Check Out Your Cards – March 20th

Hello again, folks. It’s time for the second edition of Check Out Your Cards, our new blog post where I meet with a member of our identification team and ask them to tell me about some of the amazing cards that they’ve seen while working at COMC. This week we continue with some items that Greg had flagged when I asked him to help with this project. Today we’ll show off a Black Slabbed card, a nice Logo man, an impressive auto, and a great soccer card.

2014 Topps Chrome Rookie Autographs #JA Jose Abreu [BGS 10 BLACK]
Jose Abreu

Click for larger image.

Introduced as the ultimate label, for the ultimate card, for the ultimate collector, this is the first black slabbed card that we’ve seen. A perfect ten in centering, edges, corners, and surface. And on a chrome card, this is even more difficult to achieve. Not much more needs to be said about this spectacular Jose Abreu card, other than it’s great to have an item of this quality listed on our site.

2013-14 Panini National Treasures Logoman Signatures #LS-KI Kyrie Irving

Kyrie Irving

Greg admitted that, beyond this being a good looking card with a great signature of a rising star, it was the Logoman that made him want to rescue this card from mailbox obscurity and give the world a chance to see it. Logoman cards are such a chase, and with a patch this pristine, you know the owner of this card is happy.

2014 Bowman Prospects Chrome Printing Plate Magenta #BCP25 – Kris Bryant /1 [PSA/DNA Certified Auto]

Kris Bryant

Click for larger image.

Kris Bryant, Dick Howser Trophy winner and second pick in the 2013 Major Leauge Baseball Draft, is one of the hottest prospects in baseball right now. He has what it takes to be one of the greats, and only time will tell how far he’ll go. Greg thought that it was great to see people sending such rare 1/1’s through our site.

2014 Panini Prizm World Cup Signatures #S-LME – Lionel Messi [BGS 9.5]

Lionel Messi

Click for larger image.

This card is from the 2014 Panini Prizm World Cup Signatures, one of the coolest soccer sets ever. In fact, when the product came out, Greg and a few of his friends went in for a case, hoping to pull something as valuable as this. Sadly, they were out of luck. But, shortly after, Greg and another friend went in together on a box, and wouldn’t you know, they pulled a Lionel Messi. While this is not the card they found that day, seeing this one on our site made Greg smile.

Next Time on COYC

We show off some strange non-sport items from Topps, Upper Deck, and Allen & Ginter.

Canadian Promotion and Sportscard and Memorabilia Expo

A quick update for our Canadian users.

COMC will be attending the Sportscard and Memorabilia Expo in Mississauga, ON on May 1st, 2nd, & 3rd. We will have free giveaways for everyone who stops by – while supplies last – as well as store credit draws and more giveaways for all registered COMC users.  We will also be accepting drop-off submissions so you can save on the cost of shipping.

In addition, for a limited time, we are offering our Canadian Spring Promotion starting from today until April 2, 2015.  Refer your friends to us, and if you are a new consignor, let us know so we can welcome you aboard!  This great deal is available for batches sent to our Canadian office under the guidelines outlined below:

Ship to or drop off at

COMC Consignment
4311 Canada Way
Burnaby BC V5G 1J3
Canada

The Special:

$0.20 per raw standard-sized or tobacco-sized trading or gaming card
All other cards of different sizes will be sorted out and processed separately under either basic (for tall boys) or premium (for graded, encased, booklets, oversized, sports poker chips, coins, or pins)
User Account not required to be funded at the time of shipment (account still required to be funded before cards are uploaded)
Cards in penny sleeves are acceptable
Cards in toploaders and cards requiring condition notes subject to $0.05 handling fee per card
Additional 50¢ upgrade charge is required to list a card for $50 or more
Additional 25¢ charge for cards that are valuable, fragile, or thicker than 3.5mm (138pt) and must be scanned in a toploader
Maximum 5000 cards per household
Minimum 125 cards (or $25.00 batch fee)
Cards will be live within 10 weeks of receipt of shipment
All shipments must be postmarked no later than Thursday April 2nd, 2015
Mark your package “Canadian Spring Promotion”

Non-Canadians are welcome to use the Canadian Spring Promotion, but will be responsible for all customs, duties, and taxes associated with the submission.

