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  #1  
Old 11-11-2020, 07:09 AM
Belfast1933 Belfast1933 is offline
Jeff
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Default Dealer? “Dealer”/Collector? Or Collector only!

Am guessing past threads may have addressed this but wanted to ask N54’ers what you advise in terms of being a dealer only, a part-time dealer to support your collecting interests, or are you almost exclusively a collector?

Advice I have picked up here and there over the years from show, brick/mortar and internet dealers often say it’s hard to keep a bright line between being a collector or being a dealer

Wondering what this esteemed and experienced group might say.... and what advice would you have for potentially aspiring vintage card dealers as “must do” “must avoid” tips to enjoy the vintage card dealer space?

Thx -

Jeff
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  #2  
Old 11-11-2020, 07:34 AM
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GeoPoto GeoPoto is offline
Ge0rge Tr0end1e
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As soon as you decide what your collecting focus is, you will start buying items that are inside the boundaries of that focus. The immediate opportunities facing you will be a pyramid of choices -- few high-end items at the top of the pyramid and more items as you progress down the quality scale. So lets say you buy a large number of items and really get your collection rolling. As time goes by you continue to monitor the "deal flow" and add to your collection. You soon realize that many of the items you bought before are less enticing than the same items from higher up the quality scale and those more enticing items are now being offered for sale. So you buy the more enticing items and swell with pride in your collection. Except, you now have items you don't really want -- they are the earlier acquisitions that have now been displaced by more enticing finds. But, those displaced items have value on the market which now exceeds their value to you. You need to sell them and recover that value. Even if you began planning to be a "buy and hold" collector, you find that you are also an active seller. Does that make you a dealer?
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  #3  
Old 11-11-2020, 08:03 AM
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savedfrommyspokes savedfrommyspokes is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Belfast1933 View Post
dealers often say it’s hard to keep a bright line between being a collector or being a dealer
For years(late 90s-2011), I was a PT dealer who strictly bought to resell to fund my collection. My collection grew exponentially in these years as I prospered as a reseller who reinvested all of my profits into my collection.

Fearing a downsize at my last job (I was correct) in 2011, I convinced my spouse to go FT with selling cards. Have not looked back and enjoy every moment.

To answer the quote above, yes I still collect, but my system to collecting versus selling is simple....I use my CC/ebay rewards to fund my collecting so as to not intermingle business and collecting funds. Yes, from time to time I may pull 1 card out of a 1000 card deal to keep for my collection, but my resell purchases versus collecting purchases are mostly always kept separate. My goal as a reseller on a purchase is not to add to my collection, but to show a profit so I can provide an income for my family.

Interesting article that came out a few days ago in regards to taxes on collectors profits.....

https://www.sportico.com/law/analysi...es-1234616166/
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  #4  
Old 11-11-2020, 08:34 AM
Bram99 Bram99 is offline
Tony S.ti.ns.a
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Default Dealer Advice

One easy piece of advice for you that will be narrowly helpful:’ contact me to sell your Allie Reynolds cards.
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  #5  
Old 11-11-2020, 08:49 AM
ALR-bishop ALR-bishop is offline
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Just a collector since 1957, but contemplating exit plans
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  #6  
Old 11-11-2020, 09:01 AM
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Just a collector. I have a small collection, I'm considering selling some small modern cards that I have just to help fund the vintage cards I want to buy, but when push comes to shove, I'm just in it for the Hobby.
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  #7  
Old 11-11-2020, 09:07 AM
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bnorth bnorth is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ALR-bishop View Post
Just a collector since 1957, but contemplating exit plans
Anything you are not sure about you can send to me.

Over the last 30+ years I have been all of the above at one time or another. I have enjoyed cards the most since I became strictly a collector several years ago.

