I realize I haven't blogged since I relaunched my site this year; but I am planning some big things for the fall.
I just wanted to post that I will be attending the National in Atlantic City next week -- not sure for how many days, but definitely will be there on Friday. (Maybe Thursday and/or Saturday too).
If you want to meet up, send me a tweet. Looking forward to putting faces to names.
One of the things that was a staple of collecting sports cards as a kid was trading. I would have an album of cards that came with me to school, summer camp, when I went to hang out with friends, whenever -- and I was always ready to trade dupes for cards I needed.
When collecting hit the internet age, trading came with it -- but there were always bumps in the road. How trustworthy was this stranger? What if the item wasn't as nice as they said it was? It took way more research than just trading a Mattingly for a Hernandez with the kid who hated the Mets and lived around the corner.
As I re-entered the autograph realm, I've been posting my successes and scans over at StarTiger (the best subscription site I've seen for this hobby); and out of the blue had a trade offer in my inbox this week. I arrived home from work tonight to find a couple of autographs in my mailbox. One of them was this nearly 40-year-old issue of Hockey Illustrated signed by Guy LaFleur, and it may be one of the coolest ever additions to my collection. Not only does it have a clear, crisp signature on the front; it's chock full of stories and ads that are just fun to read in hindsight.
So, no, trading isn't dead -- it just takes a little more legwork than it used to; unless you have a Met-hating neighbor around the corner who happens to collect autographs.
If there's one word that can sum up card collecting these days, to me that word would be "expensive". With the emphasis on high-end, you can see "boxes" of 1 card in the $300 range (hello, Topps Dynasty).
So in the age of expensive collectibles, can autographs be a bargain? I think so.
It goes without saying that in-person autographs require nothing but preparedness, time, patience and a little bit of luck; while through-the-mail autographs ("TTM's") require planning, a few stamps and a lot of patience.
But what about purchasing a legitimate autograph from a reputable source? Let me present this comparison.
Who's the hottest rookie autograph in football right now? In my eyes, it's Odell Beckham Jr. But take a look at what his autographed cards are commanding...
$100+ for an autographed card. That's not really that bad, right? That's pretty much what a mid-range box of cards would cost. But yesterday, NFL.com had 11x14's of "The Catch" with a Mounted Memories COA for just $99 (they've since sold out). They also have 8x10's for $89 and mini-helmets for $149. Steiner Sports has a 16x20 of "The Catch" for $159.
Now I know that this memorabilia isn't as small or easy to store as a card; but it's something that I prefer because it can be displayed more prominently. There's also less of a "chase" -- there won't be a better or more limited version made by another manufacturer this year. There's another plus in my book. For most people I want an autograph of, it's one and done. Get it and cross it off the list.
Again, it's not for everybody; but I do like this approach right now for my own collection.
I just wanted to send a very sincere thank you to everyone who has reached out over the past few days since my mom lost her battle with breast cancer.
All of your prayers, concern and well wishes have been very much appreciated by myself and my entire family.
A very special thank you to Joey, Steve, Chris, Joel, Paul W, Larry, Paul S, Dale, Mark and Travis for their thoughtful gift and donation in my mom's honor.
It's another indication that the good people in the hobby are concerned more about "big hits" and eBay sales -- we are all part of an extended family.
So once again, thanks to everyone and apologies if I left anyone out but please know that I appreciate everything you guys and gals have done. Oh, and #FuckCancer.
In early April, I wrote a blog about refocusing my collection. I laid out what I thought were simple plans to categorize what I was doing. I succeeded in paring down my wantlist, but not in much of the other things that I thought I'd do.
So once again, I find myself with what I feel is too much stuff. So once again, I am forcing myself to try and reevaluate my collection.
There's alot here. Like a dozen 1600-ct boxes full. That may not seem like much for seasoned collectors, but you have to realize that I only got back into the hobby in January. At this point, I feel like I should change my named to Ed The Hoarder.
So it means you'll probably see way more of my New York stuff available for sale/trade soon. Maybe some more of my UFC/WWE/TNA & non-sports stuff too. My goal is to maintain a PC that's more focused on quality over quantity. Ideally, fitting everything (besides the graded cards) into one two-row shoebox.
Some of the decisions of what to keep and what to move become gut-wrenching. For example, what wins out in a battle of potential versus sentiment?
By limiting my collection to a fewer overall number of pieces, I'll be able to keep gems like this Stan Musial on-card player sample autograph that I bought a couple of months ago; while getting rid of items like my 1988 Topps Keith Hernandez lot.
So if you see something you want that's currently listed in my collection, send me a message and see if it's a keeper or not. But keep in mind, you'll have to pry my David Wright and Matt Harvey rookies from my cold, dead body!
Panini Prizm baseball is one of the hot new products on the hobby landscape. It came out last Wednesday, April 17th, following in the footsteps of Prizm basketball and football products.
As I've seen some of the cards pulled from group breaks, one of the things that stuck out in my mind was cards being labeled "Rookie" when they were clearly of last year's rookie card crop (Bryce Harper, Yu Darvish, Matt Harvey, etc).
