A vintage gold mine or sports card crime?

Jon is a long-time collector of all things baseball cards and recently hit the jackpot when he received a call from a man in his late 50’s who wanted to sell off his collection. Jon, an entrepreneur of sorts places ads in newspaper to see what kind of collections pop up from time to time. What he found this time is nothing short of hitting the lottery, by baseball cards standards.

When he arrived he was given a small box with cards inside and was told he wanted $250 for it. The rest of the boxes had over 2,000 cards, including most of the 1963 Fleer set. Jon didn’t hesitate and took home his new collection. In the end, the book value alone comes to over $10,000+ worth of baseball cards. Did Jon break some kind of unwritten baseball card rule? He paid exactly what the guy wanted, didn’t low ball and he even went to the only card shop in his area to make sure the cards weren’t stolen and they were not.

Below are actual scans of the cards in question. Would you have given the collector more than what he was asking for? Be honest…



  1. I would probably take the cards for $250. It’s not like he stole them; he just paid the price that the seller was asking. It isn’t his fault that the seller didn’t know what the cards were worth. I wouldn’t make this kind of deal with a kid or someone with some sort of mental disability, but if a fully competent adult offered me those cards for $250, I’m pretty sure that I would do it.

  2. A card — or anything for that matter — is “worth” only what the buyer is willing to pay for, and what the seller is willing to sell for.

    If the seller only values the cards at $250, and the buyer values them more, then you can’t blame the buyer.

  3. Ok I have been collecting for over 20 plus years.And being retired I always hit flea markets,yard sales,church bizzares,etc.
    Thats what makes this hobby fun for me.Looking for lost cardboard treasures.
    And I too have hit cardboard gold a few times.
    Look if someone is selling something for a set price and both partys agree to the price,than hey both partys are happy in the end right?

  4. Considering the condition of the cards, good at best from what I can see from the scans, I wouldn’t feel bad taking them off his hands.

  5. I’m glad to see the honest responses on here so far. So many times when a story like this hits the press, most people cop a “holier-than-thou” attitude and condemn the buyer. I’m not sure what I would do in the situation to be honest. If I was well off, I might offer more than he was asking, but I’m not. I would have to scrape together the $250. And I would probably do everything I could to do it.

  6. Knowing that the cards were not in the best of shape, since they were kept in a box, I would have paid the $250. Also consider that it is tougher to get even half book for older cards. Like you said in your post though, he isn’t stealing them, he gave the guy what he wanted. I ran into the same thing this weekend. I sold my bass and amp for $175, I knew it was worth more, but it was just collecting dust, and I had my eye on a new cell phone. Sometimes, you find a situation that both parties know its worth more than what you are paying, but for the seller, just getting it out of the house is worth something too.

  7. If you were at a card show, and a dealer wanted $25 for a jersey/auto of your favorite player, would you offer him $40? I don’t think any of us would.

    Anyone who’s giving him grief over this is jealous that it didn’t happen to them. I’m sure most of dream of finding a deal like this for whatever sport/years/players we collect.

    Besides, if you watch eBay enough, you see deals similar to this all the time. Guys who have 10’s of 1000’s of cards will sell off 400 jersey auto’s in a lot just to get rid of them. Then the person who bought them will take the time to break up the lot and sell them individually.

    I say, good for you Jon!!

  8. There are always those stories where somebody gets a painting or antique furniture at a garage sale or something like that “worth” tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars for practically nothing; it’s basically the same thing here. Besides, the original owner probably paid like 10 bucks for the cards in the 60’s in the first place.

  9. My spin on it is that Jon will likely enjoy them more. And i’m guessing the older man that was selling them isn’t getting the same kind of happiness Jon will. It’s like pokemon cards, if i had an expensive one that meant nothing to my, since i don’t play, why not sell it? I know i wouldn’t demand top dollar for it.

  10. I live for Saturday morning yard sales to see what “junk” people are getting rid of. These are my “second-hand cardboard” rules. 1. If the price is under $50 I don’t sort through the cards. I take it as is; win or lose. 2. If the asking price is over $50, I sort through 50% – 75% of the cards to get a rough idea of what I’m getting. 3. If it’s over $50 and I get a hit like that I determine if I’m keeping or reselling. If I choose to sell and make a proportionately large amount of money I go back to the seller and give them a portion of the earnings. Some might consider that stupid. I consider that honest. I don’t think everyone should have to do it, it’s just how I operate. If Jon is intending on reselling this $250 investment and scores $7500 what would it hurt him to call up the gentleman he got it from and give him $2500. Doesn’t he still make $4750? That’s just good business. The after effects of a gesture go much further than the he “loses” on the deal. EVEN with high gas prices…lol. Speaking of selling cards, anyone wanna click my name and go buy some stuff on NAXCOM? I need some money for a box of the ’08 Bowman Hobby Jumbo…hahaha…

  11. Very interesting responses so far. It’s funny how 99% of the responses were the complete opposite elsewhere.

    JV, too bad that Moon Shots Co-Signers isn’t the Arod card that brought me back into collecting. I’d have to put in some cash on that one!

