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Returning dealer wants to know the current state of the hobby?
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Picture of BM Collectibles
posted
Hi Gang

I can't stay away from the cards. I am going to expand my card inventory even though it's mostly older chase, that's for sure. How far I go I'm not sure yet. Within about 2 months I will have a brand new office with lots of room. Building starts this week.

I will probably be doing more in the local market with larger items because shipping from Canada for large items is ridiculous. My office will also house my other ventures that are not collectibles related.

I would like to get some current feedback on the state of the hobby. I see some say that card sales are picking up and some saying that people are dumping collections. I look over price lists and can't really fathom buying cases and cases of stuff to crack like we used too. People forging cards bothers me.

Ebay wants their cut. Everyone has to make money. I would love to return to the type of sales we used to do, but a few poor product purchases could sink anyone. I looked at a few of the people and places I used to know and deal with and they are either gone or their inventories are at a minimum. I even see a lot less posts on this board now and the retailer advertising forum is just about non existent.

Any and all advice would be appreciated.

Bob
BM Collectibles Inc
Victoria, B.C. Canada
 
Posts: 44 | Location: north pole | Registered: August 26, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Bronze Card Talk Member
Picture of btlfannz
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Hi Bob
There is truly no single answer to your questions but for my 10 cents worth here are some generalizations.

1. The market is split about 80%/20% in favour of new card purchases vs older cards.
2. Typically, fresh blood in the market is very scarce and the hobby is almost entirely composed of existing (old!!) collectors who have probably been around since you were last in the market.
3. Prices for old stuff have bottomed out. I came across a dealer the other day who was selling insert cards for $2.00 each. I spent up large only to discover another dealer selling them for $1.00 each!!
4. I can only judge from comments made on this forum but it would appear that there are still some hardy souls out their who are willing to buy an entire case (or even cases) for a product that they like but reality bites and many of us are still living a=on a very restricted disposable dollar.
5. Finally, nothing much has changed from the old edict - demand controls the price, if you want it bad enough then pretty much price is no object.

Good luck and welcome back to my favourite obsession.

PS Postage is a killer and frequently determines the outcome of a sale when dealing internationally.

____________________
My dog is a RotweillerXLabrador. He'll bite your leg off but he'll always bring it back to you.
 
Posts: 509 | Location: Auckland New Zealand | Registered: January 26, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Contest Czar
Picture of barobehere
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Welcome back, Bob! I have always thought of you fondly.
My 2 1/2 cents.
Postage is a killer right now, no matter where you are. Outside of Canada for you, outside of the US for me. It is getting costly to post outside of your country. There are a few traders that I trade with and we hold cards until we think it is worth the postage, sometimes it takes 1/2 a year to make a trade.

I am currently working on around 30 sets but with 2 kids now, my spending has greatly decreased on the hobby. If I had the extra cash I would buy a lot more, I just don't have it.
 
Posts: 5649 | Location: Meridian, Mississippi | Registered: November 23, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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The state of the hobby actually seems pretty stable at the moment. There is a lot of new product coming from both small press and standard press manufacturers, and good product all seems to sell well and sell out.

There are new collectors coming into the hobby in larger numbers than have come into the hobby in quite a while as many sports card collectors have discovered non-sport cards.

The interesting change in the hobby, to me, since you left is the change we've seen in online communities. The fragmentation that existed before is even worse, additionally it seems like many collectors have either stopped coming to many online communities or have stopped posting in them. . .
 
Posts: 4562 | Location: Parts Unknown. | Registered: January 25, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of Raven
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I pretty much agree with everything webjon said. My impression is that the non-sport card hobby is on an upswing.

There is new blood buying and there are new licenses and new card manufacturers to buy from. However these are not kids or even teenagers. They are adults that either come from sportscards, got jobs and can now afford cards, or quit for awhile and are coming back into the hobby. Most of the best non-sport cards are of adults only subjects.

Finally I would say that just about every non-sport card collector would prefer buying from a local brick and mortar store if they had one that catered to their needs. Internet buying is often the only option we have to get the cards we want, but it is a poor substitute for the shows and the hobby stores that we frequented in the 90s. They closed down and have not rebounded in any significant numbers yet. If you are planning to open in a good area that is accessible to collectors they will find you. Good luck. Smile
 
Posts: 7932 | Location: New York | Registered: November 20, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of BM Collectibles
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Interesting information so far. It kind of goes with what I have been seeing.

I loved do the shows in the 90's but the show promoters were just charging for tables and paying for their own tables while covering their costs. I remember one show where the guy had 8 tables of his own set up. The buyers were all looking at his stuff. I think we sold $40 that show.

Having lost the connection with the manufacturers does not help either. Inkworks and Rittenhouse always helped us out, but sometimes our orders were 15 - 20 cases.

