Collecting cards is a hobby, but the interesting thing is that it also offers the possibility of getting rich. But if making money with cards is your only goal, you won't have fun! Admire your cards, follow the players you collect by listening to their games, chat on social networks and make friends with the same passion.
Be respectful of each other as collectors on social media and in person. Behind the computer, it can be easy to be tactless by writing disrespectful messages. Before posting, ask yourself two questions: 1) Would I talk like this in person? 2) Would I like to be talked to like this? If you answered no to either of these questions, do not comment. If you are in a group on social media, you should read the rules and follow them. If you think someone is charging too much for their cards, respect it, it's their choice! Also respect the questions of the members, because there are no bad questions! If you have the answer to their question, just answer them.
Sometimes I post a card with great value, I don't get a message of interest, but some people react with a laughing emoji. To me, that means they are laughing at my prize, so it's like saying my prize is too expensive! Instead of laughing at people, comment on their post and encourage them. Also, often people laugh at prizes without seeing some of the little details, like a card numbered out of 10 or a clear cut. Here's a good example I saw pass by recently: a guy put up 6 2015-16 blasters (Connor McDavid's Rookie year) for $195, but the box had the same color as the 2020-21 S1. His price was great, but poor guy, he got trashed and called a thief, he was told you could find the same boxes at Walmart for $45! If you really think the price is dishonest, write to the person privately and politely explain why. If you see that a discussion is degenerating into rudeness, don't get on board and tag an administrator. Respect, respect, respect...
When making a transaction, be honest about the quality of the card. If you see a blank corner, a poorly cut edge or some other defect, tell the person right away. It is important to see quality photos of all four corners on both sides, but sometimes some defects are hard to see in a photo, so it is the responsibility of the card owner to notify the buyer.
If you are in the buyer's position and the seller doesn't want to cooperate by sending you pictures, just don't buy from them, because that means they have something to hide. On the other hand, don't go overboard! If you buy 10 cards at a low price, you don't need to ask for a picture of each card, a picture of the whole is enough. You still have to trust the person you are negotiating with. If you are buying a lot of cards with a high value, use the 20/80 law, which is explained as follows: in a lot of 100 cards, 20% of the cards are equivalent to 80% of the value. This law works in many cases. Focus your energy on the 20 largest cards when asking questions or requesting photos.
Unfortunately, there are crooks in all walks of life, although, in my opinion, 99.9% of people are honest. But there is still 0.01%, and because of them, you have to be vigilant. If this is your first negotiation with the person, try to talk in person. If you are too far away and have to send the cards by mail, ask for a vouch*. What is a vouch? You make a post in a group where you are both members, asking others to give you good references. Example: "Hi, group, need a vouch for Remi Godbout!
If the seller is new and has no references, start by doing smaller transactions with them. You can always negotiate by offering to pay 50% immediately and 50% when you receive the cards. You can also ask for a photo of their driver's license. If the person has an eBay account, ask for the link and check out their star rating and comments.
If the transaction is more than $50, I recommend that you ship it with a tracking number. With this, you can make sure the buyer has received the cards.
If the transaction is without a tracking number, take it to the post office, have the clerk stamp it and take a picture for your customer.
Point 4 brings us to point 5: how to detect a fake card.
5. DETECTING A FAKE MAP (SPOT A REPRINT)
For point 5, I handed over my pen to my friend Christophe Landry, founder of the Spot a Reprint group. There is no better person than him to detect fake cards!
To continue with Rémi's article, you need to know that there are many fake cards in circulation and that many collectors have them without even knowing it. It is necessary to develop an analytical side and to compare with several varieties of the same card to notice the small or large details which differentiate them. Each card has specific and particular aspects to be analyzed as well as some common aspects if we want to be sure of its authenticity: colors, texture and thickness of the cardboard, thickness of the lines, sharpness of the image, size of the card, etc. Of course, it is difficult to validate the authenticity of a card if the photos we have are blurry, angled, dark, etc. I always advise people to send clear (natural light) photos, with a dark background, front and back, and to have a nice image quality, without editing anything. A photo with a dark background (ideally black) allows our eyes to have a good perception of the color, and to see well the condition, composition and texture of the card. With a black background, we can see the small details of the map and assess whether the image quality is good.
The ability to quickly and easily detect false maps does not come overnight; it takes a lot of analysis, patience, comparison, knowledge and, of course, accurate information. I created the Spot A Reprint group to help as many collectors as possible to be informed, to learn and to gain experience so that one day they will be able to do it for themselves and help others in turn. When a seller does not send nice pictures, they are blurry, at an angle, the background is white, beware. Be even more wary if the person does not send the necessary photos to assure you 100% that the card is not only authentic, but has not been altered and meets the conditions you would expect based on the price. I invite all sports card collectors to become members of the group, which will help you greatly. We are approaching an era where there will be even more forgeries, so the more collectors we have on Spot A Reprint, the better off our hobby will be!