Now I have been slowly selling cards I hoarded insane amounts of to pay for new purchases.
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  #8  
Old 11-11-2020, 09:21 AM
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JLange JLange is offline
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Default Collector, but will need to sell stuff eventually

I am a pure collector. I buy the things I like, but I also do try to buy at prices that would give some upside if I were to sell in the future. As a long term collector, though, I have accumulated many items that I will eventually unload, including the following:

-duplicates from upgrading or "Oops, already have it" moments
-non-collection items acquired in lots with items from my want list
-items that no longer fit my various collections

It started out as an item here or there, then they filled a tote, then several more totes, etc. Now my assemblage of "non-collection" stuff is a big collection.

Eventually will sort through this non-collection and utilize BST and Ebay, etc. to thin it out. I don't think that makes me a dealer, but I can see how long term collectors can stumble into collector/dealer mode.
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  #9  
Old 11-11-2020, 11:33 AM
Belfast1933 Belfast1933 is offline
Jeff
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Hysterical! Love the “oops, already have it” category... I thought I was the only one who did that from time to time. Feels like this is safe circle and we can share our misses (and hits). Thx for sharing

Jeff

Quote:
Originally Posted by JLange View Post
I am a pure collector. I buy the things I like, but I also do try to buy at prices that would give some upside if I were to sell in the future. As a long term collector, though, I have accumulated many items that I will eventually unload, including the following:

-duplicates from upgrading or "Oops, already have it" moments
-non-collection items acquired in lots with items from my want list
-items that no longer fit my various collections

It started out as an item here or there, then they filled a tote, then several more totes, etc. Now my assemblage of "non-collection" stuff is a big collection.

Eventually will sort through this non-collection and utilize BST and Ebay, etc. to thin it out. I don't think that makes me a dealer, but I can see how long term collectors can stumble into collector/dealer mode.
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  #10  
Old 11-11-2020, 11:50 AM
unamuzd1 unamuzd1 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Belfast1933 View Post
Hysterical! Love the “oops, already have it” category... I thought I was the only one who did that from time to time. Feels like this is safe circle and we can share our misses (and hits). Thx for sharing

Jeff
Related to the "oops, already have it" is the "I need it and there are two finishing close to the same time and I'll set snipes on both, figuring I'll maybe win one, then accidentally win both of them" category.

Which, given the length of the name, obviously won't apply all that often. But it happened to me at least a couple of times while trying to fill t206 holes...

Also, I'm just a collector. I'm really bad at letting things go. Which may actually make me a hoarder, now that I think of it.
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  #11  
Old 11-11-2020, 11:51 AM
Belfast1933 Belfast1933 is offline
Jeff
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Great success story... thx for sharing. And thx also for sharing the article - it just blows me away that I agonize over a $1k spend on a 110 year old Nap Lajoie card and this article talks about how you could have bought a Luka Doncic card 10 months ago for “only” 20k

It just seems insanely risky to me to spend that kind of money on a card that was produced just a few years ago on a player that might, someday be an all time great.... or not.

To each, his own I guess.

Quote:
Originally Posted by savedfrommyspokes View Post
For years(late 90s-2011), I was a PT dealer who strictly bought to resell to fund my collection. My collection grew exponentially in these years as I prospered as a reseller who reinvested all of my profits into my collection.

Fearing a downsize at my last job (I was correct) in 2011, I convinced my spouse to go FT with selling cards. Have not looked back and enjoy every moment.

To answer the quote above, yes I still collect, but my system to collecting versus selling is simple....I use my CC/ebay rewards to fund my collecting so as to not intermingle business and collecting funds. Yes, from time to time I may pull 1 card out of a 1000 card deal to keep for my collection, but my resell purchases versus collecting purchases are mostly always kept separate. My goal as a reseller on a purchase is not to add to my collection, but to show a profit so I can provide an income for my family.

