04/15/2019 at 10:42 am #60193
Despite my attempts to dodge it, a massive collection of sports cards (99%+ are baseball) landed in my lap recently. I think there are more like 105,000 cards based on my initial measurements & weighing estimates.
At least 99% of the cards are baseball and of the years between 1980 & 1997, aka the ‘modern era’ (aka the least valuable era, from my research anyway.) Roughly half of the cards are in binders (which hold about 1100 cards each) with the other half in clear plastic cases (which hold about 55 cards each). I am not a professional grader, but the cards look to be in very good to excellent condition overall and appear to have been well preserved/protected.
I have begun researching how to ‘handle’ (for example via semi-automated duplex scanning) such a large volume of cards (which weigh a combined total of over 550 lbs. in their boxes/binders/cardboard outer boxes), but also whether or not I even want to bother trying to list them on eBay as it will surely be quite a project.
Has anyone ever had to deal with a large collection of sports cards? I am curious to hear your thoughts and any advice you might have.0
04/15/2019 at 10:56 am #60194
Correction- I said ‘duplex scanning’ but meant to say ‘double sided scanning’ above.1+
04/15/2019 at 11:19 am #60197
- Location: Central NJ
If you go to this podcast topic.
and then scroll down and read the posts from newvintageny, you will find how he was able to sell a large collection of baseball cards.
You can also put in “baseball cards” in the Search Forums box to find other discussions of this topic.
- This reply was modified 3 months ago by Jay.
04/15/2019 at 3:34 pm #60208
04/15/2019 at 3:50 pm #60213
I use to be a huge card collector – but sold my collection in 2008. My collection was from the same era.
If you have full sets, they will sell – some are close to worthless, others worth a few hundred, but buyers are out there.
Individual/random cards are harder to sell. If you have good ones (you may want to get a copy of Beckett Baseball Magazine – it has pricing of the best cards) they will sell at the right price. Cards for “common” players may sell if they are from a expensive set, but even then they are not worth much. I put my incomplete sets together and listed what cards I had – usually if you have a 100 or more for a premium set, they will sell. For worthless sets, you are better off ditching them.
You can also try and put together lots by player or team – they won’t get much, but if you want to make a few bucks and feel it is worth your time, it’s worth a try.
If you don’t know anything about baseball – good luck. If you know a bit, at least you will know who the stars are and see if their cards have any value. Most won’t from the late 80’s on unless they are from a premium set.0
04/15/2019 at 4:35 pm #60221
Thanks Sharyn- that thread has some great information. Jay, thanks for the link- I won’t bug him until I do some more research. Inglewood, good call on Beckett Magazine. You hit on an important fact- I know next to nothing about baseball/sports/trading cards in general. I tried to run from this card collection. I said “honestly, I am not interested in these unless all of the potential buyers you are communicating with back out and you are going to throw them away”. You can guess what happened next.
The trickiest part of this situation is that I know the ‘era’ of these cards is thought to be mostly not valuable, but with 100k+ cards there are going to be some exceptions. I am encouraged when I see things like this printer & software combo, which can scan both sides of a card which may or may not (haven’t gotten that far yet) be cataloged in a local database by a form of image matching done in this case by the “Kronozio platform”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V8HkqF27YQM (warning, super loud dubstep soundtrack on that one 😀 ) I might be able to do something myself with the image sets vs. buying a subscription tool… as usual it’s all about how far down the rabbit hole I want to go on this one.
For example I have this card, but there would be a $75 grading fee via PSA to match the others- and assuming it came out at 10 (or a 9?), only then could I hope to put a price close to the top prices it has sold for historically: https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_nkw=1989+Fleer+Glossy+%23548&_sacat=0&LH_Sold=1&LH_Complete=1&_sop=16
Eventually I’ll do some looking using lists like this: https://www.cardboardconnection.com/best-baseball-cards-80s-90s to see what I can dig up.
I think I’m going to pace myself a bit on this one, in attempt to suppress the low-level hum of “get riiiiid of those things” that fires up every time I walk by these towering stacks of cards (at least I was able to corral them into a single shelf rack unit).0
04/16/2019 at 9:07 am #60273
Hi Greg – you have to be VERY careful if you are unsure of what you are doing – for example, the 1989 Ken Griffey Jr Fleer card has several variations. Are you sure it is the Glossy one you have? Do you have the Tiffany version? Do you just have the regular issue? By chance it may be the regular issue, but a “printed in Canada” variation and not “printed in the USA”?
There is a lot to educate yourself on – if you do have the Glossy, awesome – if not, you still have a $5 card to sell if it is a more common version.
