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THE ART OF FLIPPING SPORTS CARDS: HOW I FLIPPED MY WAY TO PAYING OFF $6,400 DEBT

            I can still remember my sweet wedding, my first purchase of wheels and tires, and plane tickets to see my family from overseas. Then, I saw my credit card statement. I was shocked and astounded at the amount of debt that I was able to accumulate. It was devastating and it really hurt… so I had to put a plan together. In this article, I will show you how I was able to flip my way into paying off all of my debt. However, be reminded that I do not condone that this is the most efficient way to pay your debt. My game plan was well planned and I was absolutely stressed-out during my situation. Debt is never good in most situations unless the context includes the keywords leverage and getting debt-free.


Oh my goodness! That was my first reaction upon looking at my credit statement. Fortunately, I have a lot of revolving credit due to having a decently good credit score. Also, I use credit card techniques where I use a specific card on a specific item during a specific time or day to get the maximized rewards. This is a technique that actually got me free money and vacation at some point of my life due to a rewards program or a simple cashback match.

Now, let’s talk about the $6,400 debt. Out of the many cards I have, I was able to max out my first two cards. Again, I had a plan and it includes a huge bonus credit card points if I spent $5,000 in my first credit card and a cash back bonus match by the end of the year. So, I said to myself and to my wife to trust my calculations. The pressure was on! I spent all in all $6400 in revolving credit and I have a month to pay it as soon as possible.

(Does everyone eat popcorn when you’re stressed?)

A month. One full stressful month. Time is ticking and I need to find a way to be able to pay for everything. It was painstaking. I didn’t want to involve anyone that I know that I have this much debt. Only my wife and I knew about this… (because of my pride)… but I was 80% certain that my card flipping business would be successful. So, Mom.. if you are reading my article, don’t worry because I was able to manage and pay everything within a month.

I looked into the data of the hottest product recently which is Prizm Basketball. The 2018-19 Panini Prizm Basketball became a success. With the emergence of Luka Doncic, Trae Young and a powerful rookie class, the product became inevitably highly priced. I can still remember walking into my local card shop and being able to buy a hobby box for $255 and now it’s close to $800 per box. So, I based my price trajectory of the 2019-20 Panini Prizm Basketball to be approximately the same. — First takeway, the TRENDS are your FRIEND —  But, I am not a  store nor am I a distributor. I began to wonder, how will I compete against their price here in the USA? I thought about it as hard as possible. Then, it became clear. I will find a way to buy a product they ‘can’t get’…..the Asian exclusive product!

 

So I dove into eBay transaction data for 2019-20 Prizm Choice and there was no clear competition on the pricing. My suspicions were confirmed. Time to seize the moment! The sell wall was absolutely non-existent. Therefore, I could likely command the price. Furthermore, the hype surrounding the 2019-20 NBA draft class is beyond what I’ve seen for years. Hence, the price will definitely surpass or be near the 2018-19 Panini Prizm Choice prices. Right?

 

After working through some channels…I was able to get four cases of 2019-20 Panini Prizm Choice overseas for a price of $4500. However, the risk of the situation reached an ultimate high as I had to use up my savings in paying for the cases. My wife was excited about this. 😉

I was able to sell all of my four cases for $6100 to a buyer near my area. Funny thing is that I offered my item first to the internet but they were trying to lowball me to $250 which I respectfully declined. This is where the lesson of patience comes in. Honestly, I was called out for trying to sell it above current market prices. But, I felt my price reflected the rarity and the potential of a Zion return… so I was patient. If I listened to the lowballing heckler, I would have not been able to maximize my profit. It would have been profitable but it wouldn’t have maximized profits.

After being patient I was finally able to connect with a buyer who took them at $6,100 each! Which gave me net profit of $6400. Exactly the amount needed to wipe out my debt.


Curious what they sell for now? Here they are on eBay:

 


 

Also worth noting, my last case was actually sold near the debut of Zion Williamson. I could have repriced my case higher but part of my larger strategy is to reduce as much risk as possible. As of the time of writing, 2019-20 Panini Prizm Choice is now $7,000 a case and it is drying up fast.

 

The lesson to be learned here is trusting your own data and knowledge. (Thankfully the BreakerCulture Patreon AND the Discord community makes that much easier) A lowballing heckler shouldn’t ever affect your convictions on the price point of your products. Stand confidently with your price by doing your research and combining that with previous trends. A simple strategy, little appetite for risk, solid data analysis, and some basic elbow grease…. And you can also add some $$ to your bottom line!

 

WAIT! Don’t Leave – one more thought.

 

Speaking of advantage, I was able to take advantage of my credit bonus points and use that to…..yes, you guessed it…. Buy more Sports Cards.

 

The best part of this story is that I was able to actually show my wife that there is money in sports cards. May it be a sealed product or a single card, flipping or investing is a huge opportunity. But, I just want to reiterate that I wouldn’t have done this flip if it wasn’t because of my research, perseverance, and endless phone calls to find a supplier and a buyer. That is why, I wouldn’t actually advise anyone to max out their credit card unless you know what you are doing. It sounds really easy to do but it required me at least two weeks of preparation and stress. The adrenaline fueled me… But, I made my wife happy by giving her the dream wedding she always wanted and a new set of wheels/tires for my baby.

Feel free to ask questions and comment about the article. If you need more information or suggest a topic that you want me to discuss, please email me at paolo@breakerculture.com

“Paolo is a philosophy major, veteran and a sports cards enthusiast. His dreams are that, one day, he’ll be a published writer and to have better reasons in making excuses to his wife when buying a card.”


