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Old 02-20-2017, 05:13 PM
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SAllen2556 SAllen2556 is offline
Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: Detroit
Posts: 359
Default A conversation with a couple veteran dealers at a card show

Went to my local card show yesterday and this time ended up in a 1/2 hour conversation with a couple of 30 year veteran dealers of mainly post-war cards. The dealer I was mostly speaking with has never sold directly on eBay. Never. And, of course, he hates graded cards, although he agreed that’s it’s a necessary evil. Here were his major points (I thought he was nuts!):

1. He does not consider eBay as any sort of indication of the current market. He had a ’49 Leaf Wagner ungraded (I’d guess a 4 at most) for $240 firm. I showed him eBay sold listings of comparable cards for, at most, $180. Showed him 3 or 4 on eBay for sale right now graded and probably better than his (his was centered but soiled) for less than $200. Didn’t care.

2. Claimed that there is a “show” price vs. an eBay price and as he travels around, he’ll eventually get his price.

3. Claimed that he sells raw cards at shows easier than he can sell graded cards because people think they’re smarter than he is.

4. Claimed that raw cards at card shows attract set collectors more than graded cards do, which was another reason he avoided them.

5. He also understood completely why I wouldn’t pay $60 more for a card I could buy on eBay right now - but didn’t care.

I walked away fascinated by the conversation, but I just can’t make sense of it. This was a smart, articulate guy. And the other dealer agreed with everything he said.

My only thought was, isn’t this why card shops and card shows have largely died out? He’s basically a middle-man, and eBay has, for all practical purposes, eliminated the need for a middle-man. Seems like this guy is trying to survive on a 1985 business model of what a sports card dealer is. Or am I missing something? How, exactly, do dealers make money today?
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