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Thursday, September 24, 2009

Vintage Baseball Card Pricing

Vintage baseball card pricing and baseball card values are often a point of debate among collectors.  What a card will (or will not) sell for is often a surprise for many sellers.

A few years ago when Dean’s Cards was a new site, I would often list items online at the Beckett Adjusted (for Condition) Book value or ABV.  There were a few times, when a dealer would go online and buy out the entire inventory and resell them at a profit.  Even worse, some book values were too high and the items would sell slowly or not at all.  That is a very frustrating feeling.

Although Beckett Price Guides and the Sports Collectors Digest Price Guides are a decent reference for sports card pricing, Dean’s Cards has developed our own retail pricing over the years.  I truly feel that the pricing that Dean’s Cards uses is more accurate for us than the Beckett or SCD Prices.  I do not make this boast lightly.

Both Beckett and SCD  sell their pricing, but neither actually buys or sells sports cards!  It is much like the Priest who gives marriage advice.  He may be very intelligent and well educated on the subject matter, but there is no substitute for experience.

Dean’s Cards buys cards from private collectors, online sellers and other dealers.  We also sell hundreds of thousands of sports and non-sports cards through the Dean’s Cards eStore.  We know when something moves fast or does not sell at all.  We also know which cards are scare and which are plentiful.  We build dozens and dozens of sets each year.  Quite often we will notice that a particular card always seems to be missing.

Please do not get me wrong.  Both Beckett and SCD Price Guides are good products and are a credit to the hobby.  The people that work there know a lot about cards, but Dean’s Cards has the advantage of having an 850,000 card (and counting) inventory of which to gather information.  We can look at a simply look at our online inventory for a particular year and observe that we have twelve of card #253, twenty-three of card #254, seventeen of #255 and only one of card #256.

A great example of a rare common card is the 1970 Topps Al Oliver.  It seems that we are always missing that card.  What is so special about it?  I have no idea, but we always seem to be missing it to complete the set and it is usually hard to find when I go shopping for it online.

Another example is the 1969 Topps World Series Cards.  We have built dozens of 1969 Topps sets and we always have to go looking for those cards.  Those cards are way under priced in the official price guides.

A final example are the 1966 Topps high number baseball cards can rarely be bought for below book value in any condition.  For that reason, a 1966 Topps set is one of the hardest to complete.

As we adjust the pricing for different sets over time, I will make a blog posting of our observations.  Hopefully, we will be able to make our pricing available online in the near future.

Please leave your comments and examples of other cards that are “mis-priced”.