
I searched for: goodwin champions
It reveals most of the prices for the base cards you listed below, and seem pretty accurate to what you’d pay at a card show/shop …ect

As for the Lincoln, I’m pretty sure only a few cards are day/night … with the night being the SP. The Abe appears to have a dark background for all his cards – as I have yet to see a ‘day’ version … which should be in plentiful supply. Also the background doesn’t look like the night versions of Griffey and the other ones I’ve seen. I’m pretty sure there is no day/night version of the Abe.

2011 Upper Deck Goodwin Champions Abraham Lincoln


October 2011 Sports Card Radio Email Questions

Sports Card Radio
E-Mail Question & Answers
October 2011
Adrenalyn Codes – Mantle Sketch – Panini Americana + More
Send emails to:
sportscardshow@gmail.com

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Dear Sports Card Show,
The codes on your Adrenalyn Free Code pages do not work and say invalid when I type it into the Panini website – what’s the deal?

Answer:
The Adrenalyn codes only work 1 time – for one single person only. So someone redeemed it before you. They typically go very fast on those pages – within 20-30 minuets probably. We wish you luck the next time.

Tuukka Rask Adrenalyn Ultimate Signature Card


Dear Sports Card Show,
I just opened up a pack from 2011 Topps Series 1 Baseball and was very lucky and got a Mickey Mantle sketch card.  It’s from artist Chris Henderson.  The picture is of Mantle’s 1952 Topps rookie card.  How much realisticaly is this card worth?

Answer:
Hello, thanks for the e-mail – I’ve seen lots of the 2011 Topps Update Baseball versions that are autographed by some players – the ones by ‘fans’ tend to go for less. I would estimate a retail auction value of $75 – $100 – considering most sell for under $75 and are autographed by a player. That’s my best guess, but a Yankees/Mantle fan (or Chris Henderson’s friend/family) might pay into the low $100’s for it.


Dear Sports Card Show,
I was greatly disappointed with 2011 Panini Americana cards. Thankfully I only bought one pack. Panini puts James Dean on the cover and use words like ‘legendary’ & ‘Hollywood’. I got an athlete & 2 astronauts that have nothing to do with Hollywood, and the 2 “stars” are not even D-list! Cha Cha in Grease and Flick from X-mas story?? Really? We at least got a good laugh out of it.

Answer:
That’s too bad, I actually haven’t bought any from this year but they do seem like they might not be the best purchase. At least you were able to get a laugh out of it! Hopefully your next purchases are better. Thanks for the message.

c


Dear Sports Card Show,
I have a Hank Aaron card from 1971 Topps Baseball that has Ken McMullen’s biography and stats printed (off-center) on the back by mistake. The card itself is in fair to good condition otherwise (no creases, 2 sharp corners and 2 rounded corners). Could you give me any kind of estimate as to its value? Any help would be appreciated.

Answer:
Good question, sounds like a printing error, and usually there isn’t much added value over what the ‘normal’ ones sell for on eBay.

However, being Hank Aaron – it’s possible collectors are willing to pay more, but probably not that much more than a similar condition copy. My guess would be a collector would pay 1.5 – 3x more for this card if they never seen one before, but I’m just guessing.

Either way, it’s a nice card and certainly has some value. With the right promotion and buyers, you could do well on it. Hope that helps,

1971 Topps Baseball Wax Pack


Dear Sports Card Show,
I can’t tell the difference between a 2011 Bowman Platinum, Ruby, Emerald, etc.  Is it the background color that denotes that?

Answer:
Hello, thanks for the e-mail. Yes, it is the background color (and/or serial number) that denotes what parallel you have. You can see some of the colors here: 2011 Bowman Platinum Refractors

Hope that helps, let us know if you ever have any questions.

2011 Bowman Platinum Bryce Harper Purple


Dear Sports Card Show,
Hi – I need help.  I have a redemption card for an autograph rookie variation superfractor parallel of Freddie Freeman card number 173. It expires 8/31/14.  Can you please tell me how do i get this card?

