Friday, September 14, 2018

Free-time Flippin'

I'm not a card flipper and have never been in this hobby for money. Still, there is a day when I'll really have to downsize my collection, more so that it's me in control of it versus saddling my family with it.

Recently, I've caught the bug to buy a few random lots of cards on Craigslist and quickly flip them for a profit. I started getting more involved with selling on Facebook Marketplace as a way to earn a few extra bucks with stuff I don't use. I sold a lot of all Jeter dupes, a lot of all Tino dupes, and a few old Yankee jerseys that I just do not wear. Nothing's bringing in big money, but it's a few extra bucks in my pocket from things gathering dust.

One thing that has afforded me this luxury is time. I've been off for a couple weeks between jobs (starting a new one next week), so it's helped to keep me busy while decluttering my attic a little. Win-win.

We're also getting ready to participate in a town-wide garage sale in October, so I'll try to unload boxes of commons and maybe some grab bags there for cheap. We'll have a lot of foot traffic because there will be plenty of kids toys and clothes, so hopefully I can move some unwanted cards in a grab-bag type format.

Anyhow, back to selling cards via the internet. Early last week I found a lot of 40,000 cards on Craigslist for $40. It wasn't too far away from my house, so I inquired and ended up buying it. Now, I DO NOT need 40K new cards. Not at all. But I wanted to see if I could quickly flip them on Facebook.
The lot was as expected, mostly commons from the junk wax era. I pulled out a few minor keepers and cards for some of my team collector friends, but quickly realized the person who owned these pretty much knew what they were doing and didn't leave any hidden gems. There was a lot of 2008 Topps so I did look for the Kershaw rookie (didn't find it), but otherwise am fairly confident I didn't miss anything of note while very quickly and not very thoroughly looking through them.

Once I felt like I got a good idea of what was in there, I immediately listed the cards on Facebook. I started with one box of 4,000 for $10 and got a lot of inquiries. People kept saying "$10 for the WHOLE box?" I think they are used to seeing boxes of junk listed for $100 because people have no idea their cards aren't worth squat. One person said he'd take it and asked if I had any more. I showed him this picture below and said I was going to list it all for $100, but would give to him for $80 (including the $10 box he agreed to). He accepted.

So in 16 hours, I went from purchasing the $40 lot, to quickly scanning through it and keeping a few cards, to selling it for $80. It never left my dining room floor. Pretty easy $40.

The one thing is, was it worth the time? I drove a total of 40 minutes, plus the time to look through and then list. That counts for something.

It wasn't a huge time suck overall, but if I wasn't off of work and bored I probably wouldn't have done it. I wouldn't have wanted to deal with it. These are important things to consider.

While I didn't and still don't have plans to keep doing this (I will admit it's addictive), another lot showed up this past Sunday on Craigslist even closer to my house. $50 for the whole thing, and I could tell by the photos there was some decent stuff I could move. The seller and I agreed on $40 and I picked it up. It's got MUCH better contents that I had to go through it more thoroughly, but it's been a ton of fun so far with some good cards of much bigger names. It was't be as quick of a flip because I need to go through it much better, but it's also a lot less cards.
I ended up selling boxes in bulk to recoup my immediate money, but I also broke up a few lots by teams (Mets) and star players (like Marino). There were even 120 vintage cards from the '70s that I sold for $20, making half of my money back on that simple sale alone.

In all, I've made $135 from this particular $40 lot with a few items I have yet to list. Pretty awesome ROI. And it's not taking up space in my house. I've moved all the large boxes and a few small lots. I've kept a handful of cards (like the Kellogg's ones below), but they mostly came in and went out in a matter of a few days.
Anyhow, back to work next week so no more of this for the time being. If interested, I may do a piece on what I've learned selling on Facebook, as I'm really starting to see what works and what doesn't when listing cards on that particular platform. Not shocking, but people want bulk and for cheap.

Regardless, it's been a fun little side project over the last two weeks.


  1. Looks like a good plan to me. Make a little money ( for more cards) get some new cards. For a few hrs work. Good deal

  2. I haven't sold cards since 2005, but from 1995-2005 I busted tons of boxes, pulled whatever I was keeping at that time and sold the rest. It was a great way to fund my hobby..... getting what I wanted for free.

  3. Looking forward to that eventual post on FB selling. I keep seeing the same card lots over and over, so I know those sellers aren't doing it right!

  4. "The one thing is, was it worth the time? I drove a total of 40 minutes, plus the time to look through and then list. That counts for something."

    Well depending on where you live now you could've earned anywhere between $8-10 for the hour total you spent driving and negotiating a deal.

  5. That's awesome! I have a buddy that scours CL and buys collections that he flips. He's a stay at home dad with lots of free time on his hands, so this kills a lot of the time. It pretty much finances his hobby purchases, so his wife doesn't murder him.

  6. I tried doing this for awhile. Had a hard time find much treasure within the junk.

  7. If you ever have more vintage lots like 120 '70s cards for $20, let me know. I'd meet you in NYC to make that kind of purchase. (Fair warning, though, I'm not going to offer a lot so I won't be offended if you say no).