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The Sports Card Bulletin





As most of you know, for the past 10 years has been all about trying to help people use the Internet safely and effectively for trading sports cards. Several years ago I wrote a FREE guide to help "newbies" learn all of the ins and outs of on-line sports card trading. Quite frankly, there was a bit of selfish motivation on my part in writing this; the more people who know how to use the Internet to trade properly and safely, the easier our job is running

This on-line guide/booklet is called:
The Sports Card Collectors Guide to Trading on the Internet

We decided to make this a random drawing winner out of the qualifying essays that were sent in. Sometimes we'll pick our favorite or what we feel is the best written, other times we'll go with a random winner as was the case this time.

Here's the winning essay!

The Sports Card Collector's Guide to Trading on the Internet: A Roadmap to Recapturing Collecting Golden Days

There has been a lot written lately about the impending (or, depending on the source, already occurred) death of the hobby that is sports card collecting. Many of the writers with this opinion have lamented the "golden days" of their youth when trading cards with neighborhood friends was an integral part of their hobby experience. The Sports Card Collector's Guide to Trading on the Internet, written by the creator of the website, provides a roadmap for taking those memories of backyard trading and making them a reality in the ether that is the internet.

The 70+ pages of The Sport's Card Collector's Guide to Trading on the Internet are divided into seven chapters and an appendix of resources. The first two chapters are introductory in nature, extolling the array of resources which the internet presents for collectors and briefly describing the hardware and software needed to get started trading online. The next three chapters are really the heart of the guide. Chapter Three presents the concept of "trading smart" and describes the dos and don'ts of trading online. According to the author, "if you trade a lot online, it is inevitable that eventually you will encounter some type of trade problem." Most of those problems however are a result of miscommunication with email and messaging, the most common medium for online trading. The guide continues by providing some tips to help avoid common miscommunication pitfalls, and gives examples of how to write clear and specific posts. There's even a quick lesson in common messaging abbreviations which, by itself, makes the guide worth reading.

In Chapter Four, the author outlines how to pack and ship cards once a trade has been made. As with the lesson on messaging abbreviations, this section alone makes the guide worth reading. After all, it does little good to know how to trade if you can't get your cards to their destination in good condition. The chapter describes packing methods for various size lots of cards, the different shipping options available and when to use them, and also what to do when tragedy strikes and a shipment gets lost in the mail. Chapter Five expands on this latter notion and discusses how to manage those inevitable trade problems. More tips are provided that leave the reader feeling as comfortable as possible with the idea of a trade gone bad. The last three sections of the guide are a bit more superfluous: Chapter Six discusses potential ways to make money through online trading; Chapter Seven is a summary of the various tips presented throughout the guide; and finally there's an appendix of resources, listing a few trading websites, sports card blogs and manufacturers.

The guide isn't without its flaws. Despite the breadth of information covered, it still manages to feel a little light on detail in places. For example, when discussing how to "trade smart," the author suggests creating a personal trading policy "to keep you safe from sports card thieves and trade problems in general." However, an example of such a policy is relegated to the tips summary in Chapter Seven. At times the guide reads more like a sales pitch for the author's own trading site than an unbiased guide for beginners as its title suggests. And, there are the typical grammatical and spelling errors one associates with any self-published text. But, these few minor flaws are far outweighed by the depth of information presented.

The Sports Card Collector's Guide to Trading on the Internet is written with a very informal, and often humorous tone (witness the humorous cartoons sprinkled throughout that help to break up the text). But don't let the lighter tone fool you; this guide is a valuable tool. I would even go so far as to say that this guide should be posted to the FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) section of every trading website listed in its appendix. Armed with the knowledge from this guide, those lamenting and looking for the glory days of a bygone era ought to be able to find their way there.


Here are some of the other entries. Thanks to all who entered!

The Sports Card Collectors Guide to Trading on the Internet
Book Review
Darcy. The Sports Card Collectors Guide to Trading on the Internet., 2008. 71 pages. $free on

This collector's guide provides valuable information on how to trade sports cards using the internet. It is targeted towards novice traders and newer computer users, although it also provides good reminders for more advanced traders. People who have a passion for other collectibles may also find parts of the guide useful. The author Darcy uses his vast experiences from running a trading card web site.

The guide starts with reasons to trade cards, followed by some general computer advice. It continues with advice on how to write a good trade post and how to respond to other posts, negotiating a deal, and completing the trade by properly packaging and shipping the cards. Most importantly, the guide gives advice on how to avoid and solve trade problems. It then concludes with a host of smart trading tips and on-line sports card resources.

