Thursday, October 1, 2009

Is Beckett Complicit for the State of the Card Industry?

As featured in a segment on Fox News and commented on by Mario, (which led to some passionate responses) we all know that The Hobby has seen better days. It doesn't change the fact that we LOVE it and will continue to support it despite all of its pitfalls.

You guys know how I feel about Beckett (Sucks) but in watching the Fox News report and seeing this picture, it really made me stop and think. When my co-workers over the years have learned that I collect, and write about The Hobby, 7 times out of 10, they'll say one of two things;
1) I used to collect too before things got so crazy with all the different brands.
2) I used to collect before I realized my cards aren't worth what I thought they were.
Response #2 specifically, bodes the question, "How did you determine the perceived value of your cards and what do you mean they aren't worth what you thought they were?"
Invariably, this conversation then turns into a dialogue about REAL Value vs Book Value. Many times I actually feel really bad for these people because you can tell at one time they really enjoyed The Hobby. Unfortunately for YEARS, Beckett has lied to the hardcore and casual collector about what their cards are really worth and those inaccuracies are still felt today with book value traders, Craigslist Idiots and the "I used to collect"-ors.
We have all been that kid in the picture, at one time or another, wondering what our precious cardboard keepsakes are "worth". How disappointed will HE be one day when he learns the truth about the REAL value of that card he is holding?
Think he'll stay with The Hobby when he finds out?


James said...

In my opinion, I think card sales are down because there are so many more alternatives now. I don't think they are down because of outside influences like Beckett or SCD.

Like everything in our society (and during a recession) there is less attention and money for any particular product or hobby. There aren't enough hours in the day or enough dollars in the wallet.

Just my 2 cents.

Rob- AKA "VOTC" said...

Bigger picture. As this has been happening for awhile. A steady decline since 1993. I am in NO way saying they are solely to blame but, I honestly have had that conversation about two dozen times and the former collector disappointment is linked to perceptions on value.

James said...

A lot of former collectors tell me they stopped when the market was flooded with different products. It made it harder for them to get the cards of their favorite player and team.

I know, more cards made it difficult doesn't add up, but I think the variety brought on the paralysis and made them stop.

gritz76 said...

I think that picture might actually be one of us. He's looking up an '86 Topps in an issue of Beckett that actually showed what cards from the 80's looked like.

Anonymous said...

A huge part of the problem (not taking Beckett's side) is that card companies under-reported print runs back in the heyday of collecting.

At the time, there was just no way to confirm or deny the actual number of, say, a 1989 UD Griffey.

The rise of the internet exposed the fact that these "great/valuable" cards were not nearly as rare as the card companies made them out to be.

They made their own beds with their greed and dishonesty. They doomed themselves and the entire hobby by alienating two generations of collectors -- the people who now have kids who WOULD be collecting.

SIXTYfeetSIXinches said...

reading that made me sad about the days when I was innocent enough to believe that my cards where really going to be 'worth something someday.' they are still worth something, to me, just not anyone who would give me money for them...

Carl Crawford Cards said...

Let's be honest though: back in the day there was no way, no how that Beckett was able to base their monthly price guide on actual, nation-wide sales. For starters, the technology to acquire all that info on a monthly basis didn't even exist, must less the technology to process and make sense of all of it. In retrospect, they claimed to be tracking WAY too many sales in WAY too timely as fashion. I mean, were card shops tracking all of their sales and sending them to Becket every month? If so, why has no one ever heard this? Moreover, from month to month during the '80s and '90s, are we to believe the market was fluid enough that ALL of those cards were constantly selling? Again, if you track ebay, there are MONTHS where certain vintage cards with book value BINs don't sell---which means the cards aren't worth that.

So yes---Beckett's hands are all over this, as they disseminated info under false pretenses for about two decades.

stusigpi said...

I blame the too many products. Gellman disagrees with this and thinks that anyone that believes this is an idiot. Well then call me an idiot because its why I stopped collecting for so long and its why a lot of my friends stopped collecting. Thus it must be true to a degree.

Anonymous said...

I used to really struggle with the idea that the cards I own were being sold on the Internet for far less than Beckett said they were worth. Every now and then it still bothers me a bit, but I am learning to put my own value on the cards in my collection and my wantlists.

Shaun said...

I imagine you'd be placing blame on SCD as well if they weren't a sponsor of yours.

Rob- AKA "VOTC" said...

@Shaun- I believe you are mistaken sir. SCD is not, has not, and will not be a sponsor. And yes they are complicit in my opinion as well.

Shaun said...

You have an ad on your blog by Krause Publications. This company is involved in the production of Tuff Stuff's Sports Collector's Monthly and SCD. This can lead someone to assume that you have some bias.

Rob- AKA "VOTC" said...

@Shaun Understood. That is why I made a post about before putting it there and why it is specifically for their books. Just so you know, it has received no clicks.

I also use the term book value, which means multiple books but since Beckett arrogantly has deemed themselves to be "the #1 authority" and been around the longest thus the choice of companies. To me its potato patato. They are interchangeable with Beckett having a much more arrogant and belligerent attitude about it.

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