Check Out Your Cards – March 13th

Hello everyone, and welcome to the first edition of Check Out Your Cards, our new blog post where I meet with a member of our identification team and ask them to tell me about some of the amazing cards that they’ve seen while working at COMC. There are over 3,380,000 unique items on our site –  and that’s not even counting cards through our mailbox service that few people will ever get to see. It’s my goal to highlight some of these cards and let our ID staff explain what they find interesting about them. For this inaugural post, I sat down with Greg and picked his brain regarding a rare card from a mailbox user, a sneakerhead’s dream, a great celebrity autograph, and BGS success story.

2014-15 Panini Gold Standard Black Gold Threads Platinum Prime #43 Shaquille O’Neal

Shaquille O'Neal

One of the great things about the mailbox, at least from the point of view of the members in our ID department, is being able to see some beautiful and rare cards. This Shaq, from one of the rarer inserts of the newer Panini Gold Standard, is one of the cards that caught Greg’s eye. He thought that everyone deserved a chance to see this 1/1.

2013-14 Upper Deck Exquisite Collection UD Signature Kicks Monumental Laces #ML-AH Anfernee Hardaway

Anfernee Hardaway

Greg, a self-described sneakerhead, was amazed at this card. Most of the memorabilia in shoe swatch cards are about the size of a nickle, so a piece this large is pretty astounding. Even I was impressed by the amount of shoe they fit in this card. (For disclosure purposes, I also want to say that Greg has owned several pairs of Nike Air Foamposite 1’s in his life. His choice to add this card to COYC may be biased.)

2014 Leaf Pop Century Live Signatures Blue #LA-AP1 Al Pacino

Al PacinoWhile COMC was originally a place for sports cards, there are some heavy non-sports hitters. Over the years we’ve added a number of Leaf Pop Century cards to our site. In recent memory, this is one of Greg’s favorites, as this is the first signed Al Pacino card that we’ve seen come through our site. We’re lucky to have items like this pass through our mailbox service.

2014-15 Panini Prizm Black Pulsar Prizms #48 LeBron James

LeBron James

When I asked Greg what was so special about this Prizm Black card, he told me to think about this card like a success story. First, it’s a hard card to pull. Second, even fresh from the pack a card is not guaranteed to come back a ten. On top of that, this success story was made possible by COMC being a BGS Authorized Submission Center. A user sent us this card, and we got it off to Beckett and back to them with a stellar grade – a result that everyone hopes for.

Next Time on COYC

We show off a Bowman Black Slabbed card, a nice Logo man, an impressive auto, and a great soccer card.

Welcome Back Nathan Richards, COMC Communications Manager

It’s Good to be Back

While I know it’s been announced in the forums, and some of you might have seen me responding to emails or answering your calls in the last three weeks, I have not yet formally introduced myself. I am Nathan Richards, Communications Manager at COMC.

My name might be familiar to a few of you, I worked Customer Service at COMC from the summer of 2012 to the fall of 2013. I’ve spent the last few weeks reacquainting myself with the ins and outs of COMC, and I am looking forward to reintroducing myself to all of you. I am here to make sure that we have clear and open lines of communications between COMC and our fierce and loyal users.

In the next few weeks I will be working with Tim and Julia to answer a lot of long standing questions and to resolve a number of customer concerns that we have been hearing. My goal is to make sure that we are building the best company using all of the insights from our users and employees. Additionally, I will be on social media, in the forums, and answering email and calls along with the rest of our customer service team.

Goodbye to Moe

Yesterday was Customer Service Agent Maurice (Moe) Smith’s last day with us. He had been with us for some time, working first in the Identification Department, and most recently he was an important member of the customer service team, handling email and many of our social media accounts. We wish him well in his future endeavors.