Although the guide may appear to be long at 71 pages, it is well organized and well written, therefore a fast read. The guide is somewhat generalized and can apply to most internet trading clubs, although it concentrates on the authors own site. It can also use a little more detail in providing more informaton on minimizing shipping costs. I would recommend this to collectors new to internet trading. Overall, the information will provide beneficial advice to traders of all experience levels.

Review written by Andrew A (aacard)

The Sports Card Collectors Guide to Trading on the Internet, authored by Darcy Elliott and published by the collectors website,, based in Bellingham, Washington, is a comprehensive guide to trading for sports cards via the internet.

In clear, concise, simple-to-understand language, Mr. Elliott takes the reader on a step by step trip through the too often needlessly complicated process of trading for sports cards of all description and conditions. He emphasizes courtesy, patience, accuracy in internet dealings & communication and points up some of the common issues that that have arisen in his ten plus years of coordinating his widely used and well-respected website.

Mr. Elliott offers suggestions for getting started, chief among which, to this reviewer included a new trader being willing to send his cards for examination first until a trust relationship can be fostered not only with a specific trader but with the website traders as a whole. His consistent emphasis on the need for clarity and accuracy in description were also valuable hints as was the chapter on shipping options and recommendations.

On one point, however, this reviewer takes sharp exception. Mr. Elliott states early on, "Children should NEVER meet in person anyone they meet on the Internet unless accompanied by their parents or guardians. Everyone should use caution when giving out personal information to those who they meet online" I would strongly suggest this might be strengthened by including, "Although we encourage children to become involved in trading sports cards on our site, we have instituted a policy of no children being allowed to give out personal information without the express written consent to from their parent or guardian." This mandates the parent or guardian to at least be aware of their children's' activities.

Another less urgent point might be to mention the value, especially as a new trader, of offering oddball or anecdotal cards in one's collection to a fellow collector "just for fun." I can remember finding a Wanted: tennis cards listing at one point. I had a few tennis cards in a "back of the corner" box that I had picked up at a card show as promos. When it became obvious that the tennis fan had nothing I wanted, I sent the tennis cards to him anyway knowing that I would likely never see another tennis solicitation. It took a couple of months but the tennis collector eventually sent me a few 1974 baseball cards he had found at a yard sale for my own collection.

Lastly, in a section on locating someone who has stolen or misrepresented, Mr. Elliott references county public record searches for a small fee. I would suggest doing a reverse address directory search using internet white page directories as a first step prior to public records searches. White pages searching is free and an accurate address (pr partial) can often bring up an accurate name without incurring a fee.

Collecting for the joy of collecting is great fun. The Sports Card Collectors Guide to Trading on the Internet is an excellent guide for a collector, established or new, to sharing the fun.


The Sports Card Collectors Guide to Trading on the Internet - Guide in Review

This guide is a very informative and detailed guide. Not much, if anything, was left out to help traders get started with Internet trading and stay on track. Every base was covered, from the history of Internet trading to the "do's and do not's". Although I have been trading online for several years, I did get reminded of some good tips to follow.

The tools required chapter is a great resource for young collectors, or old, to get started via Internet. It lists and gives short details of what is needed. The only things I would add to that list is "motivation" and "time". In my experiences, motivation is a key part in the hobby. There are days, sometimes weeks, when I just don't have the motivation and/or time to trade. However, it is stated in a separate chapter that collectors can get burned out.

The "how to trade" and "packaging and shipping" chapters cover every aspect involved in online trading. There is nothing more aggrivating than trying to make a trade when there's no details in the trade thread or post. The details, examples, and descriptions can help collectors post easy to understand threads and can save a lot of time and head-aches in the long run. As far as the packaging and shipping, every aspect of this process was covered. Well done.

All-in-all this guide helps make trading informative, time-saving, money-saving, and in the end "FUN"! As stated earlier, time and motivation are the only to aspects of Internet trading I think should be included in the guide. I enjoyed reading this guide and will more than likely resort back to it from time to time.


