Of the 100 or so posts I have done on this site, most of my topics in the tip category have been on trading. I believe that it is one of the most nuanced parts of the game, and many inexperienced users have really no idea how to do it. I have posted most of this before, but I feel its of service to go through some of this again.
Let me start off by saying, inserts rule the trading game, and the newer/rarer the insert the more volatile their value. If the insert has a signature anywhere on the card, it automatically becomes the highest valued card in the game. No one, and I mean no one should go into a low numbered signature trade without something awesome involved. That means, no base cards, no inserts numbered over 500, and definitely no Men of Action. Shooting a bad offer on a sig is a one way ticket to the ignore list.
If you have a collection score that is less than 60, I would do yourself a huge favor and send a same card 1:1 trade with a message before offering, as its likely you wont have the ammo to trade. They will be much more responsive to that approach, trust me.
Moving onto from the most valuable inserts in the game to the least valuable, Men of Action and On Deck are meant to help the new Bunters with having nice cards to play, not really to trade. If you are offering Men of Action or On Deck in any sort of meaningful trade to someone with a collection score over 55, you are asking for trouble. Not only will these individuals likely not want to give up anything of value for those cards, they will have already gotten a million trades that day with them involved. They are not to be used as throw ins, and they are only valuable to people who have very few cards to play – the point of the set. I have had to lock my Men of Action cards so no one can offer them to me. That is annoying.
Going back to the inserts – weekly inserts will be exponentially more valuable as long as the set collection reward is in place. Once that award expires, there will be a drop off in value. So, if you are in the market for a Tier One card while the Tier One award is available, you will have to give up more to obtain it. Once the award is expired, dont expect to get that same amount in return, because less people will have demand for those cards. Just the way it works.
In terms of exchange rates on inserts, they really dont exist. I can tell you that the only truly solidified value exchange is on sigs, as lower circulation sigs will always be more valuable than higher circulation. There are really three categories you will have to understand – 250 and under, 500 and under, and 700 and above. Each category has its own ranking system, but its close to impossible to trade a 500 level for a 250 level without adding a ton more stuff. Same thing goes the other way, as I WOULD NOT offer a 700 level sig for a 500 level sig without some major added value in other inserts. Sigs like Ventura and Swisher are basically higher end inserts, and that’s stretching it. The real sigs start at 500 and below, and I apologize if that bursts your bubble.
Dual sigs started off as quite valuable alternatives to the single sigs, but have dropped in value with the release of Swisher Dual and Fielder dual. Because the release of those cards showed that it was more of a series set instead of a special release, its almost like collectors have moved on. Gywnn and Pujols/Gonzales Duals are still valuable, but you are going to have trouble trading them for a single sig 500 and below.
Lastly, inserts delivered in high value packs can be a double edged sword. The more available a card is to the general public is part of appeal, especially if it is impossible to get. If the pack costs 10k, and the card was easy in that pack, but had low circulation because no one bought, that’s going to be a wild card. Usually, a higher pack price will prevent the normal users from getting that card, and impact the the need to acquire it for the user base.
Bottom line, I wish I could write out the rules of the road, but it changes almost daily. With new releases constantly flooding the market, its hard to keep a pulse on what is more valuable than something else. The most basic rule is that as long as you are happy with a trade, its a good trade. Live by that, and the rest will take care of itself.