Stories of finding credit pieces for a few dollars that are worth $50.00 or more apiece are becoming commonplace. So which dealers should a credit card collector approach to find some of these under-priced specimens?
How to find undervalued credit cards for your collecting hobby
Generally speaking, there are places to go and places not to waste your time unless you want to pay close to current market prices. Here’s the breakdown of the latest best odds bets for finding inexpensive pieces…
Antiques and collectibles dealers, flea markets, junk stores & estate sales
This is probably your best bet.
George Bayer of Palm Beach Gardens, Florida sums up the opportunity: “I had no idea people were willing to pay much money for choice collection pieces. It has prompted me to start brainstorming on how to find some treasures of my own here in south Florida.
“This area appears to be a prime candidate for all sorts of valuable old cards because it appeals to retired folks from all over the country.
“My initial test of antique stores via telephone yielded zero. Most of these never thought of credit cards as collectibles.”
It’s common for these dealers to not have the slightest idea about what is taking place in this hobby. Even the few dealers who do know are basing their asking prices on out-dated antiques and collectibles pricing guides. But when you do find dealers in this area that have credit pieces, prices are usually low.
Coin dealers are exactly that—coin dealers. Most of them aren’t concerned with what’s happening in the credit piece market. Generally, their attention is focused on items with price spreads. In other words, what’s the bid and what’s the ask?
Since credit pieces don’t come with bid-ask price spreads, they are generally out of the sphere of the coin dealer. It’s probably best not to take time looking for credit pieces in this area. Dealers probably won’t know what you’re talking about, and if they do, they’re highly unlikely to have anything.
These are the dealers to probably stay away from if you want to find something for nothing. Token dealers appear to be a fairly close knit group in which news spreads fast. Credit pieces fall under the numismatic definition of tokens since they represent money. Because of this, many token dealers are up on the hobby’s latest news. They’re the most aware group of dealers.
Locating credit cards and credit pieces
Probably the best method for locating credit cards and credit pieces is to hand out a collecting business card. Leave a card with each dealer that even remotely may come in contact with credit pieces.
Your collecting business cards should be straightforward and simple. It’s unnecessary to use different color inks or lots of wording. Black ink on a standard-sized white card will probably work just fine.
The card should clearly state your wants. Example: “GAS AND OIL COMPANY CREDIT CARDS WANTED” or “CREDIT CARD COLLECTOR”. The card should include your full mailing address, along with your cell number and email. Make sure all the type on the card is large enough to be easily read.
Buying credit cards
When you find something you’re interested in purchasing, control yourself. Jumping up and down and shouting with excitement isn’t going to do anything but raise the item’s price. It may cause the dealer to decide the piece isn’t for sale. It’s very important to stay calm.
Determine what the value of the item is to you. Any item you locate will probably already be priced low enough that negotiating won’t be necessary. If you do want to get the price down further, try this: A dealer says an item is priced at $10. After you examine the piece, simply ask, “Will you take $8?”
If you’re fortunate enough to find more than one piece, go for a quantity discount. Example: A dealer has a card priced for $10 and one for $6. You want both of them. Simply ask, “How much do you want for the pair?”
Most dealers realize people want a discount from the asking price. Because of this, most prices are already raised in anticipation of having to drop them. Don’t be afraid to ask for a discount.
Improve on any of these ideas as you see fit. It’s important to understand that you don’t need to be an experienced, credit card collecting genius to find undervalued credit pieces. Just following a basic common-sense approach is all that’s necessary for success. The key ingredients that must be used in this hobby are patience and persistence. Good luck!
Copyright 1989 by Greg Tunks