Friday, September 27, 2013

Mining for Gold ... Literally

A few days ago, someone emailed me a list of their baseball cards that they wanted to sell. I took a look over the list, and saw a few cards I was interested in. I called up the seller to ask what he wanted. He mentioned the collection was valued at $20,000 and he was looking for 40 cents on the dollar.

I let him know that no one would pay him 40 cents on the dollar, but I would love to take a look at the cards. He seemed a little stand-offish and said he would call me on Friday so we can setup something. I figured I wouldn't hear from him because he had that kind of "don't call me, I'll call you" tone.

To my surprise, I heard back, and we ended up meeting in a restaurant parking lot. He pulled off into the grass, and opened the back of his truck. After we introduced ourselves to each other what he said next dropped my jaw...

"I must apologize, because I forgot that I had sold a number of the better cards to a dealer about a year ago."

WHAT?!?!? I was NOT happy. Sure enough, the cards that were nowhere to be found were the ones I wanted most. One of which was a Mariano Rivera autograph. URGH!!!!

After I told him that I wished I would have known that before making plans for an hour round trip, I dug into the cards. I mentioned I probably wouldn't be able to pay the prices he wanted for everything based upon our conversation...especially since lots of the good cards were gone, and I would hope to find some cards I could buy from him to make the trip worth it.

He wasn't buying it.

He said he wanted them all, all, all gone. To my surprise, we were able to make a deal with fairly painless negotiating. Aside from the multiple mosquito bites, I was happy as a clam to load everything up into the cardboard-mobile and drive off.

Today, I was able to process through everything, and post everything up for sale that I didn't want to immediately separate the wheat from the chaff, so to speak. The chaff looks like it is going to easily cover my expenses for everything, and then some. I love when that happens! I'll love it even more when someone actually buys said chaff.

So, with all that said, I wanted to take some time to show off some of the treasures - I made a 3 row box of cards in holders that I'll either list as singles, or sell as bulk. Here are some of the treasures from the box:

Bagwell and Williams - The Williams has an actual diamond on it, and the Bagwell has actual gold in it! A Mo Vaughn card similar to Bagwell just sold for $100.

Old school double rainbow all the way! Certified Mirror Blue, Red & Gold Biggios....

and Bagwells...

and more Bagwells

Correction and Error inserts. The Jeters go for about $50 a pop.

Flair Showcase Row 0 Jeter Ripken Griffey

The Zenith Jeter is an Artist Proof

Certified Blue Jeter Thomas & Chipper

Certified Blue Griffeys

Blue McGwire, Mirror Blue Ripken, nice rare Thomas die-cut

Gold Team Jeters Bonds & Ripken

The 2 Jeters go for about $50 or so each

4 nice David Arias (Ortiz) rookie inserts from 1997 - I didn't even know these existed!

Artist Proofs and rare Silver Griffey

Artist Proofs and Rare Thomas

There are tons more, but those are my favorites. I was super happy with all the 90's inserts! Included in the collection were rookies of OJ Simpson, Steve Garvey, Ozzie Smith, Rickey Henderson and a 1969 Topps Hank Aaron, not to mention a complete set of 1996 Certified Red ... and 94 autographed from 1996 Leaf!. 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Such a Strange Sensation

Well, here I am - at my desk, blogging.  Aside from 8 of the 9 1986-87 Fleer BGS Graded cards I have sitting on my desk that I got the other day, I am cardboard free. 

These past few months have been a whirlwind of wheeling and dealing.  All of the collections I have purchased, all of the card show transactions, etc.  Everything is gone. 

Well, let me back up a bit here - I do still have my Canseco cards.  I actually just put up the bulk of that collection for sale too.  I have some sort of a problem - whenever I sell out of stuff, I can't just be content.  I have to keep trying to sell.  The last time this happened, I started selling the pictures on my walls in my office! 

I am going to amend my initial statement of running out of everything with this:  I still DO have about 3 million cards that my friend has.  I have access to them only whenever he gets them ready for me - generally in lots of 100-200k at a time.  So don't go sending donation checks to me yet since I am cardboard destitute.  Wait, scratch that ... if you are feeling the desire to ... do it!

But either way, as of now, my house does not look like a card shop exploded in it, for the first time in a long time!

It is funny to think that very recently, my garage was stuffed with cards AND comics, and now it is looking sparse ... comparatively, that is.  It is also strange to think that mere days ago, my office was nearing impossible to navigate successfully to the computer without some sort of a game plan, thanks to all the boxes that were all around. 

I'll use the rest of this blog as a bit of therapy - mainly because it is bitter-sweet.  A few days ago, someone asked me if I had a collection to sell.  With only the "gravy" cards I had left - that is, the cards that sparked interest in me from collections that I did not want to sell immediately, I told him I did have a large lot ready to go. 

I took several videos, and he was interested.  Lots of big name players, and even some cards in the $50-$70 range.  Most were of the $1-5 variety though.  It was an impressive lot, and I thought that I wouldn't find a buyer for all of them at once, due to the price being so high. 

