What to Do With All Those Extra Sports Card Commons

What to Do With All Those Extra Sports Card Commons

Sports Card Commons 260x260 ImageOften, 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.

ebaysmalllogo Image
3215872835374040 1 Image
Random Lot Baseball Cards Mostly Commons In Order 1988 Donruss
$9.99
3804441666064040 1 Image
950- NASCAR INSERT CARD LOT MOST FROM LATE 90'S TO 2006 THESE ARE NOT COMMONS
$600.00
3804448756094040 1 Image
907- NASCAR INSERT CARD LOT MOST LATE 90'S TO 2006 NOT THE REGULAR COMMONS
$600.00
3711908984994040 1 Image
Lot Of 500 Different Boston Red Sox cards - Commons, Stars, RC's Inserts
$9.99
1313534597594040 1 Image
1993 Action Packed FOOTBALL ROOKIE 147 CARD LOT: SUPERSTARS Semi-Stars COMMONS +
$7.00
3013662960904040 1 Image
1965 TOPPS 54 CARD LOT STARTER SET COMMONS INCLUDING LOW POP HIGH NUMBERS
$89.99
3013662964504040 1 Image
1966 TOPPS 45 CARD LOT STARTER SET COMMONS
$58.49
1414739554054040 1 Image
1960 Topps Lot 40 Different Commons ExMt NrMt
$19.95
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Rob Bertrand

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Rob Bertrand is an avid collector with over 20 years of active experience in the hobby. He is one of the site's most accomplished writers, as well as the co-host of Cardboard Connection Radio. You can follow him on Twitter @VOTC.

User Comments

  1. I take my base/commons back to the store where i bought them and he gives me credit.

  2. Great article! I have tons of base cards (commons) and never even thought about Amazon!!

    Thank you much.

  3. Thanks for putting us in this great article! I just wanted to say that we have affiliates now in Ohio, Georgia and Pennsylvania and working on New York right now.

    We are even taking cards to St. Louis, MO this Saturday and picking up cards in New Albany, IN next weekend.

    Thanks again for thinking of us!

  4. Put them together into 15-20 card team bags and give them away for Hallowe’en. Kids love them!

  5. Fantastic article and great comments. Answered all the questions that I had about this topic!

  6. I am an elementary school teacher (2nd grade) who uses sports cards for rewards and for teaching. Ex. I will pass out say 5 cards (any sport) and tell them to put them in ordinal order…1st 2nd 3rd etc. by card number. then I ask them to add the 1st and 3rd card and come up with a total…same for subtraction…each time they get the right answer, I give them another card…once a week, as a reward for class behavior, i allow them to trade amongst themselves as well as with me. Bottom line…it has become expensive for me to keep doing this and would love donations of commons. It would be very much appreciated. thanks!

  7. Phil » Great way to use them! Have you tried reaching out to the card companies or local card shops? They may be able to help. A local shop may be able to arrange to have a donation box put out for any unwanted cards.

  8. thanks for the reply….i have sent several letters to card companies (including a letter writing exercise from my second graders) but got minimal response…dissapointing! We do not have many shops close by my area but I like the idea and will do some reaching out. I have gone to card shows but they never bring their bulk commons to either sell or donate. I’ll keep trying…right now, I buy boxes and open up and give to my students…but it’s getting expensive…I’ll keep on plugging…he kids really love it (girls included)

  9. Phil, I think this is a great idea. I might be able to help let me know. email me at joelschlewitz@hotmail.com

  10. Largest buyer of commons in the USA, 316 Collectibles in Newpark Mall, Newark Ca.
    They buy all commons in bulk, all years!
    Just sold them 1.2 million cards and they need more!!

  11. if you guys don’t want your commons my little brother would love them, hes five and he just started collecting

  12. I got many loose nfl, nba and some wwe cards. What do I sell in bulk prices is my question. I need to know asap before sat am, if any has advice email me at mrockmore1@gmail.com thanks

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