Card trading: risks and precautions

You can trade your cards in two different ways: face to face, or by postal mail. The first type of trading is performed at tournaments, at schools, or at the local comic shop, and you arrange the trades by checking the other person’s cards directly, holding them in your hands. Otherwise, cards are traded by mail when the parties can not meet because they live far apart from each other.
Both ways of trading have their own risks and you can be ripped in both situations if you don’t take the necessary precautions. Trading face to face is normally less dangerous, because you are seeing the material you are getting, and you receive it at the same time you give yours. Nevertheless, you can still be cheated in two ways. You may get counterfeit cards, or you may get cards whose value is far lower than the value of those you give.

Counterfeit cards are normally easy to tell apart for a person with experience with the real ones, but many young traders do not know enough about the cards they are trading, so they can be fooled into believing they’re some special kind of legitimate cards. And there are also very good counterfeits out there that are really difficult to distinguish from real ones even for an experienced player.

Cards from each collectible card game have different details you should check to validate their authenticity. For Yu-Gi-Oh! cards, for example, which is one of the games that is suffering most from these deceiving practices, one of the main tell-tales is a small hologram at the bottom right corner, which should show the Anubis eye, or the word YuGiOh depending on how the light shines on it. But also the coloring scheme of both sides of the card and even the general layout may be different in fake cards. You should always compare the cards you are getting with the ones you have and make sure the (consistency) of the cardboard and the quality of the printing are similar, as counterfeit cards are normally made with cheaper materials, including paper, ink, glue, etc.

Nevertheless, most trades involve only authentic  cards. But there is another thing you have to be aware of when trading your cards. In every trade, the value of the exchanged cards should be equivalent. But determining this is not an exact science. The value of cards depend on parameters like its rarity, and its condition. Rarity is determined by the frequency of printing, and the condition of conservation is important mainly for collectors. But the value is also relative and sometimes subjective. The same card may have different value for different people. For example, a collector may value a card much more than a player when it is difficult to find but it is not all that useful in the game. Also, the value of a card changes with time, as new game strategies are explored or new cards are published.