What to Do With All Those Extra Sports Card Commons
Often, we buy boxes or packs of sports cards with the sole purpose of flipping any of the hits. In part, this helps recoup part of the purchase price. We then separate the players and teams, leaving a sizable pile of base set commons. With so many products released each year, these sports card commons can accumulate and, if left unchecked, could quickly turn into a hoarding situation after just a few years. So, what to do?
The answer to that question varies and depends on your motivation. Regardless of the reasoning, most answers can fall into two categories: money and space. Let me explain.
With the amount of money we spend on cards, it is sometimes hard to swallow the fact that the bulk of what we routinely buy is relatively worthless once the hits, inserts and parallels are removed. The problem is that the process of selling commons, in a matter that will maximize the return on investment, is often an exercise in futility. The time required often doesn't justify the financial gain one might receive. As an alternative, here are a couple of ways to get something out those unwanted commons without wasting a lot of valuable time.
Disposing for Money
In the early days of eBay, you could easily sell a box of commons from various years and sports and still make a decent profit. Today, the collectors using the eBay marketplace are more sophisticated and are usually looking for specific cards. While there are still opportunities to sell larger lots of 400 or more commons, doing so typically requires that they be from the same brand, or at least the same year. You may also have to list them more than once before the right buyer finds your item.
In recent years, Amazon.com has become a viable marketplace for selling bulk commons. While eBay is generally used for cards with long-term collectible value, Amazon is a place to buy or sell sports cards that are more of a commodity. Miscellaneous bulk sports card commons fall into this category.
Setting up a seller account on Amazon is very easy. Listings have the item category, description, shipping and other terms of sale already built in to them. The holidays are an excellent time to unload boxes of commons as many people are happy to buy a box of assorted cards for their young children or grandchildren.
Another way to dispose of commons and still get some financial return is to donate them to an organization with federal tax-exempt status like Goodwill. They will take your cards no questions asked and give you a tax-deductible receipt. While not as good as cash, the fact that you can enter an estimated “book value" on the receipt and deduct that amount from your tax liability is still better than nothing.
Disposing for Space
Sometimes you need to get rid your sports cards commons simply to free up some storage space. There are easy ways to do that beyond tossing them out.
Outside of Goodwill, there are other organizations that accept bulk card donations. However, some of these may not have federal tax exemption status yet. Their efforts are noble and, by donating, you can feel good knowing you've done something worthwhile by spreading your joy of the hobby to children. Two such organizations are Cards 2 Kids and Commons 4 Kids. Both are regional operations.
In addition to these two organizations, children's hospitals often accept donations of sports card commons. But before showing up with a few 5,000 count boxes of cards, call ahead and find out that they do, in fact, take donations. It can also save time and make things easier if you find out who to see or where to go when you get there.
If you know of other places to donate commons, please share them in the comments section below.
If you aren't a set builder, unwanted commons are a necessary burden that comes with the hobby. However, by employing these practical solutions you will at least have a plan of what to do with your extra sports card commons when it comes time to get rid of them.
Related Topics: How To: Selling