The BIG LIST of "Safe/Smart
critical chapter out of our guide entitled: The Sports Card Collectors Guide to Trading on the
Chapter 1 - Now that’s progress!
Chapter 2 -
- How to trade
- Packing and shipping
- After the trade: the good, the bad and the…gulp…ugly.
- Upgrade and MAKE $MONEY$
- The BIG LIST of “Safe/Smart trader tips”
Sports card resources
The smart trader tips this list provides can make the
difference between your having a positive Internet
sports card trading experience or a horrible one. All of
these tips are important and you need to take the time
to become familiar with each of them. Some of the tips
apply to more than one category, but instead of listing
them twice, I have put them in the most appropriate
place. I have the safety tips listed first with the
exception one. The first tip on the list is the most
common complaint I have heard for the past 10 years.
The #1 trader tip for you is….
If a Trader responds to a post you have made, please be
kind enough to respond to them. Even if you are
completely uninterested in their sports card offer, you
need to show some them some courtesy and let them know.
This is tremendously appreciated by your fellow traders
and only takes a few seconds to do. Email is quick and
easy to use so please do not leave people hanging!
Now on to the rest of this important list….
A word of caution:
Trading baseball cards and other sports cards over
the Internet involves providing your personal
information to those you do not know. Parents and
guardians of minors should be aware of all Internet
activities of minors for whom they are responsible.
Children should NEVER meet in person anyone that they
encounter on the Internet unless accompanied by their
parents or guardians. Everyone should use caution when
giving out personal information to those when they meet
Set-up a P.O. Box
A post office box will allow you to avoid giving out
a home street address.
not get stolen from” Tips!
Start with small trades
If you have never traded with a particular trader
before, it is smart for both traders to arrange a small
trade, or even a few small trades, before moving
on to higher dollar negotiations.
Trust your gut feeling
If you have a bad feeling about a sports card trade that
you are entering, do not rush the trade. Instead,
contact the site manager and ask for more references, or
start with a smaller trade.
Earning Sportscardfun.com Good Trader Points is a great
way to build an on-line trading reputation. There are
many sites that offer ways to earn a good reputation
including eBay, NAXCOM, Beckett, Sportscardforum, etc.
Contact the site manager
When in doubt you, should check with the site manager
about the person you are with whom you are trading.
The site you belong to should have a method of informing
you of those individuals removed from the club for bad
trader. If you are trading with someone for the first
time that has no references, you should investigate
whether they are on anyone’s “bad trader” list.
Use those point rankings and references!
The use of point rankings and references will help you
establish the process to use in mailing cards to a
fellow trader. You will need to determine the number of
references/points that you are comfortable with in order
to agree to send cards at the same time. Perhaps
you decide that if someone has less than 10
points or references you will request that they send
their cards to you first. Maybe if you have 200
references you will always ask people with less than 100
to mail their sports cards first. Be aware that people
need to earn a positive on-line trading reputation.
Whatever method of qualifications you decide to use,
they should be used consistently. If you are the one
with fewer points and someone else is asking you to send
your cards first, you are also welcome to ask for
additional references and/or start with smaller trades!
"Zero to a hundred"
If you make a small sports card trade with someone and
it goes well, do not automatically assume that because a
small trade went well that a large trade will also go
well. Other factors must be taken into account when you
begin making larger traders such as point ranking,
shipping methods, etc.
Do not get lazy!
After you have made hundreds of trades without
encountering even one small trade problem there might be
a tendency for you to get lazy with your smart trader
tips. Don’t get lazy! I have seen this laziness happen
the most when a seasoned trader agrees to send at the
same time as a rookie trader; the rookie trader
disappears and fails to send the cards they were suppose
to send, but happily takes the sports cards that the
veteran trader sent.
Negotiating and trading tips!
The majority of the sports card trade problems reported
over the past 10 years have involved good traders who
simply miscommunicate with each other. The Internet and
e-mail is so fast and easy to use that we frequently
assume that we have made ourselves clear when we have
not. Trading smart means that you will go out of your
way to be absolutely sure that the person with whom you
are trading completely understands the terms of your
There are many abbreviations used on the Internet, here
are a few that you may come across while you are trading
sports cards online:
WTT – want to trade
WTTF - want to trade for
LOL – laughing out loud
TTYL – talk to you later
BRB – be right back
GU – game used
RC – rookie card
HTG – hard to get - as in "it's going to take a lot to
get this card from me"
VHTG – very hard to get
Do not conduct too many trade negotiations at the same
It is often tempting to trade baseball cards, hockey
cards, etc., non-stop with many different people. Until
you know that you can handle it, be careful to not
engage in too many trades at the same time.
Keep your sports card collection organized!