6. PROTECT CARDS BEFORE SHIPPING
If you decide to open boxes of cards, make sure you have the necessary protections: sleeves, plastic protectors and top loaders for full set collections and storage boxes. Make sure you have the right size sleeves and protectors. Ask the salesperson at the store where you buy your boxes to tell you what thickness of card your box will hold, as some cards are very thick and will not fit in the protector. To meet all your needs, try to have every type in stock. Remi Sports Cards opens the package of thicker protectors and sells them individually. This is convenient, because often there are only one or two large cards in a box, so it's not worth buying a pack of 180 protectors that will last 10 years.
When trading or selling cards, it is important to know how to ship your cards. There is nothing more disappointing than receiving cards in poor condition! Make sure that the card is in a card protector and a protector. Many people think that shipping a card in a one touch protects it well, but this is not true: a one touch protects the card well when it is stable, for example during a show, but during shipping, the card moves and this can damage it. The top loader is closed with green masking tape or RCT tape to prevent the card from coming out during transport. If you are shipping only one card, add a rigid cardboard glued on the top loader to prevent the mailman from bending the card. Once the card is well protected, we put it in a Team Bag to protect it in case of water infiltration in the envelope. Once the card is in the Team Bag, put it in a bubble envelope, write your customer's address in the center of the envelope and your address in the top left corner. If you are sending your envelope by regular mail, be sure to put the proper postage on it. It is helpful to have a small scale to weigh the envelope, and then you can find the prices on Canada Post. Here are the rates in effect at the time of writing this article:
0 g to 30 g $1.07 per stamp and $0.92 per booklet stamp
30 g to 50 g $1.30
50 g to 100 g $1.94
100 g to 200 g $3.19
0 to 30 g $1.30
30 to 50 g $1.94
0 to 30 g $2.71
You can find more details directly on the Canada Post website. If you send your envelope with a tracking number, the rate varies from $12 to $20 in Canada. You can go directly to the post office and the clerk will weigh your envelope and give you the price to pay on the spot.
If you send a lot of mail and have a scale, I suggest you open an account with Canada Post. You will be able to print the delivery label to stick on the envelope and simply drop your envelope at the postal counter, without waiting in line.
Here is the list of accessories that a true collector should have at home:
1 pack of 100 standard sleeves
1 pack of 100 large sleeves
1 pack of 100 Team Bags
1 pack of 100 large Team Bags (for graded cards)
25 standard top loaders
Assortment of large format top loaders
10 envelopes of size :
10 envelopes of size :
10 envelopes of size :
1 roll of green masking tape
20 rigid cardboard boxes
1 storage box for 5000 cards
31 dividers for storage boxes
Rémi Card Trader has created a Pro Collector's Kit, which includes all these products.
7. EVALUATE YOUR CARDS
There are many ways to evaluate your cards, but I use Beckett and eBay. Becket serves more as a checklist than a tool for evaluating my cards. It helps to quickly sort small value cards to large value cards. But for large value cards, Beckett is rarely in the mainstream price, it is sometimes more expensive or cheaper. You can sign up for Beckett online or simply buy the paper version at Remi Card Trader. The best way to find out the real price is to go to eBay and type in the search bar the keyword of the card, for example "Kaprizov Young guns". Just launch the search, select "sale completed" and the last cards sold will be displayed in green. If the sale price is crossed out, it means that the card sold below the asking price. You can also go to 130point.com, a rating tool that eBay uses, which sometimes gives more information than eBay, such as the exact price of the sale.
Sometimes it is difficult to evaluate a card when it is rare (/10, /100 clear cut... or even worse, a 1/1!). In this case, if you can't find any completed sales for the same type of card, use a different player and make comparisons. Example: if you have a Young Guns Exclusive on /100 from Kaprizov and don't see an example of a completed sale, do a search for YG Exclusives and compare the sale price. Let's say you found YG Exclusives from Alexis Lafreniere and Nick Suzuki, search for completed sales of standard YG cards for Laffy, Suzuki and Kaprizov. As of April 18, 2022, Kaprizov YG standard was selling for about $160, Laffy for $90 and Suzuki for $140. I found the Suzuki Exclusive $1500 and Laffy $1158. Both Exclusive cards are about 10 times more expensive than the standard card, so you could argue that if the Kaparizov is $160, its Exclusive card is worth about $1600. Always try to compare your card with the same type of player (attacker with attacker, defender with defender). Don't compare a 2019 card with a 21-22 series card that just came out! The madness for a new series creates an overhang for about three months to six months. Same thing for a player like Alexis Lafreniere: his YG card was worth $300 and he hadn't even played a game in the NHL! Now sold for $90, his card is more at its true value and more in line with his performance.
8. GETTING YOUR CARDS GRADED
Let's talk about recent cards, then vintage cards, because the discussion is not the same.
