Buying Sports Cards at Wholesale is Too Easy

By @SportsCardNews -

 

Food Chain

Let's get one thing straight. Panini and Topps could care less about your shop or online business. You are a dime a dozen. Panini and Topps sell products to wholesale distributors or quasi ones. Those are the real customers. That's who Panini and Topps stroke off. You know who else gets fluffed and buffed? The sports leagues and athletes. Without a license from a sports league or players association, just about everyone at Topps and Panini would be looking for another job.

Where are you on the food chain? Not anywhere near the top. Last I checked the sports leagues, players (and agents), PBM Graphics, card companies, and distributors all get dimed out before you do. All five have built in margins before the product hits your hobby shop or Breakers.TV webcam. Think about that before starting a business, especially one centered around selling boxes of sports cards.


Anyone Can Buy Wholesale. Literally.

Despite all that, want to buy sports card boxes at wholesale? Easy. Might be able to complete all the paperwork from your sofa depending what state you live in. Figure out the requirements for your state, and you could be placing an order for some boxes by the end of the day.

Make sure to pay any sales tax, if applicable, to your state. Pay your state/federal income tax like you normally would. You don't even have to sell the boxes if you don't want to. Just tell the sports card distributor you "sell online" or do "group breaks". There are several distributors that will sell to you without any or much vetting process. Or, once you have your tax id number, just sign up for the business to business Dealer Net and buy products off there.


Quasi Distributors

Maybe you don't want to fill out a few pieces of paper and deal with some minor tax stuff. No worries. You can and will find boxes of cards priced near or below that of wholesale distributors. You are probably already familiar with these places, DA Card World, Blowout Cards, Atlanta Sports Cards, Big T Sports Cards, Steel City Collectibles are a few in this category. Anyone and everyone can order from these websites.

Here are a couple newer products that are cheaper at quasi-distributors. Prices are from May 3, 2014.

Wholesale Price Quasi Wholesale Price
2014 Topps Tribute Baseball: $198 Blowout Cards Price: $194.95
2014 Famous Fabrics Big Apple Baseball: $85 Steel City Collectibles Price: $74.95
2013-14 Panini Totally Certified Basketball: $85 Blowout Cards Price: $84.95
2013-14 Score Hockey Jumbo: $50 Steel City Collectibles Price: $49.95

Illegal Rafflers Can Become Dealers

It's astonishingly easy to buy sports card boxes at wholesale cost. There is no barrier to entry. Hobby shops and online sellers have no protection aside from their reputation and level of customer service. The card companies and wholesale distributors don't weed out bad actors, essentially allowing anyone to become a dealer.
Sports Card Illegal Raffler
U of Mississippi Razz, whose business email is: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. was doing breaks of 2014 Bowman Baseball Jumbo, I guess, in between running illegal raffles. During the few minuets I watched his live stream on BoxBusters.tv, the breaker used the homophobic slur f****t.

MVP Sports Cards
3333 Bardstown Rd Suite 5  
Louisville, Kentucky 40218

This card shop, located in Kentucky also advertises that they conduct illegal raffles (razz, razzing) on BoxBusters.TV and their Facebook Page.
MVP Sports Cards
MVP Sports Cards
 

Sin City Sports Cards
3650 S. Decatur Blvd #11
Las Vegas, NV 89103

Well known in the "razzing" community, Sin City Sports is supposedly closing their brick and mortar location. I've witnessed Sin City Cards raffling off spots for a case of 2013 Panini National Treasures Football on Breakers.TV.

Sin City Sports Cards

 

DA Card World Raffles

For a short time DA Card World conducted illegal raffles. Quasi distributors aren't necessarily the most noble or sharpest knives in the drawer. If a company is "proud" to take part in illegal activity, what else might they be willing to do?

 

Side Note: Are "Group Breaks" Even Legal You Jerk?

I have no idea. Maybe they are illegal. You could pay the best lawyer to tell you they are legal or not. Guess what? Lawyers don't make laws. If you encounter legal trouble for conducting group breaks, guess what your lawyer will say? "That's unfortunate. Let me look into this for you (pause) at $250 an hour. Trust me, we can beat this."

Raffles, like the ones you clowns do on BoxBusters.TV, are clearly illegal. Clear as day. If you need a lawyer to explain how those raffles are illegal you might be the dumbest person on planet Earth.


Products Are Weak

Blowout Cards, DA Card World and other quasi distributors would sell boxes for more if they could. Problem is, there isn't much demand for sports cards. Shocking, I know. You think Topps and Panini give a crap about the quality of their products when they let athletes sign cards like this?


Topps Fail Autograph Pau Gasol Fail Autograph Panini Prizm Fail Autograph
   

Panini and Topps are trying to "hit the numbers", just like every business you've probably worked for. And in a low margin game like producing licensed sports goods, attention to detail isn't high on the priority list. Churning out sticker applied autographs and using redemption cards clearly doesn't suggest they care about the perception of their product. Panini and Topps know they have enough people out there with a gambling itch. Are you one of them?


Allocations

So wait! There are a few products each year that have demand. Yes! Whoo Hoo! This is when hobby shops and online sellers make all their money right? Wrong! This is when Panini, Topps, and the wholesale distributors cash in!

Remember where you are on the food chain. You think you're going to make money on Bowman and National Treasures before those ahead of you at the dinner table? Please. You're going to get what they call "allocated". If you bought enough of the junky products over the last year, maybe you'll get all the good boxes/cases you need. Maybe. The card companies and distributors eat before you do. Remember that.


Comped Out

When was the last time Topps or Panini invited you to the NFL Rookie Premiere, or a VIP party? Never? Shame, because you could have gotten face time..... with your distributor..... at these events. One sports card distributor told me he had been going to the NFL Rookie Premiere for the last 15 years. The freebies that get sent distributors way will make your mouth water. Autographs, jerseys, free stuff, a direct line of communication. You shop owners and breakers don't get much of that. Think about where you are on the food chain to figure out why.


Eliminate Bad Actors

Anyone should be given a shot to start a sports card business. But there needs to be far more regulation from distributors and card companies when bad sellers arise. Illegal "razzers" should not be able to buy from a wholesale distributor and conduct a business. It's a slap in the face to hard working shop owners and group breakers trying to run a legitimate operation. It takes money out of their pocket. Selling cases/boxes is hard enough, allowing individuals who freely flaunt illegal activity to become dealers gives further credence that the sports card industry is a joke.