(Editors Note: This post comes to us thanks to the Call to Arms we put out earlier this month seeking guest writers. Please welcome COMC Member JoelsHitShow to the COMC Blog! Joel works in user experience and has enjoyed the hobby for more than 30 years. In his spare time he writes for Spinning Platters and participates in a football video game live stream. He’s been consigning with COMC since 2008 and has more than 1 million items for sale.)
By Joel Edelman
I suppose everyone has a unique story when it comes to how they got into the hobby, but I imagine they have some of the same components. Someone probably bought them their first pack, and something the rest of us would consider mundane jumped out at them, and it was all downhill from there.
For me, it worked the same way. My dad bought me a pack of 1987 Topps that summer, and there’s a picture of me in a tent holding up the Dave Kingman I pulled from it. The A’s were one of my favorite teams because they wore my two favorite colors, green and yellow. (How was I to know the color was considered to be “gold”?)
Like so many of us, my collecting days peaked when the industry’s production of cards peaked. We thought Fleer was rare because we couldn’t find it in stores. And when some 1987-88 Fleer basketball appeared at PayLess Drug Stores, we passed because they charged 59 freakin’ cents per pack.
Well, I did eventually buy some because they ran out of baseball cards in the off season, only to sell the whole lot of them to a classmate 4 years later for a whopping $5. I needed pinball money, and FunHouse was 50 cents per game. What else could I do?
I went off to college, and except for some mail order closeouts—I bought a box of 1995 Score in 1997 for “just” $24.95—I largely stayed out of cards for several years.
Then along came eBay.
I used to buy used Jughead comic books for a dollar each on the site, and in 1999, I realized I could buy packs of cards and sell the contents. Yes, I was one of the original rip and flippers. Back then you could sell just about anything. Demand was growing like crazy, and there were flipping opportunities everywhere if you went to shows. In a way, COMC has further flattened the card marketplace, taking the planet’s existing inventory of cards and making them easier to come across.
I’ve used eBay for roughly 20 years. I remember getting a PO Box for people to send checks and money orders, after someone sent a creepy letter to my street address. The Internet has done nothing but get weirder since I first started surfing the web. We’re a fun species.
I’ve been involved in other sites along the way. I used to buy etopps, with mixed results. I still have about 500 cards on there, collecting dust. I was a huge user of ThePit. To this day the Bowman Uncirculated program is one of my favorite product promotions ever. I even dabbled a little bit in Sportlots with my ex. She might still be on there selling hockey cards.
And, then, along came COMC.
I discovered COMC from my days on the Blowout Cards message board. Back then, you could read the whole day’s posts in about 5 minutes, and they were all great. They’ve got a good thing going, more than a decade later, though. And the quality of posts is still there if you know what you’re looking for. I miss it sometimes, but you can’t do everything.
Anyway, I had accumulated monster boxes of leftover cards from ripping and flipping, so I started sending them in. A million cards later, I now spend about 20 minutes a day on COMC, buying and selling cards, plus answering tweets. (I love that people can’t send each other messages on COMC, but at least Twitter provides an option for the craftier users out there.
As the rest of my life has gotten busier (and, gulp, marriage a few short months away), COMC allows me to do what I’ve always wanted: to keep my fingers in the game and help collectors find the cards they need. Even though I don’t collect much anymore, I still get all the action I want with minimal effort on COMC. It keeps my house empty and my heart full!
Do you still easily cover your monthly set up and storage fees? Why do you open with outrageous opening prices in many cases? How do you maintain viable price structure on such a large inventory? Thank you
Several reasons. Sometimes no SRP yet. Other times they are PC cards. Other times it’s so I can price them later.
This is the challenge. The bulk pricing editor helps. But otherwise it’s impossible. At any given time I have thousands of cards that are underpriced and thousands that are overpriced. It’s just how it goes.