Answer:
Thanks for the e-mail, you are going to want to follow the instructions that should be detailed on the backside of the redemption card.

For more information about Topps redemptions visit: http://redeem.topps.com/

Once you follow the steps to redeem the card, they typically arrive in 4-8 weeks, but vary depending on the card/season. Make sure you give them an address you know you’ll be living at for a while. Hope that helps.


September 2011 Sports Card Radio Email Questions

Sports Card Radio
E-Mail Question & Answers
September 2011
Card Values – Best Grading Company – Famous Fabrics + More
Send emails to:
sportscardshow@gmail.com

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Dear Sports Card Show,
I have a Chris Johnson Topps Platinum card and he is wearing the old (Houston) Oilers jersey – is it worth any more? I also have a Topps Platinum Damian Williams 675/999 and I was wondering how much does that influence the value? The last card is Rob Gronkowski Xthick card – does that also raise the value out the roof or is it a minor raise like a few cents?
Answer
:
Thanks for the e-mail, in all those cases the value is only goes up very little. The Chris Johnson for example is a variation, but Topps Platinum is not a ‘rare’ set and most cards are not worth much more than a few dollars.

Typically inserts #/50 or less are considered fairly rare, and that’s where you start to see a boost in value on non-autographed/jersey cards. Hope that helps, good luck with your collection.

2010 Topps Platinum Chris Johnson COMC


Question: I’m a big fan of your podcast – got into them a couple of months ago.  I recently got back into collecting cards – only basketball – with a theme of collecting rookie cards, both old and new.  Question for you – I have a number of high-quality rookie cards that are ungraded.  What do you recommend as the best method of getting them graded?  I’m looking for good quality but also a good cost-efficient option.

Answer: I’m actually going to do a podcast on this very subject – but I’ve been pretty consistent with my recommendations over the years.

In my opinion – there are only 2 companies I think collectors really respect. PSA (public company under symbol CLCT) the other is BGS or Beckett.com version of grading. Both are pretty cool, the main difference is PSA requires to you ‘join’ a membership to send in cards, while BGS can take cards without a membership. Cost wise, they end up being very similar. They have different prices depending on how quickly you want your cards back … with 60+ days being under $10 per card in most cases (I think).

If you don’t want the cards back quickly – it’s as low as $7 per card (for 100+ cards … plus shipping) I found that here: Beckett PDF Submission Form

PSA is about the same, but you need to be apart of the ‘Collectors Club’ which does give you some perks.

Those are the two companies to send to. It then depends on what holder you like better – and PSA tends to be slightly less strict on the grades (but that’s debatable). The BGS holder is very thick, and give you a detailed rating on the label on how centering, corners, edges, and surface break down on a 10pt scale. PSA I believe now has half grades, their holder is thinner – which takes up less space if you are stacking/storing these.

I like both companies – and think they both offer a good honest service. Package your cards very well, usually a box – inside another padded box – is best, but the companies will offer tips on this as well. Insure the package both ways for the full book value of the cards as well.

Other than that, it’s up to you – if you have 300+ cards, I could see you trying both if you can’t decide. Best of luck, follow up with me if you’d like and let me know how it goes for you. If you have any other questions let me know.


Question: I have purchased a number of Famous Fabrics First and Second Edition cards but have no idea what they are worth. Please tell me where I can find a price guide for Famous fabrics so I can price them.

Answer: Unfortunately – there isn’t a true price guide for the 2010 Famous Fabric Cards. The thing you will have to try and do is research prices on your own. Specifically off eBay – to see what certain cards are ending for.

Check Out My Cards has 106 cards for sale from 2010 Famous Fabrics. This will give you an idea what people are asking for those specific cards.

Hopefully eBay and COMC can give you enough data so that you have an idea what your cards might be worth. Let me know if you have any other questions.