  12. I would have paid $250, with nothing more than a comment of ‘you sure you want to get rid of these?’ If you are referring to the responses this situation got at Beckett, there is a lot of holier than thou and arrogance in some of those posts.

  13. If you won an ebay auction for a card valued at $1000 for $10 would you feel bad? I sure wouldn’t. I’ve been asked dozens of times to look at someone’s old collection and give them a price and I’m always honest about it. Usually they’re not worth the paper they’re printed on but I’ve had some decent ones. I had one guy sell me about $2000 worth of cards for $200. I told him they were worth alot more than that but he didn’t care he just wanted to get something for them and be done with it. These were cards he had since he was a kid and didn’t want to bother going around to stores or going on ebay to sell them. I suspect this guy had the same mentality.

  14. I just won 2 cards on eBay yesterday with a combined Beckett value of $60. I paid $9.54 including shipping. This is why Beckett value means nothing anymore. Check the Beckett value for 2006 SP Authentic Geovany Soto auto RC. You won’t even find it priced. Beckett still considers it a RC semi unlisted at $15. Yet they sell on eBay all day for $180, and they’re #’d to 185. Not exactly scarce. I got back into the hobby in January. In March I figured out that Beckett doesn’t mean jack sh*t anymore unless a dealer at a show is giving you a price for a card that you’re going to get ripped off for. Anytime now that I open wax, I check the completed listings on eBay to see what I can get for the cards that I pull. Jon got a good deal. The guy who sold the cards got what he wanted for them. If he should have asked for more, that’s his own fault. End of story.

    And who the hell still reads the Beckett message boards anyway?

  15. I have to say that I wouldn’t feel that bad either. It’s not preying on the un-educated it what they want to sell the cards for. And if you’re just buying at the price they have and NOT going through card by card it’s all fair!

    Oh and I still read the Beckett message boards and most of the people there are idiots!!

  16. Man, no kiddin’ on the Beckett Comment, Charlie. I feel obligated to Beckett the way my throat does for my tonsils. They’re worthless, but you know, they’ve kinda always been there. Honestly, I don’t think that it’s Beckett’s fault though. It used to be easy for Beckett to track pricing and trends when all you had to do was visit trade shows and card shops to see the general consensus of card pricing. I just don’t think Beckett has done a good job of evolving with the hobby.

  17. Have any links to these comments? I wonder if the same people claiming that Jon ripped off someone by paying him what he wanted are the same people who are fine with Upper Deck or Topps charging hundreds of dollars on gambling-type boxes like UD black and similar products.

  18. hey guys this is jon the one that bought the cards. When Mario asked me if he could write about it on here i was curious to see the opinions outside of beckett (i got killed on there and the week before i had given away a few hundred cards to other members). My intent was not to rip the guy off at all i actually brought a much larger amount of money with me figuring he would want more. I looked through a very small protion of the cards and there were some big names so when he told me the price i handed him the money and packed up the cards. Also I have only sold 3 cards form the collection just to get my money back and the rest are either in my personal collection or going towards finishing my sets form teh 60’s. I always tell my fiance im gonna sell some stuff but i never do as i truly love to collect. I wanna thank you all for the nice comments and support and im very glad i met mario and found this blog he does a top notch job. Hope to talk to you all on here. thanks again guys and happy collecting

  19. Thanks for sharing your story. I have been there only 6 months but long enough to know that place is the pit of the card collecting universe (the forum, not the site). I try not to go there but to keep up with news in the industry, etc.

  20. My primary interest in collecting was old record albums but the similarities are enough to make some comparisons. The best example I can think of is a guy I know in Canada who opened a record shop maybe 20 years ago. People would being him their stuff to sell and he found he was buiying multiple copies of very rare ($1,000+) LPs for $1 as part of collections. OK. He got the idea to advertise with what he thought were fair wholesale prices he was willing to pay in order to round up whatever was out there. “I will pay $150 fo X in good condition; I will pay $300 for Y in good condition…” and so on. He posted the flyer and stuck some up around town.

    He never got another record.

    The psychology is “If he’s willing to give me $300, i wonder what it’s REALLY worth?”

    If someone brings me a box of records and says “I need $250 for this” and I see a $1,200 LP in the middle, $250 it is. It is more complicated if someone asks me what X is worth, I will not out-and-out lie or misrepresent a record. But usually the seller sets the price and I’m happy.

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