Baseball cards are very tricky – I’m glad I sold out my collection when I did…0
04/16/2019 at 8:26 am #60267
Retro Treasures WVParticipant
Well the only good thing from this era is that it is pretty easy to cull the crap cards from the good cards.
One tip: In Topps cards, you will mostly find crap quality card stock that is matte finish and they just look…crappy. If you see Topps cards from mid 80’s thru early 90’s that are gloss finish and much brighter in general, these are “mostly” referred to as Topps Tiffany cards.
If you can get good at identifying the tiffany cards in there, you stand to make some money.0
04/16/2019 at 10:36 am #60282
Inglewood- thank you for helping to provide a great example of how tricky correctly identifying cards can be.
The Fleer 1989 card I linked above uses white stock, is printed in the USA, is bright and appears to be glossy- or at least glossier than straight matte paper- but I do not have a ‘glossy index’ or sufficient data in my own brain to compare/understand relative glossiness when it comes to cards.
Retro Treasures- your link was very helpful to shed light on understanding glossy/tiffany cards. The 1989 card in question passed some tests, but not the star tests, which is apparently ok in some cases (in other words it can still be a tiffany card without passing the star test, if I understood that part correctly).
While researching this morning I happened upon one of several dedicated web pages that focused solely on card versions for this single player: https://www.beckett.com/news/ken-griffey-jr-rookie-cards/
Finally, I still don’t understand why some glossy cards have blue ink on the back, and mine has yellow ink. What I did see is that the valuable cards that have sold on eBay have blue ink.
Conclusion: this is likely a common card and therefore worth about $1, ungraded.
So yeaaah. I’m getting an idea of how ridiculous this process could get. I’m sure I’ll do a little more exploring, but I’ve also started to collect contact info for card buyers in my area who might want a large, nicely maintained, partially sorted collection of generally low-value baseball cards. I’m not anticipating much enthusiasm from local buyers.
Here are a couple photos of the card being discussed:0
04/30/2019 at 12:59 pm #60972
A little follow up to explain how this one ended.
I spoke with local owners of sports cards shops & contacted a few people who posted ads on Craigslist who were running ads i.e. “We Buy Sports Cards”. The overall sentiment was that the cards were especially worthless, to the extent that the binders & cases that carried the cards were probably worth more, so one way to go would be to dump out all of the cards & sell the binders & cases.
I posted the collection on Craigslist myself, encountered a few no-shows/bizarre last-minute excuses, and finally got an offer out of the blue from a guy who saw the Craigslist ad, hurried over that same night and gave me $500 for the lot. I was happy to help him load the cards into his large (but ultimately stuffed to capacity) vehicle.
In the end it went as well as it could have I guess, considering these were not really desirable cards.
- This reply was modified 2 months, 2 weeks ago by Greg.
04/30/2019 at 1:09 pm #60974
Hey $500 is nothing to sneeze at. Where did the cards come from?0
04/30/2019 at 1:20 pm #60975
- Location: SC
Glad it worked out for you.
Funny story. When I was around 10 in the 80’s I started collecting baseball cards. I wasn’t very sports enthusiastic, but I loved the idea of collecting (the early stages of my “hoarding”…LOL) and I enjoyed sorting the cards and completing sets. In 1987, I was at a baseball card shop and came across that year’s Topps complete set. It was $20 and I bought it. My 10 year old self really wanted to open it, but I was convinced it was an “investment” and I just kept it unopened. I saw old cards selling for hundreds of dollars and thought that if I just held onto the set it would make me a millionaire in the future. Even as a lad, I was very financially conscious. I still have that set today in all it’s cellophane wrapped glory. They sell for between $15 and $30. Hardly the investment I had hoped. If only I had kept my Star Wars figures unopened and unplayed with I’d be significantly better off. 🙂0
04/30/2019 at 2:05 pm #60976
Jay, I agree. After they were gone I realized it was worth the (small amount, in the scheme of things) frustration & a little bit of burned time. Right before the guy showed up I was still envisioning them going to someone for $100, or worse. The real outcome was much better. The guy who showed up was a character- nice guy- who has a local business I’ll probably visit in the future.
