Friday, December 31, 2010

Fixing the Football Card Market- UPDATED

It should be obvious by now that reducing the number of NFL licensees wasn't the answer. Over saturation in the current football trading card market has caused ever decreasing value for cards on the secondary market.

While the argument can be made that the total number of products should be further reduced, I don't believe that is a long-term or viable fix. I'd much rather see the same number of products divided amongst 3 licensees. Bringing back Upper Deck in the football fold would; 1) increase competition, 2) return innovation and design to the forefront of the niche and 3) give collectors more choices.

However, this in and of itself isn't the solution. What is the solution, would be to change the rules that designate a player's rookie status and consequently his eligibility for a rookie card. The simple answer for me would be to designate a rookie as any player who makes the 53 man roster out of training camp. In addition, each licensee would be allowed up to 3 exemptions for isolated incidents like that which occurred with Brock Lesnar a few years ago with the Minnesota Vikings.

I imagine I am not alone as a collector who experiences the utter let down of a box break when confronted with the cold hard reality of one of my hits being someone who isn't even on the practice squad but was eligible for a card because they were drafted. That practice is total garbage and MUST stop. I understand the business argument behind it with the product configuration process being dependant on inserting 'x' number of scrubs to 'x' number of high profile RC's.

Would you be willing to spend a little more money for higher odds of pulling a legit RC and giving up one bogus hit? I know I would be, gladly too.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Now THIS Is a Card Worth Pulling and Hope for The Hobby

In all honesty, with little competition and diversity in the baseball collectibles market, I personally, have had very little to get excited about. In fact, after the initial chase for the Bowman Strasburg cards, I can tell you that I purchased exactly 1 rack pack of Topps Chrome and that was for the sole purpose of getting a better look at the utterly horrible print job Topps' new printing company did with those. In fact I'm pretty sure if you left them out long enough, they would curl up into a full cylinder.
My main point is that I spent squat on baseball card packs this year because I get a much better bang for my back just buying the singles I want on the secondary market. If I want to gamble on "hits", I'd have better odds with Lottery scratch offs and be able to buy exactly the cards I want.

The prices on eBay for base singles, numbered parallels, inserts, autos and game used relics is in the toilet. The plethora of material has driven values to the lowest I have ever seen them. However, with the recent announcement by Topps that they have signed both Sandy Koufax and Hank Aaron to autograph deals, there is reason for optimism for 2011.

Neither of these Hall of Fame players, particularly, Koufax, signs cards with much regularity. In addition, it appears that the cards are hard signed, on-card. Imagine pulling this beauty from a pack of 2011 Heritage.
I vehemently believe that a return to sets focused entirely on retired players, with no more that 3 produced per year, would bring a much need vigor and renewed vitality to what has become a stale market place.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Stalegum's Robot Theatre Is Utter Genius

Chris' dry humor and wit never ceases to make me laugh. I'm just jealous I didn't do this first. Epic blogsphere stuff. See it for yourself here.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

By Far the Best Bob Feller Auto . . .

. . . and of course it's made by Upper Deck. 1999 Century Legends is one of my favorite products of all time and this on card auto is my favorite Feller. A true patriot having served his country in war time, a legendary Hall of Famer, and an autograph circuit staple, baseball lost one of its greats yesterday

There was a running joke in auction circles as a result of his penmanship proclivity and longevity. "Hey I have this baseball and it's NOT signed by Bob Feller, how much is it worth?"

A tip of the cap to you Mr. Feller RIP

Monday, December 13, 2010

2010 Topps Triple Threads . . . Is What It Is

Never before in all my years of covering the sports collectibles market, have I come across a product so polarizing as Topps Triple Threads. The product seemingly has an equal amount of detractors and advocates with little room in the middle for neutrality. In all honesty, this is the first box of the product I have ever opened and all my preconceived notions have been based solely on seeing the product’s content second hand through sell sheets, reviews, eBay listings, and box breaks.

Read the rest.

Video Highlights: 2010 Panini Limited Football

Friday, December 10, 2010

Baseball Winter Meetings: When Worlds Collide

In all honesty I just haven’t had much to blog about lately. My parents taught me that if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. Obviously, as reflected in the very title and original inspiration for this blog, I have pretty much ignored that but I do believe that beating a dead horse and repeating the same tired mantra of the perils and pitfalls that ail The Hobby can only go so far.

I think it is important to voice collector concerns and opinions but you get my point. The Hobby, as I see it right now, is stale and boring, plain and simple. That said, I had the opportunity to recently attend the Baseball Winter Meetings, as part of my job. Obviously I was in my element as any of you follow me on Twitter ( ) know. The number of baseball personality sightings was great as was seeing the LIVE broadcasts of the Hot Stove League on the MLB Network.