2010 Famous Fabrics Kevin Garnett


Question: Not really very smart when it comes to card collecting, however I recently pulled a Topps 2011 Chrome Brandon Beachy RC auto Atomic Refractor # 10/10, can’t find any online yet and am wondering about the possible value of the card?

Answer: It’s a very nice card. You are correct – I couldn’t find one for sale online – 2011 Chrome just came out so it might take a few more weeks for one to surface on eBay. If I had to guess – dirt cheap would be $100-125.  Top of the mark would be $500.  It looks like a confirmed sale on a Red Refractor #/25 was $137.00.

If someone offered you $200-250 – that would seem like a fair offer. Continue to monitor eBay because one will probably hit auction within the next few weeks.

2011 Topps Chrome Brandon Beachy Atomic Ref Auto


Question: I came across your great website about selling trading cards and distributors. Before viewing your website, I use Southern Hobby Supply. Would you recommend this company for selling online? For instance, I bought Pokemon booster boxes from them and trying to sell them on eBay. It is very difficult because competitors are selling at much lower price than what I bought it for. If you can be of any assistance it would be much appreciated.

Answer: I would recommend Southern Hobby, however finding products to sell on eBay is very difficult no matter what company you go through. Typically the products that you can make a little money on will meet some of these requirements:

#1 Hot Product = Doesn’t happen very much because there are so many products & few players catch fire within the hobby. Usually it’s a rookie like Stephen Strasburg, Blake Griffin or even this year with Cam Newton that drives prices up because their rookies are valuable.

#2 Discounted Product = Doesn’t happen as much as it used to, because there are actually less products than in the past, however we saw plenty of discounts on 09/10 Basketball when Griffin was hurt … but they all became very hard to find once Blake started playing. Topps baseball boxes sometimes go on discount, and are often go up in price as the hobby boxes dry up.

#3 Gaming = Pokemon & Yu-Gi-Oh are pretty risky, but Magic or MTG cards often sell well because the customer is less sensitive to price because they ‘need’ the cards in order to play in tournaments …ect. Finding a kid or someone that can explain the game to you will help – and finding the ‘hot’ or more rare MTG products will help you sell them later on.

#4 Buy/Hold Premium Product = another risky business, but National Treasures, Five Star Football, SP Authentic & Exquisite boxes sometimes go up in price after 1+ year because most of the boxes have been opened. If there are redemption cards inside – you’ll want to sell before they expire, but most ‘older’ wax with star RC’s inside sell well because there is less supply 1+ year later.

In short, there is no 100% way to buy/sell for a consistent product. If there was — big companies would gladly buy/sell for >5% margins, as some top companies run on >2% margin. Since it’s tough to compete on price, try to compete on service … like getting special orders for customers – or including a pack of soft sleeves with every order. Shipping to Canada/International is another way to get customers – however planning those shipping logistics/costs need to be done before hand.

Hope that helps. When I was doing this full time, I was doing more research on what to buy – than actually buying/selling. I’d spend weeks monitoring prices before I bought something. Usually when I found a good deal, I’d buy a few cases because then I could maximize my profits. Let me know if you have any other questions.


 Question: I opened an 2009-10 UD Basketball Box last night and was pleasantly surprised to find an autograph card in addition to the standard 1 jersey card.  This card however is a Michael Jordan Spokesmen Signatures auto SP.  There is no pricing or print run in Beckett.  I didn’t see this series in your Product Reviews.  Do you have any information on this?

Answer: As far as value – I would just keep an eye on – or check eBay completed auctions for what Upper Deck Michael Jordan autographs sell for.  Ones in a Bulls uniform tend to sell for more. Ones that are on-card will sell for more. A general range for an autograph Upper Deck Jordan card is $300 is dirt cheap – and about $1,000 is top of the mark.

There are some real rare – buyback – UD Exquisite cards that can fetch over $2,000-10,000+ at auction.