Interesting article that came out a few days ago in regards to taxes on collectors profits.....

https://www.sportico.com/law/analysi...es-1234616166/
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  #12  
Old 11-11-2020, 12:06 PM
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ullmandds ullmandds is offline
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I am mainly a collector going on over 40 years now. I DO occasionally buy with the intention of reselling to try o make a profit usually to fund other card purchases. But I rarely sell these days! It used to be quite easy to buy a group of vintage cards...sell most and end up with one or a few for free. That's how I obtained my former t206 green cobby. Much harder to do these days esp with the cost/time of grading to resell.
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  #13  
Old 11-11-2020, 12:10 PM
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bnorth bnorth is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Belfast1933 View Post
Great success story... thx for sharing. And thx also for sharing the article - it just blows me away that I agonize over a $1k spend on a 110 year old Nap Lajoie card and this article talks about how you could have bought a Luka Doncic card 10 months ago for “only” 20k

It just seems insanely risky to me to spend that kind of money on a card that was produced just a few years ago on a player that might, someday be an all time great.... or not.

To each, his own I guess.
I haven't been a actual dealer for a long time so maybe it has changed. New expensive cards are for quick flips and old cards are great for long term. The biggest thing when selling is not the sale price but what you pay for the cards to resell.

Last edited by bnorth; 11-11-2020 at 12:12 PM.
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  #14  
Old 11-11-2020, 12:24 PM
cardsagain74 cardsagain74 is offline
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Here you'll find:

- many collectors only
- many who mostly collect and sell off extras
- a handful of full time dealers
- some who are looking to invest money in cards
- some who think that "invest" is a dirty word here(because cards are intangible assets or how increasing values causes them to spend more money)

As far as being an inspiring vintage dealer: the rising values of the last 12 months have made it seem easier than it normally is. If you're selling on ebay, then between their fees and taxes, you're giving up almost 20% off the top to both buy and sell the same product.

That makes focusing on forum transactions much better for the bottom line, but of course you only a reach a small fraction of potential buyers (compared to those places like ebay/amazon/etc.)

So the best answer may be: there is no clear choice Just have to figure out which venues and practices work best for your particular situation
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  #15  
Old 11-11-2020, 03:47 PM
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Luke Luke is offline
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For me all of these questions kind of worked themselves out. I only was selling because I loved the cards so much and couldn't afford to buy all day without also selling. If you're just going to buy and sell and not collect, I would imagine there are much easier ways to make a buck. Then it comes down to how much self control you have with regard to how much you are smoking your own stash. I have always loved the business as much as my collection so it has been pretty easy to stay balanced.

This next comment is not 100% true across the board, but it's my 2 cents. If you aren't already deeply involved in the hobby because you're compelled to be, I think there's a chance buying/selling isn't for you. In my own personal experience, I never asked any questions like this, I just followed my instincts (followed my heart I guess you could say) and here I am 10 years later after getting into pre-war. I think if you weigh the pros and cons of doing this from an unemotional standpoint, it doesn't make a ton of sense to get into trying to be a dealer.
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  #16  
Old 11-11-2020, 11:25 PM
steve B steve B is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bnorth View Post
I haven't been a actual dealer for a long time so maybe it has changed. New expensive cards are for quick flips and old cards are great for long term. The biggest thing when selling is not the sale price but what you pay for the cards to resell.
^^^^ The stamp dealer I hung out at gave me a few bits of advice when I told him I was thinking of actually becoming a hobby dealer (Not just one hobby, both harder and easier to do) Advice in blue.
The first was "you can make money on anything if you buy it right"

The rest was also simple obvious stuff that has to be pointed out because it's so easily missed.

Learn as much as you can about as much as you can- which leads to
Become a good guesser.

I may not know exactly what something is worth, but have a fairly good "feel" for underpriced stuff.

Don't marry your mistakes.
Everyone buys stuff that simply won't sell for a profit.

Example, he had a monster box of pro set football cards. Not a great lot, just large with a few stars. He had it priced at $100, I looked, wasn't interested at anywhere near that much. He told me to just offer what i would pay. No, I'm so far under I don't want to insult you. Seriously, i never should have bought them. You cant insult me. Ok then, $20.. sold. I did do ok, selling batches of 400 junk era cards on Ebay before people stopped buying them. I made a little, but probably not enough to cover my time. I probably eventually got a couple hundred, but it was more than 10 hours work.