Hob-knobbing over drinks with MLB and MiLB marketing people, major and minor league team GM’s and personnel, eating at great restaurants, yeah I could get used to this. I couldn’t be too stalker-like so some of the photos I took are less than stellar but I thought you might like them anyway.

A list of the people I met and saw, yeah I’m name dropping;

Jerry Reinsdorf (Sox/Bulls owner)
Tommy Lasorda
Jerry Robinson (1979 NFL 1st Rnd Pick by the Eagles)
Johnny Damon
Steve Phillips
Harold Reynolds
Kevin Millar
Andre Dawson
Peter Gammons
Frank Viola
Jim Leyland
Bruch Bochy (who was sauced, BIG time)
Frank Robinson
Buck Showalter
Kenny Williams

And no, I didn’t get a single autograph. To do so in this environment would be bush league. Taking pictures like the paparazzi was bad enough but completely more acceptable .

Some interesting “Worlds Collide” collectibles and hobby moments did occur however. I had the opportunity to talk with the editor of Baseball Youth magazine that includes Topps Baseball Cards in every pack (picture in gallery below). Also, the ring company Jostens, did every Chicago sports teams championship from my lifetime (1985 Bears, 1991-1993 & 1996-1998 Bulls, 2005 White Sox( and I got to try on the White Sox Ring (picture in gallery below)

I also met a company who owns 4,000 original negatives of never before seen images of some of baseball’s greats that we will actually be having on the radio show in a few weeks. (More on Shoebox Collection to come.) No baseball show would be complete without trading cards and I did get my hand on team sets, which I'll show off later, of the Bristol Sox and Daytona Cubs.

As for the future of Voice of the Collector? Who knows, you’ll still see the random thoughts and opinionated commentary on occasion. I continue to generate a TON of content for Card Corner Club and you can always hear me every Friday on our weekly radio show.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Your Numbered, 1-of-5, Triple Patch, Auto Isn't . . . .

really just one of five. You know that right? See, chances are your card has a parallel version within the product and had a similarly numbered card last year as well. In addition, there was one the year before, and the year before that as well. That same triple patch auto numbered one of five bounty you so covet, adore, and/or want probably has another card just like it in another brand of the same year as well.

The proliferation of autograph cards has come to the point where it parallels the over production of the junk wax era of the late 80's, the game used jersey saturation of the late 90's and early 2000's. The sheer number of autographs being signed by legendary Hall of Famers across all sports is so staggering that every newly released sports trading card product devalues the price of those autographs.

With the rate of frequency that players like Joe Montana, Wayne Gretzky, Dan Marino, Gordie Howe and players of their equal, sign autographs, and assuming they all live another 20 years minimum (excluding Gordie Howe but it honestly wouldn't surprise me either) the laws of supply and demand will with have snowballed, rendering their autographs virtually worthless in stature to their athletic accomplishments.

We saw something similar recently happen with Shoeless Joe Jackson game used cards. Once the only bat card in existence of the shamed former White Sox player, the 2001 SP Legendary Cuts card commanded upwards of $500-$600. Fast forward seven years later when Donruss released Sports Legends in 2008 with their very own Shoeless Joe game used card and prices for both cards have yet to return to those values.

In both circumstances, autographs or rare game used cards, their are obviously other forces at play including a lengthy and deep recession. I understand that card companies are in business to make a profit and have no moral obligation or fiduciary responsibility to conduct business in a manner that preserves secondary market value. Unfortunately at the same time, we as collectors have reached a point in The Hobby where, collectively, we have little interest in the cards themselves other than the hits. It's a problem the card companies created and we perpetuated and the only winners are the manufacturers. For the most part, what we collect today will never hold its market value, let alone appreciate.

That goes for autographs of iconic and revered Hall of Famers who continue to sign sticker, after sticker, after sticker flooding an already saturated market. Don't believe me? Take a good, hard, objective look at the trends you see on completed auctions on eBay. Hundreds and hundreds of cards undervalued.

A sad state of The Hobby that will only get worse.

Collect what you like and not what you think will be valuable, because in the end, 90% of what's in your treasured "collection" isn't going to be worth squat.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Bored To Tears With The Hobby

Man do I miss Upper Deck and Fleer. I think it is fair enough to say at this point that the exclusive licensing "experiment" is an utter fail. Giving Topps the keys to the baseball trading card market with no competition what so ever has set The Hobby back 30 years with an ever increasing amount of mediocrity.