I still see yellow caution lights with all this. I guess I should check out box and case breakdowns on the new guys. I do have some other things on the go as I had mentioned, but selling cards simply turns my crank!

barobehere - I miss you too, we always worked well together.

I'm not sure how to get around the shipping problem. If I was on the mainland I could pop across the border to do my shipping, but since we are on an island that is not possible.

I'll be watching for more posts.

Bob
 
Posts: 44 | Location: north pole | Registered: August 26, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of btlfannz
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quote:
Originally posted by webjon:
There are new collectors coming into the hobby in larger numbers than have come into the hobby in quite a while as many sports card collectors have discovered non-sport cards.



As much as I admire your (and Raven's) enthusiasm for the hobby could I respectfully ask - where's the proof of this statement?

I know of two US major dealers who no longer attend trade shows citing losses as their reasons.

There is not a single card shop in the whole of New Zealand and (to the best of my knowledge) only one in all of Australia (if you discount the MTG/Comic stores). I would love to believe your statements guys but sadly I have not seen the supporting evidence. Just the contrary in fact.

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My dog is a RotweillerXLabrador. He'll bite your leg off but he'll always bring it back to you.
 
Posts: 509 | Location: Auckland New Zealand | Registered: January 26, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by btlfannz:
quote:
Originally posted by webjon:
There are new collectors coming into the hobby in larger numbers than have come into the hobby in quite a while as many sports card collectors have discovered non-sport cards.



As much as I admire your (and Raven's) enthusiasm for the hobby could I respectfully ask - where's the proof of this statement?

I know of two US major dealers who no longer attend trade shows citing losses as their reasons.


This speaks directly to the fragmentation I was talking about. . . the sports card guys hang out at sports card forums, and don't go to comic/non-sport conventions.

For proof visit some sports card forums and look at the difference in traffic in their non-sport card forums from a couple of years ago to today.

Also look at the fact that sets like Marvel Retro are going gangbusters. . . but you rarely see it mentioned on Card Talk. This set is a big hit with sports card guys.

Walking Dead and Big Bang Theory prices are being largely driven up by the influx in people collecting those -- most of the new collectors again, are sports card guys.
 
Posts: 4562 | Location: Parts Unknown. | Registered: January 25, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of Pumpkindiver
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Where's the card shop in Australia?

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Posts: 154 | Location: Australia | Registered: July 24, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of btlfannz
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quote:
Originally posted by Pumpkindiver:
Where's the card shop in Australia?


Card Zone in Mebourne

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My dog is a RotweillerXLabrador. He'll bite your leg off but he'll always bring it back to you.
 
Posts: 509 | Location: Auckland New Zealand | Registered: January 26, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of Raven
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quote:
Originally posted by btlfannz:
quote:
Originally posted by webjon:
There are new collectors coming into the hobby in larger numbers than have come into the hobby in quite a while as many sports card collectors have discovered non-sport cards.



As much as I admire your (and Raven's) enthusiasm for the hobby could I respectfully ask - where's the proof of this statement?

I know of two US major dealers who no longer attend trade shows citing losses as their reasons.

There is not a single card shop in the whole of New Zealand and (to the best of my knowledge) only one in all of Australia (if you discount the MTG/Comic stores). I would love to believe your statements guys but sadly I have not seen the supporting evidence. Just the contrary in fact.


I totally believe that you are correct about the market you are in. You would know best, but Australia and New Zealand face all the problems of shipping fees, VATs, minimal distributors, online dealers that won't sell foreign anymore, all of which makes it very hard to get your hands on any cards at all.

I can only give you my impression of what's going on in the hobby in the US. It may not amount to proof, but we do have more manufacturers of non-sport products and more new non-sport products now than anytime since Inkworks. Many of these products are selling out, perhaps because of lower print runs, but selling out none the less. And just look at the number of ads and contributing companies that we are seeing in NSU. Part ot it I believe to be the influence of Marvel and DC movies.

Webjon makes an excellent point about the fragmentation of the hobby, although I wasn't thinking about it until he brought it up. Take a look at the number of people on Card Talk sometime. The guests always significantly outnumber the members. The other day I think I saw something like 132 guests and 9 members and many members hardly ever or never post anything. It's not that card collectors aren't around, it's that they don't know how to talk to each other anymore because they never meet up. I use to know so many card collectors in my area, both by name and some just by face. Now I haven't moved and I see none of them. So its very hard to get a sense of what's going on when its all done online and all we have is underused forums to connect us.