2009-10 Upper Deck Michael Jordan Basketball Autograph


Question: Could you please help me on what the variations are in the 2010 prestige football? I just need to know how to tell the difference between lets say Demaryius Thomas rookie card and his variation card.

Answer: The variations appear to be photos of the players holding up their draft uniform after they got selected.  The regular cards are just a head shot of Demaryius in his college uniform. All of the Sp cards from that year work the same way. The Sp version is the draft day photo.

2010 Panini Prestige Ndamukong Suh Rookie RC Sp
Sp Cards Have Player Holding Jersey


How Do I Open A Card Store? Online & Brick/Mortar Shops Q & A

Question:

I would love to start my own online card business. I very very little capital, and not enough of my own personal cards to start a true inventory. My thought was to go on places like eBay and buy wholesale lots of cards from people either moving on or just trying to make money. I figured this would be a much cheaper way to acquire a ton of cards at a low price and still be able to make a little money off of them. Do you have any experience doing this, or any advice going forward?

Answer:

There are quite a few ways you could go about it. I like the idea of buying lots of cards (bulk buys) and re-selling them. I do that quite often myself – more for fun. Although I think one could work their way up to making good money.

The things I would consider:

1) Start slow. Real slow. You can definitely find a deal on a ‘lot’ of cards on eBay for $500-$1000. You can also buy cards individually from sellers that might have some good deals. Sometimes players in certain areas sell better than the other side of the country. If you decide to start your own website – or just re-list the cards individually on eBay – I would do so at a slow pace.

2) Be organized. This ties into #1. You want to start slow so that you get a feel for all the time it takes to sell a card. The shipping process, the listing process etc.

3) Write down and keep track of how much money you earn. It’s a tedious process best done on Microsoft excel.  You need to know how much money you make off each card. Include all your costs, from the bubble mailer, the tape, the gas to the post office if possible, everything. If you don’t know how much $$$ you are making you will have no idea if it will be worth your time to continue the business.

4) Be patient. This is very important. Especially if you start your own website. It takes a lot of time to get people to start coming to a website. You could work everyday on it for 6 months and maybe still not make a sale on it. People give up very quickly on websites because of this. The people who stick around and consistently work on their site usually end up being rewarded. You could start by selling on eBay and/or Check Out My Cards and having a website/blog that promoted those listings.

5) Think about creating a niche or specializing in one type of sports card collectible. For example, you could start a site that only sells 1/1 cards, or Green Bay Packers cards. You could start a site that only sells sports card supplies. Specialize in one thing. “Box Break Sites” are an example of this, they specialize in ‘group box breaks’ so they can target one segment of sports card buyers. It’s very difficult on little money to specialize in everything, so I recommend trying to become a market leader in a segment of the hobby. As you grow, you can always expand into other markets.

There are some other avenues. Depends what market you are in. A Craigslist ad could yield some results if you live in a populated area. It might be mostly people trying to dump off some 1990’s commons but you might come across someone with decent stuff. I know of a guy who recently bought about 10,000 comic books for around 6 cents each. He did real well as some of them were valuable.

I use Check Out My Cards a lot. They have an option to sell your ‘entire port http://www.comc.com/Classifieds/Port_Sale/  This is where I come in and buy them and re-sell the cards on that site. Easy for me cause it’s just clicking buttons. Have bought and sold about 40,000 cards, have probably at least doubled my investment, maybe more, but have never withdrawn any money. The site is set up in a way that it’s better to just keep re-investing profits into more cards. Great for me cause it’s fun and not something I need to earn income from. But it does limit what you can do on that site. As there maybe only one or two sellers who can “make a living” off that site. At least as of now. He is expanding his business to include comics, coins, magazines, other collectibles which could open things up for someone like me who has some $$$ to spend on inventory. I’m always quick to promote his site because I’ve met him several times and I think in a few years there will be some people who can make $2,000-5,000 a month by just flipping merchandise over – or sending in cards/stuff they get a good deal on. Look into the site and let me know if you have questions. I know that site very well. It’s also going to change a little bit in September. Changes which I think could help bring more buyers onto the site with simplified shipping fees. The Beckett Book Value will also not be listed – which has been a key factor to that site since it launched.

