Alternatives to the Local Card Shop: Twitter

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Collectors are always looking for good deals and places to find their next additions.  However, while many know of the more popular destinations such as eBay, Wal-Mart, Target, and the local card shop, these places attract lots of collectors seeking the same or similar items.   While the popular watering hole may be familiar and comforting, it also gets crowded and someone is always drinking from it.

Here is the first of five alternative locations that might go under the radar and but could produce some helpful leads based on my personal experiences, research, and interviews with other collectors.

Part One: Twitter

The Good:  Of course making an account is required to use Twitter, however, there is no bigger collection of buyers, sellers, collectors, and card companies in one place or social media platform than Twitter.  Twitter allows you to show off your favorite pieces of your personal collection, ask for help in seeking a specific or unique piece, or even sell your own.   The other collectors I follow are pretty good at retweeting to help spread your items for sale or wanted ads.  Additionally both private collectors and card companies usually offer giveaways ranging in generosity.  Still free cards, memorabilia, or exclusives are always nice, especially when they are Twitter exclusives (i.e. Bowman Twitter Packs).  Twitter can also boast lower prices than retail or eBay and trading/bartering is accepted and used by most collectors.

The Bad: There is no buyer protection on Twitter, since Twitter itself doesn’t sell products or take a cut from the sales.  Most transactions either include trading similar like cards or memorabilia or sending money through PayPal.  While the collecting community is pretty good at policing itself and outing bad users and scam artists there is a real risk every time.  There is no feedback system either, so it is hard to know.  Luckily for me, I have never really been burned.  The only time I had an issue was when I agreed for a trade and that card never arrived.  What happened to the card remains a mystery, however, the user I traded with was sympathetic and offered to send me some money through PayPal to make up for it.

The Ugly: Twitter is full of bots, fake accounts, trolls, and what the Twitter community refers to as “contest whores” (people who make an account just to retweet every contest they can find to win the free stuff).  These people will waste your time, follow you and favorite random tweets for no apparent reason or consistency.  There are a handful of people who refer to themselves as “high end collectors/dealers” as well.  While some of them make a living out of dealing, others are difficult to deal with.  They live and die by the book value of the cards or memorabilia.  Usually it is impossible to get a good deal from them.  If you have something they are interested in, I have never heard of a case where they are willing to buy.  Instead they try trading with you based on the book value, but if you want an item of theirs it is almost always buy.  They will also never make a deal unless they are getting the better end of the deal.

Part Two: Newbury Comics

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