2019-20 Optic Basketball is Hot…. here are some of the top cards!

2 COMMENTS

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Cory A Vandenberg
Cory A Vandenberg
8 months ago

Paolo,

Decent read and entertaining, but overall, I’m left wanting. This piece leaves so many questions unanswered to the reader that I feel it falls between dangerously leading the reader to thinking it is easy to flip for huge profits or not really getting anything out of it other than you did something they cannot. I know you address the being too easy part, but with some more detail I think this could have been avoided. If the article is only for entertainment purposes, perhaps making that more clear at the beginning would be appropriate.

So what would I have liked to have seen? Well, some or all of the following:

1) What other ideas did you have for flipping before going after the Prizm Choice. This is a brilliant idea by the way, finding a niche with little competition.
2) Dealing with cases of sealed product versus singles and or higher volume of boxes means less transactions to make. While closing larger transactions means fewer buyers, it tends to mean you’re dealing with serious buyers as well. Did this come into play at all in your decision in 1)?
3) What kind of channels are you using? Obviously this might be something you want to keep to yourself. Did you find your supplier via the web, friends overseas, etc.? Some kind of information here would at least help color the picture a little more and tell a better story. Right now it just reads as, “I have my ways and scored a great deal.”
4) How did you come up with your price for $4500 per case when buying the product? What went into your research for where you needed to be in order to make sure you had enough room for the profit you wanted to make on the back-end and, if need be, to cut your profit if it doesn’t move as fast as you want and still have plenty of margin? I think this is probably the most important factor when flipping. You must be in at a good price that leaves plenty of room for profit. You must know your entry and exit before buying.
5) Typos/Editing. I think you meant $250 profit, but I’m not sure. What were current market prices? The heckling happened to me recently on 93 SP packs, but like you, I was patient and eventually got my price and was then able to bump my prices up and still sell them. Blood in the water kind of action. Another good tip for people. Sometimes selling the first one for a little less when there are lots of eyes on it and low supply can cause a feeding frenzy and you can raise your prices on subsequent sales (as long as the supply/demand situation doesn’t change).
6) What kind of negotiating tactics did you use in both buying your product and in selling it? I’m guessing $4500 wasn’t the starting bid for you and $6100 wasn’t the start for your buyer either.
7) I liked the point about Zion’s debut but you wanting to minimize risk. Good to point out the trade-offs of profit and risk. Not being greedy when plenty of profit has already been made.
8) The lesson to be learned is trusting your own data and knowledge, but you really didn’t share much of either, in my opinion. What were the previous trends? How did that affect your price?

Overall, I enjoyed the piece, but based on the title “My art to flipping sports cards”, I expected a little more substance. Hopefully this doesn’t come across as super negative. I intended this as constructive criticism in an effort to help out. I hope that is the effect it has. I look forward to reading more. I’m new to the group, but have really enjoyed your insights and commentary on discord. Keep it up.

Paolo David
Paolo David
8 months ago

Thats a lot of things @TradeUpCards but ill try my best to answer here. Before i start, thank you for taking your time to read and I do apologize that this reply might be informal as I’ve been working nonstop in my business trip.

1) I have other ideas but thats whole new article to do. Don’t worry about this one but I promise to bring quality and HONEST content. However, flipping requires niche. Less competition. Thin sell wall (which i discussed in previous article)

2) the main thing about flipping wax is that it covers ALL ROOKIES THAT MIGHT BE INSIDE the sealed product versus singles which is only to a specific player. Wax is really easier to move and in regards of risk it is low. I can always sell to break even.

3)I intentionally wont disclose it. However, a lot of overseas phone calls were made which was easy due to the power of the internet. No more phone cards needed.

4)4500 includes retail price by the seller, customs, shipping. 6100 because people are buying it for 8000. I had enough gains and easier to dispose that way.

5)i am actually happy to get 6100 for the whole case. Right now the price of a case is waaaaayyy up there. Bullpen is selling 550 a box from what i know. And.. i was committed to give a flat price. If i suddenly decided to put the price like the others did, i will not earn their REPEAT business. Just a work ethic i do. Also liquidity is everything plus i have a debt to pay during that time so i want cash as fast as possible.

6) To me RESPECT is the best negotiating tactic. He wants money. I want to flip. The seller decided as well that liquidity is king so he can stock up on other future products.

7)Greed can cause your customers/business partner to lose your business. Money comes and goes. But, people you meet on the way that will trust you is harder to gain

8)Optic 2018-19 (global release) is at 400 to 450 sold price. So my price wasnt bad for a ASIA exclusive release with a rookie class hotter than anyone in the hobby.

I take no offense but again, if i were to write every single detail.. i would need to make it atleast 15 pages which I know for a fact people just want a fast read. However, i am grateful that you read it top to bottom and used your time to write this comment. It is heartwarming. I was actually concerned releasing this article because it looks boastful but I know that there will be people out there who are in debt and looking for proper ways to do in side to pay for that. AGAIN, FLIPPING ISNT EASY. Nothing in the world is easy. However, I did it and I am sure other people can do it too! This is my third biggest flip. I would share other flips but time will come when i write those down. And I will Take in mind your thoughts when im writing it down.

Again, sorry if this was a bit informal of a reply but I have been up for nearly 30 to 35 hours.