How to maximize profits when selling your baseball card collection

12 Jan

You’ve spent years collecting cards and you feel now is the time to cash them in for any number of reasons, but you don’t want to just simply give them away for a pittance regardless of the economy. You’ve done a great job buying all the “right” things, but you are sure how to go about selling them in a manner which will help you maximize your profits. This guide will share knowledge from a person in the actual business of sports cards and memorabilia for nearly thirty years so you know how to honestly appraise what you have and get the best return on your collection possible. This isn’t aimed at the collector with several thousand cards, but rather the collector with somewhere in the range of 75,000 or more cards. Some of these principles may be applied to smaller collections, but the process itself is more complex with larger collections and requires slightly different strategies.

The first thing to consider before you even look at a card is your time. What is your time wroth to you? A good guide is to figure the time you spend preparing your collection for sale is worth your hourly wage at work. You are going to be spending many hours on this which take you away from other pursuits so that has to be a consideration. The second thing is the need to be realistic. You are not going to get full book value for your collection when you sell it. In exceptional cases a dealer may pay up to 40% for a pristine cataloged collection that is all cherries and no pits with cards that are almost exclusively pre 1984. That collection is one in tens of thousands these days, odds are it isn’t yours. A dealer may buy in whole as is at 25% of condition graded book value, but 20% is more the norm. With that in mind, let’s look at you collection.

What type of collection do you have? is it a well concentrated symmetrical collection which flows from year to year with full basic sets, updates, and a few of the chase cards, special issues, etc… or is it a hodge podge of whatever caught your eye? A set here and there, a little bit of this and that? Collections that follow an established pattern and offer complete sets are the most desirable because they are the easiest to re-sell. Collections that are basically just a lot of random cards are a headache for dealers and take far longer to move hence carrying less interest for dealers. Decide whether or not it is worth your time from the perspective of hours -vs- return on that time to catalog your collection. If you feel it will be too laborious, simply resign yourself to selling as is.

When cataloging a collection, assuming you store cards in boxes rather than binders, be sure to double check that sets are complete. Pull the money cards out as you check them and store them at the end of the box where they can easily be checked by the dealer. Saving them that time will be appreciated and speed the process. get a rough count of how many cards the collection consists of and what years and companies they belong to. Mark each box clearly so that they can be easily located. The more time you save the dealer, they better the odds of getting a slightly higher price are. Keep in mind, when the sale is done, the dealer then has to go through this collection to break it down for re-sale and that time is factored into their offer.

Avoid ebay selling. The time, cost, headaches, and generally sub par offers received make this an inefficient medium for a large collection. You can try setting up at a show and selling it on your own, but this eats up time, money, and usually fails to move the full collection even after several shows. What usually happens is you move the prime items and get stuck with a collection of cards nobody will give you a good price for. Remember it costs money to have a table at shows, you will be taxed on sales, and usually when all is said and done, you haven’t cleared the total you want.

With that settled, the next step is to find a dealer. Don’t bother with the brand new shops or the stores that appear to be on their last legs, find the ones that have been around the longest, perhaps even the one you purchased from regularly. That is always a great first choice as they already have an idea s to what you have. Let them know you want to sell your collection, even if they aren’t in buying mode, they likely know other reputable dealers that are. In bad economies, the successful dealers are always in buying mode to stockpile for sunnier days.

Set up a time to have your collection viewed. Never invite multiple dealers to a single viewing. They are not going to bid against each other. Most likely, each will pass even if interested. These are people that usually work co-operatively so they aren’t going to burn bridges to buy your collection. have everything in order, tell them if they are interested you would like an offer within a week and leave it at that. be clear they are buying everything, not a few pieces. They will likely tell you they may want to check the collection one more time more closely so they can have a more accurate figure. Be very clear in letting them know that you likewise would like one business week to decide whether or not to accept their final offer. This gives you a little room to negotiate for more money, but don’t get outrageous.

Tactics dealers will likely use to drive the amount of their offer down (They are in business to make money after all) are the following:

– They may want to deduct for an appraisal. Never allow this, and never agree to paying for an appraisal. They are viewing, not providing a service.

– They may cite that there are too many common cards that aren’t worth purchasing and will be of no use to them and ask they be thrown in for free. They always have use for commons, don’t be fooled. Creative dealers parlay commons into big money through grab bags, tax deductible donations, and a myriad of other outlets. Let them know you know and aren’t buying.

– They will try to take over the process and dictate terms. This is your collection and your sale. use your voice! Negotiate, but be reasonable. When they understand you know the value of what you have you can save each other plenty of time by not wasting it bickering over pointless details.

– They may, almost certainly in fact, try to downgrade the value of your money cards. Many will cite that if it isn’t PSA or similarly graded, it will be too hard to sell. They may even offer to have the cards graded for a fee, or request you do. Don’t do it! Unless the individual card is over a minimum of $750 and a higher grading will raise it by $250- and you are POSITIVE it will grade higher don’t bother. The dealer will cite upwards of a 100 cards for grading which will take weeks and cost in the neighborhood of $1000.00 often. This is a tactic to get you to cave for a lower price than they are willing to offer. If they get to this point, they want to buy, they just want to get a better deal.

– They may ask you to consign cards to them. Refuse this. Unless you trust the individual 100% it is too easy for them to low-ball you on your cut of everything. It may takes months, even years to see money for certain things. it is not worth the time and worry. Cash in hand is always king in these deals.

Follow these simple steps so you can realize the best profit possible. Don’t take the first offer unless it is within the range you had in your mind as acceptable. Don’t fall for all the traps that will be set to make you believe you have less than you do. Keep a good inventory, realize your time is money, know the value of what you have. Above all be reasonable and willing to negotiate. You may think piecing a collection off a bit here and there is the way to go, but in the end moving the entire collection at once is the best option.


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