[Tutorial] COMC Mailbox Service Explained!

We love connecting with collectors all across social media and doing our best to convey all of the unique and innovative ways that COMC can be used to serve your collecting needs. COMC is so much more than just a marketplace for buying and selling trading cards online. One great example of this is our mailbox service, which was created with international collectors in mind.

Whether you’re looking to save on international shipping by shipping all of your purchases made over time in one package, or you’re on the go and need a safe location for your cards until you’re ready to send them home, the COMC Mailbox Service is a perfect, cost-effective solution.

We recently created this multi-slide tutorial and demonstration with the intent of showing our instagram followers the ins-and-outs of our mailbox service. With the overwhelming positive response it received, we felt it would be a good idea to also publish it on our blog for those unfamiliar with how the COMC Mailbox Service works.

Please note that as we are located in Washington, your purchases being shipped to the COMC Mailbox Service from other websites may be subject to Washington State Sales Tax under new Internet Sales Tax Legislation.

As always, if you have any additional questions about our mailbox service, or anything related to COMC, our friendly Customer Service Team is more than happy to help simply by emailing them at staff@comc.com!

[Tutorial] How to Search for Graded, Reviewed, and Aftermarket Autographs on the COMC Marketplace

In 2018 we implemented a much-requested feature allowing search results to be filtered by graded, reviewed, and aftermarket autographs! If your collection contains only items graded by a particular grading service, or if you prefer that the vintage items that you add to your collection are of at least Good to VG-EX quality or better, or even if you only want to see ungraded raw items, this new feature will greatly improve your experience shopping on the COMC Marketplace.

How do you use these search filters? It’s simple! Initiate a search via the search bar at the top of COMC or begin browsing items by category.  On the left side of the search, you’ll be able to filter your search results using many different attributes such as by memorabilia, autograph, rookie related, e.g.  Our newest filters can be found under the ‘Item Conditions’ heading:


Using the Ungraded Filter – Searching for Raw and Reviewed Cards.

The ungraded search filter will remove all graded items from your search results. Once this filter has been chosen, a second set of options is presented: COMC Reviewed, Dean’s Cards Reviewed (DCR), Manufacturer, COMC Comics, and Beckett Raw Card Reviews (BRCR).

In addition to modern items that have been submitted to the COMC Condition Review, the COMC or Dean’s Cards Reviewed filters are your ticket to finding vintage cards of a specific condition range. Vintage items printed before 1980 that have been determined to be in less than near-mint condition will be found under these filters: 

 

The ungraded search filter is also helpful for collectors looking for Manufacturer Uncirculated, Rereleased, or Redemption Autographs that are currently being redeemed:


 

Using the Graded Filter – Searching for Graded Cards by Manufacturer and Grade

The graded filter is a powerful tool that will allow collectors to search for items that have been graded to their exact preference. With this search filter, not only will collectors be able to search by specific grading company such as BGS or PSA, they will also be able to further filter that search by specific grades.

In 2017, we made some changes to our supported grading companies that can be seen on our supported trading cards page. The graded search filter contains options to filter by grading companies that are no longer allow to be listed on the COMC Marketplace. Any items found within these search results are legacy items that date from when we these items were allowed to be listed on the COMC Marketplace.

Perhaps you’re in the market for strictly GEM MINT cards? The graded search filter will allow you to narrow your search results down to just  gem mint specimens:

Using the Aftermarket Auto Filter – Searching for Manufacturer Buybacks and Third-Party-Authenticated Autographs

To complement our autographs filter that can be found under the attributes section of search result filters, we’ve added the option to search by Aftermarket autograph as well. This new set of filters will allow search results to be filtered to only include Manufacturer Buybacks and supported third-party-authenticated autographs.

COMC only allows aftermarket autographs to be sold through our website if they’ve been reissued by a manufacturer or authenticated by a supported third-party authentication service. Cards submitted with aftermarket autographs that do not meet these qualities will be declined to be listed. To see a full list of approved third-party authentication companies, please visit our supported trading cards page.

 

[Tutorial] How NOT to Ship Your Trading Cards to COMC

The COMC Processing Team opens hundreds upon hundreds of boxes, padded mailers, and envelopes containing incoming trading cards on a weekly basis. We’re happy to report that the majority of those incoming items are adequately packaged by their owners for a safe journey to COMC through the postal system. We’ve seen some truly well packaged consignments that would make even our longest tenured Shipping Team Members proud. But we’ve also seen some unfortunate poorly packaged sports cards and comic book consignments arrive with excessive shipping damage due to poor packaging methods.

Our Processing Team recently sent over some pictures of an incoming consignment that was heavily damaged in transit due to not utilizing some of our best shipping practices. We always recommend a box-in-box approach to prevent contents from being damaged. It is best if items are put in penny sleeves, and then put in an inner box with padding. If noise can be heard while rotating this inner box, it is best to add more padding. The inner box should then be placed in a larger, outer box for mailing, again with sufficient packing material so that the inner boxes and the cards inside are not rattling loosely and are guarded against damage.