It is much easier to trade when you have an organized
collection. Trading is a lot more fun when you do not
need to spend hours upon hours looking for cards that
have been requested by another trader. It is important
that you keep track of the cards that you have promised
to someone else. Unless you have more than one of a
certain card, make sure you have a system whereby you
know what you are already trading away and what is still
Take pride in the condition of the sports cards you send
to your fellow collector. People assume that the cards
they will be receiving will not be flawed, dinged,
stained, damaged, chewed on, etc. Every smart trader
knows it is a good idea to describe ANY OBVIOUS FLAWS in
the cards they are trading away before they confirm a
trade! For some people, the exact condition of a card is
VERY important. If you are one of those people, be sure
to let the person you are trading with know! Other
people do not take the exact condition of a card as
seriously. CLEAR COMMUNICATION is mandatory in all
Read trade messages carefully
The people you are trading with have already stated what
they want for a particular trade; take the time to read
that information! Other traders like it when you have
read their messages and make them an offer of a card
that they actually want.
Make reasonable trade offers
Do not offer a $5 baseball card for a $20 dollar
baseball card; unless of course the person has said they
are agreeable to this, or if they have made a blanket
statement of “make offer”. Remember that most of the
time people trade close to high book value for high book
Do not back out or suddenly change your mind
If you have spent time arranging a trade try to do your
best to not back out or suddenly change your mind.
There are only a few good reasons to withdraw from an
agreed-upon trade. An exception would occur if you
didn't realize that you do not have the cards to trade
that you thought you did, or you realized that you can't
complete the trade due to unexpected life circumstances.
Occasionally you may begin to suspect that you are
dealing with a possible bad trader. In most cases
backing out of a confirmed sports card trade is
irresponsible and wastes the time and energy of your
Be prepared to undo a trade
Be prepared to undo a trade if your fellow trader is
unhappy with the cards you have sent. Undoing a trade is
frequently the best way to avoid additional problems. If
you do undo a trade use a traceable and secure shipping
method to help avoid additional problems with an already
Hold on to those email threads!
Keeping your original email thread going when setting up
a trade insures that you have a record of what was said
and agreed upon each step along the way. Most email
programs allow you to do this. When replying to your
fellow trader's email message make sure to use the
"reply" feature on your email program. Starting a new
email message when the subject has not changed is not a
good way to keep track of the trade arrangement.
Pick up the telephone!
If you are negotiating a large sports card trade and
need some added information, protection and reassurance,
you should consider communicating by telephone. Here are
a few additional reasons to get the telephone number of
the other trader:
1. A phone call is some times the best way to help
resolve communication problems and misunderstandings.
2. The telephone is often the quickest way to reach the
person with whom you are trading and finalize the deal!
3. Not all traders check their email every day so
having a telephone number is good idea if you find
yourself needing to communicate with that other person.
4. Speaking live with the person you are trading with
can often help both traders feel more comfortable about
Certainly not all trades require speaking on the
telephone, but for those larger more complicated trades
you may want to add the telephone call into the mix!
Do your share
Doing your share of the work is always appreciated by
your fellow traders! For example, instead of simply
saying "look at my list”, look at their lists. If
someone responds to your post and indicates that they
have found a few football cards that you need; the
courteous thing for you to do in return is to offer to
look at their list. This is a much better response than
saying "great, you found a few football cards that I
need, now take a look at my page to see if I have
anything that you need.” Studying lists takes time and
effort! If traders try to share the load of scanning
each others lists, everyone will have more time to make
Send your sports cards to your fellow trader when you
say you will.
Most people agree to ship their cards a day or two after
they finalize a trade, keep your part of the agreement!
Tell the person if you plan to wait until you receive
your cards first, that this is your intention. Not doing
so is an unfair trading practice. Those with more points
than the person with whom they are trading will often
request the person with fewer points to send his/her
If you have an irregular work schedule, or one that
takes you out of town from time to time, you should
inform the other traders. If you know that you are
frequently away, you need to communicate this clearly so
that they do not think you are ignoring them or, even
worse, have stolen from them if a problem arises when
you are not available.
Do not trade them away #1
Do not trade away sports cards that you have recently
received in a trade until you are absolutely certain
that the person you traded with to obtain those cards is
happy with the cards that you provided to him or her Do
not consider any cards you have obtained in a trade to
be yours to trade away until you confirm that your
trading partner is happy with the cards you have sent.
Do not trade them away #2
Do not trade away sports cards that you do not actually
have in your possession. Some traders have run into
problems arranging trades for cards that they are still
waiting to arrive from another trader. It is best to
only trade away cards that you have in your hands.
Be prepared for the unexpected #1
A responsible on-line sports card trader is prepared for
the unexpected. Being able to contact your fellow
traders in the event of a computer crash or other
problem that requires you to be away from your computer
is critical. The designation of a good trader means that
you will take the time and make the effort to keep the
people with whom you are trading with well informed.
Take the easy step to being a great trader and set-up a
back-up email account today!
