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Insider: GP Atlanta Vendor Report

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Welcome back, readers! Last week I made the two-and-a-half hour trek down to the city of Atlanta to sell off some smaller stuff that had begun to accumulate. After buying just a few collections, you'd be amazed how often you have a ton of little dime, quarter and fifty-cent cards just laying around.

Shipping them off to each respective buylist can often cost you a lot in profits, just through shipping costs. So whenever there's a Grand Prix within three hours of me (read: Atlanta or Charlotte) I spend the week leading up to it sorting through stuff I've pulled aside as "buylistable," and ogreing it out.

o·gre
ˈƍɡər/
verb

1. To separate out a bunch of cards based on the buylist price, allowing vendors to sift through and take what they want at the pre-defined buylist prices.

Obviously, that definition doesn't pop up on Merriam-Webster, but in Magic finance it's pretty common terminology. Pre-sorting saves vendors a ton of time as they don't have to look up each card individually—time they might otherwise not be willing to spend on a bunch of cheap cards.

You also maximize your own profits because you can price your cards based on the best buylist price. Thus if a vendor's specific buylist was offering $1 but you have it in a box for $1.25, they may just pay you the extra quarter—since now they know that one of their competitors is paying the $1.25.

Ogreing in Atlanta

There were a total of 15 dealers at GP Atlanta: Wizard Tower, Troll and Toad, Tales of Adventure, Flipside Gaming, MTGFirst, Hotsauce Games, Cool Stuff, Inc., Grey Ogre Games, Kirwan's Game Store, Capefear Games, Comics and Gaming, The Only Game in Town, MTGDeals.com, Hareruya, and Star City Games. This is a pretty large number, and great for anyone looking to sell (competition is always a good thing).

I will note that I did not see Capefear Games there (despite their logo being on the GP Atlanta page), and I walked all around the dealer area. I really don't know how I could have missed them. If they were there, then I should have looked harder because Heath's team has always been very easy to work with and they tend to buy a lot of random stuff.

But without further ado, let's look at how much people bought and what they bought.

MTGFirst

mtgfirst_logo

They bought about $16 worth of stuff from me. I know they tend to take a lot of the cheap Modern staples and I don't believe they took any Commander or Legacy cards from me.

Flipside Gaming

flipside-gaming

Flipside only found slightly more than MTGFirst (at around $18 worth). They too seemed to focus heavily on the Modern cards, though I do recall them taking a few Commander ones. They were paying a lot on a good number of Modern staples (my friend sold them over $1,100 worth).

The Only Game in Town

togit-1

TOGIT only found $3 worth of cards they wanted. I'm not sure if I just didn't have anything they wanted or if they didn't like my prices. The buyer was nice enough, but I recall him being rather quiet.

MTGDeals

mtgdeals

Another smaller purchase (of $12), I distinctly remember that they focused almost solely on Modern cards.

Wizard Tower

wt-logo-1

The buyer here was a gentleman I've dealt with at a few other GPs. They're based out of Canada and usually have a multi-screen buylist which was absent this time. When I brought it up, he said it ended up being a lot to ship and that they broke one of the TVs coming back from GP Charlotte.

They bought $25.75 worth of Modern and Commander cards. Another interesting thing about Wizard Tower is they upload to their inventory as they're buying—it takes their buyers a little bit more time going through your stuff, but it seems very efficient.

Cool Stuff, Inc.

coolstuff

Cool Stuff bought a good number of Modern and Commander cards, totaling $22.50.

Kirwan's Game Store

kirwan_logo

Kirwan's was by far my most profitable stop. Their buyer pulled out Legacy, Commander, and Modern staples totaling $72. He was a really cordial guy. It helped that he was the store's "picker" as well, so he had a great understanding of what sells there regularly.

Hotsauce Games

hotsauce

They were only able to find about $7 worth of stuff they wanted—again the main focus seemed to be on Modern cards.

Hareruya

hareruya

These guys are pretty difficult to sell small stuff to. They tend to pay really well on bigger cards, so they usually focus their money on those. The buyer was actually contracted out for the weekend (borrowed from Card Advantage in nearby Athens, GA) and he was only able to find $0.5 worth of stuff on their buylist. He did mention that if Thomas, the owner of Card Advantage, had a booth there, he likely would have bought most of my box.

Tales of Adventure

tales

These guys again focused mostly on Modern cards (which to be fair was a majority of what I brought). They were able to find about $12.50.

Grey Ogre

grey-ogre

The buyer here was easy to talk to and found $45 worth of stuff, ranging from Commander to Modern to Legacy.

Troll and Toad

troll

Troll and Toad is always hard to sell ogred stuff to, which is weird because their buylist prices are really aggressive for some pretty random things. Yet coming to them with an ogred box I'm currently zero for three—at three different GPs they didn't want anything from a large assortment of random stuff (Modern, Legacy, Commander).

The second GP was especially awkward, since I went to them first (as a test), and thanks to Trader Tools I knew some of my prices were from their buylist.

Conclusion

All in all I made $227.50 and sold nothing that retails for over $2.50. I love using GPs to move all the little cards you pick up here and there that are better than bulk but not worth shipping to buylists. Overall I've made over $1,200 doing this, spread out over five or so GPs. I still have a good bit left that I brought, which will remain in fatpack boxes to be repriced for the next GP I attend (with new things added as I accrue them).