Vintage Enhancements & Items Stored Remotely

COMC Buyers, we have a couple exciting changes to announce.

Items Stored Remotely
Yesterday we updated COMC to let you know when items are not currently stored near our Redmond, WA headquarters. For example, cards that are consigned through our Canadian processing facility may take a month or two to migrate down to our US headquarters. While the items are still in Canada, we can’t ship them as quickly. The website now indicates which items are stored remotely, and it doesn’t let you request expedited shipping for these items. We recommend using our Standard or Registered shipping options if you have any remote items in your shopping cart or shipment request.

Vintage Enhancements
Over the coming months you will start seeing some enhancements to how we process vintage trading cards. We have noticed that on average, cards that are pre-1980 sell for twice as much and twice as fast as modern cards. We want to make this experience even better.

1957 Topps #20 - Hank Aaron [VG] - Courtesy of COMC.comFirst off, we are partnering with Dean’s Cards to offer the largest selection of scanned vintage cards on the internet. Both of our sites currently offer a little more than 500,000 vintage cards each. COMC.com will be the first website to ever offer more than 1 million scanned vintage cards with one flat shipping fee.

We are just starting to test some items now, and we will soon offer Dean’s entire vintage inventory. You will be able to use your COMC store credit to purchase any of Dean’s items, and his team will ship those items to us every day. We will then separate the items into their corresponding orders, so you don’t have to pay extra for shipping.

You will notice that Dean’s scans look a little different than our traditional scans, and also Dean’s team has provided more detailed condition information. We are working on a strategy to offer similar condition details for vintage items that are consigned with us. Stay tuned for more updates.

This is just the first step we are taking to towards becoming the premier website for buying and selling vintage cards.

Mailbox Announcement

Hello COMC Nation! We recently sent an email to those members of the COMC Nation who have ever used our Mailbox service. This email was to let those Mailbox users know that some changes were being made to the Mailbox service, and that these changes were going to take effect on March 7th.

If you didn’t receive that email or you have never used the Mailbox before, please check out this link (COMC Mailbox FAQ) that explains the service and details the changes:

Unfortunately, there was one issue that we neglected to discuss in that email that we wanted you to let everyone know about – so, with that in mind, we sent out another email and we also wanted to highlight that issue on the Blog.

We’re talking about “Bonus Cards” – those extra cards that sellers sometimes send with the card(s) you purchased. As we have done in the past, we will process ALL the cards that come in under your name at $0.50 per card, with a $2.00 minimum per package..

While you may still donate any “unwanted” cards to Charity, we will no longer reimburse your processing fees.

Please note that it’s your responsibility to urge your sellers to either not send bonus cards or mark them with a big “X” to signify they are just spacers or packing material. Cards that are so marked will be disposed of by the Mailbox team.

If you do receive “bonus cards” and they get deposited into your portfolio, please remember this: you have a COMC account and are able to price any unwanted cards for sale on the site. And, with the processing at only $0.50/card, this makes selling and recouping your processing fees that much easier.

As always, stayed tuned for the latest news and developments at our FacebookTwitterGoogle+, and Instagram pages.

 

Where in the world did Tim go?

10 millionA lot has happened since my last check in. January turned out to be a pretty good month. Many people reported having their best month ever. Also, on Friday night we crossed 10 million items actively for sale. This is quite an accomplishment. Collectively we continue to set records for the largest variety of trading cards offered under one physical roof. Way to go COMC Nation!

Tim’s Time Off

Tim with childhood best friend Pete

Tim with childhood best friend Pete

I am glad for everything positive that happened while I was gone. I generally don’t like to publicize when I take vacations, but that wasn’t really an issue in 2014 because I didn’t take any. Well, technically I headed back to Minnesota on Christmas eve 2014 to start my first vacation in more than a year.