eBay is a great source though. Even for other things. Back in the day I bought hats, other little collectible things in huge lots and re-sold them usually right on ebay. Obviously just know what you’re buying from a trusted seller. I’ve picked up tons of graded cards in the last few weeks on eBay – I may sit on them for awhile but eventually I’m confident I will sell them for way more then I paid. eBay is incredible in that way. And with sellers now able to list free in the sports mem category till the end of the year look for even more deals to be had.

feel free to shoot me any questions. There are very few resources for stuff like this. I am always happy to help.

Question:

I listed to your Fleer Retro podcast on itunes and I thought I would give my two cents on selling on Ebay full time.

I have been doing it since June of last year when I got fed up with my job and quit.  I thought I was only going to do the full time thing for about 6 months to a year before I sold it all off in bulk.  After the first four months I started to realize that I could make some real good money doing this.  I had a Beckett Marketplace store for about 12 years and did that full time before shutting that down and moving to my own site/ebay selling full time a year ago.

Here are my tips to success.

Fixed price over auctions 95% of the time.  If it is something that is super rare, or if it is a ebay promotion, then I will use the auction feature.  Set an item at a price you would be happy for and if it sell that is great.  If it doesn’t, that means that the right buyer was not on Ebay at the right time.  I have had some cards that have gone unsold for weeks/months only to be listed at a higher price and sell.  I can’t explain it.

Do not use the “Best Offer’ feature on your fixed price auctions. – As soon as you give the perception that you are willing to take less for an item, it won’t sell.  People want a deal and as soon as they see a best offer they will expect a deal.  It is not your “deal” that they want.  They want “their deal”.  The first offer is almost 20% of the asking price, even if the card has sold at 80% the original asking price.

I agree about buying low vs selling high.  I put out buy posts like “Have $20.00 to spend on a lot of cards” I specify what I am looking for in the body of the subject and watch the offers roll in.

I have a few other things I am keeping to myself, but I think you get the point.  It can be done…but it is a lot of work.  My wife is out of the house at 6 AM and gets home at about 5 PM.  I am on the job as soon as I wake up and usually sorting cards for uploading the following day when she comes home at night.

Answer:

Thank you so much for this insight, I’m not sure if you listened to podcast #106 yet but I basically tried to give out this advice. I remember the days when fixed price was a different fee structure … but certainly now with eBay making it ‘free’ to list the fixed price is the way to go.

Question:

I’ve been thinking about a career as a card shop owner. If my memory is correct, I believe you used to run a shop. Do you think it is even possible to be successful in the card industry today? Any advice will be really helpful. Thanks.

Answer:

The short answer is probably ‘don’t do it.’ But there are lots of businesses that started under that principal, and are very successful today.

If you decide you want to try and go for it, my advice would be pretty simple.

NorCal Sports Shop - Closed#1 Keep your expenses low – and always be looking to make them lower, not higher. Location is not always key for card stores – as its a niche sale anyway, so you can find a hole in the wall commercial spot for under $200 – $300 per month, that’s where you begin. Find the cheapest credit card processor, and the cheapest display cases you can find – and dress them up using cheap techniques. Don’t advertise in the newspaper or yellow-pages – they will cover you anyway. Don’t buy any advertising – you can do it yourself much cheaper, and effectively.

#2 – Diversify your income stream. Sell on eBay, Amazon, your own website – and other sources. Always look to maximize your cost vrs. profit. Sometimes selling 400 $1 items works out better than selling 1 $400 item — sometimes its the other way around. Try to cross sell people on other items (hopefully high margin) other than sports cards … which tends to be a 10 – 20% markup vrs. 50%+ for traditional retail. Things like team Key-Chains, Pennants, and hats can sell well in a sports card store.

