Delivery Time: Are "Agreed Upon" Trades Better or are "Surprise Envelope" Trades Better?

Thanks to my recent group break, I got wayyyyy behind on posting some of the trade packages that have come in to mi casa lately.  Although to be fair, today's envelope actually showed up in September (I think) but I'm only now getting around to posting about it. 

I will say now that the group break is totally done and all cards have been mailed out, I do plan on working hard on getting all caught up on my mail day posts.  I know that I owe a few people cards - and I have a couple of trades that I started working out with a few other people that ended up going sort of dormant for awhile.  I aim to complete all those trades in the near future and post about all the good stuff that I've received in the mail.  

Speaking of good stuff in the mail, today's envelope was (I believe) a surprise envelope courtesy of Jeff over at 2x3 Heroes.  In the past few years, Jeff and I have exchanged a number of "surprise" mailings to each other with no real sense of immediate returns.  However, I believe it was Gavin (Baseball Card Breakdown) who recently wrote a post about delinquent traders which got me thinking about trading in general.

The question I ended up with is:  Are agreed upon trades better or are surprise mailings better?  
These make up the last four cards that I needed for my 2018 Topps Series 1 set!

For me, I can honestly say that I like both equally.  Agreed upon trades are great because I can send stuff to someone that I know they want.  In return, I know that I'm going to end up with stuff that I actually want as well.  On the other hand, surprise mailings are nice because there isn't that sense of "immediate return necessary" that an agreed upon trade most definitely has.  

The one thing that I will say is that I think there is a right way and a wrong way to do the "surprise mailings."  If someone does send you a surprise mailing, I think you ought to (eventually) send that person something in return.  You should probably also acknowledge the receipt of the surprise package in a timely fashion so that the other person doesn't have to wonder if you actually received the items (I fully admit that I'm terrible at the acknowledgement part until I write a blog post about the package)!

At the very least, I do eventually get around to showcasing all the cards (and other items) that are mailed to me.  Usually I do so within a few weeks, but with the baby (and then the group break), I'm admittedly way behind at the moment.  That said, I am doing everything I can to get caught back up before the holiday rush - so if you've sent me something in the past couple of months expect to see my thoughts on the package here on the blog soon!

Thanks again to Jeff for the great cards (shown above).  I'm particularly pumped to land the A&G mini, those things are super annoying to track down, especially once the set is no longer considered "current."  

Finally, if anyone would like to trade with me - check out my want list and make an offer (of, send a surprise envelope if that's more your style)!


  1. Haven't don't an "agreed upon" trade in years... and probably won't anytime soon. I'm more of a blind trade kind of guy... but I'm not even sure I really do those anymore either. I just send out care packages every now and then w/o expecting anything in return... and I send out care packages to people who send me stuff (just in case they are expecting something in return).

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  3. I agree that with surprise packages (and really, anything you send) one should try to let the sender know promptly that it was received. (In my own case, I'm good about that when I'm in the States, but when I'm in Singapore, I don't see the package until I'm home!)

    However, with a small, unsolicited mailing, I don't think the other party should necessarily feel an obligation to reciprocate. I just sent a PWE to another blogger with a couple cards for a project--you'll see a post about them at some point--and I'd hate for the recipient to feel he has to send me something back. It's a gift, not an imposed trade.

  4. Similar to Fuji, I haven't done an agreed upon trade in years either. I'm not opposed to it though. Sometimes it's nice to post a card and then someone offers something back.

  5. I owed you. Now to get to the other 200 people I owe.

  6. Have done a few agreed-upon trades and they're definitely not as much fun as just sending stuff out and getting surprises in the mail. I can see why they're useful when you get into the bigger-ticket items though.

    I always try and tweet a thanks when I receive an item (it's always nice to know something arrived safely) as well as do a comprehensive write-up of the package on the blog. Both as a way of acknowledging the trade as well as a way of leaving a letter of reference of sorts.

    Reciprocation-wise. I try to send *something* back as thanks for surprise mailings even if it's not an equal exchange. But I generally feel no time pressure there and have quite a few stacks building right now.

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  8. I'm in the same school as Fuji. Mostly surprise packages, usually team lots for team lots. As for agreed-upon trades I don't do them much anymore and I'm sure of at least one trade I am super delinquent on, maybe more.

  9. Agreed upon trades are great, especially if they finish off a set, but they do certainly have a "business" tone to them. I enjoy surprise packages just as much or more probably, especially if the package is from one of my regular trade partners that include Stephen Piscotty cards for my son. There's something to be said for getting a mailer you didn't know was coming, seeing the return address, and thinking man this will be something cool.


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