The Sports Card Collectors Guide to Trading on the Internet
Although i thoroughly understand the need for trading cards to get certain cards for your collection, as a long term collector myself i would personally be very hesitant to trade cards online. I understand that prica and availability arent what they used to be, however, it just seems like your taking a real gamble sharing personal information and sending one of your personal cards to someone in hopes of receiving one in really good condition. Although the the guide does seem to have some good common guidelines does it really insure the fact of a great trade? will it reimburse you if you lose a really valuable card or receive a trashed one over the internet? Even though the industry wants to involve everyone again in the hobby it still inflates their prices and gives the retailer the oppertunity for the really good cards and us the common collector with a long shot. Although i do believe that everyone and anyone who deals with buying or trading cards over the internet should read the guide for its information and insight i still dont believe that giving anyone your information over the internet is ever a good idea. Furthermore, although im a die hard collector, i still wouldnt put my trust in anyone especially the mail to guarantee me ill get a great card in return for my own. all in all you make your own decisions and take your own risk, me personally i wouldnt trade.


The Sports Card Collectors Guide to Trading on the Internet offers a great look towards trading in the modern days as opposed to what it was like 15 or so years ago before the internet hit full stride.
While older collectors can remember the days of heading up to the local card shop or waiting for a card show to come to the area, online trading is an open area of endless possibilities, having the opportunity to trade with someone on the opposite coast rather than your friends or a dealer.
The Sports Card Collectors Guide to Trading on the Internet gives you seven chapters full of information on how to trade online and how to do it safely.
With the world at your fingertips, no longer do collectors have to search for a friend-of-a-friend who might have that one common card that will help you inch closer to completing a set.
Looking for a Lebron James rookie card that you'd rather not shell out a couple of hundred dollars for could be more successful through online trading given you can work out a deal with another collector that might be looking for something just as valuable to them.
The Sports Card Collectors Guide to Trading on the Internet takes you through every step, from which sites and tools to use, to how to package the cards properly. The last thin a collector wants is a $30 card to show up in the mail with a bent corner and a crease down the center due to poor packaging.
The internet boasts its own language as well and the Sports Card Collectors Guide to Trading on the Internet covers possible abbreviations a collector may encounter (LOL - Laughing out Loud, for example), but it should be suggested that such abbreviations be avoided. While the guide does recommend that traders keep communication clear, it does not shy away from avoiding these abbreviations. Though many people do know these, some older traders (or just clueless ones) may not be aware and thrown off by what WTT means.
Trips to the card shop and to the shows are great memories, but the internet is the future and trading online is the future of collecting. The Sports Card Collectors Guide to Trading on the Internet is a great foundation for those interested in sprucing up their collections and interacting with others that have the same interest.


"The Sports Card Collectors Guide to Trading on the Internet" competition entry:
Press Release


August 1, 2008


A new online guide on how to become a successful sports card trader over the internet is available at trading website

The guide, written by card trading doyen Darcy Elliot and titled "The Sports Card Collectors Guide to Trading on the Internet", is divided into seven easy-to-read chapters, each containing helpful hints and ideas to ensure anyone can trade sports cards successfully online.

The title of each chapter is:
Chapter 1 - Now that's progress!
Chapter 2 - Tools required
Chapter 3 - How to trade
Chapter 4 - Packing and shipping
Chapter 5 - After the trade: the good, the bad and the.gulp.ugly.
Chapter 6 - Upgrade and MAKE $MONEY$
Chapter 7 - The BIG LIST of "Smart trader tips"
Sports card resources

Chapter one deals with the emergence of sports card trading online over the past decade or so, and the reasons why card collectors could and should turn to the internet to beef up their collection.

Chapter two details all the necessary tools a collector will need to successfully trade sports cards in the online format.

Chapter three outlines all the necessary details on how to trade sports cards successfully online, including industry-related terms and jargon, do's and don'ts, and ways to ensure that a card collector isn't ripped off by a would-be crook.

Chapter four details how online sports card traders can conveniently, safely and economically pack and ship their cards to the person they agreed to trade with, doing the best to ensure that both the cards get to their destination on time and undamaged.

Chapter five details things that can happen after an online trade is agreed to. Ways to ensure traders won't get ripped off, rules and etiquette in the trading industry, as well as how to deal with a situation where a trader has been ripped off.

Chapter six deals with how traders can make financial gains from trading, as well as saving money in other areas.

Chapter seven outlines the basic rules and tips to ensure traders have a fun and successful online trading experience.

Finally, the ending of the guide details some online resources to assist in getting involved in the online trading environment.

Reading this guide will assist any sports card collector in learning the ropes of how to successfully trade online, and is a must-read for anyone wishing to get into the online card trading scene.

For more information please refer to the website

Anthony Brady