And now that I think about it some more, we are fragmented as card collectors because there are just so many more fragments available to us. It used to be you were a sportscard collector and you picked which sports. Non-sport was comic based, period. Then it branched out to entertainment shows and movies, but now non-sport collectors can pick not only titles, but types of cards. Do you collect autograph cards? Sketches? Relics? Base cards? Premium cards? Parallels? Master sets? Mini sets? Any combinations of anything? As the money gets higher, the focus has to get sharper or you will go broke. Big Grin I think that's a pretty good reason for fragmentation too.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: Raven,
 
Posts: 7932 | Location: New York | Registered: November 20, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post



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I think online selling is much more profitable than a physical shop's sale. If the internet has not evolved to which it is now, the card hobby would have died totally. But the shipping cost is really killing sales, not only with cards but other products as well. So much that forwarders has now become a very profitable business.
 
Posts: 69 | Location: Earth | Registered: November 01, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of btlfannz
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Raven, we have an expression here in New Zealand that goes "When America sneezes NZ catches a cold" The expression actually refers to the world financial situation but if it means card retailing too then I sincerely hope that you are right about your positive approach to our hobby.

Roll on an improved card market in both of our countries.

Just on another subject, can you please expand your understanding of "fragmentisation"?

I just love this forum because (in my (not very humble) opinion) it is stocked with some hugely knowledgeable people.

You take the Jurassic Park holograms thread. I have learned so much about these cards that I never knew and have had cause to change my thinking regarding these holo's completely as a result of the subsequent posts. If there is one thing that really floats my boat is hearing from collectors about elements of card collecting that I never knew about.
For me that's gold and I believe that this forum does a brilliant job. Where's the "fragmentation"?

____________________
My dog is a RotweillerXLabrador. He'll bite your leg off but he'll always bring it back to you.
 
Posts: 509 | Location: Auckland New Zealand | Registered: January 26, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of Raven
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Well you have to give credit to webjon for coming up with that "fragmention" term and I don't know if my interpretion of it is exactly what he meant, but to me it means card collectors in niche markets within niche markets. Its like at one time you could go to a 100 table show and 98 tables would be selling sportscards and 2 tables would have non-sport cards. They rarely mixed and just collecting non-sport was a niche.

Now non-sport titles are broad enough to develop their own markets and things that were highly exclusive hits before are guaranteed in a certain number of packs. You can be a sketch collector, you can be a certified autograph collector, you can be a relic collector. Before you had to be lucky to find one of those hits in hundreds of packs, now you just have to buy a box of a sketch card product to get at least one sketch. Or buy an autograph driven product to get anywhere from 1 - 4 autographs in a box.

I buy boxes of products that have autographs, sometimes the title is unimportant if the ratio is good. And on the internet you can find and buy nearly anything, so it just becomes an issue of price rather than rarity for all but the most limited. So what I'm trying to say, perhaps poorly, is that we have so many choices that my opinions may be very different from another non-sport collector, where as at one time we were united by simply not being sportscard collectors.

And sportscard collectors, who always were more the gambling sort, are branching more into certain non-sport products in recent years, as they see the potential for bigger expensive hits. So roles are changing, lines are getting blurry and we are all doing our own thing on our computers. That's my take on hobby fragmentation anyway, as long as we are making it up. Wink
 
Posts: 7932 | Location: New York | Registered: November 20, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of kane1
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I'm not sure how is the market for dealers.

I'm a collector that just sell the extra duplicates of my collection to finance my card collection. So technically a "hobby" seller. As far I can tell. Sales in 2013 are very slow compare to 2012. As far I can see in my sales. Some buyers are more interesting in the cards of the '90s.

As buyer, I still interesting in the card of the '90s. Not too much interesting to spend more than $200 for a "Retro" box to get just a bunch of copy-paste artwork glorified because a company decided to make scarcity some cards.
 
Posts: 242 | Location: Puerto Rico | Registered: December 15, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of BM Collectibles
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Well, I have invested even more money into the hobby as I said I would (my business). My new office is finished (and full of cards)' Everything is prepped for sale for(next free listing day). My experiences with maintaining an ebay store was worrying how to make enough to cover the monthly fees. I would prefer to pay a little more commission and work to my terms, not there's. I have a considerable depth of inventory even though it is older product. I've added a few things that I thought were cool, and those are vending machine sticker sets.

I have other things on the go outside cards as you all probably know. Ebay now is so automated it's pretty much get payment and ship. If you are organized this takes no time at all. We will see how this all goes through the Christmas sales, the January lull, Income tax season and the spring. I must say, I have been checking some prices lately and I do see an increase in costs for lots of things.

I keep looking at the new products and still can't seem to justify some of the pricing. Since I am 1 person now it's tough to follow all the trends. My main trade is Supply Management which I am very good at. Maybe I should send out some RFQ's (Request for Quotes) and see what comes back to me.

I used to stay up at nights worrying about if 10-15 cases of Rittenhouse or Inkworks products were enough or too much. I worried about the "token" orders we placed knowing ahead of time the product would fail.

Oh well, in the end, what have is ALL MINE!
 
Posts: 44 | Location: north pole | Registered: August 26, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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