We send and receive thousands of packages through the mail every year and we have not lost one yet (Knock Wood!) The bigger concern that people usually have is the fear of being taken advantage of.
This is a very valid concern. I would also be skeptical of sending anything of value to someone that I did not know personally. I am sure that this fear keeps some people from sending collections, but somehow we never have a problem getting enough cards. I am not sure whether it is word of mouth or what. We receive collections worth thousands of dollars almost every day.
We all hear horror stories about people being taken advantage of over the internet. I really do not know too much about it, just because we have no first-hand experience, but I tend to think that these thieves are mainly the smaller dealers or not dealers at all. I do not think that these "skunks" could stay in business (or out of jail) very long with that type of behavior - but who knows?
If someone did as much business as Deans Cards and then cheated people, I feel that they would probably get caught in some sort of sting operation. Mail fraud is a federal offense that is taken very seriously by the authorities. It is very easy for the police to act like a seller and scan every card they sent and then refuse to sell the collection.
The best reason that I can give you for why we try so hard to treat people fairly is that it is simply good business. We do all our business by mail - both buying and selling - and have taken great care to protect the reputation of our business. Dean's Cards has never kept a card that does not belong to us and we never will. If we treated people wrong, we would be finished as a business.
The Dean's Cards secret to buying more collections:
we pay more for your cards.
We have been fortunate enough to meet a lot of great people through my online store, but we have also come across a few real "fruit cakes"! Surprisingly, it has been very few. In my personal opinion, 99.9% of the people in cyberspace are basically honest and ethical folks. It is that small minority of cons, crooks, and hackers that force the rest of us to be skeptical of human nature.
As far as giving you a firm offer on your collection - There is simply no way to do it without physically seeing the cards. In order for us to determine the value of the cards, you will have to send them to us. Any reputable dealer with tell you the same thing. Bidding on scanned images of cards is way too uncertain and would force me to bid very conservatively - thus costing you money.
On some occasions, we have let people bring their collections to our office. This usually only works for the massive collections worth several thousands of dollars. If your collection is big enough - let's talk. But on the vast majority of collections, it does not make sense to incur this unnecessary cost.
It usually costs a dealer about $1000 (not counting at least a day of his time) to fly out to bid on a collection. No matter what a dealer says, this expense has to be passed along to the seller. What about the people who decide NOT
to sell their collections? Guess who pays for those trips? If you said, "the seller", you are correct. We would much rather give the travel money saved to a seller for cards, than to the airlines for transportation costs.
Our "secret" to buying so many collections is that we simply pay more for cards. Our goal is to keep costs down so that we can continue to pay a higher dollar amount than other dealers. We have the bidding process down to an art and it works extremely well for us. Please understand - we are very motivated to buy cards.
It comes down to business ethics.
If you send us your collection, we will not violate that trust.
If sending the cards makes you uncomfortable - then send several thousand at a time. We will value the cards and contact you with an offer. If you agree to our offer - I will send you a check. Then send more cards - and so on it goes... Usually, after sellers receive the first couple of checks - mailing the cards becomes a non-issue. If my offer is unsatisfactory, then I will pay for the postage to send the collection back to you.
The bottom line is that there is nothing that I can really say to totally assure the seller. At some point, it will take an element of trust on the card seller's part. In reality, it all comes down to business ethics. If you can not develop a level of comfort, then I certainly understand. If you do decide to send us your collection, we will certainly not violate your trust.
I hope that this makes sense. Please also realize that I am referring only to packages mailed within the United States. In some countries, I know that it is unsafe to mail valuables. Most countries, I am unsure of the safety. In the U.S,' we have never had a problem.
by Dean Hanley
We are only buying vintage cards from 1969 and older.*
* We can buy some 1970s cards when they are part of a large vintage collection.
* We do not buy cards newer than 1980. So sorry.