A loyal listener asked a good question over at the Sports Card Radio Fan Forum. Basically he asked why sports card shop owners tend to low ball you for single cards?
I know where both my listener and the card shop owner are coming from being that I've filled both shoes during my lifetime. As a collector when we pull a nice card it would be nice to turn around and sell it or trade it for top dollar even if it isn't in the price guide at that moment. As a card shop owner, unless its a once in a lifetime type pull, chances are its just another card sitting in the cabinet. Knowing you'll see the same card or similar card again later in the week makes it far less valuable to the card shop owner who is exposed to "hits" or really nice trading cards most of the day.
In short, they tend to try to buy things at costs lower than eBay. Given that it'll run you about 15% off the top (or more) to sell your card on eBay, they'll factor that in to their offer price. Lots of people come into card shops knowing very little about the cards they have let alone selling them on eBay - so sports card shop owners offer them whatever they think they might take (I always said $5.00 dollars)
That being said...if you are a good customer and you come back often, the shop owner probably will deal with you differently. The best thing to do is not try to get cash for your cards unless your dealer promotes that they "buy" cards. The better thing to do is try and swap for some other single cards or packs/boxes that you would want. If he is smart he'll drop his markup a little and you can get a nice deal on something else you may like. Heck, if the singles have been sitting around for a while, I always liked to trade for something fresh and it ends up working out for both the customer and the shop owner.
Get to know your shop owner...see if they are even interested in collecting cards (some aren't) but if they are, they will pay more for stuff they collect. Every sports card collector has a soft spot for a team or player. Even the hardened shop owner will pay a little more for that special piece. On the same side of the coin, shop owners tend to hate players or products too, and if you know which ones they don't like...shoot for those for the best deals.
Check out show #38 of The Sports Card Show Podcast for more information on dealing with shop owners.
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