Be prepared for the unexpected #2
Have access to a back up computer in place. A back-up
email address will not help you if your computer
crashes. Think about what computer you can use to
contact the site manager or your fellow sports card
collectors in the event that your computer needs
Try to refrain from sending rude or offensive email
messages. They really help no one and usually do more
harm than good.
Do not burn out on trading
Trading sports cards online is really fun! You will most
likely make many great trades and some good friends as
well. However, as with all activities, it is possible to
get so caught up in trading that you may begin to burn
out on it. If you find yourself getting frustrated
easily with your fellow baseball card collectors or
falling behind with keeping your collection organized,
take a break Explore life outside of trading for a
while. There really is more to life than just trading!
Sports Card Packing Tips!
Pack your cards carefully
Take the time to learn how to properly package your
cards for shipping! Packing your cards poorly will
quickly earn you a reputation that you do not want to
Include a note about the details of your trade.
This helps the other person remember who traded what.
Many traders will print out, and include, the email
message created when the trade was being finalized. This
is an easy way to provide a detailed outline of the
trade to include in the package.
Use a traceable and insured form of shipping on the
higher value sports card trades that you make. Shipping
with Registered Mail and or Insured Mail can provide you
with some peace of mind and important protection.
Remember that Registered mail is the most secure form of
shipping that you can use.
Time saving tips!
Have a “sports card pulling” policy
Clarify how long you will keep cards pulled for someone
in your messages to them. Many traders will pull cards
and keep them pulled for 3 days only, telling those they
correspond with that this is their procedure. A policy
like this will help keep you from having stacks piling
up indefinitely. Another solution is to simply not pull
cards until you are absolutely certain your fellow
trader still needs them.
Regular mailing days
Save yourself some trips to the post office by having a
couple of regular mailing days. Tell your fellow traders
that you go to the post office on (for example) Mondays
and Thursdays. This practice often helps traders save
time by not having to stand in line at the post office
Money saving tips!
It is common for people to reuse padded mailers and
other packaging supplies; this is a great way to save
money to buy more sports cards!
Use exact postage
Using the exact postage, and not a penny more, is
another excellent way to save money in the long run. Buy
a small postage scale.
Message posting tips!
Try to be as specific in your sports card trade posts as
possible. State what you have for trade and what you
want in return whenever possible.
Provide the details
Looking for rookie cards? If you are, it is a good idea
to include the year of the rookie cards that you need.
Including the year of the cards will help those that may
want to trade to start their search to determine if they
have what you want. When a fellow trader doesn't even
know where to begin trying to track down a card for you,
they will often not bother trying. Keep this in mind for
all of the cards you want to acquire and you will make a
lot more trades!
Do not post the same message too frequently
Give the members of your trading club a chance to read
your messages. Not everyone is on their computer each
day. Posting the same sports card trading messages
everyday will tend to frustrate the trading community.
Wait a few days and then post it again.
Do not post too many messages every day
Good trading sites will normally have a rule in place
stating the maximum number of posts each person can make
in a day. Sportscardfun.com allows 4 posts per day in
each of the groups that we have, for most people this is
more than enough.
Keep your computer in shape!
You can’t trade on the Internet without your computer,
so learn how to keep it in tip top condition.
Update your Anti-virus software often
Don’t want to become the victim of a computer virus.
Update your anti-virus software and scan your computer
for viruses weekly.
Other important tips!
Keep the site manager informed and Ask for help!
If you think you might be having a sports card trading
problem of any kind, let the site manager know and ask
for his or her help. The sooner the manager is aware of
any potential trade problems or bad traders, the faster
he or she will be able to assist. A good trading site
should be willing to help you with any trade problem or
question that you might have.
Your personal sports card trading
Now that you have read this guide from cover to
cover it’s time for you to get to work on creating your
personal trading policy, remember that it will likely
evolve over time as you figure out the ins and outs of
what you’re comfortable with. Your policy should consist
of good safety, communication, card packing and
shipping, and integrity guidelines. It’s not a bad idea
to post your trading policy on your web page or even in
the messages that you post to the trading board.
A sample personal trading policy:
I always do my best to communicate as clearly and
politely as I can with the people who I trade with. I
RESPOND TO ALL TRADE OFFERS. I go out of my way to be
very specific in my trade posts about what sports cards
I have for trade and what I want in return. My goal is
to always package my cards very carefully and use at
least the combination of soft sleeves, top-loaders, team
bags and bubble mailers. For any trade over $50 in value
I add insurance. When making a trade for $100 or more I
require that both of us send with insurance. For trades
valued over $300 I will only make the trade if both
traders agree to send via Registered Mail. I consider it
mandatory that people with less than 20
sportscardfun.com good trader points send their cards to
me first; if they refuse I will not trade with them. I
do not make large dollar trades with people I’ve never
Sports card resources