I'm going to give you all a little peek into how my trade pipeline works. The endgame here is to trade more but also to share best practices (Not that letting trade fodder build up into a massive pile until it just gets so big that you have to spend a whole night figuring out who you set each card aside for is a good practice).
As you can see I was a busy boy last Wednesday night, and a very unpopular guy in the line at the Post Office on Thursday morning. I don't send these to guilt anyone into sending me Griffeys - it's mostly just to get all this stuff out of my house, but also it's because I don't ever really know who I owe cards to and who I don't. So if I've sent one of you three unanswered trade packages in a row, sorry? And if you've sent me the same, let me know.
Allow me to show you what I’m working with. My trade fodder is divided up into three parts: Teams, Players, and Premiums.
My teams are divided up into separate long boxes and labeled appropriately. My quality control standards for these are very high. I’ve already gone through every card in every box you see and pulled out all the overproduction-era “junk wax” that I don’t consider of high enough quality to trade. All that’s left is the good stuff, mostly pre-’85 and post’95.
Of course there is some time overlap of sets that are too good not to be considered tradable. For example, ’92 Ultra made the cut as did ’91 Studio; but I defy you to find a single ‘90 Donruss Red Menace or ’89 Topps. This is not a judgment of these sets per se, but I have to assume any team collector worth his salt already has every card from those sets. I won’t waste shipping money or space in a package on them.
When I go through new cards I also pull out the good guys. Everyone from Hank Aaron to Jordan Zimmerman is represented here. I save them for the sole purpose of mailing them to others who collect specific dudes. This box (now boxes) has gotten a bit ridiculous. Just the stack of Nolan Ryans in here is enough to choke a grown panda.
The good thing about these is that I could always dump them on eBay as player lots, and odds are that someone out there will pay actual money for them. I’ve paid for blind Griffey lots, sometimes up to $0.25 per card. I don’t want to do this – it would be a desperation move, but we’re getting there.
This is the good stuff: relics, autos, cool numbered parallels, manu-patches, manu-relics, manu-manu – the stuff I have no real good reason to keep and that might even book for a few bucks. Some of this will find its way to eBay, some to COMC, but the majority (I hope) will end up in trade packages.
Cards in the premium box find their way to specific bloggers, trade packages by team, and the occasional PWE. Every now and again I sift through and slap a couple of cards up on eBay or mail them out to COMC. Just general trade bait here, really.
I also have an unofficial trade shelf where I throw anything that I know a specific blogger would appreciate. After the trade storm of this last week, here is what the shelf looks like as I write this:
Mostly empty as you can see, and a few stacks for specific guys separated by post-it notes. A few of you I don't have addresses for, but I read your blogs. You've already got cards here, too.
The Brass Tacks:
What I need is to downsize, and I’m willing to make concessions to do so. What I’m offering is any combination of teams and/or specific players you may want. In exchange, I’ll take anything.
Really – anything.
As long as it consists of fewer cards to store and has an approximate value (collector value, not necessarily book value) relative to what I mail to you, I don’t really care what it is. I’d prefer Griffeys or cards from my player collections, obvy, but I don’t really care all that much. Just send me something cool. That’s all I really want.
So e-mail, comment, send me a carrier pigeon - whatever you want. Let's trade, bro.