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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Sport Cards Conventions and Shows

Thirty years ago Card Shows were the traditional way to buy, sell and learn about cards, but now the shows seem to cater more to the autograph collectors. They still offer the opportunity to mingle with other collectors. The shows offer the advantage of being able to touch, feel, and smell the card before you buy. It is also fun to strike up a conversation about the particular player's card you are holding at that moment.

The main disadvantage of shows is that if you are looking for a particular item, it can be very difficult (or impossible) to locate. The dealers at the shows usually only have a fraction of the inventory that Dean's Cards has to offer. This makes perfect sense if you think about it. Dean's Cards does not have to bring our warehouse of vintage cards to you, but you come to us via the Internet. And best of all, we are always open!

The biggest surprise that I encountered at the card shows was the prices that these guys charge for their vintage cards. When we started Dean's Cards, the idea of a Vintage Card eStore was a brand new concept and untested. I assumed that we were going to have to charge a slight premium for the convenience and superior selection that we offered. After attending several local shows, I discovered this was not the case.

Many of these dealers mark cards at Full Book Value for cards in Excellent or Very Good Condition and then offer a small discount. I guess that this makes sense when you consider the expenses that they have to pay to travel to the shows, stay in hotels and rent the tables. As a result, the price of cards at Dean's Cards is usually lower when you compare cards and also consider the condition of the card. This became clear to me, when I discovered the high cost of renting tables at these shows. Many of the dealers at shows will charge close to book value for cards that grade much lower than NEAR MINT.

When I started Dean's Cards, it took about six months to launch the website. During that time, I was buying inventory and working on the eStore. About two weeks before the store was ready to go, I attended a local card show and told a few dealers that I met about the eStore concept to get their input and comments. They totally did not get it! The guys that I spoke with were convinced that the eStore concept would flop!

By that time, I was too far along with the store to back out. Thank God! I am so glad that I did not talk to these guys earlier or I may have gotten cold feet and backed out. Dean's Cards is now the #1 seller online eStore for vintage cards. We have well over 850,000 cards posted online and ready to buy. This is far more than any other eStore.

Please do not get me wrong, I try to attend at least a show a year. It allows me to hang out with my son and also get new ideas for our online business. If you have time to kill, card shows can be an enjoyable way to do it.

If you are looking to sell your cards, please contact Dean