Tuesday, January 19, 2010

A Month in Cards... History is Made and Controversy Returns!

It has been quite awhile since my last entry - I guess life took over through the holiday season and I figured I would wait until after the Toronto Card Show to post an update, so here it is!

I had always wondered if anyone actually read this page, and I know the answer after having received a few messages from HobbyInsider.net boardies asking me when another update was coming. Thank you to anyone who takes some time out of his/her busy day to check this blog out!

So let's backtrack a bit to acknowledge the most significant thing that has happened in the world of sports over the past month - Martin Brodeur has broken Terry Sawchuk's all-time shutouts record! Many thought it would never happen, but #104 came in spectacular fashion over the Pittsburgh Penguins. Interestingly, Brodeur has shut the Pens out in his last two starts against them, making over 30 saves in each contest. Congrats to Marty, who has since pushed his SO total up to 107 (!!!) - the next closest active player to that total is Vancouver's Roberto Luongo (50).

Card-wise, I have personally scaled back a bit on my purchasing over the past few weeks, hoping to shuffle out some old stock before loading up again. After posting a very (VERY) large sale thread online last night, I hope to make some sales and re-load in time for the next Toronto Card Show.

Speaking of the TCS - the latest edition of the Show (Sunday, January 17th) was another hit. While not nearly as busy as the Dec. 20 Show, there was a steady flow of collectors circling the room for most of the day. This was the third time I have set up, and I have learned something every time... here are a couple of observations:

- It ain't crap: Those $1 jersey cards you want to throw out, or that are taking up space in your closet are worth more than you think they are. While some cards are impossible to sell (or close to it), memorabilia cards, no matter how "low end", of active players are always worth keeping around. It is a lot easier for a customer to drop $10-15 than $100-150. The reality is that if presented nicely, those jersey cards that only book at $8 will easily garner some interest, and will often sell for $3-4 apiece.

- Something for the kids: Along the same lines, after three shows and having attended the TCS since its inception, I know that many of the collectors walking around the show can barely see over the tables. I have found it essential to have some things to give to the youngsters when they visit my table - nothing big, but base cards of star players definitely generate smiles. This goes a long way, as often the little guys are tailed by their parents. They've got the wallets, and they'll be back. Case and point: last show I gave a youngster some Ovechkin base cards as he couldn't afford the jersey cards I had on the table. This time around, he brought his dad with him, and they purchased one of them, remembering that I had been kind to them previously.

- Share the wealth: The wealth of hobby knowledge, that is! Not everyone making the rounds has been in the game for as long as I/we have, and I find it very important to cheerfully andswer any hobby related questions to the best of my ability. This creates a positive vibe around the table, and inevitably leads to sales.

- Support the team: It is also important to know what others in the room are selling. I have received referrals from other dealers who remember cards I have, and I try to point customers their way if I don't have any cards of a particular player. In the end, its all about the benjamins, and teamwork keeps the bills coming across the table.

- Pull the trigger: We are at the show to sell, but you have to be open to adding to your inventory as you go. The show runs from essentially 9:30-4 (once dealers are set up, they cruise around to see the other tables, often deals get done), so how do you know that Gretzky auto you buy for $120 at 11 AM won't sell for $225 by day's end?

There is another issue surrounding the hobby which has reared its ugly head . It would seem that everyone's favourite patch forger is at it again, and is even actively buying in some hobby circles (I won't divulge who informed me of this). Most of my readers will know who I am speaking of, but I won't name names. Instead, I will say that it is time for this smug, inconsiderate SOB to get his come-uppance. I'm not sure if there is a way that collectors can work together to make him pay, or if we should just patiently wait for the karma wheel to spin his way, but I for one am fed up with these thieves.

I will be compiling the evidence against this individual (which is readily available thanks to HobbyInsider.net) and providing my input in letter format (accompanied by a copy of the evidence of course), and providing it to the local authorities. I will be sending a date-stamped copy showing recepit to Upper Deck to make them aware of the issue and of my action, but I will go no further. I think the manufacturer should get involved in this case, as it is their product that is being altered, and their customers who are being turned away due to authenticity concerns.

I am left wondering why we as a people tolerate this type of thing... ridiculous car insurance rates for young experienced drivers with good vision (and very affordable ones for the senior population that is occasionally a huge hazard on the road), insane cable bills, cell phone charges out the wazoo and now patch forgery, which is turning something fun, which we use to get away from the strains of daily life, into yet another area in which we are exploited.

In general, we have to start standing up for ourselves.

/ rant.

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