Unfortunately for the consignment below, by not utilizing safe packaging methods, the majority of the loose cards within the box arrived to COMC damaged.

Padding material was used, but only on the top of the box, and not evenly distributed to cushion the items in the center of the shipping box.

The contents of the box may have originally been organized, but became heavily jumbled around in transit due to the amount of the free space within the box.

Loose cards were saran wrapped, and thicker cards were secured using rubber bands. We strongly discourage both of these practices.

 

Loose cards without penny sleeves were sandwiched between clear plastic slider boxes. The majority of these items suffered corner, edge and surface damage as a result.

Toploaded items fared slightly better, but still were  jostled around the box during transit, damaging the loose cards around them.

 

Graded cards were also not protected, causing some slight chipping to the cases as they rubbed against one another.

To Recap what went wrong here:

  1. Items were only placed in one shipping box, not using our box-in-box method.
  2. Items were not well secured and jostled around the box throughout travel, damaging those items and the ones around them in transit.
  3. Saran wrap and rubber bands were used instead of penny sleeves and team bags.
  4. Packaging materials such as bubble wrap, packing peanuts, and newspaper was sparsely used, leaving a lot of empty room in the box for items to move around.

We hope that these photos of this incoming consignment that was inadequately packaged is enough to convince you to consider utilizing the methods shown in our best shipping practices video!

[COMC Tutorial] All About The Rookies

Rookie cards are among some of the most coveted cards in the trading card hobby. Unfortunately, the hobby does not have a fool-proof system for conveying what is and isn’t a true rookie card. What some collectors might consider to be a true rookie card, others would not. One of the most commonly asked questions that our Customer Service Team receives is the following:

“What is the difference between the Pre-Rookie Card, Rookie Card, Rookie Year, and Rookie Related search filters on COMC?”

Today, we seek to answer that question by explaining our search filter designations for rookies in detail, using examples and cards that you’re probably familiar with, and some that you might not be.

Rookie Card 

The red-colored ‘RC’ tag on COMC is reserved for cards that are recognized as true rookie cards. To satisfy the designation of RC, a card must:

  • Depict a player in their pro uniform
  • Be licensed by both the league and players association
  • Come from a standalone nationally distributed set
  • Come from a base set
  • Be released after the player’s top-level debut

Some of the sets that we see as producing true rookie cards include Topps Base Set, Topps Chrome, Panini Prizm Basketball, and Upper Deck Hockey to name a few. These sets are considered to contain a player’s true rookie cards because they are commonly accepted as major annual releases that have high relevance in the industry.

Rookie Year 

With defined criteria necessary to earn RC status, our yellow rookie year tag is applied to any other card released of a player during the same year as their rookie card. These cards can include parallels of rookie cards, inserts cards from sets that feature a rookie card, cards that are licensed by a player’s association but not a league (i.e. Panini Optic Baseball), stadium giveaways, and many more cards that do not meet the qualifications of a rookie card.

Looking at these three 2018 Shohei Ohtani cards, we have designated one (2018 Topps Chrome #150) as a true rookie card, and three others as rookie year cards. Here’s why:

2018 Topps Chrome – Pink Refractor #150: This card does belong to a flagship product that we recognize as producing true rookie cards, but it is a parallel of the base rookie card. For that reason, we designate it as a rookie year card.

2018 Topps Now – Japan #5J:  Topps Now is not a nationally distributed set, as it is an on-demand product that is printed year round. As of this writing there are 29 different Shohei Ohtani Topps Now cards available on the COMC Marketplace. These cards all receive the rookie year designation as they are not widely considered to be true rookie cards.

Pre-Rookie Card 

A pre-rookie card is any card that was printed prior to the year that a player made their debut at the top level of their respective sport. The most common pre-rookie cards are included in prospect-heavy products such as a Bowman Draft, Topps Pro Debut, team-issued minor league baseball cards, football rookies depicted in college uniforms in sets released prior to the start of an NFL season, and junior league hockey cards.

Rookie Related

The Rookie Related designation is really quite simple – it’s a catch-all filter of all the cards that have received a rookie card, rookie year, or pre-rookie card designation. If you’re still a little bit confused over rookie card vs rookie year vs pre-rookie card, simply choosing the rookie related filter will show you ALL of those cards.

The Politics of the Rookie Card

One of the most common misconceptions on COMC is that the red rookie card symbol represents the most desirable cards belonging to a player. That isn’t true at all. While these items are considered that player’s true rookie cards, there are many instances where a pre-rookie card or even a rookie year card can be a substantially more desirable card than a flagship RC. Don’t believe us? We’ll let you decide which of these cards you would rather have in your collection:



Have any questions? Feel free to post in the comments below, or email our Customer Service Team at Staff@comc.com and we’ll be more than happy to look into your concerns. If you disagree with any of our assessments pertaining to these rookie designations, you are more than welcome to submit a correction requests for rookie years that you would like to dispute. However, please note that while we will not agree with all requests, we will review each one.