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So what is it with eBay sellers and QSL cards these days?

Discussion in 'Discussions, Opinions & Editorials' started by W7UUU, Nov 13, 2012.

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  1. W7UUU

    W7UUU Platinum Subscriber Life Member Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    I just don't get it.... there's a FLOOD of QSL cards from the distant past on eBay of late.

    Lots of them are listed at $9.99 EACH, plus postage!! Others are in groups for $20-$30
    for a bunch. One listing currently has something like 2000 cards for $500!!! Wow...

    What am I missing? Why in the HELL would anyone want to buy 2000 old QSL cards
    from some SK estate?

    In my entire LIFE I have only ever bought a "used" QSL card - from a ham who lived a
    few doors down from me, but 50 years earlier. Bought it ONLY because I didn't have
    a camera or phone in the antique store to take down the call and address - and
    wanted to have the call/address. We're now local FM repeater friends as a result (same age).

    But outside of THAT, what do you suppose these sellers think folks would DO with old QSL's
    that have no purpose whatsoever... two THOUSAND of them no less!!!


  2. KJ4VTH

    KJ4VTH Subscriber QRZ Page

    You laugh now but when the Zombie Apocalypse hits you'll wish you had those cards! :p
  3. WA6MHZ

    WA6MHZ Subscriber QRZ Page

    I'd like to score an original W1AW card sent by Hiram himself! That would go for good money!
  4. KC0W

    KC0W Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I had boxes, upon boxes, upon boxes of received QSL cards here that really meant nothing to me. So last summer I kept exactly 400 unique cards for posterity sake & brought the rest of the kit 'n caboodle to the local landfill here in the back of a pickup truck.

    Pitched out somewhere between 50,000 - 55,000 QSL cards into the landfill.

    If you ever sent me your card for one of my various DXpeditions chances are it's in a landfill in western ND..................Sorry. :)

    Tom KCØW
  5. W7UUU

    W7UUU Platinum Subscriber Life Member Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Just curious why you didn't hit the paper recycle bin instead.... :confused:


  6. W3WN

    W3WN Ham Member QRZ Page

    I've managed over the last few years to glom onto a few QSL cards sent by the original W3WN. In the course of doing so, I've also come across cards from the original holders of calls now held by friends of mine (for example, the original W3DMB) and been very happy to pass them on.

    I've also been keeping my eyes open for cards from my college club station & it's predecessors.

    A little bit of nostalgia and history doesn't hurt.

    That said... there are people who think there's big money to be made on eBay in used postal cards, of which radio cards (CB, SWL & Amateur) are a large part. Outside of, shall we say, specialty items like those mentioned... they're probably out of luck, unless they find another dealer to sucker into buying them out.
  7. AB8MA

    AB8MA Ham Member QRZ Page

    Or a nearby elementary school.
  8. KC0W

    KC0W Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    "Paper recycle bin"? :confused:

    Ummmmmm. We don't have ANY kind of recycling bins where I live.

    No use saving paper, plastic, aluminum cans and whatever else and wheeling it all down to the curb in those fancy containers like they do in "advanced" cities.

    Minuscule unemployment.............................Check.
    Nations 2nd leading oil producing state.........Check.
    Birth state of Lawrence Welk.........................Check
    Recycling program (where I live)...................Nope.

    Tom KCØW
  9. KY5U

    KY5U Subscriber QRZ Page

    Found a QSL from an old Elmer named Elmer. It was worth it to hold it in my hand.
  10. W4KTL

    W4KTL Ham Member QRZ Page

    Stamps,coins,matchbooks,antiques, you name it....there are people that have plenty of different collecting hobbies. Don't see any harm in it and if it keeps a bit of ham history alive I can see a whole lot of good in it. Different strokes for different folks.
  11. KA3JLW

    KA3JLW Ham Member QRZ Page

    I think its pretty obvious that the buyers of these cards fall into 3 categories:

    1. People pissed at no-code licensing. "Well, i want QSLs but not from any no-code ham-wannabes. So the only way to guarantee such QSLs are LEGIT are to buy old ones. Who cares if they aren't addressed to me, these were real QSOs by real, code-performin' hammin' hams."

    2. Those who wish the FCC told congress that HOA rules should be overridden. "Well, I can't play on the air anyway, but I'd love to have a bunch of QSOs like as if I had a monster antenna farm. So, I just cut out the middle man and all that wasted aluminum and airtime. I just buy me some QSLs like as if I was Mr. Active on the air."

    3. Contest haters. "Since net control had his colonoscopy, he hasn't been able to send me a QSL for each of our 4x per day meetings to pass emergency pretend traffic. Those contestors really take it to the man when it comes to QSLs, so I'll take it to the contesters and get my own QSLs - like a boss - I win!"

