This is an ongoing series on the differences between collecting vintage and modern cards. The previous installment discussed grading and certification of vintage and modern cards. This installment is about trading between collectors.
Collectors trade. It doesn’t matter what you collect. Everyone has something he wants and something else that he’s is willing to let go. So what do you need for a trade to happen? You need two or more traders who have extra stuff to trade. That’s all it takes. Now, let’s go into compare-and-contrast mode to see what happens between vintage and modern collectors.
Which group has more collectors – vintage or modern? – modern by far. Which group has more extra cards, probably duplicates, sitting around doing nothing – vintage or modern? – again it’s modern easily. The more modern your collection, the easier it is to find a like-minded collector.
Don’t forget value. Modern cards are less expensive. Unless you’re dealing with a significant insert, (almost) nobody lines up value. It’s just, “I can take cards I don’t want and get cards that I do want. Fine. Make it happen.” For example, I recently traded some cards with Mike from BA Benny’s. I knew my wantlist was a little restrictive, and I offered to just give him the cards he wanted. Mike insisted on sending me something, asked what team I follow (Reds), and sent me way more cards than was necessary. Both of us were happy to come out on the short end of the stick. I don’t think that happens much with vintage cards because they are so much more valuable.
For fairness, I need to mention the people over at Old Baseball Cards (OBC). I have never been a member of that group, but I understand that people within that community regularly pass cards around for free. OBC consists of 100+ members, and they mostly collect cards from the 1950s and 1960s. It sounds like a very cool group. OBC stands out because that is exactly how trading vintage cards does not normally work. The exception proves the rule.
So, modern cards are far easier to trade than vintage cards. There are more people with whom you can trade, and the lower, even non-existent, value of modern cards helps the exchange.
Winner: Modern Cards