Sports cards have long been woven into the fabric of American history. Throughout modern history, cardboard photos of our favorite sports heroes have held a special place in our hearts. There is something about owning that special Mickey Mantle card, or building a complete set of Topps Baseball cards. Over the years, they have become a bit sleeker, a lot more innovative, and expensive. That being said, you can make money in the sports card industry if you utilize the modern way of doing things. The Internet has opened a whole new avenue to many sectors of society, and card collectors certainly fall under this heading. Here are some steps to building a following in this lucrative business.
First Steps—Networking is the number one way to build a secure living on sports cards. It is an absolute must, and you can’t be afraid to put yourself out there. The Internet can provide the avenues, with groups, blogs, social sites, websites, email, and countless other ventures. The one thing that you must do to succeed however, is to keep a record of every single person you do business with, and the details of this business. For example let’s say that John Doe, who is a huge Padres fan in San Diego, bought a nice Tony Gwynn card from you. A quick email to thank him for his business, and to request information will go a long way. Keep a spreadsheet and list his name, email address, his interests in cards, and his location. That way, a year from now when you get another Tony Gwynn card, you have a built in customer. This list will grow over the years, and if you do a great job being organized, you will reap untold benefits.
Getting Started–Everyone has to start somewhere, and the absolute best place to do so is on Ebay, or on a site called Naxcom. Ebay is loaded with collector’s and contacts, and a great way to get your foot in the door. As far as Naxcom, it is one of the best kept secrets on the web. You put in the card you have, and choose a link that says “buyers offers”, and up comes every person on the site looking for that card. If you sell it to them, then Naxcom guarantees the funds, and you ship the card. It is absolutely fantastic, and I have never had a problem on the site. Network your brains out and keep detailed records of your experiences.
Final Tips—Throughout your dealings, do not do things half way. I know this sounds obvious, but the little details in this business are vital. Condition is everything in cards, and sending the cards in a new top loader and penny sleeve is a must. Also carefully shipping in a bubble mailer costs a little more, but will gain repeat business for sure. Make sure you cater to the kids in the business, and you will succeed. The biggest problem in this business is that we are not cultivating the next generation enough. Take the time to teach a kid about collecting, and you invest in your future business.