Thursday, June 18, 2015

Journey From Trade To Grading To Selling To Buying To Selling Again and Finally Acquiring Cards That Are Staying In The Collection

I post a lot about of when I acquire cards and at times the cost of said cards but sometimes it seems to me that I put it out there that I might have an endless amount of funds but that couldn't be further from the truth and I thought I would show how I acquire a high dollar card at minimal or no cost. Some people have also asked me on this subject as well so I thought I would put it down in writing. Most times it's all about timing and at the same time you have to have a little luck on your side as well which is what I had when it came to this journey's recap and how only a little purchase/trade at the end of last year turned into a handful of great cards that will not be leaving my collection anytime soon.

2014 Bowman Chrome Base Autograph

This all started back in December of 2014 when my good buddy Jesse informed me (and others) that he was going to put this bad boy up on eBay as he pulled it out of a box that his wife bought for him. Great wife BTW. It was a simple trade/purchase as we agreed that I would send him some cards in addition to $150. It was Christmas time and I had to account for presents so Jesse was kind enough to allow me to send him payments over the course of several weeks but soon enough it was paid for and I had it in hand. Now with the card in front of my eyes I thought it was beautiful that had a very good chance of grading out to a gem mint 9.5. I am not a prospector of non Dodger players so I only wanted one of Bryant's autographs in my collection and this was going to be that one. Mind you this was before Spring Training and his status blew up big time due to his performance.

BGS came to town in early March and I submitted the card (along with many others) and I "expected" Bryant to come back as a gem mint. Well it didn't . . .

. . . it came back as a PRISTINE 10. Holy crap!!! At the time of me submitting this for further grading which included slabbing the card the going price on eBay for these were $900+ with some touching $1000. The other hope was that it would come back with a black label 10 (that's when all the sub grades are a 10) which unfortunately it did not but still it did look quite spiffy in this case.

This was to be my 4th pristine return in my collection but I debated if I should sell high and get something more that fits into my collection. I only wanted a 9.5 but now I had a potential money making card in my hand. What to do? I went to Twitter to consult with my friends aka Jesse, Derek, Alex and Austin and they all confirmed my belief that I should move this as a 10 is nice but it is an unnumbered card. So I made a plan and went about to set it in motion as I noticed that sales of this card were starting to dip. Time to move it.

I had my eyes set on two cards with the leftover money to take my wife out to a nice dinner. Win win all around in my eyes. But first I had to make sure I sold this 10 for at least $900 which thankfully it did as the bottom has fallen out of it with a current sale (May 30th) at the rock bottom price of $485 and that is before factoring in eBay, shipping and Paypal costs. That is a $415 swing so I made the right call at the right time.

In return I picked up two cards.

I still wanted a Bryant card for my collection and again with advice from my Twitter friends I/we figured that a numbered (#/500) refractor gem mint 9.5 is a much better piece to have than an unnumbered pristine 10. This card ended up "costing" me $500 which to me was very reasonable considering what I sold the pristine at and what they are worth now. I was still on the look out for one more card that would really go well with my collection. I found this gem.

2015 Topps Tribute Joc autograph printing plate

This might end up being one of my better acquisitions from eBay as the years go on if Joc becomes a big star. For those that don't know this is a 2015 Topps Tribute printing plate. It is numbered ONE of ONE. It is the only one in existence. Also what makes this a potentially great card in the long run is that Topps recalled this product due to quality issues so only a limited amount of cards made it to the aftermarket. Also plates have a notorious history for scuffs and high grades are hard to come by. Then you have to factor in the Joc autograph aspect as his autographs tend to be streaky. All of that and this card seems to be void of it all. No scuffs, auto is crisp and clean and I think it will grade out to a 9.5 but again I will and still have my fingers crossed.

With that I believed I was done but then I got to thinking as I was searching for deals on eBay. While I do want a Bryant card in my collection we are in season now and prices are still inflated. Could I sell off the refractor now for a decent price, pick up another card or two and then pursue a Bryant autograph in the off season when prices cool down a bit? Back to the Twitter group for some brainstorming and I came away with yet another game plan and soon put it into motion and came up with these:

2014 Topps Finest Koufax autograph

If I was to let go of the Bryant I was determined to get a great card and that is what I ended up getting. I swapped out a 23 year old prospect autograph card for a Dodger great and Hall of Fame member's gem mint autograph, the immortal Sandy Koufax. I sold the Bryant for $500 which meant I lost zero dollars on it as that is what I acquired it for and snagged this Koufax on a buy it now for $340 after a eBay coupon was factored into it. Black, blue, graded and Koufax. A great combination and I am glad I pulled the trigger and can't believe it took me that long to do so. I still had a little more than $100 left over from the Bryant sale so I was still looking to max out my bang for my buck and finally settled on this card.

2015 Topps Heritage Trout black refractor

If I wasn't going to acquire an autograph card of Bryce in my Bryant sale then I would get the next best thing for my collection, a limited and numbered parallel of Mike Trout. And just like with the Koufax card I spent zero out of pocket at the time of acquisition.

Now this is just one particular example on how I acquire some higher valued cards at a bare minimum. The great thing about card collecting is that it is always in flux and your wants and needs can and will change as long as you are in the hobby. Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose when it comes to the cost of a card purchase but I look at this particular example like this as I originally spent $150 on a raw card which I turned into :

  • A 1 of 1 autograph printing plate of a Dodger prospect which might possibly grade out to gem mint 9.5 which will make it even more valuable.
  • A BGS graded gem mint card autograph of a Dodger legend
  • A limited (#/66) parallel of probably the best everyday player in baseball in the form of one Mike Trout.
  • With the "purchases" of the Koufax, Joc and Trout card I also earned eBay bucks which I can use come July 1st for yet another card at no cost
  • and most importantly a paid night out with the wife  
So would you pluck down $150 for these three cards? Of course you would. Could they have been acquired with out of pocket funds while keeping the Bryant? Yes but why would I do that if I wouldn't have been happy in the end doing it that way. So basically I purchased 3 cards (4 including the one I'll end up getting in July with the eBay bucks I earned by acquiring these 3 cards) that have a combined value of $750 give or take (depending on the grades that the Joc and Trout card get) and a date night with the wife for $150.

In the end this and other transactions are all about timing with a bit of luck added in. If Jesse wasn't willing to part with the Bryant card or if I didn't luck out on it grading out to a pristine 10 or if I would have waited an extra week to sell it which would have been at a lower sale price none of this would have been possible. If my little insight on these cards acquisitions bored you I am sorry but I thought I would share my experiences with everyone on card buying. Thank you again to Jesse for selling me the card in the 1st place.

Thank you and have a blessed day.



  1. all good bro! I'm glad you were able to double-down(triple-down) on it and make some sweet trades.

    1. Only doable with a luck and timing. Couldnt do that today as Bryant cards have dropped like a rock price wise.
      Thank you again

  2. Great read. Good luck to you in your future wheeling and dealings!

    1. TY on both counts.
      I so hope that Joc pops a 9.5
      His like Bryant's market is stupid high and I bet I could score a hell of a deal on the bay for it