Tuesday, May 1, 2012

SKETCH CARD DEALER : RACHEL AHRENDES

Rachel Ahrendes is a sketch card dealer with over a decade of experience. She along with her fellow dealers play an important role in supplying and circulating the sketch cards into our community. Without dealers like herself, many people would have a much harder time finding the cards they want...if at all. You can find Rachel as an active member of the Scoundrel Art Community under the user name Blink AoA.




1 - How long have you been a dealer and how did you get involved with sketch cards. 
  • I have been a dealer for about 4 years but I have done hobby selling for 14 years.  I loved the idea of original art combined with the chase to find that special card.  It was a win/win combo to me.  I had collected cards for a few years previous to then.
2 -  What was the first sketch card set you sold?  
  • The first sketch cards I ever sold were from Marvel Creators Collection from 1998.
 
3 - Are sketch cards primarily what you deal with? Or do you work with other products as well? What would be your specialty?
  •   I specialize in sketch cards but I have also sold other types of cards including autographs. I sometimes sell other collectibles but not often.
   
4 - Do you collect sketch cards?  
  • Yes, but I keep it very selective.  I can't make money if I keep too much.  That is also why almost every card in my collection is for sale at the right price.
 
5 - As a dealer how different is it to work with sketch cards than your traditional trading card?
  •   I think mainly you just have to be very careful with them.  This would be the same with Autos and other expensive chase cards.  As for just regular cards, it drops the value of them to near nothing.  I end up donating most of my common cards to a children's hospital near me.

 
6 - Since each card is an original piece of art. How difficult is it to price a sketch card? And what are some of the factors that goes into the pricing?
  •   I price mostly on instinct.  I am wrong sometimes but mostly I'm pretty close to what they are worth.  Sometimes you can price using what cards have sold on other sets but not often.  Quality and amounts done can change with each set. 

7 -  How do you go about selling the sketch cards you have? Do you put cards up on ebay or do people contact you directly for them? Do you also go to card conventions to sell them?
  •   I sell them mainly on Scoundrel Art Forum and on eBay.  Paying convention fees and hotel would eat too much of my profit.  Maybe someday I can do something like that but not right now. 

8 - In your opinion (based on what you've sold), do you think collectors have a higher preference    for photo realistic sketch cards than the more comic book/cartoony style cards. Also does a        painting a card help increase the value of a card as opposed to something done with markers or color pencil?  
  •  No, I don't think so.  Some of my most valuable cards are comic style and I've seen photorealistic ones sell for relatively little.  I think detail is what sells a card, not the medium in which is used to produce it. 

9 - The hobby has grown tremendously in the last few years. Several new companies have popped up with sketch card sets. Also artists themselves are putting out independent sets. Do you think the market is being overcrowded? As a dealer, how does that affect you?
  •   Yes, the market is overcrowded.  I do my best to pick out sets that I think will do well.  If I lose money or only break even with a set, that is normally the last set of that type that I will buy.  The smaller artist sets are some of my favorites and I love seeing the artists get something back for their efforts. 

10 - Have people become more picky with what they collect due to the abundance of sets out? 
  •   Yes, they have.  It makes things much more difficult as this is happening.  The economy makes it even worse. 

11 - It must be difficult to compete for customers when the pool of collectors is so relatively small? Do you try to introduce people to sketch cards?
  •   Yes, it is difficult.  I can't compete with some of the bigger dealers but even they are having a hard time.  The lower prices are great ( especially for collectors) in the short term but in the long term, dealers are going out of business and are no longer buying.  That means a much smaller group of cases broken down.  So far, that has not really hurt the big companies but it will soon if it continues.  I do my best to introduce people to the hobby as often as possible. 

12 - With the price that people pay per box, do you think the expectations for the quality of a pulled sketch card fair? Do you think the complaint of pulling a poor quality sketch card is made by a minority of collectors?
  •   I think anytime someone gets $5 value after spending $60, they will be unhappy.  The more that happens, the more unhappy people you have.  The chase is also what makes it fun.  Unfortunately, when the value of all the cards starts dropping, even when they do get an amazing card, its much harder to be happier about it.  They've bought a case, lost money on every box but one and they have to sell that one, and hope to make some money back.  A profit is normally not even thought of.  This would be a good case that I am talking about.  Some, you lose money on every box.  So, people have less money to work with, they scrape together $120 for 2 boxes and get 2 cards worth $10.  Yes, they are going to complain.  I think the majority of collectors are looking towards just buying the cards they want rather then opening boxes.  They can only complain about prices then and prices are pretty reasonable. 

13 - Whats the highest amount you have seen someone pay for a sketch card ( not necessarily from one of your sales ) and are you surprised at some of the prices they sell for? 
  •  about $2500.  Yes and no.  These cards are beautiful pieces of art and art can so for so much.  The opposite is also true, when one sells for so little, that can be so sad. 

14 - Do you have a website people can go to if they would like to see what you have available? How can people contact you? 
  •  I can be contacted on Scoundrel as Blink AoA or by my email blink.aoa@gmail.com  Scoundrel and ebay tend to get the most views rather then a website with cards for sale.  

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