Mighty, that’s a funny story- if it we me I’d probably keep them forever, if only as a nod to my past youthful, hopeful self. 😉0
04/30/2019 at 3:42 pm #60978
- Location: SC
Oh yes, I don’t have any plans to sell. The memory is worth far more than the return of my now deflated $20 spending power. LOL.0
04/30/2019 at 4:51 pm #60988
We’re packing up our house to move and have a shoebox of baseball cards and memorabilia (all pretty much worthless except a ball I had autographed by Nolan Ryan) bugs my wife. I used to have a truckload of cards and luckily sold them all except a few I like (I was lucky to grow up in Canada and like baseball – Canadian baseball card brands like O-Pee-Chee and Leaf held a bit of value just due to rarity to U.S. collectors).
Just looking at the few I kept brought back good memories of going to the local convenience store in the early 80’s and treating myself to a pack of cards or two as a kid. I wish I could capture that feeling again for 15 cents!
I still remember as a kid also going on trips to the U.S. and getting cards at gas stations on the way – and bringing home “Topps” “Fleer” or “Donruss” cards to show my friends and they would be in awe of baseball cards with no French text and more details on the player in English. I also remember my grandma buying me a set of Upper Deck in 1989 when they came out – it was the first factory set I ever got – but I always preferred building my own sets from packs and trading with my friends at school or cousins.
The memories are priceless to me.0
05/01/2019 at 4:19 am #61014
Brought back memories of the bubble gum I bought as a kid; cards showing scenes from the American Civil War (soldiers getting impaled on sharpened tree trunks, and sailors burning to death on sinking ships- that sort of thing), Came with reproduction Confederate money. Think it got banned pretty quickly- I’m not going to go looking! Nor do I want to chew a big flat pink square of some rubbery stuff ever again. Damn, I can still remember the taste and texture.0
05/01/2019 at 6:57 am #61015
- Location: Kentucky
I was at a yard sale last fall and came across a grandma selling some cards and other sports related items. She wouldn’t make a deal because they were here grandsons, I took his number from her, but decided not to bother with contacting him because what was there wasn’t anything very exciting. Fast forward a couple of months and I am at a small little junk store in a town with one gas station and a community hall that I pass through from time to time. I am looking around and another guy comes in. We speak a bit when he asks the owner if she has any baseball cards. We both look around and end up at the front counter together with her. He mentions something that jogged my memory and I asked him if he had sold some cards at his grandmothers yard sale. He confirmed and since lightning rarely strikes twice, I took his business card and gave him a call about what he had for sale. I went to his house and he had 150k+ for sale from an old card shop he had bought out. After doing some cursory looking, I decided to buy the lot for a winter project. Paid $1300 for the entire collection. Took me two trips in my Kia Soul to get them all home. Spent the next 6 weeks sorting, looking, piling, researching, photographing, listing, etc. I pulled out everything I felt like messing with (there were a lot of autograph/memorabilia cards that were pre-sorted and easy money). There was some really good and rare stuff in the collection. I made my money back in the first month and have been steadily selling since. I expect, over time, to make around $8-$10k in profit. I still have all the bulk and will be listing those soon on Craigslist. I am gonna shoot for $1300 as there are a lot of good older bulk cards that could be sold by the card (92 Bowman, 81-84 Fleer, etc). If I can get close to that price, it would pretty much pay for the entire endeavor and everything on ebay would be profit 🙂1+
05/01/2019 at 10:13 am #61026
Antique Frog- those cards sound crazy. There were some odd non-baseball ones in the collection I sold- nothing rare: gun cards, bible cards, etc. I kept a binder of cards from the Alien (1-3) movies because I thought they were cool, though they are also pretty much worthless according to past items sold.
Bourbon- That’s the kind of story I like to hear. Did you ever employ a card scanner, or did you sort them all manually?0
05/01/2019 at 2:33 pm #61052
Greg- these are them (warning! graphic images). First issued in the US in 1962 by Topps. Seem to go for between £50 and £80 now for a UK set from 1965 (without banknotes).0
05/01/2019 at 5:18 pm #61066
Oh, wow. Who would have believed Topps commisionned a card called “Flaming Death” featuring immolation. Then there’s “Messenger Of Death”… “Crushed by the Wheels”…
There are enough song titles in there to service a metal band’s entire career.0
05/01/2019 at 5:28 pm #61068
So many good band names:
–Fight for Survival
05/01/2019 at 5:37 pm #61069
“Ooh, Billy, look! I finally got Dynamite Victim! Now my set is complete!”0
05/02/2019 at 3:23 am #61079
I think the artist was Norman Saunders; apparently he’s most well-known for a series called “Mars Attacks!”. Had to find out after looking at card 73 “Through the swamp, Grey Embers GA” featuring a Union soldier spearing an alligator. Is the Battle of Grey Embers featured in Ken Burns’ documentary? 😉0
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