Today was the Orland show. I was able to reload my 1977 Topps football binder and 1955 Topps baseball binder prior to the show. I didn't take any notes today, so I don't have a list of what I sold. Do you guys like to hear about each sale? If so, I'll start taking notes again. While attendance was okay, sales were down today. I bunch of my regulars were AWOL. Though, Rick, Will, Dan, Rich, and a bunch of other guys made some nice purchases today that were much appreciated. I sold a bunch of cards out of that reloaded '55 Topps binder. Rick picked up a bunch of '69-70 Topps basketball which I reloaded the week before last. Rich picked up a real nice 1959 Topps Johnny Unitas.
So now I'd like to rant a bit. It wouldn't be MY blog without a rant. There is a guy who bought some cards from me earlier in the month at the Schaumburg show and he was at Orland today. He is one of those guys that when you're in his presence, you feel like you've lost large quantities of plasma (okay, I stole that line from William Burroughs). This guy will spend some money but he'll figuratively kick you in the teeth a few times before he breaks out that wallet. He's buying raw cards to get them graded and to sell them for a profit on eBay. There's a bunch of guys at every show that do this. I don't mind. If a guy buys my cards to resell, more power to him and I hope he makes a lot of money. Though, this guy... I gotta give him a name. How about "Dwight." So Dwight wants to buy my cards at about 25 percent of what I have them priced at. The thing I don't think Dwight is considering, or really cares, is that if I sell my cards at 25 percent of my list price, I lose money! I can't find cards that cheap!! How can I sell them to Dwight for less than I paid for them?!! I know I've been talking about taking a break, I guess that's one way to get a break, sell off all my cards for practically nothing.
Here's is Dwight's biggest problem. He looks over my raw cards and gets an idea in his head of what he thinks it will grade out at. Then he looks at his SMR and sees the price for his chosen grade. Now he needs to make a profit so he's going to offer less than the SMR price at this phantom grade. This little show is completely asinine and here's why:
I've been getting cards graded for the past 13 years. I have NEVER been able to guess the grade my card will receive. Grading is completely subjective. It is well documented that the graders at PSA spend about a minute and a half on each card before they stick a grade on it. Maybe they'll see something, maybe they won't. Other guys regularly crack cards out of the PSA case and resubmit them to PSA in an attempt to get a better grade. Often these cards receive a different grade on resubmission. Grading is not an exact science. Nobody knows what grade a card will receive unless and until the card is actually graded. It drives me crazy when someone looks at one of my raw cards and tells me it is a 4. How the hell do you know it is a 4? It's raw, it's not graded!!!! You're not the grader!! As such, you're going to pay my RAW price, not a graded price because the freakin' card is NOT graded. That card you say is a 4 could end up a 6 for all I know, so I'm not going to give you a 4 price on it. I'm going to give you the raw price based on Beckett.
The card in question today is a 1956 Topps Harmon Killebrew. By my grade, the card is in Very Good condition. It has some corner wear but not too bad. No creases and no other flaws that I can see. The Mint Beckett price for a raw '56 Killebrew is $125. The VG raw price is $75. I priced the card at $75. Dwight looked up the card in his SMR. He decided it was a 4. SMR doesn't list the 4 price. It has the 5 price at $40. So Dwight offers me $30. The offer is offensive to me. I'm happy to take offers on my cards but an offer for less than half of my sticker price is a big fat NO. I was willing to go down to $50. Maybe if Dwight wasn't such a jerk, I would have gone even lower but I don't need the sale that bad that I have to give my stuff away to assholes. What this really boils down to is that the card is RAW!!! You can't offer me a price based on SMR for a raw card!! I won't take it EVER.
Here's another thing about graded cards that I've learned from selling them for years. The SMR price doesn't mean shite. I don't bring graded cards out to shows because they don't sell at shows. Though, I regularly sell them on eBay where they sell very well. What I've learned on eBay is that the cards almost never go for the SMR price. They often go for less than SMR but then certain card go for more than SMR, much more. SMR is a terrible guide. The best guide is to check the completed listings on eBay. There you'll see what these things actually sell for.
A quick look on the eBay completed listings shows that a '56 Killebrew PSA 5 sold recently for $40, $41, $50 and $51. Completed listings for a 6 are $63, $89 and $76. So, the proof is in the pudding. You never know what a graded card will sell for and you can't rely on SMR. Though, the bigger issue at hand is that you don't know what a card will grade out at. You have to send it in. Guys like Dwight can't place a grade on a raw card and offer a dealer an SMR price based on what they think the card will grade out at. I know Dwight isn't alone. A bunch of guys do this but they have to realize that all they're doing is pissing off dealers. You guys need to buy the card and get it graded -- only then will you know what the grade is!!
So Dwight was the only blip on a pleasant day. Chuck went out and picked me up some hot dogs around noon. Thanks Chuck! With this diabetes, I gotta eat all the time or my blood sugar gets too low. I brought some snacks today but it wasn't enough. I gotta start carry more food with me. I'm still learning how to manage this thing.
Now for my buys today. I picked up a small group of '75 minis. I also bought some low grade early '50s Bowman baseball. I'm working on a '75 Topps set and picked up the Brett rookie today. I think I'm just four cards away now. I picked up a low grade '69 Topps Rollie Fingers rookie. Then I made the buy of the day, month, maybe year. I picked up a box of 1961 Fleer football and 1962 Topps football. I love the '61 Fleer football. Those cards are soooo tough!! I'm always looking for those cards. I recently picked up some low grade ones on eBay. Though, I'm regularly out bid on the '61 Fleer. This group today is in EX! I'm so pumped!! Then the '62 Topps football. Another set I love. The '62 Topps aren't quite as difficult to obtain as the '61 Fleers but they're not common. The group I picked up today is absolutely tremendous. It's loaded! I got a Johnny Unitas, a Mike Ditka rookie and a Bart Starr. If I only had the Jim Brown it would have been a perfect day. Though, I can't complain. The '62 stars are heading to eBay. So watch my eBay auctions this week for those puppies.
Overall, a good day, largely because of my buys. Sales were down but that's the way it goes sometimes. Next week is Schaumburg. I'm going to work on some 1973-74 Topps hockey this week. I'm not sure if I'll get anything else done. I'd like to start working on some 1955 Bowman baseball. I'm hoping to see a nice crowd at Schaumburg, except for Dwight. Hopefully Dwight stays home.