While Upper Deck clearly mailed it in with the last year's worth of product releases in baseball, they were still superior in quality design, checklist depth, and value then anything Topps has produced year to date. As for Fleer, they might have gimmicked themselves out of business, but I really appreciated their willingness to take risks and produce cards out of the norm like Double Header and Hardball.

While I in no way support the shady management of the Upper Deck Company that led to their recent fall from grace, I think the evidence is clear that The Hobby is a better place with them than without.

Donruss may have changed their name but it is clearly obvious they still have trailer loads of foilboard to get rid of. I swear, Anne Powell back in the day must have bought enough of this stuff to cover every square inch of the earth several times over. It seems like just yesterday the blogsphere was abuzz with their pending demise. Look at them now. Who would have thought that in such a short time that UD and Donruss' position in the market would be so drastically flip flopped.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Product Review: 2010-11 Score Hockey

When it comes to entry-level products geared to young collectors or those on a budget, the hockey card market has been underserved over the last several years. Panini’s entry into hockey has afforded them the opportunity to fill that void. No brand is more ideally suited for this than Score.

A Personal Request Regarding Score Hockey

I need the help of my readers and other bloggers to complete a master Chicago Blackhawks team set from this year's Score Hockey.

The following are the cards I need and any help would be great. Thanks in advance.

6 Cristobal Huet
16 Jonathan Toews
30 Marian Hossa

31 Patrick Kane
32 Jonathan Toews
54 Dustin Byfuglien
59 Ben Eager
126 Marian Hossa

127 Patrick Sharp
128 Patrick Kane
129 Jonathan Toews
132 Viktor Stalberg
133 Jack Skille
134 Brent Seabrook
135 Duncan Keith
136 Niklas Hjalmarsson
137 Jordan Hendry
138 Brian Campbell
139 Tomas Kopecky
140 Marty Turco
410 Antti Niemi

7 Jonathan Toews

21 Antti Niemi

Playoff Heroes
9 Antti Niemi
17 Marian Hossa
19 Dustin Byfuglien

24 Patrick Kane
25 Jonathan Toews

Sudden Death
2 Jonathan Toews

Snow Globe
4 Patrick Kane

10 Antti Niemi

Saturday, November 6, 2010

TWOT- This Week On Twitter 10/31 - 11/5

This week's highlights include:

Hotties: Cheerleaders, The Playboy Mansion Halloween Party, SI Hot Clicks and more.

The Hobby: An ever flowing stream of content from Panini, Honus Wagner and Divine intervention, auction news a belated wrapper redemption program and more.

Video Games: Star Wars augmented reality, COD Black Ops, first Kinect reviews, violent video game law goes to Supreme Court, EA cancels NBA Elite and more

Sports: MLB Free Agency, 20 most dramatic athletes, and more

Check it out.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Product Review: Limited Basketball and Crown Royale Football

When a collector spends $80-$85 on a box of trading cards, they are expecting some degree of value in return. Such was not the case with either of my boxes. Does it mean that they are bad products? Not necessarily. What it does mean is that the product is hit and miss and while high-end box-busters and collectors may be used to that level of risk, your traditional, mid-range collector will have to think twice before shelling out their hard earned cash for either of these products expecting a decent return.

Read the rest

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Greatest Cut Signature Card Ever . . . If It's Real

Details have been revealed regarding the upcoming release of 2010 Sports Icons Cut Signature Edition by Leaf. Talking with Brian Gray at this year's National, he shared with me that he had just acquired one of the only known signatures of the legendary Shoeless Joe Jackson.

At the time I specifically questioned him on the fact that Shoeless Joe never learned to read or write with most examples having been signed by his wife. He said the signature was authenticated by PSA. Most signatures submitted to PSA/DNA are compared to exemplars on file in their library or other known sources.

My question is, if this is truly a one of a kind signature, how would you be able to authenticate it having nothing to compare it to?

I hope it is legit. As a Shoeless Joe collector, I would love nothing more to believe that this card is legit and to have made it the focal point of an entire set is very cool. In addition to the cut signature card, 15 different Joe Jackson insert cards have been created falling at a rate of 1 per box. A special promotion has been created to reward the lucky collector with the cut signature card at the 2011 NSCC. The following is an excerpt from the sell sheet.

