Making the Most of Listings with Photos

Feature Article from DJ Johnson
DJ Johnson
1/31/2018 11:01:00 AM
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Hey there! DJ here, and I'm here to talk about a pretty big update to TCGplayer. If you haven't seen it yet, you'll be able to buy and sell items on the site that have photos included to show you exactly what you're buying or selling. This is something I'm really excited about as a seller, and it's obvious how it would be helpful to buyers as well—from people interested in high end "power nine" like a Black Lotus to those who are looking for the most budget version of a card for Commander, like a really beat-up Underground Sea.

The actual process to upload photos and list those particular items is easy. Both the help files and FAQ give a general feel for what I'm referring to. I recommend checking out those files before coming back to this article, or take a quick look at this video.

As a vendor that sells a lot of cardboard, I want to share my perspective on using this feature for in my personal store, how you can use it to the fullest advantage as a buyer, and some of the more unique things you can do by addings photos to your listings that you might not have considered at first glance.

What are some of the first things that come to mind when you think of a marketplace listing with photos? Well, the help files demonstrate some of the cool stuff you'll be able to list (and buy!) right off the bat: alters, signed cards and professionally graded products are definitely unique items that didn't really have good a home before this update. For example, even a gorgeous alter done by someone like Eric Klug or Steve Argyle would be relegated to the "Damaged" condition immediately if you wanted to sell it on the marketplace—still sight unseen to a buyer—and you wouldn't be able to justify or demonstrate the premium that your Christopher Rush signed Lightning Bolts deserved.

But what if I told you that I planned to use listings with photos to sell some items that are unique in a much more… heartbreaking way? There's "Damaged" because a card has a crease or water damage, and then there's "Damaged" for this right here.

Yes, that card is barely hanging together by less than a half inch of cardboard. No, it wouldn't be sleeve-playable in any sanctioned event. Yes, it does look alright when it's in a double-sleeved Mizzix deck and being cast where X equals 104 targeting your best friend's face.

Now there are a couple of HP foils on the marketplace right now (without pictures), for around $10-$11. But what would be the number on this that makes you say yes to this damaged copy? $7? $5? I'm sure there's someone out there that would be able to give it a good home, but I couldn't list it on my store until today. Now I can show you exactly what the item is with the above images so the buyer knows what they're getting before they pay.

This doesn't only impact random old Commander cards. If you're in the market for an Underground Sea, I'm sure you'd prefer to know exactly what that $400 card looks like before you put up your money. After all, there is a wide range of wear possible when your dual land is moderately or heavily played. When the difference in condition can mean $50 price shifts, you want to know whether that Underground Sea is a "good" moderately played, or if it might be closer to heavily played instead. If you search for an Underground Sea while use the Listings with Photos filter, that becomes possible. This is especially relevant for many high-end Reserved List cards like Gaea's Cradle, City of Traitors and the power nine.

It's important that everyone knows how to find these listings. If you're in the market for a dual land that you can see before buying, or you want to hunt down some altered cards, you can simply check a box on the filters that will make sure you include, exclude, or only view listings that already have photos attached. It'll be on the same list of options as Condition, Printing, Foil—all the filters you're already used to.

This is how you can narrow down if you're interested in listings with photos. Personally, I'm a huge fan of having the cards in my Commander decks come with a story behind them. I'll be curious to see if any of the vendors have cheap Commander stuff uploaded that would fit into any of my decks. When I play something, I love watching my opponent look at my cards and ask "But… why..?" or "Who did this…?"

I should probably provide a list with a photo so you know what I'm talking about.

I got these mana rocks from a vendor acquaintance and I get a real kick out of using them in my Gonti, Lord of Luxury deck. Mana rocks are the easiest abilities to explain to the opponent, even if the text is blacked out, and they give my deck a little bit of personal flair. I paid far less than retail for each one of course, and like the Stroke of Genius they're not legal in tournaments. However, if I ever get bored of them or need to dredge up some extra capital, I can now list them on the marketplace, each with their own collection of photos. Are they going to all fly off the virtual shelves immediately? Probably not, but it would be better than just sitting on my own shelf collecting dust.

