First, before I start, I want to send a big thank you to Patricia over at Dinged Corners for taking on this round of the Bat Around. I hope it is awesome. Please check out their site for more takes on the topic they have chosen about holding cards and who to collect. I also want to thank Paul from Sports.Cards.Life. for the insaneulously sweet graphic header.
For some reason, many people look at the hobby as a way to invest or make money, and really, that is a pretty dumb notion. Usually, they buy case after case after case, and the majority of the time, they cant even come close to making their money back. Of course, that doesn’t stop them from trying though. Other people try to get on board with raw vintage cards, and try to grade them to make a profit. I doubt that works. The only way I have seen it work, albeit in a minimal gain fashion, is through prospecting in baseball, and sometimes in football.
Really, the practice is simple. Do your homework on a draft class, pick your guys, and buy in lots, all until you have a huge collection of a guy(s) who no one but the prospectors have a good idea about. Then, on top of that, maybe buy a few cases of Chrome Draft and see if you can get some nice stuff of the rest of the class. Diversify. When you have your pile, you send to BGS to get them graded, and hopefully the arbitrary douche gods will give you a few 10s or 9.5s. Then you wait.
As soon as the guy makes his debut in the big leagues, you sell as quickly as possible. Whatever you cant sell, you sit on until he does something. That way you can make more money if he turns out to be a good player. Now, this is a very high risk venture, but with guys like Hanley Ramirez, Dustin Pedroia, and a few others, it can also be high reward. The problem with most people who want to try it is that they don’t want to wait to make their money. They want a quick fix, and they cant run the system the way that it needs to be run. There are also people who don’t really get the fact that prospecting IS a risk, and they chastise people for even trying. I don’t practice it, nor do I have the funds to try, but I have seen it work to perfection quite a bit. The people who are the best at it are the best at looking at the stats, interpreting how that will translate, and then choosing VERY wisely with their guys. Others who just do it to do it, don’t really grasp the whole nature of selecting the right player. They usually fail. Epically.
Now, the reality of the industry is this, brace yourselves, THERE IS NO MONEY TO BE MADE IN PLAYERS WHO HAVE ALREADY "MADE" IT. Don’t go buy yourself a ridiculously expensive Pujols card and expect to make any money off of it. Even if he does break every record in the book, its not going to appreciate all that much. I mean when you spend 1500 on a high grade RC, another 100-200 is a minimal gain when you consider how long you would have to hold it.
Really, it comes down to this simplistic view: If you don’t like the crap you are collecting, and you are only doing it to make money, go somewhere else. There is no reason to hold out hope here. Its pretty obvious to a select few people that investing in cards is crap, but there are waaaaaaay too many people who cant see the forest for the trees.