    IB4TIL (in before the inevitible lock)
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2012
  12. W0IS

    W0IS Ham Member QRZ Page

    I don't know if they still do this, but there used to be pilots who went around taking pictures of farms. They made a nice enlargement and put it in a nice frame. Then, they knocked on the farmer's door and offered to sell it. The farmer generally said no when the first price was quoted. The pilot then knocked a few dollars off his original offer and tried again. I suspect that, more often than not, the farmer wound up buying the picture. If the farmer didn't buy it, then the pilot would put it in the trash, since nobody else in the world would want to buy a picture of that farmer's farm.

    It's the same with QSL cards. There are a handful of QSL's that I'd probably be interested in buying for more than anyone else. It's not a large amount of money, but it's considerably more than the card's intrinsic worth. These days, the seller doesn't need to knock on my door. He can list it somewhere on the internet for $9.95. As long as he describes it correctly, eventually I'll find it with a Google search, and I'll probably pay the $9.95.

    I'm not sure if that's their exact business model, but that would be a logical way to do it.

    As for the 2000 cards for $500, I doubt if they'll sell for that amount. I don't know what they're worth, and the seller probably doesn't know what they're worth. So if they don't sell, he'll probably list them for $400. I doubt if they would sell for that price. On the other hand, at some point, assuming that they're from the early days of radio, I would be willing to buy them. It's not that I think they have any intrinsic value. But I would just love to sit down and go through 2000 old QSL cards. It's not worth $500 to me, but at some point, I would be willing to pay for the privilege. I think I'd definitely pay $50. I might even pay $100.

    So they're worth something, although as I think the seller will discover, they're not worth the current asking price.
  13. KA3JLW

    KA3JLW Ham Member QRZ Page

    I think this is it.

    People like to own a tiny bit of history. Old postcards are fun but any hoards are now owned by collectors/dealers. So they can be kind of expensive (think $2 each). Radio cards lack the local landmark pictures usually but still represent a fun few hours of "unpicked" fun - so maybe there's a Barry Goldwater card, or something else like that - even if not, it might be interesting to read the little stories and peek into events/lives from 50 years ago. While our interest would be radio-related, for others it is simply a cheap box full of nostalgia.
  14. W3WN

    W3WN Ham Member QRZ Page

    Such cynicism. Pity.

    Well, FWIW, if there is anyone out there with a card from the original W3WN that they don't want anymore, I'd be interested in talking to them (I have a couple of cards from the 1930's, but that's all). I'm also looking for cards from my school club (pre-K3CR era... W3YA, W8YA, W8XE). And if anyone has a card from the old K3AIR (Olmstead AFB Military Rec station, Middletown PA), I will gladly put it in the hands of the current K3AIR.
  15. AD7N

    AD7N Ham Member QRZ Page

    I recently spent the $10+shipping for an old DX QSL card that was sent (or maybe never sent?) to my very first Elmer. He has since moved from his original QTH, and I haven't been able to track him down... but randomly searching his call one day I found a qsl card that was sent to him from an Italian station.

    Sure it was the cost of a dinner out... but I have a memento of my first Elmer. Sadly not a QSL card of his own (should have ask for it, but that opportunity has come/gone) but a memento nonetheless.

    As for a stack of thousands of old cards (!!!), I'd suggest getting your own and using them for wallpaper. At least they're your contacts in that case. But to each their own.
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2012
  16. W8ZNX

    W8ZNX Subscriber QRZ Page

    not at all

    have bought old QSL cards
    do not fall in to any of the above categories
    am 20 WPM extra been op for over 45 years

    set up a early 30's ham station display
    using a Dec 1929 QST article
    George Grammer TNT self control 211
    early 30's 19 twinplex style regen receiver

    needed late 20's early 30's
    pre prefix and intermediary style QSL cards
    got lucky and found some nice pre 1934 cards

    was lucky to find some nu prefix cards

    there is something magic about old QSL cards
    they are little bits of historic information

    dare say 90% of todays ops would quit
    ham radio if they had to use 1920/1930s hb lashup

    dit dit


    HOA never stopped a real hams from getting on the air
    know a op that hangs out on 80 and 40 using a inside antenna
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2012
  17. KA3JLW

    KA3JLW Ham Member QRZ Page

    Humor is sometimes disguised as such.
  18. WA6MHZ

    WA6MHZ Subscriber QRZ Page

    VERY VERY Few people in the world have an official WA6MHZ QSL Card. There are a good number of W6D cards out there; mostly to QRZeders. But I don't have any MHZ QSLs even printed, so when I get a QSL requiest, I hafta make one up on the laser printer. So it isn't very pretty or even a card at all (just a piece of paper!) Back in the 80s, I had a few cards, but I am no longer at that Addy so they are long defunct.

    Wonder how much an OFFICIAL incredibly RARE WA6MHZ QSL will go for? Think I sent Leif and Kati one. They are MOST CERTAINLY rarer than W1AW original cards! Hiram probably sent out hundreds of them!
  19. KC2SIZ

    KC2SIZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Hmmm. I wish I could go on ebay right now and buy a bunch of them, but all of my money is tied up in Chia pets and clappers.
  20. K9STH

    K9STH Ham Member QRZ Page

    Old Hiram sent out more 1AW cards than W1AW cards!

    Glen, K9STH
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