‘Deal or No Deal’ groups have become quite popular on Facebook. One of my collector friends sent me his thoughts on the format, which I’ve published here. Note, if you’re a collector and would like to see your thoughts on our website, shoot me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Deal or No Deal Facebook groups annoy me.
They wouldn’t if I didn’t belong to them, but I am a glutton for punishment.
Simply put, DOND listings are generally sucker bets.
Let me explain why.
When you go to an auction house or eBay, there are both reserve and no reserve auctions.
In a no reserve auction, the highest bidder takes the listing when time expires. If a reserve exists, the sale will not be made unless the reserve is met. However, the auction house and the seller have a pre-established reserve price, that once exceeded, the sale will be final.
DOND listings are reserve auctions, except only the seller knows the reserve, and it is not disclosed. It can also be changed at any point in time.
An auction house will never offer a listing where the seller they represent is standing off to the side whispering “It’s not enough money yet”.
Because the auction house wants to make a sale or at least know the conditions under which a sale will occur.
For those that are not aware, in a DOND listing, here is what happens:
“I have a 1989 Upper Deck Ken Griffey Jr rookie card – DOND”
John - $10
Seller – No deal.
John - $50
Seller – ND but maybe you are close.
John - $51? Is that close enough?
Seller – No
The sale amount is solely dependent upon the seller and what he wants. He is looking for a sucker that will overpay, with the fallback being a sale at or comps, or not selling at all.
I do not consider them serious sellers. If they were, they would state a price, even if it is dramatically above market comps.
I am a firm believer in “shooting your shot”. If you have a PSA 9 Michael Jordan and you ask $50,000 and someone buys it, more power to you. (Current retail prices are around $27,000)
At least the seller stated the price they wanted. The buyer can then agree to that price or make an offer.
DOND sellers are essentially fishing. There is no requirement for sale. The best case scenario is you get a sucker. The second best option is a bidding war, which is essentially a no reserve auction. Worst case scenario, you don’t get what you want (whatever it may be since only the seller knows) and you offer it again later.
If the seller really had a genuine interest in making a sale, they would list their asking price, no matter how high it may be.
Due to my disdain for these groups (and my self-loathing for being a member of them), my rule of thumb is generally to make an offering of 50% of comps. Much like the seller is likely looking for a sucker buyer, I am looking for a sucker seller. 50% of comps is generally offensive, but at least defensible.
I will never offer a penny more than an average of the last five auction sales. To me, I would rather play the odds of winning an auction listing where I know there is the certainty of a sale. Even more, why waste your time if you do not know the seriousness of the seller. Again, if the seller truly wanted to get paid, they would list their price.
Obviously, there are exceptions. There are sellers I have dealt with that use these groups. I know they are listing for attention. If you message them and ask what their number is around, they will typically be straight with you.
I have a simple solution, beyond refusing to participate. To ensure the integrity of the ridiculousness of DOND listings, the seller should be required to answer each offer or lose their posting privileges.
“I have a 1989 Upper Deck Ken Griffey Jr. – DOND”
Me - $10
Seller – No deal.
Me - $51
Seller – ND
Me - $51.14?
Seller – Stop wasting my time. You are making a joke of this.
Me – Exactly. $51.16?
That said, I have a beautiful 1956 Mickey Mantle. I’m convinced it’s a PSA 10 but just don’t want to take the time to have it graded.