Here's the rest of the rocks I got in the collection that I'm not using in Gonti. Anyone interested in any of them? Maybe I'll list the ones I'm not using on my storefront on TCGplayer...

While I have you here listening to me ramble about my beloved Gonti deck, let's look at another card that you could throw up on the marketplace as of today.

There's a bit of a story behind that card, but the short version is that the phrase "Cut your own card out" was said while handing over an uncut sheet at a Grand Prix recently, and the only thing on hand was a pair of dull scissors.

I didn't do the initial hack job, but after a bit of trimming with an exacto knife when I got home it was indistinguishable inside of a sleeve. It's certainly got its nicks and creases—there's a reason the sheet ended up the way it did—but this is a unique item that technically fits the bill of being a (not factory cut) Murderous Cut. As such, it can be listed provided I give a few images to help the buyer know what they're getting into.

Now that we've gotten the actual damaged stuff out of the way, let's talk about some things that used to be considered damaged, but aren't any longer. As I mentioned earlier, card alterations and artists' signatures were considered "damaged" to me as a vendor, because there's literally inking and paint on the card. If I was going to resell it on TCGplayer it would have to be conditioned as damaged with no room to explain or argue otherwise.

One important aspect of listing multiple cards in a single picture is that they do all have to be the same item, from the same set. If one of these birds was from the Magic 2010 Core Set, I wouldn't be able to pair them together in a listing. If anyone out there is a fan of League of Legends, they might appreciate this Marksman/Support duo. Here's an example for birds of a feather that I could put up a single listing for. They're both from Ravnica, so I can include the description and condition (other than the alter) in my listing, and hope they sell eventually.

Signatures are another small piece to the update that I'm excited about. While most of the time cards are signed by the artist, you can still list any card with any signature—just be sure to mention who signed it in the title of the listing! Whether you have Lightning Bolts signed by Patrick Sullivan, Meddling Mages signed by Chris Pikula or Life from the Loams signed by Terese Nielsen, you can start testing the waters to see what kind of money people would be willing to pay for them. Did someone say Terese-signed Loams?

Just like the birds, I'd probably only list as a playset. Also just like the birds, I'd probably only get rid of these once a lawyer is reading my will to my loved ones several decades from now. While I'm sure many of you who own signed cards have a personal attachment to them, I recommend skimming the listings for your favorite artists to see if anyone else put up an item that you want to keep forever.

Searching for the specific version of the card you want—not just Tarmogoyf, but clicking through to the Future Sight version—will be the best way to see what's available.

If you currently have a store and are concerned that you'll start having to upload pictures for a bunch of different items, don't: uploading pictures with your listings isn't necessary for non-unique items since TCGplayer's catalog automatically provides a representative image like always. You don't have to take a snapshot of every Glorybringer, Tarmogoyf or Teferi's Protection that you decide to put up for sale—just the really unique ones. And if you don't want to deal with photos, you'll likely never have to unless you come across something extremely odd or obscure.

End Step

I'm not suggesting that the option to list items with pictures on TCGplayer will turn the market upside down overnight. It's not going to become the main focus of the marketplace either. It does, however, provide buyers with a way to search for and purchase unique cards and items that they weren't able to before. Signatures, alters, graded cards, and even really, really damaged cards become available, and the latter will often be significantly discounted—something many shoppers love.

On the other end of the transaction, sellers now have a way to move inventory that may have been written off as sunk cost, or needs to be available for specific kinds of high-end purchasers. Those same unique items now cost a seller a little to put up for sale, and the seller pays no commission to TCGplayer until a sale is actually made. [Editor's Note: Until 2/13, listings with photos that are $100 or more will have the TCGplayer commission fee reimbursed. Check the details, of course, but give it a try!]

What do you think of the update? If you're a seller on the platform, you can go right now and try out the feature—there's no restrictions on seller level or number of sales completed before you can list items with images (though other pricing restrictions will still apply). If you've got some cool Commander or Cube things that you're interested in selling on the marketplace, link me to your listing! I'd love to check it out, and maybe pick them up for myself.

Thanks for reading, and I'll see you next week!

DJ
@Rose0fthorns




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