Advice: The Dos and Don'ts when dealing at the National

Card Ladder
Jul 15, 20225 min read

The 2022 National will be the first big show for a plethora of collectors and even possibly the first card show for many. Having dealer etiquette plays a big part in closing a deal and can even lead to future deals down the road. A poor etiquette can cause said dealer to avoid you or you to avoid them. While this blog focuses on the National, the dos and don'ts can be applied to any show.

Dos:

  • Have prices ready

Nothing is worse than walking up to a showcase with a plethora of cards in it just for you to see nothing is priced out. On the flip side its just as frustrating for vendors to have people walk up with 100+ count card cases trying to sell them cards with no prices. The somewhat awkward, tedious, and potentially endless conversation of "what do you have on this" can be avoided if you price your cards.

A price gun can be found for under $20 on Amazon: HERE

That investment of $20 can make your dealing experience all the more enjoyable. Everytime someone is looking through your cards, they won't have to ask what your value is followed by you checking comps.

  • Price competitively with current market value

In today's current market, the reality is a lot of people simply do not have the cash flow they had during 2020 and early 2021. PSA 45 day is no longer $10/12 a card and Tyler Herro Prizm base PSA 10s are not $400. Times have changed and whether you think its for the better or worse, thats irrelevant because its the reality of the situation. Try to price competitively where you are not low balling yourself or asking 2 years ago prices. Start higher than your low of course but make it so both parties can walk away from the deal happy.

  • Be able to accept multiple forms of payment

Cash is king but not everyone will be wanting to walk around Atlantic City with large sums of cash. There are plenty of other reasons why someone will not have a brinks truck of cash on them, which is why you should have at least 2 alternative payment options to cash.

PayPal
Zelle
Venmo
Cash App

The list above are the popular payment processors in the hobby. You should have at least two of already if dealing online but if you don't you should get at least PayPal plus one of the three additional ones at the bare minimum.

  • Be friendly and approachable

This does not need much of an explanation but if your body language and attitude look as if you are the human embodiment of the graded Prizm base market over the last year... Not many people will want to approach you for potential deals.

  • Disclose all damage & details the new owner would like to know

In person at shows, not everyone has a magnified glass out checking every corner and crevice of the card. There is an unspoken level of trust between the buyer and seller that damaged cards will be disclosed. Unfortunately as many people get more and more desperate, there is a correlation with unfavorable/unethical behavior rising. If the card is damaged, altered, or anything that the new potential owner would like to know, do yourself a favor and tell them. Even if the damaged/altered card got pawned off on you, it does not give you the right to do it to someone else.

Don'ts:

  • Do not value your cards at Beckett/highest comp & others at eBay/lowest comp

When dealing nothing is worse than when someone has the search filter on lowest sales for your cards and then highest sales for their cards. Not only is it disingenuous but also shows a lack of ethics and integrity. If you ever heard of the saying, "treat others how you want to be treated" but turn it into cards. Comp others cards how you want your cards to be comped.

  • Do not bring cards you do not want to part with

If you have a showcase and want to showcase your PC, that's normal and tons of people do it. This moreso has to do with those walking the show floor with slab/card cases. If a card has sentimental value or for whatever reason you do not want to part with a card. It is best to leave it at home and or do not mix it in with your cards that are available.

  • Do not ask for peak 2020/2021 pricing

This goes back to price competitively with current market value but if you have your cards priced at outrageous prices people will just not want to deal with you. Especially with a show spanning 5 days, people then over the course of the show will just avoid you. Which then will likely give you a negative perception of the show despite it having very little to do with the actual show itself. Vice versa if you have fair values, people will likely seek you out to do more deals.

Often times you see on Instagram stories, "no one was buying" at X show but maybe that has more to do with the individual and less to do with the show.  

  • Once a deal is made do not tell the person how money much you made

Once a deal is made, 10 seconds later DO NOT ask the person:

  1. If they want to know how much you made
  2. If they want to know how much you paid for the card

If they ask you then that is of course fine but I am going to go out on a limb and say the overwhelming majority of people do not want to hear about how much money you made on the deal off them.

Also DO NOT:

Tell your friends how you killed that person in the deal when they are standing 5 feet away from you. If that is needed to be said, do it when the person is not standing right next to you.

  • Do not try and pawn off cards with questionable authenticity

If you are not sure of a cards authenticity, there are plenty of knowledgeable people at the National who would be more than happy to help (consider tipping for their time). If you think your 1986 Fleer Jordan is a counterfeit, your first course of action should not be walk up to the first booth you see and offer it at 75% of comps.

  • Buyers/Traders remorse is NOT a thing (trade backs)

Once a deal is made, the deal is set in stone. If 1 minute, 1 hour, 1 day, 1 month goes by and you regret it... Well that is on you for making the deal and you cannot ask for your card(s) or money back. Same goes for if you price a card to low and a person buys it, you cannot then ask them to pay more.

If you are a dealer and ask a friend to watch your table and that friend sells a card of yours lower than you wanted. It is then not on the buyer to reimburse the difference or return the card because of a miscommunication between the vendor and his friend.

  • Do not pressure someone into a deal

Understand that not every interaction ends in a deal, it is okay if one side does not want to make a deal. Do not pressure that person or have your friends pressure them into a deal they are not comfortable with.

This should also go without saying but do not use your social media following/influence to force a deal. This has happened on several occasions and it is not okay at all. Only make deals that you and the person can walk away happy with in the moment with no outside influence/circumstances. If the person wants to be mad they traded for a bust two years from now... Well thats on them.

Bonus:

  1. Try to deal with only one person at a time. Not only does this show them respect by you giving them your undivided attention but it also protects your cards. If you have your slab case open on a table trying to deal with multiple people, it opens the door for thieves to steal your cards a lot easier. Opposed to you and one other person dealing where you can easily communicate and keep your eyes on your cards.

2. Do not invite people over to your hotel room who you do not know very well.