Some key takeaways:

  • Kirwan's and Grey Ogre were buying a lot of the smaller random things. I think both are great stores for ogreing out boxes.
  • A few dealers (like Flipside) were trying to use PayPal to purchase goods, which is definitely something I haven't seen before. If you take this payment, be wary. Should any vendors try to pay you via "Goods and Services" you will take about a 2.5% hit due to PayPal fees. If they send it via "Gift/Friends and Family," they are potentially risking the wrath of PayPal, but you won't take a hit.
  • Friday and Saturday are the best days to sell because the dealers tend to have the most cash on these days. The closer you get to the end of Sunday, the less cash they'll have on hand. So if you're going to a GP and playing in the main event, you're better off doing your selling before it starts.
  • Know the value of the cards you want to sell beforehand. I had a friend who was selling a ton of valuable stuff, but he didn't know what it was worth. While the dealers aren't trying to rip you off, they are there to make money—if you don't know what your stuff is worth they can use that to their advantage, which to be fair makes perfect financial sense.
  • Always bring something to snack on (if you can). Typically the venue food options are limited (though this one had a good bit of choices) and the prices tend to be pretty exorbitant.
  • Lastly, I recommend tracking which dealers buy from you repeatedly. Your time has value. I know because I was amazed at how late in the day I finished with the last dealer, and I didn't get to play in any side events or even do any trading. I will compare this GP buylisting experience with notes from the last several, and moving forward I may simply ignore certain dealers and redirect that time into trading/playing.

David Schumann

David started playing Magic in the days of Fifth Edition, with a hiatus between Judgment to Shards. He's been playing Commander since 2009 and Legacy since 2010.

View More By David Schumann

Posted in Buylist, Finance, Free Insider, Ogreing, Selling

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9 thoughts on “Insider: GP Atlanta Vendor Report

  1. Have you been able to do any trading at limited GPs recently? I’ve found it really tough when no one needs cards for the main event, as the small amount of people on the floor is choked with ‘dealers’ who are all trying to grind percentages (“I do 90% on same format trades, less on older formats”) instead of offering equal trades (in which you try to obtain cards you need/want for the future).

    TL;DR: Just curious if you actually meet players/collectors on the floor while looking for trades instead of backpack dealers.

    -AA

    1. To be honest I haven’t done a lot of trading at major events..basically because the last 5-6 times I went to then to trade I ran into the same things you have found…everyone is a backpack dealer looking to get ℅ off you. The sad part is I used to love going to any larger event just to trade, but this new mentality of everyone claiming to be a store to justify lopsided trading burned me out. Now I’m not against asking for a premium if someone wants to trade a bunch of small stuff into a much more expensive card (like an Underground Sea or something)…but I’m not taking a loss trading equally across the board.

      1. I don’t travel to many events, but if you’re at one and you see me trading I do straight-up only (unless I’m taking bulk) and everything is priced at what I sell it for, both directions. I usually have a binder with high-end stuff and staples we’re overstocked on. At GenCon I had about 125 duals, a full set of UNL power, and tons of smaller stuff.

        If I’m vending or traveling to an event to trade I’ll post it on Twitter and Facebook, so you’ll know to look for me or we can coordinate a meet.

  2. Loved the article! Very helpful to have some insight on your process, especially at larger events. I have found myself in the same situation; tons of leftovers from collection purchases, and looking for the best way to move them in large volume WHILE maximizing profits.

    Having an OGRED box is quite helpful in streamlining the selling process to dealers. I have found that at smaller events (i.e. SCG Opens w/ only 4 – 5 dealers), it has been harder to move any real volume of the OGRED box. There was very little interest in the random (non-format staple) cards. Could have possibly been the particular vendors in the room OR the randomness of my cards. Not sure.

    I had been curious how this same process would work at a much larger event (i.e. GPs), so I appreciate your shedding some light on your experience. Looking forward to more articles on this topic!

    Thank you!!

  3. When I trade at GPs, I’m mostly looking for three things:

    1. increase the liquidity of my online store’s stock

    2. maybe find a nice gem or two for my personal collection

    3. maybe pick up some spec copies

    #2 is cool but I want to focus on #1. I mostly just want to turn “niche” into “staple”, which is totally doable straight-across.

    What’s a good way to advertise the fact that I’m mostly looking for even trades and am NOT one of the percentage-grinders? I guess I could introduce myself thusly: “Hey, are you guys interested in trading straight-across?”

    1. That’s the kind of trading I enjoy. Both parties are looking for something specific. Sometimes it’s a rare cube foil, sometimes it’s stuff to finish a deck, and sometimes it’s to consolidate a collection. All of those should be doable without being taken advantage of.

  4. After exhausting local playgroup and then Facebook the 1 or 2 GP’s I attend in the UK are the best time to move out my stuff that otherwise isn’t moving. I found GP London (Limited) to be no worse than normal. Just be prepared to say no to the dealers prices you don’t like and if possible I always get credit and pick up cards I otherwise will have a hard time tracking down, don’t be afraid to negotiate these down a bit too.

    As long as you know what you are getting yourself into (dealers are to make money) and accept the benefits they afford you then its a great experience.

    After multiple GP’s I now most focus on Magic Madhouse and any travelling US dealers (SCG/CF) at these as the credit on top plus the fact they generally have the best price means I don’t have to shop around as much as I did before.

    1. That’s an excellent point. While I normally just sell to the dealer’s. The credit bonus should definitely be factored in if they also have something you want. After all if one dealer offers $1 on a card and has a 10℅ bonus vs another dealer offering $0.9 but with a 25℅ bonus your better trading to the second dealer if they both have the same price on the card you want.

  5. So, something you didn’t mention is at what point does your time become worth something. You bounced around all the dealers there, either waiting in line or waiting for them to thumb through all the stuff to just make $227.50. There is a point where you probably should have taken a bit less to save a lot more time. More people need to realize that.

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