How to unload those cards that aren’t worth anything

Every pack you open, the stack gets a little bigger. Eventually it goes into a box. Then there are so many cards in the box, you need a bigger box. There are hundreds at first, then thousands. You need two, then three, then four boxes.  

They hold the cards that you don’t hold dear. Many are players who you know aren’t going to become all-stars. Some may be retired or almost there. Some are just duplicates, triplicates or quadruplicates. No one’s going to buy these on eBay because the time to list them and the shipping costs are burdens you don’t want. Sure, you can yank out the sellable goodies, but you’ve still got a ton of unwanted cardboard left.

At some point, you — or, more likely, the person you live with — comes to the realization that something has to be done. They’re in the way.  An eyesore. 

You need the space. They need a home. But where?

Before you reach the boiling point and head for the nearest dumpster or bonfire, here are a few ideas for unloading the sports cards you just don’t want.

  • Sell them locally. Sometimes collectors can be too focused on eBay, COMC, Sportlots or another site when looking to sell unwanted cards. There are probably a lot of casual collectors, flea market dealers, or folks who just love to buy stuff in your area who would be happy to buy them all and save you a ton of time if you’re willing to sell cheap. Put them in a garage sale and name your price but be ready to haggle. If there’s no garage sale in your future, put an ad on a site like Offer Up, Craigslist or your community’s Facebook buy/sell pages. Highlight some of the better names. You might be surprised at the response. and you might be able to sell some other stuff that has more value too.

  • Donate them to a local charity.  Goodwill and similar organizations will often accept just about anything. Come up with a fair market value, take the tax deduction at the end of the year and be done with it. This is probably the most hassle-free way to unload them, although it won’t net you any money.  Charity auctions will be another option once the pandemic ends. Look for local non-profits to see if they’re having an event.

  • Donate them to Commons4Kids. Jerry Milburn has been running this charity for several years. He takes donated cards and finds homes for them at children’s hospitals or other places where they’re appreciated.  He’s already handed out over 10 million cards. You might have to pay to ship them unless he’s making a road trip that’s not far from his Kentucky base.

  • Keep some and use them to start an autographed card collection. TTM (Through the Mail) autograph collecting is a fun way to obtain autographs for nothing or next to nothing. (Some players ask for a donation to their favorite charity in exchange for the auto, but most players who answer fan mail do not).  Write to players in care of the team, include a self-addressed stamped envelope and see what happens.  There’s a whole community of TTM collectors who can help you.

  • Halloween treats. Instead of handing everyone a candy bar, ask if they might prefer a pack of cards you’ve created. Include a decent star or rookie card in a stack of 20 or 30 cards, put them in a team bag or cello wrap and watch the sports loving trick-or-treaters light up.

  • Give them to a friend or neighbor. Ask around. Maybe there’s a sports-loving kid in the neighborhood or at work who would love to have them. No tax deduction with this method but they’ll be your buddy for life and might just do you a big favor someday.

  • Trade them. Maybe there’s a collector who’d swap you something you really want. No chance? Then try bartering them locally. Offer them in trade on a local website in exchange for something you need.

It’s not hard to lighten the load so you can see some light in your closet. You just have to be a little creative.

3 thoughts on “How to unload those cards that aren’t worth anything

  1. Funny that you wrote this article, becuz I just came across my 50+ full boxes of football, baseball, and basketball 1960’s-2000’s. Now I just gotta figure out how and where to offload these. Unsearched for nearly 20 years…I’m sure there will be some hidden gems amongst them

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