#3 – Save your money – no matter what business you are in. Understand that its nice to have cars, equipment, inventory, houses, … ect … but at the end of the day, business and life tends to revolve around having cash money, not ill-liquid assets like property and inventory (boxes of cards).

We were in business during an extraordinary economic time in the US/California. People felt rich in CA because homes were all selling for close to a quarter million dollars or much more. So people spent a lot of money rather frivolously during our early days. Once oil/gas climbed to huge prices in early 2008, and home prices fell over 60% in late 2008/09 – people stopped spending money on things other than food, gas, bills. If you are in business during a growing economic period – you should be able to make a profit.

If you sell anything other than food, water and the essentials during a downturn (like sports cards) you’re going to get crushed. Understanding your local city, state, country and even global economics should help you when determining if its a good time to open a business.

Economic cycles are proven to move in a wave-like fashion … with dramatic ups/downs along the way. We are in the midst of a dramatic downswing, however – it won’t be long until the cycle corrects itself,  and we are already seeing that now. Its possible that in 2 – 5 years, economic conditions exist where owning a sports card/collectible shop makes sense – but we are a ways away from that, at least here in California.

Hope that helps. If you get anything out of this – its to do what you absolutely love in life – no matter how much money it makes you. I’ve quit many jobs paying me more – so I could do what I want in life. Having some money is great, but doing what you want in life is the real payoff. Somethings require lots of work and talent, but if you really want to do it – you will make it happen.

Question: (How To Get Your Website To Show Up In Search Results)

Hi, I recently opened an online hobby store and we are having all kinds of trouble getting our website found or even visited. I took your advice and we have the cheapest shipping rates on the web! Our prices are very competitive, yet we just cant get our name out there! Any help you could give would be greatly appreciated!

Answer:

Hello, good questions –
In short, there is no 1 magic trick you can do to gain presence and traffic to a site. Its always a combination of at least a dozen factors that all need to be done in order to maximize the traffic you can get. Just know that I worked 3 – 5 hours per day (sometimes longer) in 2009 when I was getting no traffic to my site … It took over 1 year for that ‘work’ to pay off … so having patients is key.

There are 3 main sources of traffic – Direct, Search, Referral. For most websites starting out, you won’t be getting many visitors at all. To build up people coming to your site, you need to build up reasons for people to come to your site. For an online hobby store, it can be ‘daily deals’ where you mark-down a card well below what it might go for on eBay, giving customers a good deal is a great way to get them to come back everyday. While most sites have to start small, and therefore have a small budget – giving away, or seriously reducing prices on certain items is a great way to gain visitors when you are just starting out a website.

The main thing you want to remember is to create ‘content’ or ‘pages’ that people want to come back to on a daily basis. The more you do this, the more direct, referral and eventually search traffic you will get overtime.

How to get high rankings in searches on Google/Yahoo/Bing is not something I can’t fully explain. The theories are always changing – and online stores are different than an ‘information’ sites or forums. But there are some key things to understand. First thing is to watch Google’s own video’s they post on the subject:
http://www.youtube.com/user/GoogleWebmasterHelp

Some are going to be too detailed for what you need to do – but there are some on here that will help you understand the types of things Google needs to see in order to rank you high on their search rankings. I watch most of these videos more than once – as they never give you that ‘golden key’ to traffic – but add up everything they say – and you will figure out how to best apply some of the techniques they talk about.

Second thing related to search – and its a huge must that I know nothing about (because I don’t sell products) But its to sign up and use the Google Merchant Center: http://www.google.com/merchants – in short, you send them product data – and that appears in Shopping results and other shopping apps on the web. ProStores might have ways to automatically do this – but its probably better if you manage it yourself. Bing/Yahoo might have something similar – I’m not sure.

