Dan's Baseball Card Trading Policies

updated 1/14/2000

Here is an explanation of how I trade:

I like to trade based on what I call "fair market value" or FMV. I determine the FMV by first looking up the high Beckett value of the cards in question. This is usually done using the latest Beckett or SCD annual, which lists NRMT prices for each individual card. The monthly price guide does not contain many of the minor and semi-stars listed in the annual (and the number of these can be pretty substantial for some sets). I mainly use the monthly guide for newer issues which might have noteable variation in price from month to month.

This NRMT value from the price guide is scaled down by a percentage based on the grade of the card. For example, a VG card with a high value of $10 might have a FMV of $2-3. See the table below for an estimate of the percentages I use. Once the "value" of each card is determined in this way, I will total up the value of the cards in the lot and this will be the lot's "FMV". While I am doing this, the trader on the other end is doing the same. We can then strive to create lots with a matching FMV on each end.

As a variation to this method, sometimes the trade can proceed in a much smoother manner if the grading/pricing for both lots is done by the same person. When I trade this way, either I or the other trader will send their lot out first and the person receiving them will grade and price them to determine the FMV. They will then create an equivalent lot based on what they have pulled for the other person and mail it back. I have done many successful trades in which I sent my cards out first and many when the other guy sent them first. Trading this way can smooth out the variations in individual grading styles or price guides used. Which method of trading I use really depends on the other person - their available time and desire to price their own cards, do they want to trust someone they have never met with their valuable cards, etc.

Usually if you are an experienced trader, things can go off pretty smoothly having each person grade themselves. It also helps if you are not too picky and realize that sometimes people's gradng styles are different. If you feel you may be a much tighter grader than others or you haven't got a lot experience trading by mail, having one person do both lots can often work out much easier. Once you get the feel of grading and how people assign values, you may feel more confortable doing this yourself.

Here is an explanation of my grading guidelines:

The following scale shows approximately the percentage of NRMT that I would use for determining the value of a card in the following conditions:

Of course, there are also in-between grades allowing the percentage to be pretty much anything. Often, I will eyeball the card to estimate the grade and when I look up the price, I will round to a somewhat even number. I.e. - I find a $5 card in VG - I might just call it $1 or an $11 VG card might be $3.

In some cases, where prices for lower grades are available in the price guides, I will use these as a starting point to determine a more accurate estimate of the value. For example, the price guide may list a card in VG, so if I look up a VG card, I will just use that value, rather than adjusting the NM one.

Here are some general guidelines I use to place cards in various grades:

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