Friday, April 27, 2012

You snooze, you lose

Over the last few weeks I've been looking at ebay for some Orel Hershiser cards that I want to add to my collection.

I'm one of those different collectors. I don't have any OCD tendencies (that I'm aware of) for completing the binder. I'm probably an advanced collector, but I still have quite a few holes. There are over 600 unique cards for OH, I've got about two thirds of them, just over 400. That leaves about 200 cards left to collect.

I'm a realistic collector. There are several of the OH cards I'm never going to land. You know the ones, the super duper rare only issued at a secret coven of card manufacturers and their distributors, numbered to less than five, with the platinum foil stamp commemorating the bacchanalian weekend that they shared in the Antarctic with some stripper dressed as a penguin. Yeah, I'm not chasing that one. Printing plates don't do anything for me. And now that OH has turned his head to the poker tables, I don't want to collect his poker cards. I have nothing against card games, but I want my collection to be about his baseball career.

I'm also a frugal collector. I don't want to spend a boatload of dough on this hobby. I have fun with it, but I still need to be responsible with my other obligations. That means I need to be a good steward with my money as well as my time.

So, what's a card worth? In my mind, many of OH's cards are in that 25 cent to 75 cent range. Maybe a dollar. Unfortunately sellers of the cards tend to think otherwise.

I have no problem with ebay sellers making money from whatever they're trying to sell. I also don't have a problem with them making a bit of scratch on the S&H.  I prefer a seller to offer Free Shipping on a single item, but I don't get a discount at all if I'm purchasing multiple cards from the same seller.  All cards are $2.  I don't want to pay $2 per card. 

Now, back to the title of the post.  There were two OH cards that I wanted from the same seller.  Buy it now, free shipping.  Each card was $1.09.  Fair price.  I was going to offer $1.00 each, combine the shipping.  They'd been sitting there for weeks.  Last night I finally got around to sitting down and purchasing them.  Except that they weren't there.  Either they had sold or the auctions had expired.  I don't remember.  Yes, I should have purchased them sooner or at least set them in my watch list.  But I didn't.  I snoozed.  I lost.

To remedy that situation, I decided to take care of some of the cards on my want lists.  By "take care of" I mean purchase.

I looked at ebay.  Nothing fit my criteria (on my want list, reasonably priced).  Off to SportLots.  I've been tracking some OH cards there for a few months.  I'd narrowed down the cards I was interested in to two sellers.  I just needed to verify on my end and then pull the trigger.  But I got sidetracked.  One of the sellers has some Jeff Burton cards.  My JB collection is not thoroughly organized so I didn't want to just purchase them willy-nilly.  So, my cart is loaded, but I'm still looking.

CheckOutMyCards is another option.  I've never used their services.  I've been under the misconception that I need to load up money to them and then draw from it.  It looks like PayPal is an option.  It is currently working out to about $1.07 per card, delivered.  I like those prices much better than the ebay prices.  Again, I've loaded the cart up, but haven't pushed the "buy" button.  I'm checking to see if I want to add any Bill Wade cards.

Then Beckett Marketplace called to me like a siren.  They have some of the cards that are still on my want list.  They look to be reasonably priced, but I haven't started to look around at the details.  Do the sellers fill the orders, or is it like COMC?  Have any of you used Beckett Marketplace to purchase cards?  How was the experience?

Or, I could just beg for and trade cards.  Does anyone want to send me some Orel Hershiser cards from my wantlist?  I need to code the cards that are in the shopping carts and then add the cards that I just found out about, but that's another rant.


  1. Beckett Marketplace is hit-or-miss. They have the best selection of cards anywhere, and most dealers ship within 1-2 days of your purchase. You can also get free shipping if you spend $50 at any dealer store.

    Some dealers are very overpriced but efficient (Burbank Sportscards comes to mind), while others are very slow to update their inventory. if you order a lot of cards (either from one seller or a lot of sellers) there's a good chance that at least one of your cards will be out of stock--and you won't know it until *after* you place your order. They do refund your $$ though...but it's a small consolation when you're buying a rare card for your wantlist. Hope that helps.

    Good luck with your Orel collection; I'll never forget that epic '88 season he had. That was the year I became obsessed with baseball--and collecting.

  2. It's frustrating as a collector to realize all the services out there gouge you on the common cards

    Sportlots is a good idea in theory. But that .18 cent minimum is a huge hindrance to their site and they don't see that. And the ridiculous fees they throw at sellers is deplorable. I might be wrong, but I think if you make $100 a month there they charge a 50 percent fee. That's too high!

    I sold a card for $1.75 there and do you know what I got out of it? 38 cents. Disgusting.