A Word on Comps/Trading
Here is my take on comparing prices in the marketplace - "comps". I am sure there will be some who agree with me, and others who disagree.
The instant access to information and current pricing can be both a detriment and a blessing. On one hand, you feel "safer" buying a card without serious financial repercussions towards future salability. On the other hand, you find a special deal for whatever reason but you will be tied to that low comp.
When pricing anything I have for sale, I like to take into account a few factors:
a) Comps do matter. A grain of salt must be taken if there is only one or two comps for a particular item. If there are 30 exact examples selling within 5-10% range of each other recently, then you have a set market. Although, if something was sold 3 years ago, it does not necessarily mean it is worth the same today. Trends change as does pricing.
b) Availability. What is currently being sold and at what asking price? Comps are great but if you are after something, you are bound to what is being offered right now, not what was sold in the past.
c) Other factors. Collectors have herd mentality sometimes. A player goes on a streak, team starts winning, player up for an award - whatever it may be - can affect current prices.
I try to be fair when pricing cards. Will I always be at the lowest available comp? Sometimes yes, other times not. Will I try and find a middle ground with a prospective buyer? Absolutely. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn't.
Keep in mind that with any business, there is risk involved. I buy all my cards in a competitive market. I put my hard earned cash on the line, quite a bit of it. There are plenty of times where I lose out. It's not always a win-win game. That's the risk you take. Although, on the other hand, any dealer has the right to earn a profit on their risk. Also remember, dealers have other costs too. There are site fees, transaction fees, taxes, shipping supplies, etc. It's not always easy managing all these aspects. There is a difference between a collector selling a card once a week and a dealer fulfilling orders daily. One has overhead, the other doesn't.
Coming from a collector to another collector, if there is something for your private collection (PC), don't be afraid to go against comps. I don't mean pay 30x the last recent comp and go crazy unless you want to. But why limit yourself for something that belongs in your collection? I've been there before and I've taken the risk. At the end of the day, I find the deals generally even out with the items I overpaid for. I remember building my Jake Oettinger collection. I bought the Young Guns Clear Cut Exclusive for what I thought was a very reasonable price. The High Gloss, on the other hand, let's just say, I made a new comp which will likely not be exceeded. These comments are not even taking into account any shill bidding or mischievous doings by others to artificially inflate prices.
So as a shortened version, if there is something on this site you want to own but you feel my pricing is off, don't hesitate to contact me. I am willing to discuss it. I just ask that you be reasonable and I will try to do the same.
I'll be completely upfront and honest, I generally dislike trading. Sure, I have done it before and it's worked out just fine. Although, I'm a bit old-fashioned. I like to buy and I like to sell, simple as that. Trading comes with costs for a dealer. There is the time spent processing an item for sale and taking it down, plus the cost of shipping to the other trader. Unless it is something I can't say no to, something I personally collect, or really great Dallas Stars cards, I'll likely politely decline any trades.