While you’re at it: do all the work needed to submit your site to Google, Bing & Yahoo if you haven’t already –

Referral traffic comes from you actually having a good price on something – or cards that are popular to collect. People will post links on Facebook, Twitter and forums when you have a nice store with lots of good things for sale. This takes a long time to develop – as people other than you won’t link to your own site for a long period of time. However, if you move up the search rankings, and get some happy customers – you should notice that the referral links come in from more sources. Even with fairly popular Twitter and Facebook accounts – this might only amounts to less than 10 visits per day … but it is very much worth doing as it’s tied to search rankings and other factors that will help sales. I follow about 100+ avid collectors on Twitter, and have personally seen http://www.twitter.com/brentandbecca sell many cards this route.

There is lots more than this – as this is just the beginning things to work on. This guy on YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/user/chri5784) busts a lot of boxes for customers, and is another way to get traffic & customers. He also builds trust because he has so many successful box breaks that he’s posted to the site.

Hope this helps, All at once – its a massive amount of work. But 1 – 3 hours per day, every single day, and you shouldn’t have a problem becoming one of the top 5 online dealers in 1 – 2 years. Its possible.

Question (What Are The Prices Like At A Distributor Vrs. Buying Direct)

Hi, I have recently gotten everything I need to start a hobby store, I will use a storefront and utilize the internet and shows to help me. Is there money to me made when using a distributor, or is buying direct the way to go? I was curious to about the prices distributors can offer and some that you highly suggest. Thanks in Advance, I love this hobby, and have dreams of owning a shop.

Answer:

Upper Deck Authorized Retailer SealThanks for the e-mail. Selling online is fairly competitive (and recently Upper Deck & Panini have taken steps to restrict the number of sellers online) – and the prices you get from a distributor/wholesaler won’t be ‘that’ much cheaper than you currently see online. Buying directly usually requires a store-front, and fairly large orders of all products – so having the ability to move product in volume is a must.

When I had a store, selling by the pack is where you made the most money – especially if it sold quickly. Boxes, you’re lucky to make 10 – 20% either in store or online because many customer will want you to ‘match’ online prices.

In short, you want to start with wholesalers/distributors until you have the customer base to require you buying multiple cases of every product a company makes.

Here is a list of the wholesalers/distributors I used – there might be more, but these are most of the major ones I know of: http://www.sportscardradio.com/sports-cards-wholesale-dristributor-list

Question (How Do Online Places Like Blowout & DA Sell So Cheap)

I have currently signed up for several wholesaler that sell sports cards. The price list that I have viewed of theirs all reflect prices higher than what i find at the actual sports card shops like blowoutcards, dacardworld, bigtsportscards, atlantasportcards, dcssportscards … ect. My question is how are they able to sell these so cheap??? Is there something I am missing?

Answer:

Good question, you are not missing anything. The margin is usually 5 – 10% markup at best when selling online (as a ‘small’ seller). Most of the big guys are pre-ordering large amounts of cases – you should get an additional small percentage off (usually 3%) when buying cases in large quantity via wholesalers. Most of the price lists are going to be higher than eBay/blowout/da – because when you can buy in large volume, you get even greater discounts than the ones I describe above. Rarely can you find product to flip unless you get it on pre-order and/or a player inside is blowing up (like Blake Griffin or Stephen Strasburg)

Blowout, DA and others order directly from Panini & Topps too … I never did this, but when I worked at a card store many years ago – the prices are typically 30 – 50% lower than wholesale …but you have to commit to large orders of every product they make. That’s why they can offer such low prices – because they order $10,000+ per month from each company.

Its a real tough business. If I were to get back into it … I’d build up a base of pre-orders at a low markup and try to cross sell them on supplies or other (older) wax that they can’t find elsewhere. I would not compete on price – because $5 more is not that much if you offer great service, packaging, special orders and communication – something all the online retailers lack as they get larger and larger.