After mulling it over, he said he would sleep on it, and so I went to bed.  I went to bed with excitment ... could I really be on the cusp of having run out of EVERYTHING?  How would that feel?  What would I do?  I don't know what really excited me so much about running out of everything.  Perhaps a sense of accomplishment; that I had made all kinds of purchases, and though it was all profit anyway, that it was success upon success, if that makes sense. 

When the buyer said yes, I was elated!  Before that happened though, I wound up pitching in other miscellaneous things, and ended up settling on a bit lower of price, but I was satisfied.  That satisfaction quickly turned into irritation, when it took me the better part of the afternoon packing up the entire collection. 

After all was said and done, the 62 pound package was packed, insured and sent off to the new owner.  I spent the rest of the evening, and today wondering "did I do the right thing?  Did my lust for conquering a 100% empty level cloud my judgement?"  There was, after all, good money to be made on those cards.  It was for some reason also rewarding to get down to a record low # of listings on ebay as well, though, I don't know why. 

It could, perhaps, go either way - I could say yes, it was a good move because it could have taken countless hours and several months to move everything or $200-$800 extra dollars perhaps.  But on the other hand, it plays perfectly into the game I play whenever dealing cards.  I love being able to see what I could get as a lot, then end up breaking the lot over and over again, and tracking how much further I can get with the financials if I do the work myself. 

As a matter of fact, part of the meloncholy feel I have from this sale is that it prematurely ended a few of the "games" I setup on my spreadsheet to see how far I could go in terms of making the biggest return on my investments. Now, after selling it all, it is just like this one big mass deal that can scarcely be separated to make sense of what financials should go where. 

Yes, I love, love, *loooove* my phone caCHINGing whenever I have an offer or make a sale on ebay.  it is so much fun. 

I guess in the end, this is a lesson for me.  While I did succeed, and ended up doing what I was going for, I learned a lesson - that it isn't just about selling; it is also about the thrill of finding the buyer and making the sale.  Almost like watching something that you plant, grow successfully into something big, strong and beautiful. 

So I guess I'll leave it at that.  Thank you for listening ... errr ... reading.  This has been good therapy for me.  On to my next deal!  I've been interrupted (and thankfully so) a few times in this blog by my phone caCHINGing at me...perhaps we are close to dealing away those fleer bgs graded cards sooner than later!

Saturday, September 7, 2013


For the past few months, I've been selling off a massive collection I purchased.  It was fun, but was getting cumbersome and, well ... old.  After rapidly selling through my 3,000 count boxes of stars, rookies and inserts, I was still left with about 50,000 cards. 

It wasn't just one collection though.  It was comprised of a lot of other little collections that I have been accumulating. 

- HUGE collection sorted mainly by players
- Leftovers from a few other collections I had purchased
- What was left of a hoard of newer complete sets
- Over 200 in person autographs
- 125 or so jerseys / autographs

A guy I have done big deals with in the past picked up some cool '86-87 Fleer basketball BGS graded cards, including a Jordan rookie.  I love me some Jordan (who doesn't?) so I looked into considering doing a deal.  Not only did we trade his BGS graded fleer cards, but he also bought some super nice lots I had of Derek Jeter, Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton.  These included the 93 SP Jeter, a 93 Stadium Club Jeter PSA 9, a Jeter autographed baseball, a Pujols autographed baseball, 9 Pujols rookies, a Pujols autographed baseball card and Josh Hamilton '99 Topps Traded autographed card.

Now if you know me, you know that I love all 3 of these players.  This is just proof that I am pretty much not attached to anything!  Things seem to get old pretty quickly for me,  Plus, I am in love with starting fresh with something.  In my book, the thrill of the hunt ALWAYS trumps the pleasure from having a card. 

Here are the new beauties!

It feels a ton better having this tiny stack of cards on my desk, rather than 30+ boxes scattered all over my office!  Plus, I *may* have a buyer for the cards above, minus the Jordan - we will see. 

So, aside from several autographed baseballs I'm holding for another buyer at the end up the month, I am left with 1 final box of stars/rookies/inserts, and a gravy lot. 

What is a gravy lot?  You might ask ...

Well, this is a lot that I generally end up with when everything else is gone.  It is cards that I may pull from collections to keep for a while.  The majority are baseball, and I would guess there are about 6,500 or so of these cards.  I'm selling them all at $1,500.  It may be difficult to find a buyer for them due to the price, but it is very much so a money making lot. 

It is really strange to have so few cards right now!  It is somewhat exhilarating to have almost gone through everything, and will feel odd if I ever am able to get through the rest of these.  I really hope I can, but with these, I'm not in too terribly much of a hurry because it is really cool stuff that I haven't had much time looking through. 

Keep in mind, I'm not counting the 3,000,000+ cards I still have coming to me from a deal I made a while ago...I'm talking about in my home right now. 

So, now that I have all this room, I decided thursday evening to start organizing and cleaning my holders.  After years of buying collections, I have not done it before that I can recall, so I figured I would tackle it. 

It took a while longer than I thought. 

You don't realize how many of these things you accumulate over the years!  I will probably sell off a bunch of it.  Heck, I think I have dozens of penny sleeve packages from deals I did 5 years ago.  If I haven't used them yet, will I ever?