But last night I realized that this set is being called 2012 Panini Prizm. 2012??? It came out in April 2013. 4 months into the year, 2 months after 2013 Topps, 2 weeks after the 2013 MLB season began and days after Panini released it's own 2013 Triple Play product.
If you thought calling National Treasures a 2012 product was a stretch, what do you call this? If you're like me, you call it a money grab.
Panini has found a successful mid-range priced product in Prizm and by releasing their 2012 version now, can capitalize on those 2012 rookies AND release a 2013 version this year as well. Twice as much Prizm money for Panini in fiscal 2013, right?
I believe that Beckett and even the leagues had guidelines about release years at one point; but being a non-licensed product, I guess Panini can do what they want. So it looks like it will fall upon the hobby to determine whether this truly is a 2012 product or not.
So I ask... do you consider this a 2012 product or a 2013 product?
Heroes of Sport is a re-pack product that made a splash in the hobby over the last few months. Their product contains just 4 cards (and in most boxes it's 3 cards and a raffle ticket) and cost between $400 and $500.
It's been said that the product was even created for group breakers. With spots around $125-150 each, it's been a "high roller" favorite since its introduction.
Now I have to admit that I've gotten caught up in the HoS hype and bought into a few boxes. Too many, honestly. Here's a rundown of everything I've got in HoS:
Additionally I got 5500 "Heroic Points". I sold 2000 for $40, and have 3500 unsold right now. Assuming I can get the same 2 cents per point, that's a total of $110.
That brings the total value a bit over $800, with 9 spots at varying prices costing me nearly $1200.
That's a loss of nearly $400, not including the fees to get the two vintage cards graded. And that's assuming I could sell everything at full value. It's definitely hobby money that I could've spent more wisely; like buying single cards off my wantlist or getting some memorabilia I've wanted to pick up.
Now, I've seen people pull some really nice stuff out of these boxes. Ty Cobbs, Babe Ruths, Nolan Ryan autographed game-used jersey cards, a Kirby Puckett game-used bat. I like the idea, I really do; it's just been poorly executed in my admittedly small sample size.
But 1990 Fleer belongs nowhere near this product. Don't over-inflate "value" by quoting Beckett prices for cards in better condition than the actual card someone's pulled, and don't label cards rookies when they're not. I don't think those are unreasonable demands.
Now I'm prepared to cut Heroes of Sport some slack, as this is their first product -- and there has been value delivered in their products. It's just that when a product is this high-end, it's hard to have value distributed evenly -- and that's going to lead to some customer dissatisfaction. The key for Heroes is that they have to learn from this product and make the necessary changes to ensure that dissatisfaction remains at a minimum and they have a healthy customer base for their next product.
I'm fickle. Let's start with that and get it out of the way. Not with my sports teams, mind you, but with things I buy. I try all kinds of things and then try something else. Mac, PC, iPhone, Android, Beats, Bose, tastes great, less filling -- you get the picture.
But not with your collection, you may be thinking... yes, even with my collection. As a kid, I only collected baseball cards. Then I added hockey. Shortly after that, I switched to hockey only. But then wrestling cards crept in. Hockey and wrestling, that's it. Oooh... autographs. You get the picture.
I've tried doing player collections, but I'm qucikly realizing that the completist in me will put me in the poorhouse if I try to chase every card down.
Quite simply, I'm going to collect what catches my eye from now on. Cool cards that I pull from packs, they're mine. Bargains I find online or at shows, keeping 'em. Some memorabilia and TTM autographs have their place also. Nicely graded copies of cards I had as a kid, they're in too. But I'm going to try and pare down the wantlist, so that I'm not constantly on a chase.
In fact, you'll see that my wantlist is pretty much down to several key rookies that I'm looking for and stuff I need to complete sets. One thing that I'm going to try and do however, is limit the number of sticker autographs in my collection. While flipping through some of the cards I've picked up over the past few months, some of them seem to stick out like a sore thumb.
Now, don't go around thinking that my Velvet Sky autographs are on their way out, because TNA hasn't released any on-card autos that I can replace them with! But there are definitely some players that I'll be looking to trade my sticker autos for on-cards of.
The picture you see here is a 2012 Panini Golden Age Museum Age relic featuring a piece of clothing worn by actress Jayne Mansfield. I got this card last week -- but the best part about it, was that I got it for free.
You see, I got this through an NPN, or No Purchase Necessary, drawing held by Panini. And I got the information about this drawing from npncards.com.
All I needed to do was put a 3x5 index card with my name, address, and email address on it in an envelope and send it off to Panini before their drawing date. Panini will even add the information to your redemption page if you win, but not completely ruin the surprise by telling you what exact card you're receiving.
Every major company has an NPN program. In fact, they are required to have it by law. It's in the small print that you probably don't read on the back of a pack. I usually send in one NPN per product (some companies will limit you to one anyway). With all that we invest in the hobby, gambling the cost of one postage stamp for a hit isn't too bad, right?
So if you've never tried this before, check out the site and follow @npncards on Twitter for all of the addresses and information on currently available programs. If you have, use the comments to share what you've received.