Question:

I recently received a seller ID number and contacted and set up accounts with three of the distributors.  I received a price list from Southern Hobby. Internet prices are anywhere from 30-50 a box dollars cheaper than what I can purchase them for. I spoke with the sales rep about this and he stated, that people must be taking a loss on product they already purchased or purchased entirely to much and could not resale them.  I really don’t see that happening considering  some of the products came out in November of this year(2010) I inquired about purchasing several thousand dollars of the same product and basically was offered thirty dollars off of a box but that still is not competitive enough for internet pricing.

It seems these distributors are geared more towards storefront vs. internet operations. Basically my question is do you know of any distributors that I can buy from that I can still turn a profit and be competitive with on ebay? These people that are selling online are getting their product from somewhere and I was curious to know if you may have any ideas.

Answer:

The larger retailers will deal directly with the companies – and they get a fairly competitive price, but its very difficult to deal directly with Topps or Panini unless you have a physical store – or you are a huge online retailer with a presence already.

Your discount with a distributor will be if you pre-order the product at the right time & in large quantities. The prices are always going to be fairly similar to ‘eBay’ prices because that is how the market works. You will only make 5 – 10% profit on each sale if you are lucky online selling boxes. DA and Blowout don’t mark stuff up that much either (they make about the same on each sale too because of higher costs that smaller internet retailers) … but the volume is there to make it profitable.

So in short, there is no 1 place to go .. you really have to dig for the products that you think will make money (or find the products that will go up in value from the presale price) – and very little product does that, in fact most goes down. Many people got caught on the wrong end of 2010 Baseball when Strasburg got hurt … but then again plenty of people made money before he got hurt. The big guys can just trust they have enough ‘regulars’ to buy anything that comes out – that they just order it all. Smaller operations can’t do that because it’s too risky & a sure way to loose a bunch of money.

If you could just order boxes and sell them online for a guaranteed 10% … everyone, including many top businesses would be doing it. However, under current market conditions this is very difficult unless you have built up a massive customer base over a period of time.

Some wholesale places won’t mark down stuff after they get it – others do. I remember ordering 4 cases 03/04 Finest Basketball for $44 a box (in 2004) and the guy saying on the phone that they were taking a $20 per box hit on the sale.

It happens less now because of the exclusive contracts and there being a lot less product on the market. So it wouldn’t surprise me if people just sit on it, instead of dropping the price like they did in the past.

Question:

I am going to strictly be selling on line.  If the wholesaler drop ships that would be even better, but is not mandatory for me. Do most of these companies require a minimum order?  Are there prices much different then if I became a dealer with Topps, UD, Panini, etc?

Answer:

There aren’t many drop shippers, as the margin on the boxes is too low to make this possible. Drop shipping only works when the margins/profits are 50%++ on each item.

Be sure to check out Panini/Upper Decks rules on selling online. Most brand new products in the future won’t be sold online unless you are authorized. Blowoutcards is currently suing UD over the issue. Wax 1-2+ years old isn’t effected really, just the brand new products.

The minimum order is usually $300 at wholesalers, but I’ve dealt with some where its $500. Your very first order is usually $500, or higher than the normal amount. Most collect payment via COD, or collect on delivery, so you need a Money Order the day it arrives.

To deal with the companies directly, you need an actual store … and be ordering several cases of each product they make. The prices are lower, but your expenses & risk will be much higher..

Another option versus tradition drop-shipping is using Amazon Fulfillment. Essentially you would ship the items to Amazon and have them fulfill the order either via the Amazon front-end … or Amazon can actually act as a private label fulfillment. In these cases you are layering on some added costs – however with the advent of Amazon Prime and/or 1-day delivery … these added costs might be something collectors are willing to pay more for. These are things to keep in mind as e-commerce online evolves over time.

Other Resources For Potential & Current Sports Card Shop Owners: