Returning to the Fold – A Grand Prix Columbus Floor Report

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*click*
Radio searches through a few stations. After a moment of static – it clears to reveal Steven Tyler belting

“I’m BBBAAAAAAAAAAAACCCCKKKKKKK. Back in the saddle again.”

Welcome!

Let me say hello! How long has it been? Has it been that long? Huh. You don’t say? 18 months? Maybe even two years?  Well, fantastic.  Just enough time to make it worth while to start all over. Now, shall we begin?

For those that know me – or have an idea – let me say hello. I am back, to bring you my varying degrees of insight, easy going banter, and strong belief that you have what it takes to make the most out of what you have. Not terribly long ago, I would bring you my thoughts on Magic based Finance. After much relocation, settling in the bright city of Dallas, Texas and a return to traveling the US (& eventually the world) for Magic – I have returned to having my hand on the wrist of Trading.

The fine folks here at MTGPrice have decided that you should hear me. Let’s not waste that with pomp and circumstance. This week, I will bring you what insight, thoughts, experience, & ideas I have to give you the best tools to prepare yourself for your next Grand Prix Vendor experience.

Approaching a vendor booth is a key component of any Grand Prix. To make the travel, the cost, and the excitement all fit in with your budget, means, and obligations – it is best to occasionally liquidate cards, locate much coveted new beauties, or fill in that last gap for your 75.

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The fastest way to do that will always be with a vendor.

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I, myself, am a Floor Trader. I pride myself on turning cards you do not need into cards you do. But a booth is a completely different & exciting animal compared to any trade. They have paid for the right and the power to give you not only exactly what you need – but the choice of how you need it. It also can be very intimidating. Why? Because you have no idea where to start. There’s numbers everywhere. Pretties to distract you. Amazing cards you may have never seen to lure you away. And even more – there’s always the fear you’re paying too much and getting too little.
This weekend was Grand Prix: Columbus. Uniquely situated between the Midwest and the Northeast, the GP itself drew a lot of the best talent in the Vendor world.

CFHotsauce

SavageTCGMTGCardMarket

HareruyaEmpire

CSIDaveAndAdams

gamingetc_0 GKbrimstonelogowhiteLegion

VintageStrikezone

MTGDeals FGRIW WT Logo

This weekend I primarily dealt with three vendors. Adem Hotza @Hotsauce. Jeremy Muir @SavageTCG and Paul Morelli @MTGCardMarket. Surprisingly, most of the published buylists from the variety of booths were all roughly the same. As I get back in the swing of things – in the future, I’ll have a more in depth analysis of where best to spend your money, or get the most out of your cards.

This week, I want to talk first about a couple of key points of what your Vendor relationship needs to be. While there are some unwritten rules, mostly it just hasn’t been thought to be said out loud. As a financier, or someone simply interested in getting the most out of your cards – these points can vastly change your approach to the weekend and how you cash out or trade up. As well as your preparation going in.

1) Online or in person.

While dealing with SavageTCG, the discussion went down the progression of “How has business been.” Every booth has different needs and usually that is going to be reflected greatly in their buylist. When business is good – buylists tend to stay even keel around the room. When it’s volatile is when you will see the differences. Another way to maximize your Grand Prix, then, is to first bring needs.

As with anyone – as the Owner of SavageTCG – Jeremy loves card that will sell quickly or be gone that very weekend. When in person,  it’s very easy and quick to let the vendor cherry pick your collection. While this may not solve your instant needs – getting the ball rolling for yourself and then later matching a smaller list to the greater collective of “Who has the higher buylists” can net you the greatest balance of time spent vs. making your dollar go farthest.

This was my first stop of the weekend and that was my intention. Clearing out a long list of highly needed middle to low range but high demand Legacy/Modern playable Commons/Uncommons. With my organized list now shorter, and one 1,000 count box much lighter, the following day would be my next stop of the weekend.

2) “Picking” your bulk.

At my stop with Adem Hotza, owner of Hotsauce Games a very interesting point came up. I was there to acquire a NM/LP+ Moat for a trade. A young gentleman made it a point to acquire one that weekend – and I love sourcing cards for players that will actually love the cards they play. I had already done a lot of trading on the floor, thus some of my bulk was going to be included in acquiring this for him. Hotsauce had a gorgeous Moat at a great price and we got, again, talking about business.

Something that never had occurred to me is the practice of the Bulk traders using the Vendor booths as the manual labor to pick their $.25s & $.50s from the $.10s. Frankly – us as a collective can do better.

The Grand Prix floor should not be the time you sort those cards out from each other if you are about maximizing your buylisting. Definitely not when you’re dealing with a Vendor. If you’re not worried about the quarters from the dimes, do everyone a favor – just hand a stack and expect to have the whole thing priced as one “unit.” All dimes or all quarters, etc. If you are worried about it – then take it home. Compare buylists online. Send them in properly sorted or wait until the next event, after you’ve had time to seperate into appropriate piles. The week leading up to or the time before going to a booth really should be about maximizing your profit. On the floor is about maximizing your time – and theirs. 

3) “Mutual Beneficiality”

Yes. It’s a made up complete butchering of beneficial.

