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2010 Topps Million Card Giveaway: The Art of Trading

Updated on May 4, 2010

Topps Giveaway - My Collection

Explaining the Giveaway and Issues with Trading

Briefly Explaining the Giveaway

Topps is doing something cool this year. In packs, collectors can find redemption cards with codes to redeem real cards that Topps has in a warehouse. They apparently went back to the secondary market in order to have at least one of every card in their nearly 60-year old catalog of cards. There are over 36,000 different cards. Once you've typed in your code, the card goes into your collection. You can then trade it or have Topps ship you the actual card.

The Problem

Well, most of the 36,000 aren't worth getting shipped to you and everyone involved knows it. So there is lots of trading going on which I personally think is a great thing. The big issue I have lately however, is that everyone seems to think EVERYONE ELSE is stupid. Some of the trade requests I've gotten border on absurd. There is some difficulty since you don't know what anyone else's interests are, you simply get to choose which card you want to trade for and what you want to trade for it from your collection - there isn't any real interaction going on between collectors. That is an obstacle but one you can overcome by using your head.

The Solution

Instead of assuming everyone else is stupid and that your the genius who will steal some great deals here, assume the OPPOSITE. We're all collectors. Most of us have been collecting a long time and we know what we're looking at. Don't send trade requests that make absolutely no sense since that's really just a big waste of everyone's time. For example, in the picture above, you can see that I have a 1953 Alvin Dark card worth about $60. I've received close to 100 offers for this card and most of them offered cards worth about a dollar or two. It's both annoying and insulting to receive trade requests like this. If you really want to trade me for this card, you need to offer me something I might actually want or have a use for.

For example, I would take:

  • one card worth roughly $60
  • three $20 cards
  • a quantity of older New York based cards roughly equalling $60 (you can offer as many as you want but you can only request one card in a trade)
  • some card worth more than $60 - I like to trade up as much as the next guy.

In fact, that's how I GOT this card. I had redeemed a 1969 Jim Palmer worth about $30. Someone offered me this card for it. I'll trade a $30 card for a $60 anyday of the week. I have a number of 1960's Mets cards in my collection, all of which I traded for (since I'm a Mets fan). I get offers all day long like a 1988 Don Mattingly All Star for a 1967 Bud Harrelson.

You can stop laughing any time now....

There are so many problems with this offer it hurts to even think about it. One, I probably have 50 1988 Don Mattingly All-Star cards in just 1 5000 count box in my attic, I certainly don't need another. That card is worth MAYBE 50 cents to a Yankee fan, whereas the Harrelson card is $5, a rookie card, and from 1967.

When offering trades assume a few things:

  1. The cards need to be comparable in value - if you really want a card, offer more than the value of the card in order to sweeten the deal. You've probably got lots of cards you'll never have sent to you anyway - might as well put them to work for you.
  2. The age of the cards needs to be close - don't offer a 1980's common for a 1960's common - they aren't anywhere close to the same thing and everyone knows it.
  3. Don't offer cards you know are common for cards of superstars - I'll give you Chito Martinez for Albert Pujols anytime but would you accept that?? Neither would anyone else...
  4. Make the offer acceptable to yourself. If you look at the deal and know you wouldn't take it, don't expect the other person to, again, don't assume everyone else is stupid. This is a very close-knit industry with many collectors who have been collecting for a long time. Even children know the difference between commons and superstars, old stuff versus new stuff.

It's different when you are dealing face to face and can tell what the other person may be into, looking for a particular player, team, year or just rookie cards. But in a system like this, you must use your head and understand that everyone else is too. Despite what I've said about there being a lot of common stuff - which is true - that doesn't mean it's all bad. I've been trading some cards of good players that I don't need into older Mets cards which I'll eventually have shipped to me.

Even the Alvin Dark card is interesting for a variety of reasons. It's a card from 1953, Dark isn't a common and he's a NY Giant (not that I find lots of NY Giants fans here in NY anymore). If I was offered something close in value but the cards were New York Yankees, Mets or Brooklyn Dodgers, I'd probably take it. Each offer must be weighed on it's own merits but I like both quality and quantity. I traded up to get the Dark card, but I would trade it again if the right offer came my way. I've had offers for cards from the 1950's but they were $10 commons and there was only one card offered. Now why would I trade a quality $60 card for a $10 common??? Or a 10 cent common which I'm offered very frequently...

I hope this quick lesson on trading cards in the Giveaway site was helpful. You can browse ALL OFFERS that are in the system once you are in the Trade Cards tab. Take a look at them one day and you'll be amazed how many of these requests make absolutely no sense at all. Have a good time trading, I'll see you next time (probably a review of Topps Series 2 soon).


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    • dblyn profile image

      dblyn 7 years ago from Staten Island, NY

      I'm still getting all sorts of goofy requests on the Giveaway site. Why does everyone think I want their garbage 80's and 90's commons for my 60's commons??? They are all common - but some are far more common than others.... Oh boy..

    • dblyn profile image

      dblyn 7 years ago from Staten Island, NY

      QUick Update - Topps takes a long time to ship. I'm waiting nearly 2 weeks for 10 cards I redeemed. Just know that in case you need them for something specific like someone's birthday...