Saturday, January 23, 2016

Anatomy of a Trade: Knowing When Fair Is Fair

     Seven days ago, our regularly scheduled broadcast was interrupted to make a special presentation of a special card that had made its way into my possession. That card was this:
2015 Topps Heritage Real One Dual Autographs Sandy Koufax/Clayton Kershaw 7/25

     Once I received the card, it posed an interesting challenge for me. Although it's an amazing card, it didn't fit in our collection which is devoted solely to the St. Louis Cardinals. I thought about selling it on eBay, but as mentioned in "Why Would a Grown Man Collect Baseball Cards," I'm completely disenchanted with the business of buying and selling baseball cards, especially through eBay. I thought about taking it to the local card stores around here and seeing what it might bring, but to be honest, the card stores around here leave a lot to be desired. My next step was to contact Blowout Cards and Dave & Adams Card World to see if I could work out a deal for store credit. Chris at Blowout wasn't interested and Steve at DA Card World low-balled me. I realized that I may have to brave the eBay fees if I wanted to move this card. It was a realization that made me shudder in distaste, I brainstormed to think of more alternatives and was left with only two other options: consign with Beckett (even more fees, yuck) or trade it. Honestly though, who can appreciate this card for what it is, who wouldn't immediately flip it for some quick cash, and who has the type of card portfolio that could even come close to filling my Cardinals needs on this level? I could think of only one person: aceecards at Trading Card Central.

     I did a quick scan of his Photobucket and let me tell you this guy's bucket is almost as inspiring as walking into Cooperstown itself. And that's just the baseball. It's the same for the other major sports as well as boxing, golf, Olympics, you name it. The first Cardinals card that I came across was a Dizzy Dean cut autograph. I knew I was in the right place. I sent acee a message and he replied that he was, indeed, interested in the Koufax/Kershaw dualie, but Diz was unavailable. I understood. Although the cards were in the same value range, it isn't every day you see a Dizzy autograph. Koufax is a little easier to come by. I took some time to look through the rest of his Hall of Fame autos and made a list of cards that interested me. It looked like this (in order of priority):

1) Frisch cut auto
2) Medwick cut auto
3) Brock Sterling auto 5/10
4) TTT Ozzie auto
5) SS Sutter auto
6) Gibson/ Brock dual 7/100
7) SS LaRussa auto
8) Tribute Musial auto
9) SS Musial auto
10) Heritage Musial auto
11) Gibson Sterling auto 5/10
12) SI Brock auto
13) Heritage Schoendienst auto

     I sent this amazing list to acee and asked him to make me an offer. It didn't take long before he replied with this:

the ozzie white whale 1/1 from triple threads
the tribute musial
and the gibson sterling
and the brock sterling
     At first, I was disappointed that neither of the cut autos were part of the deal, but I understood for the same reason as the Dizzy. When I had made the list, I didn't realize the Ozzie was a 1/1. That was the sole factor in taking the offer seriously and to acee's credit, he admitted that he wasn't sure what the value on the Koufax was. I asked for some time to think about it and I started crunching the numbers. When all was said and done, we were a couple hundred bucks apart in value by my estimate. I asked acee if he could throw in either of the other Musial autos or the Sutter along with the LaRussa and he replied that he could throw in the Sutter, but the others were off the table. I sensed that he thought I was beginning to ask too much. In contrast, I was struggling with the idea that I wasn't getting enough. We were still over a hundred dollars apart in value and I began thinking that I could sell the Koufax, buy all the cards he was offering, and have a little left over. I thought about it a little longer and realized that I was never going to find all those cards in one place, I wanted the Ozzie 1/1, the only way I could get it was by making a deal with acee, and he was saving me a lot of time of searching through listings to find those cards. After I put it into perspective, it didn't seem like such a bad deal. I messaged him back and told him that if he threw in the Sutter it was a deal. For four days, I second-guessed myself, wondering if I was getting enough in the trade. Today, I received a package containing these cards:

2007 Sweet Spot Classic Signatures Silver Lace Bruce Sutter 3/42

2008 Topps Sterling Career Stats Triple Relic Autograph Lou Brock 5/10

2008 Topps Sterling Quad Relic Autograph Bob Gibson 5/10

2002 Topps Tribute Marks of Excellence Autographs Stan Musial

and the card that became priceless the minute that it was added to the Wall of Cards

2006 Topps Triple Threads White Whale Autographed Relic Printing Plate Ozzie Smith 1/1

     It wasn't until I had these cards in my hand that I truly appreciated how much acee gave up for that one card. Sure, I gave up value, but he gave up four amazingly beautiful cards plus a more than decent throw-in. Seeing that we were both seemingly at a point where I may have been asking too much, but by the numbers I was getting the short end of the deal, I can only surmise that this deal worked because of these three reasons:

         1) Mutual respect for each other and each other's situation
         2) A mutual appreciation for the game AND the cardboard, and
         3) A realization that there are more important things than money.

     Sometimes, the numbers don't match up and the deal is still fair. I gave up a little value in acee's favor because I knew he was giving up a fair amount even though, at the time, I didn't realize exactly how much I was gaining. What I lost in value, I gained in these ways:

   1) 1st 1/1 added to the Cardinal Sauce collection,
2) 1st Sutter autograph in the Cardinal Sauce collection,
3) 1st Brock autograph in the Cardinal Sauce collection,
4) The top three cards in the Cardinal Sauce collection,
5) 2 other excellent additions to the Cardinal Sauce collection, and
6) convenience.

     There is another gentleman at Trading Card Central  who we don't see much of anymore, but whose mantra is: Collect Hard! I'd say, in this instance, acee and I did just that and, in closing, I wish to pass that same sentiment on to you readers.

Collect Hard!



  1. Holy smokes that is a lot of nice cards! It is always a tough choice when you get a major hit like the card you received. As long as you are happy with the cards you got that is all that matters. No use to beat yourself up over $ value fairness.

  2. Thanks, Matt. I was pretty impressed with the Ozzie, Gibby, and Stan. The pictures don't do them justice. I was also pleased to see the sticker autographs are embedded in the cards which helped to assuage any doubts that I had. The dollar value wasn't really that far off and, really, how do you put a value on a 1/1?