All 5 of Tim's nieces and  nephews

All 5 of Tim’s nieces and nephews

After two weeks in Minnesota and Colorado, I came back to Seattle with a “gift” from my nieces and nephews. Unfortunately, it was the kind of gift that kept me bedridden for a week.

At this point I was 3 weeks behind on email. I spent most of the next week taking care of stuff at the office, and then I had another one week business/personal trip.

Tim's brother Terry playing a recently restored pinball machine from their childhood

Tim’s brother Terry playing a recently restored pinball machine from their childhood

I went to Georgia to visit my brother and his wife for the first time in a couple years, and I took a little detour to catch an NBA game. This is a necessity since Seattle lost the Sonics.

Tim at an NBA game

Tim at an NBA game

Needless to say, I am still a bit behind on email and a few other things.

Status Update

Now to give you an update on the top requests that our customer service team has been receiving.

Auctions
Around Christmas, we gave you a sneak peak of COMC Auctions. Many of you have been curious when and how we will roll them out to the public. We are still wrapping up some loose ends to make sure we are doing everything the correct way. This will take at least another couple months. We may selectively launch some more test auctions in the meantime. Once we do start allowing you to run your own auctions, we will gradually roll it out. For example, there will be a limit to the number of auctions each user can run. We don’t want to flood the market with more auctions than it can handle. As we see how the market is responding to auctions, we will adjust the limits. The Auctions feature is just one of several big improvements we are working on this year.

Website Issues
There are two known issues on the website that we are tracking down right now. Both issues appear to have been introduced when we made some upgrades just before Black Friday. The first issue is causing some computers to sporadically get new shopping carts. If this happens to you, please contact us, and we can restore the items in your cart. We have not yet found a consistent way to reproduce the problem, but we have added some code to help us track it down. The second issue is a timeout error when trying to search from the Inventory Manager section of the website. This appears to be a regression from the database upgrade we made. We are searching for a workaround to this issue. Until then, you might be able to work around this issue by searching your port, and editing prices from the item details page. This is not ideal, but it might work for some of you.

Response Times on Escalations
Um… Yes. I was on vacation. I am back now. If you are still waiting for a response to something, please contact us again, and we will make sure you get a response more quickly.

Time to Print Checks
In the past when the company was smaller, I processed all checks myself as the requests came in, and there was plenty of time for them to be delivered within 2 weeks of the cash-out request. As we’ve grown, this now goes through our accounting system that is structured around the print date rather than the delivery date. While the new system is a much better process internally and has freed me to spend more of my time on things you really care about, unfortunately, it can sometimes take a bit more time. We will be updating the website to reflect that checks will be mailed within 10 business days of the cash-out request.

Catalog Progress
Thank you for your patience as we continue to improve our catalog. Even though it has room for improvement, many people have still been able to post their best months ever. At this point we are working on the long tail. We estimate that 96.5% of the data has been entered, and we still have more to clean up. We ran some good challenges in December to help us clean up the data, but I haven’t incorporated the results into the catalog yet because of my time off. I expect to get that done in the next few weeks.

Some people have asked why we have done work on other areas of the site when the catalog is not done yet. The short answer is that we have limited resources, and the catalog will never be “done.” Also, not everyone in the company has the necessary skills to contribute to the catalog. In any case, we expect to always invest in improving the catalog. Sometimes I may choose to make unrelated improvements to the site because they have potential to increase our available resources. This will in turn allow me to have more resources to put back in the catalog. I fully expect our catalog to be superior to any other trading card catalog in the near future. The amount of resources we have available will determine how near that future might be.

Setting Expectations
2014 was by far our most challenging year. We basically had to re-invent ourselves. In doing so, I had to set the course for COMC and rally the troops to go there. While we did not accomplish every goal we set out to hit, we are now stronger than ever. As Confucius said, “If you shoot for the stars and hit the moon, it’s OK.”

Now for 2015 I want to focus on under-promising and over-delivering. We still have another big year ahead of us, but we don’t have all of the time crunches of 2014. 2015 is going to be an exciting year. I look forward to the next phase of the COMC journey.