Monday, January 19, 2015

The importance of having a working tradelist

As I mentioned last night, I was planning to write up a piece about the importance of having a working tradelist before we lost our Great Aunt. Tonight was a tough one and I have to admit I was not able to hold it together totally, but I did get to spend some time with my family, even though it was not a happy time. I even ended up talking about cards briefly, with a cousin who is a basketball player on his high school team. I'm going to be giving him a stack of cards soon, all duplicates...they will do more good with him than in a box in my storage unit.

Anyway, I need to think about happy things, and I mentioned that I would be posting about card topics this week. Might as well start now!

I've been collecting cards since 1988, and my favorite way to add to my collection is by lots. I have a semi-local card shop that fills 660 count boxes with cards and sells them for $19. I used to be able to get boxes like this at closer sources, and lower prices, but the shops have disappeared. Even though I get a lot of duplicates, I am a sucker for these boxes. For my birthday in 1997 my brother got me about 20 of them (200 count boxes), that was the true foundation of my collection.

I even keep getting the 100 card clamshells you can find in Target even though most of the cards end up being duplicates. I am happy if I get more than 5 new cards from one of them. Yes, you read that right, I go in expecting 95 duplicates. Last year my brother brought one of them home for me and it contained 26 new cards- unheard of since the 1990s!

I've been collecting these duplicates in boxes for more than 20 years, and I have tried to trade them, but it hasn't always been easy, as I had no idea what I had....I would have to go through the boxes all the time to see if I could fill requests on the various card message boards I frequent. or used to, in the early 2000s. Finding them is not always easy. I know there are more out there somewhere, in one or more likely all three of my storage units. I'll find them eventually. I did give and trade away quite a few of them over the years as well. A few years back I traded about 10,000 cards for 3 cards, and I have no regrets about it. (well, actually, I do- the shop went out of business before I could get everything I wanted!)

In November 2014 I really started to work on posting my duplicates to the trade list section on the Trading Card Database. It turned out to be a very good thing to do. I have only a portion on there, but in the month or so since I finished the NASCAR cards, I've already gotten around 300 cards, and have a trade in the mail that is about 350-400 more, the largest trade I've ever made. WOW! I've sent out several hundred of my own- the trade I'm waiting for, I owe 392 cards to him. He wants to wait until I get mine before I send to him or else I would have them going out tomorrow morning.

So, now for the past week, I've been working on posting my duplicate NBA cards, or at least, the ones I could find. I could not find as many as I thought I could, but I'm still looking at several thousand cards. As of right this instant, I've typed in this many cards (after removing those I've already traded away)
And I still have the largest, third and fourth largest years ahead of me. They alone take up almost 1/4th of the duplicate stash.

And these numbers only include those cards I deemed perfect. I've rejected several thousand, of both NBA and NASCAR, as untradeable, usually for minor corner dings or scratches. For some reason a lot of the NASCAR cards have scratches so bad they look like they have been used as knife sharpening blocks. They arrived to me that way, I treat my cards better. Luckily, I've found people who don't mind having these cards, and most of these damaged cards will be finding their way to new homes within the next few weeks.
Some of these cards are not really in bad shape, and the majority of them- especially the NBA cards, which are generally in better shape for some reason- if they were not duplicates I would not look for replacements. Some are in too bad shape and I won't burden my friends with them, they will stay with me. My friend who is getting the NASCAR cards only wants the Winston Cup era so all the 2004 and later will end up staying with me for now, hopefully I can find someone to give them to at some point.

I still have roughly a week's worth of work on the NBA cards, I have the rest of the multi-sport and other sports (I have a very small stash of football, hockey and baseball available- around 5 cards each, and the baseball cards may be too damaged to list) then I have to finish the non-sport cards, They are about half done. I have much less of them than I do either of my sports, due largely to the fact that I totally ignored them from roughly 1996 through 2010. I regret that now, but I can't change it...I can only make sure I don't ignore them going forward. It does mean I have less work to do to organize them, but it does also mean I have less trade bait.

And that brings me to my next topic. I mostly deal in base cards. Yes, there are some relics and one or two autographs on my tradelist, but base cards make up 99% of them. I know there are still set collectors out there, after all, I am still able to trade from time to time. But what I've been able to trade has surprised me. Specifically, 1991 Maxx. This is one of my all time favorite sets...but it's so common, I figured anyone who wanted it, probably already has it. It is by far the most common NASCAR set, and there is never a time you can't find a set for sale for $5 or less. Yet almost every trade has included some of them, and my large trade I'm working on almost cleans out my trade stash. I'm happy that they will be residing in a new home that will appreciate them, but I'm surprised all the same. (I have three times as many that are imperfect, they will all be going to my friend I mentioned above shortly). One of the cards, a Mark Martin card from the 1990 Race Winners subset, I had three copies available. I traded all three copies in a month's time! I did not expect that at all. It seems that I am not the only one who is still trying to complete some very common sets, because I have been trading them off faster than the slightly rarer, or even the genuinely rare promotional issues I also have available, which shocks me. But in a good way.

I don't actually enjoy posting my trade stash to my tradelist. It's a slow process and not particularly fun, but it's very much worth the effort. I'd much rather be scanning, editing and posting, but the thought of working some trades makes me want to push on and finish. That and the fact that I don't want to have both duplicates and the collection out at the same time, so there's no chance of getting them mixed up, also plays a role. It's not totally unenjoyable, though. I've found several variations that I didn't know were variations, and I've found a few minor errors. a couple that were slightly miscut, one that should have been UV coated and wasn't, and one that had it's wording on the back printed twice, leading to a unique look, almost appearing bolded but slightly out of focus. I LOVE error cards and these have actually moved from my duplicate stash to part of the main collection.

There are direct links to my tradelist(s) on the top right of each page here on my blog. I've got nearly 200 positive feedbacks going back to circa 2003 on card forums if you want to make a trade with me. I sometimes can only ship on Saturdays but sometimes (rarely) I can get to the PO during the week.

Thanks for reading, and hopefully trading with me in the future!

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