I'll add a couple he didn't.
Use networking.
He did really well by buying stuff for other dealers, or for particular collectors he knew would buy. Almost any weird angle you could look at a stamp, coin or postcard from, he knew someone. Even other stuff. One day I stopped by the shop, and he was out but the sign said he should be back fairly soon. He arrived on time and was glad I was there as he had some van unloading work for me Several boxes of stock certificates, all in binders, all from the same company. Something like 15000 of them. When i asked what he was going to do with that many, he told me they were already sold! He called his stock certificate guy who started to pass until he told him he would take 200 for everything. Which was cheap enough the stock certificate guy figured he could just give them away as surprise bonuses with every order.
(The company was moving, office workers found a closetfull the boss said to throw away. They said the stuff might have value. Ok, sell it by friday and if it's not huge money just split it. He paid 100, which got the office a nice pizza party.

Know yourself and decide if you're a good fit

I'm pretty good at spotting stuff and buying it. I'm not good at taking risks on more expensive stuff, which is a problem. I can pretty easily find stuff I can get 2-5x as much for. But getting 5x on a $1 item is still just four bucks.
And to some extent I have occasional trouble letting go. Plus some ADD which found me hitting an organizational wall at around 20 items a week. Some people can handle hundreds with none falling through the cracks, but that's not me. So all that was self limiting at a few hundred a week. Some big scores, but not enough.

Which now I look back on it is a little amusing.
I've never been someone who would pass on a big lot of stuff if there was something in it that I wanted. Or enough stuff in it that I liked or needed.
So I ended up with lots of extras, mostly cheap junk.
And probably from hanging out in a couple shops way more than I needed to, my overall attitudes were more dealerlike. I've had dealers ask me for my resale number and been surprised I'm not a dealer more than once, and in the early 90's would routinely get asked where my shop was.
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  #17  
Old 11-11-2020, 11:50 PM
cardsagain74 cardsagain74 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steve B View Post
Don't marry your mistakes.
Everyone buys stuff that simply won't sell for a profit.
This is probably the most classic mistake that people make when buying/selling, regardless of whether it's cards, stocks, or anything else.

There's that whole perception of a "paper" loss not existing, and that's such a fallacy. People forget that they've still lost the same value, regardless of whether or not they're still holding the asset.

The only difference (other than tax treatment) in that and a realized loss is that you're still invested at the current market price.
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  #18  
Old 11-13-2020, 12:02 PM
Johnny630 Johnny630 is offline
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Collectors can emotionally spend their money on cards..
Dealers and Investors Can’t

Pick you pleasure
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  #19  
Old 11-13-2020, 12:20 PM
Gobucsmagic74
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Not a dealer but I do sell cards to support my collecting. Almost my entire collection has been financed on the premise of buying what I like to collect and buying/selling when the opportunity presents itself. I never buy a card for investment that I wouldn't want to keep in my collection. Stick with what you know and like is my advice
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  #20  
Old 11-14-2020, 12:12 PM
Yoda Yoda is offline
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If you decide to go the dealer/collector route, be sure you keep separate accounts for the "company" side of things and one for personal. This is critical come tax time. And the IRS takes a dim view of co-mingling bank accounts, so be careful of that potential conflict.
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  #21  
Old 11-14-2020, 01:16 PM
Vegas Cards Vegas Cards is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GeoPoto View Post
Except, you now have items you don't really want -- they are the earlier acquisitions that have now been displaced by more enticing finds. But, those displaced items have value on the market which now exceeds their value to you. You need to sell them and recover that value. Even if you began planning to be a "buy and hold" collector, you find that you are also an active seller.
This describes me exactly. I found myself with just too much stuff. Not only do I want higher quality, but I also want more focus. I'm finding that cards I picked up that were interesting to me when I was a collecting at a younger age 25 years ago I no longer want.

Right now I'm much more interested in vintage cards. This forum has been great for helping me explore that world.
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