My last stop of the weekend was with MTGCardmarket. Paul & I haven’t had many occasions to deal with each other, but I have with Cameron. Most Vendors LOVE $5-$10 retail price cards all day long. For us, they can do wonderful things like trade into bigger items and net a consistent build up, but even better is the cash power to buy those large collections. Any time you can get past a certain dollar amount that others are just not able to deal with, you gain power. The people that can and do buy $3,000 collections weekly are few and far between. You want to be one of those people. And they will always nets you more than $5 bills will. Cashing those out will get you larger transactions, more flips, and better outlets for your cards.

However you do it – the best thing you can do is give any Vendor the best balance struck of what they need versus what you can leverage. This generates a mutual benefit and gives you the priority over even the most alluring offers. While talking with Paul – he paid me a great compliment. He wanted my cards over another sell that was trying to come in. A fully foiled out Legacy deck.

What you may not know – most Vendors do many Grand Prixs back to back to back. Some times – four shows in – cash flow can be a little hard to come by. Not just a difference between Friday & Sunday, but a complete paradigm shift from what the would normally buy and the much leaner “focusing on needs.” If you want to give yourself the edge – and also make sure what you are liquidating will always be bought – don’t just bring corner case expensive cards that, while having great upside, will sit in their display cases for weeks.  It’s not making it someone else’s problem to deal with. It’s bringing them items they just can not buy. Bringing the things that will sell day in and day out can and will bump you to the top of any shortlist a Vendor loves to deal with.

In closing – these three points can really improve your selling experience with Vendors. Each Grand Prix isn’t just about who’s buylist is best. Often – if your relationship is built with a Vendor – not only could you received priority treatment but getting the inside track can easily make you the person everyone wants to deal with.

In the future – I will be modulating my Grand Prix reports to bring you a mixture of insight, cool deals, price points to pay attention to, and items of note on buylists. This decision to bring me back on board was made late in the game, so this week’s report is focused on highlighting the points that made the most difference this weekend. With the Grand Prix in the rear view – these deals I made with these particular Vendors absolutely raised my Grand Prix from “Well played” to “I still had all deeze.” Incorporating a wonderful Vendor or LGS relationship into your Finance game is a key cog in the cycle of buy/trade/sell. I plan on showing the way to make this one you can maximize for yourself, if you choose.

Trading and Finance is not just about maximizing one card and riding it to the finish line. It is also about bettering the experience of the players you trade with. It’s about providing the cards the stores need to keep providing playing & trading space. It’s about getting you into the right situation and raising the tide. After all, the tide raises ALL ships. If you have not realized that – take a closer look at what you are doing. It really is that simple.

You can follow me on Twitter @dylan_beck or @Dylan Beckham on Facebook.

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12 thoughts on “Returning to the Fold – A Grand Prix Columbus Floor Report”

  1. Very good read, and very well understanding of prices. I love how it breaks down everything that is important. Im excited to read the next piece, very beneficial. Glade to see you back writing again.

  2. You really need to proofread this article-the amount of grammar errors and misspellings is atrocious.

    1. “It never ceases to amaze me how prosaic, pedestrian, unimaginative people can persistently pontificate about classical grammatical structure as though it’s f’ing rocket science. These must be the same people who hate Picasso, because he couldn’t keep the paint inside the lines and the colors never matched the numbers.”

      1. Michael, don’t use that Abbe Diaz quote on me. You’re just being an unoriginal hick that loves to read articles full of “us as a collective” and revels in confusing sentences.

        Glad to see that a lot of the errors are fixed though. Appreciated the advice overall.

    2. Thank you, JC99, whoever you are.

      This article was very much done on the fly, suddenly, and without much formulation or process. Bear with the process please. If your problem was simply the proofreading – I will call that a successful article. Regardless of the fine tuning. Shall we call it knocking off the rust?

      1. Also – there was a MASSIVE amount of technical issues with even getting it on site before my flight yesterday, which lent to some of the proofreading being done after the fact. Again – thank you for noticing it was cleaned up.

  3. Welcome back to the Internet machine, Dylan!

    Great article that painted a broad stroke over the GP trading/vendoring scene. One point that you made that really stood out was making sure that the everyone’s time is maximized. The vendor’s time is valuable, but so is mine. The more time that a buyer is thumbing through unsorted boxes looking for $.25 and $.50 cards is time that you are no longer on the floor trading. Spend some time yourself (either in transit to the event or in your hotel) setting up the buy to be as streamlined as possible.

    1. Thank you, Matt, it’s much appreciated. The concept of Ogre-izing a box is not new. I believe strongly in making that a regular part of your repertoire when possible. I was really surprised at myself for never considering someone would intentionally use their vendor relationship like that, as it simply does not make a whole lot of sense in the long term. Maybe simply not understanding the flip side is what disengages traders from doing it better. This is something I’ll be focusing much closer to in the future.

      1. I had a box that was unsorted and a buyer wanted to go through it. I joked while while he was picking through it that I was only using him for cheap labor.

  4. Dylan it’s great to see you writing again. Also if the information that your relaying through your article is good grammar won’t matter. It’s the information that’s key. Your a great guy and a amazing business mind. I look forward to reading many more of your articles. I do feel like trade etiquette should be included in here, or maybe your next piece. Good luck.

    1. That will be on the docket, at some point. I will be discussing how often and when I will be producing content here. Right now, it’s strictly on a GP reporting basis. We’ll see how that develops in the future.

      Thanks for the kind words, though, Jeff

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