With the opening of Graded Gold, I wanted to take a step back and review on everything we are doing. What got us to this point, how did we choose the card market, why do we think we are going to make a difference? It is important to ask yourselves questions like this as you venture into the brave unknown, and I would like to share our answers with all of you.
It all started with my co-worker, Andrew. when I met him in the summer of 2021, I had no idea that we would be in talks of opening a new business less than a year later. at least once every week, he would be bringing in a card or a set of them, be it Yu-Gi-Oh, Pokemon, sports cards, and he would be showing them off to anyone that would look at them. He would go off about market values and grading fees and how a card he put up for sale a month ago has dropped or risen in value. At the time, I couldn't have cared less about any of it, I had just started a new job and i wanted to do well, as any person would. The funny thing is, the more time past, the more interested I became. I had watched the shows, the movies, I had played the video and card games, I knew the material, but for the life of me i never knew that these things had a secret value to them behind the foil.
Slowly, I became enthralled with the trading card scene again, but this time with a different view on it. suddenly, these cards had values to them, hard, ever changing numbers attached to them and there was nothing to do but dive head first into all of it. I found myself scrolling Ebay, looking up all my favorite cards and seeing the values of all the different grades of my childhood. I reached out to my co-worker, who will turn into the partner of this business, and I asked him what it took to get into something like this. He told me that all it took was a good eye, and a lot of time. So I got to work. i went on the hunt for a good card that i thought would be valuable and popular, and after some digging I found one. Little did i know that would be the easy part. Next was the grading process, whereas I packaged up my card and sent it out to PSA, a grading company with a High reputation for quality and customer service. I had to create a profile, add the card I was shipping, and put an estimated value onto it. This value is what the company bases there grading and shipping prices off of, and also a good indicator of the market at the time of grading. afterwards I sent it out, and after an extensive grading process, I got it back.
There is nothing like seeing one of your favorite cards in a Certified case for the first time. Something about the case surrounding it and a definitive quality value on it makes it seem new and professional. My first shock came when I took my projected value and brought it to the internet. The grading process took about two months from the time I sent it out to the time I got it back. In that time, the value of my card dropped about $80. I couldn't believe how quickly the price had changed! I put it out as the new selling price and I waited for a buyer. After a lot of time and a few quick chats, someone bought it at a discounted price, and they were happy with it when the card arrived.
This process is something most card collectors, and sellers, are used to at this point, and as an overall system it works fine. My co-worker had other ideas however. He came to me one day with an idea, "what if we could streamline the process?" He wanted to open a store that sells only graded cards, someplace that skips over all of the waiting and the haggling and pricing variations for the same exact card. After some careful thought and a few down to earth moments, I said "Why not?". This is when the idea was born.
Never let someone tell you that starting up a business is easy. I could give you a step by step process of how it all turns out, from crafting the business plan to figuring out our demographic, but there are a million guides online that will do that for me. What I will say is that we have gone through every step, looked through every location that sells cards, and have found the best possible price for every single item we put up for sale. Although we call ourselves a business, first and foremost we were collectors. we were the people who stayed up until 11pm to watch the new episode of Yu-Gi-Oh!. We could sing the first three generations of the pokemon intros to you by heart. We grew up with these things in our lives that have helped shape us into the people we are today, and we want to spread that remembrance to all of you. we want the new generation to look on a perfectly graded card in there parents collection and say, "i want to know more about that". These things are the reason we started this business, and that feeling will never change.