Thursday, May 7, 2015

Livin In The World Of Today's Trading

Trading is just one of many fun aspects in the hobby. Up until recently, I had always traded the same. Beckett book value vs Beckett book value. If you had $50 BV (book value) in cards, I would trade you $50 (and freebies) for them. However, I found out this is old school compared to how trading is done now. It actually caught me off guard in a trade recently and is taking me awhile to adjust to it. Because in my well trained mind, all I can still see is Beckett values floating around.

In today's world of trading, the new way to trade is taking that supposed $50 BV in cards and breaking it down on eBay to see what each card sold for. So what you thought at first was $50 worth of trade bait, could easily flop down to $15. Yes, $15. My eyes hurt seeing the huge difference between those two numbers and this concept completely racked my brain. In my mind I still saw the $50 BV. I mean it's listed in the hobby's only price guide so they gotta be right....right? $15...ARE YOU KIDDING ME? There was no way I would lose $35 worth of trade bait......would I?

To answer that, yes I would have to once I was further explained this new updated way to trade. I was explained that my $50 in BV card(s) might sell for less than my trading partners $50 in BV card(s). Meaning that my trading partner could just sell off their cards they were trying to trade me, buy the card I am trying to trade them and keep a few bucks for themselves. So why would they want to trade for book value when they could be making out better the other way? All in all, from what I understood there is no true way to gauge a cards value per say. You can only estimate a fair trade by what the card sold for and whatever the card may mean to the person you are trading it to. My mind was blown. But, it made sense.

I guess in today's trading world, cards are not worth their book values or what they used to be worth. We are all given so much access to buy whatever we want when we want that it drives down values having it all within a finger-touch. The market is also a lot more flooded, bet you never thought it could get anymore flooded than the late 80's and early 90's, but it has and that doesn't help with values either. Back when I first started collecting, eBay wasn't really a big thing yet and the only way you could get a card you wanted was trading by book value or buying by half book value at local card shows or the one shop. Boy, those were the days. Would give up my best card now to have a card show or LCS nearby.

In closing, I am sure there are still collectors out there trading like I used to and I am sure there are traders trading in other ways, but it seems like the main trend is the one I am speaking about and trying to move towards. This is just one of many changes I have had to get adjusted to since I joined the hobby back in '93. Some of those changes have been good, some not so much. Whether they are good or bad changes, the hobby is what you make of it. So enjoy it!


Alright, I gotta ask, how do you trade? Do you use book value? The method above? Have your own way? I wanna hear your thoughts!


  1. When I trade, I will look to eBay, but only for a general idea. It isn't the final say for me. That being said, Beckett values are so outdated that they are pretty much useless in my opinion. I haven't been to a shop since I got back in the hobby in 2012 that could sell cards for what Beckett says they sell for.

    For me, it comes down to what I'm looking to trade. Value isn't always the key number in my mind. I have definitely traded off cards and received far less in return than what I sent, but it was because the card I traded for had value beyond money to me.

    So, in short, I have a good idea of what I will give for what I want, and value (eBay or Beckett) has relatively little importance in that decision.

  2. When I first got back into the hobby last year, I thought about trying to trade for "value" and making sure I wasn't getting "ripped off" in a trade. That was especially true when trying to trade blindly on various message boards or Zistle.

    I stopped trying to trade through those avenues around April or May of last year, and I stopped trying to negotiate trades shortly thereafter. I prefer blind trades now, and I especially prefer when people have want lists online for me to try to fill/help fill -- because that way, I know that the person with whom I am trading is getting stuff they want.

    Indeed, I've really stopped caring entirely about the concept of value in trading. As long as I'm getting cards I like/want (Brewers or Gary Carter) and getting rid of cards that are not in that group -- i.e., all other cards -- I just don't care any more. I hope, in fact, that what I send out is *higher* in "value" than what I get. That way, everyone's happy.

  3. One person's trash is another person's treasure . . . I think book values can be helpful in moderation. I don't really worry about the market's perceived value of cards I receive in trade, though. I am more conscious of the value of the cards I send out. I want the person I am trading with to feel that they got a good deal.
    I get a little nervous about trying to trade for book value, in part because the values fluctuate so much, but also I think it take a little fun out of sending and receiving cards that people want to collect.

    I think ultimately it comes down to the goals of each collector - if they are looking for a specific value, I am sensitive to that, but I am more interested personally in how a new card will fit into my collection.

  4. I tend to agree with what Tony L. said. I hardly ever consider the "book value" of cards in a deal. It frustrates me when people try to stick strictly by the book. I prefer the general trend of blog trades where you just send out a bunch of cards that may or may not fit into the PC nitches or the Players and Teams (sets maybe) that the other person collects. They in turn send a bunch of cards that fit your collecting habits. Of course there is also what I call "Random Acts of Cardness" where you just send someone some cards for no particular reason and don't expect anything in return. Hopefully they will return the favor sometime, or you yourself will receive that type of package.

  5. I agree with both Tony and Brian. Since I started trading quite a bit, I've only considered book value in one of the deals I've made. While I do like what I received in that deal, it was by far my least enjoyable interaction thus far. I dig the blind trade concept and try to be really attentive to the perceived values I'm sending out. As long as I receive something from my set or general want list or from my favorite teams/players I really don't mind too much. In fact, the element of surprise when opening the trade package is one of my favorite parts. It's like opening packs, only better because it's almost always 100% stuff that I'm interested in.

  6. I trade card for card. If you have a card I want, and I have a card you want, then let's trade them. If I have two cards you want, but only one I want, that's fine as well. Actually, If I have a card you want, but you have none I want, I'll still do could always find something later I need. You being proverbial of course.

    I couldn't care less what beckett has to say...I collect cards because I love cards, not for whatever monetary "value" they put on them. As I've said many times before, I'm quite proud of the fact that I've been collecting since 1988 and I've never sold a single card.

  7. I rarely trade anymore for specific cards. These days... I tend to do go with "blind trades" or "care packages", where someone will send me some stuff... and I'll return the favor... or vice versa. They don't guarantee me anything... and I don't either. However... I try to make sure that I send equivalent or higher value in return.