When we grad recent cards, it means that we have cards in perfect condition. The grading company will grade based on 4 factors: corners, edges, surface and centering of the card. If you see a flaw with the naked eye, chances are your card will not pass a 9. I advise you not to grade if you think your card will not go past 9. A 9 in recent cards is often comparable to the value of a raw (ungraded), which usually does not cover the cost of grading! When you get a 9.5, often the card doubles in value, and it triples in value with a 10, but this depends on the demand for the card.
The two most popular companies for the sport are Beckett and PSA. With COVID, the sports card craze has skyrocketed and created monster congestion at Beckett and PSA, with prices rising sharply. One can easily pay fees ranging from $80 to $200 for 3 month to 1 year terms. I would not advise sending medium value cards to Beckett or PSA at this time, unless the situation returns to normal. Personally, I will still use Beckett or PSA if the card is worth $1000+ or for a prospect card that I think will reach $1000+. For cards with a potential under $500, I deal with ACA, a Quebec based company. Rémi Card Trader is a partner of ACA and you can deposit your cards to have them graded by ACA. The cost to have a card graded by ACA is about $18, with a delay of about 3 months. ACA has built a strong reputation during the pandemic and has taken advantage of this opportunity, especially for field hockey. I, on the other hand, deal with ACA only for field hockey. I have sold Young Guns cards from Cale Makar, Kaprizov 9.5 for double the value of a raw and it only cost me $18 in grading fees. Also, ACA authenticates autographs and notes. ACA and Beckett can give a 9.5 grade, unlike PSA, which goes from 9 to 10!
For vintage, a grade of 9 for grading is no longer a prerequisite. I graded a Ken Dryden rookie card at ACA with a grade of 1 and sold it for twice its raw value. A graded vintage card makes the buyer feel secure in the knowledge that it is not a reprint. Go see Rémi Card Trader, he will be able to give you his opinion on the grade that the vintage card would have and you will be able to make the decision on the profitability of having your card graded according to the cost versus its value once graded. Sometimes it is better to sell a raw card.
9. HOW TO TRADE ON eBay
To sell on eBay, you need to open an account. You can start by selling about ten cards, and the more eBay realizes that your cards are getting there and your customers are giving you positive feedback, the more flexibility they will give you. At first, eBay will hold your payments until the customer notifies them that they have received their order.
If I remember correctly, eBay started giving me a lot of leeway after I sold $1000.
After I made 100 sales, they gave me access to advertising, which allows me to display my cards for a 3% fee, meaning my card will come up at the top of the search page, often in the first position. About 50% of my sales come from advertising! Also, we only pay the 3% if the card is sold through advertising. The eBay fee is 10%, plus a 3% credit card fee, and then 1% is credited to you if you are an Emeritus seller. To become an Emeritus, you must have made 100 transactions and have a near-perfect score on the eBay rating system. In the beginning, register several inexpensive cards in order to make several sales and reach 100 transactions quickly. This way, you will quickly get 100 5-star ratings. When you sell high-value cards, having several 5-star reviews will give future customers confidence.
For every 100 or so transactions, you will find a dissatisfied customer for reasons beyond your control, such as a package that never arrives. The important thing is to always respond quickly to the buyer when they tell you about a problem. If you sent a small card by standard mail without tracking and the customer says they didn't receive it, stall them for about four weeks. After that time, if the customer says they didn't receive it, you have no choice but to credit them - this has happened to me about 4 times out of 1000 transactions. Plan for this in your budget. If you don't want to have this problem, always send your cards with tracking, but you will most likely have a hard time selling $5 cards and charging $15 shipping.
If you've helped the customer solve the problem, but they still give you a negative rating, don't let it happen! Contact eBay technical support immediately and explain the situation, that you don't deserve a negative rating. EBay will open a report, look at your communications and, if you've been honest, remove the negative rating. Always deliver on time and be sure to remove your cards from eBay if you are selling off-site, as eBay penalizes delays and out-of-stock situations. On eBay, you can sell by auction, by buy now (no bid) or by direct bid (have bids). For my part, I prefer the direct bid option, as it has been proven that receiving bids and negotiating makes communication easier and increases sales.
Anyway, I'll stop here for eBay, but I realize that I could write a whole article on this subject because there is so much to learn! If you're not interested, contact RCT and we'll take care of selling your cards on eBay for you!
10. SURROUND YOURSELF WITH CARD EXPERTS
There is no end to learning! The card hobby is vast and we will always have new things to learn. I, for one, am a member of several groups, so I'm not shy about asking questions. Our manager has 15 years more experience than I do, Christophe Landry of Spot a Reprint helps me a lot with vintage or fake cards. Several friends and customers who are familiar with cards and the NHL also help me! In short, form a small group of experts and help each other!
* A vouch, in French, means "to vouch for", i.e. "to answer for the acts of, to guarantee the reliability of (someone)".