Saturday, March 11, 2017

The Correa Conundrum

By now you know I busted five boxes of 2017 Topps Heritage.. and you might remember that the biggest hit from those boxes was this Carlos Correa red ink auto:

This is one of the most valuable cards I've ever pulled, right up there with an Aaron Judge gold refractor auto, a Connor McDavid Young Guns RC, and a Marian Gaborik Black Diamond 1/1 auto.
It might even be the best card I've ever pulled..

Blowout Cards sent me a free Beckett baseball price guide with my five box purchase. (I wasn't expecting it and used a box cutter to...slash the cover :/) Obviously this card isn't listed, but the prices for Correa red ink autos from previous years are:

2015 Topps Heritage $600 ($400 x 1.5)
2016 Topps Heritage $500

That kinda blew my mind. I was thinking this card might be "worth" $150, $200 tops.  If it is a $500 card, or even a $300 card, I have a killer Correa  .. and a dilemma.

I'm not an Astros fan, or a Correa collector. And while I do love this card (especially the numbering) I have a lot of other collecting needs. I still have some high-value rookie cards to cross off my Upper Deck hockey card list. I can count on one hand the number of pre-war vintage in my collection; I've always dreamed of owning a 1941 Play Ball Ted Williams card. And then there's the '56 Topps set.

I just bought four PSA-graded singles on eBay for about $60 total. And now I'm tapped out. The collecting budget is depleted for the foreseeable future. I might be able to pick up a random pack or two at Target, but that's it.

Spending $60 on the likes of Gil McDougald, Jackie Jensen, Alvin Dark, and Al Aber got me thinking about how much more money I'll have to spend if I'm really serious about completing the 1956 Topps set. (My motivation for this is to collect, enjoy...and probably sell it in ten years to put my girls through college.)

I have the Warren Spahn, Sandy Koufax, and Phil Rizzuto. You know who I don't have?

Mantle. Mays. Aaron. Williams. Clemente. Robinson. Banks. Campanella. Feller. Aparicio. Killebrew. Kaline. Ford. Snider. Mathews. Any team card. And so on. That alone makes me want to give up on this project immediately.

And yet...

I've told myself many times that if I just narrow my focus and collect fewer things, I have the resources to acquire something big. I can build a better Brett Favre collection if I sell/trade all my other football cards. I can buy better vintage baseball if I sell my modern prospects (it's why I sold the Judge.) 

One would assume that I could sell the Correa and buy 1-3 big pieces for my collection - high-end cards I need for either the '56 Topps set, my Upper Deck hockey sets, or a team/player PC. 

But I loathe selling on eBay, for many reasons (especially the fees.) I don't like selling high-end stuff on COMC, I don't have the money or time to sell/trade at a card show - and it's unlikely I'd get a fair deal there anyway. 

Even if there was a blogger reading this with a strong interest in my Correa card - I wouldn't know what to ask for in return. 

I know this is a good problem to have, but I really don't know what to do with this card. Any thoughts, ideas, advice? What do you do when a high-value card doesn't fit in your collection?



  1. Your conundrum is very similar to what I am going through right now. I've been back and forth over the last 18 months trying to decide "what" to collect and if I want to narrow down my focus.

    I want to get out of most of the modern stuff, and feel your pain. I'm not a fan of eBay and just don't like selling online anyway. I'm probably going to end up setting up at a card show or something.

    I've thought recently "If I hadn't spent $100+ to put together the 16-17 Parkhurst set, what vintage card could I have bought?" There are three Southern League cards from the T206 set that I want and I should have been able to pick any one of them up for less than $100 and had a good bit left to put into a second one.

    What could I have gotten with the money I spent on four boxes of 16-17 Upper Deck Hockey between the LCS and ePack? I could have picked up the 1955 Topps All American Four Horsemen card that I need for my set.

    I can list more examples, but I know you get it.

    1. I absolutely get it. It's so tough to decide what to spend your collecting cash on - there's so much great stuff out there.

      If you do get a chance to sell at a card show, I hope you go for it. I did that once a long, loong time ago. It was a lot of fun, even though my two friends and I were in high school and didn't really know what we were doing. I'd love to do it again one day.

  2. Man that's a dilemma, but a good dilemma to have. If it were me I'd sell it on eBay and go vintage. I know the fees suck but it gets you the most exposure in my mind and I think you'd attract a lot of bids. Good luck with whatever path you choose and I hope to read about it here!

    1. I really like this card...but I really like vintage, too. (Speaking of vintage.. my PSA order is coming in this week. I'll be sure to share my thoughts on them here.)

  3. I know it's not the solution you're looking for, but I'd consider potentially going on some Facebook groups to sell. That way, you're only getting hit on Paypal fees, not eBay fees as well. I'm in a few great groups. True that the trust issue is still a real thing, but it's an alternative you might have some good success with.

    1. I'd definitely do that, but I'm not on FB and it does take a while to build trust. Good suggestion though. Anything that avoids the seller fees is worth considering.

  4. I was in a similar boat with the Trout, the only difference being that I wasn't certain I wanted to sell it. So I put it on eBay with a BIN price that was a bit high, but I knew that I wouldn't regret if it sold at that price (because I could buy cards that actually fit in my collection). A couple days later, it sold. Took care of my problem for me. I know the eBay thing sucks because of all of the fees, but for high-value cards, eBay is the safest platform because of the guaranteed protections you receive (at least, in my opinion). I wish I had $500 laying around, because I would buy it from you! ;-) Good luck!

    1. I've used this theory before. "If you want to pay THIS much for it, I will move on." I never had any regrets when those sold.

    2. Your Trout story is encouraging to me, I'm glad you got a good price for it. (And if I were to sell the Correa to you, I wouldn't charge the full $500!)

  5. I'd try selling it on Ebay. Just figure the fees in your asking price. If it doesn't sell you either know you're asking too much or you can still consider other options. If you have the time let it relist a couple of times. Good luck!

  6. I usually go with eBay on big-value cards that don't fit my collection. You get more exposure, and there are at least some protections against scammers. I've had a couple of transactions on eBay go south, but in the end I was either able to get the buyer to pay or get my auction fees back and re-sell the card in question. J. Meeks has a good strategy, setting your auction up with a Buy It Now price that is high and using the Best Offer feature to gauge the market and see if you're willing to sell for what they are paying. You can also set a minimum offer amount to keep from being harassed by people offering $25 on the card.

  7. Looking at sold listings on the bay your statement of..... "That kinda blew my mind. I was thinking this card might be "worth" $150, $200 tops." is spot on.
    If it doesn't fit in your collection and you can get some much needed funds to purchase cards you'd prefer, it's a no brainer.
    Sure the bay fees suck but, that's the place where you'll receive the most exposure for your card.

  8. Thanks for your advise guys. I think I'm gonna have to bite the bullet and list it on eBay. Definitely gonna go the Buy It Now route; I never get anywhere close to fair value selling items on auction. I'll keep you posted.

  9. Looks like everyone already covered all of your bases. I would have settle on eBay too... mainly because of the exposure aspect. Best of luck. Hope you're able to use it to buy a few HOFers for the '56 set.