Friday, April 30, 2010

Card Prices

My most frequent question sent to me through my vintage cards website is also the question I least like to answer: How much is my card worth? At first, I tried to be really polite in my response about why I really can't be the one to arbitrarily assign a dollar value to somebody's cards. There's too much to consider (condition, etc.), and usually, I don't have enough information in an email to reach a definitive value. However, as time went on, my replies to these questions grew shorter, and I have made a point of sometimes refusing to answer questions about value.

My reason is simple: A card's value is based on several factors, including its condition; ultimately, if you try to sell it, your card will only go for whatever somebody is willing to pay for it.

For example, let's say you have a 1955 Topps card of "Rip" Repulski (#55). He's a common player, so he's grouped with the rest of the "commons." Say, for example, High Beckett on this card is $12, low Beckett is $6. But those prices are for a card in Near Mint condition; your card is maybe in Excellent condition. So realistically, when adjusted for condition the card price is somewhere around $4. Then, try to sell it to a card dealer...if he even bothers to take it, he may give you a $1 in-store credit or 75 cents. If you put it up on eBay, most bidders won't touch it at $3 unless they really need the card. And even then, you're out whatever final fees eBay and PayPal take.

Result: a card that is listed at $12, that may fetch anywhere between $1 and $4. And you would be upset if I told you your card was worth $12 if you ended up selling it for $2. That's why I don't mess around with card prices.

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