"We are pleased to announce our FOUR LEAF CLOVER promotion which will award the greatest prize ever pack inserted into a trading card product: A 2010 LEAF SHOELESS JOE JACKSON CUT SIGNATURE CARD (ESTIMATED VALUE AT $70,000-100,000!)There will be FOUR of these FOUR LEAF CLOVER cards created. Three will be inserted in the packs and the fourth will go to the collector who presents for our review the MOST COMPLETE set of 2010 Leaf Sports Icons Update. One of these 4 lucky collectors will walk away from the 2011 National Sports Collectors Convention with this rare JOE JACKSON CUT SIGNATURE CARD! The other three lucky collectors will each win a FREE SEALED CASE OF OUR 2011 LEAF SPORTS ICONS CUT SIGNATURE product"

See here for more details on the product shipping December 7th.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

TWOT- This Week On Twitter 10/22 - 10/30

This week's highlights include:

Sports- World Series Starts, NBA Season Opens

The Hobby- Stalegum writes a term paper, Panini rolling in new product, Topps Chrome contests continue, Top 10 Football Cards, FCB Hot List and more

Photography- Galleries of Julie Newmar, the original Catwoman, Women of Punk, All-time #1'a in Women's Tennis, NFL Cheerleaders, 1955 World Series (never seen images)

Movies- Early details on Avatar 2, Transformers IV and Dark Knight 3

Gaming- XBOX Kinect launch

and lots more!!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A Rack Pack and the Quest For Calvin Edward . . .

. . . Ripken Jr that is. I have been waxing nostalgic lately. Ha ha ha, I crack myself up. You see, I've been in a tad bit of a hobby rut when it comes to baseball cards. Topps proving me right, for the most part, with their exclusive licensing trifecta of mediocrity I believe is mostly to blame. I think this year has been a classic case of how exclusive licensing is bad for The Hobby, period.

That said, I have been craving, I don't know, not a return to simpler times per say, but a means of recapturing that feeling. You know the one? Not the one that comes from a "killer" hit, but the one that comes with the elation of finding an elusive card to complete a set, or the discovery of a previously unknown (to you), obscure insert for your player collection, or the feeling of finding your favorite player when you were a kid and first discovered the addiction of cardboard.

So I started thinking about the products that would potentially be able to recapture that seemingly long lost magic. The chosen product had to meet two specific pieces of criteria. The first, obviously was to be affordable or rather very affordable. So while I would love to crack a pack or box of 1969 Topps, that just isn't realistic. The second, the product has to contain a rookie from a player or team I collect.

After some research I settled on a rack pack of 1982 Donruss I found at Dave and Adams for $8.95 with the obvious intent of finding card number 405 Calvin Edward Ripken Jr. My man, Cal Ripken Jr.

Damn it!!!!!!! I am so pissed!! I just went to grab the link to the video from the live break I did on Ustream only to discover that while the video was broadcast live, it failed to record. Crap, damn it, bon of snitch!!!! A moment in collecting time lost forever.

Oh well, what can you do. Anyway, going through the first 2 packs brought back some great memories. One of which was seeing those "they are so ugly they're beautiful" Houston Astros rainbow striped jerseys. Fielding a veteran pitching staff anchored by Nolan Ryan and Don Sutton I got to see a lot of them living in Chicago and playing my hometown Cubs.

The next memory was conjured up by this card of Bill Russell, SS for the Los Angeles Dodgers who in 1981, the previous year, finally got over the hump and beat the Yankees 4 games to 2. As a kid the Dodgers were my 3rd favorite team because my Grandma, of all people, really taught me how to watch baseball and was a Dodger's fan. Although I think it had more to do with the fact that she REALLY hated the Yankees. Anyway I still remember as clear as day the starting line-up of Steve Garvey, Davey Lopes, Bill Russell, Ron Cey, Pedro Guerrero, Kenny Landreaux, Dusty Baker and Steve Yeager. A pitching staff that included Jerry Ruess, Fernando Valenzuela, Burt Hooten and Steve Howe. In addition, a key player coming off the bench at the time was a young Mike Scioscia. All these years later and I still remember that dugout, in a blink without even thinking.

I had to laugh when I pulled this card of Dave Kingman, a Diamond King no less. King Kong. His home runs onto Waveland Avenue at Wrigley Field where epic. So were his propensity to do either that or strike out.
Opening the 3rd pack, there it was the unmistakable bottom card of Calvin Edward Ripken. Nothing more than an acne plagued young adult with a dream and a desire to play the game the only way he knew how, The Ripken Way. I was ecstatic. I'd done it. Chasing a rookie, albeit one I already own but that wasn't the point, I found it, the Iron Man himself.

My additional (albeit distant second) goal of this exercise was to take that Ripken (if discovered) have it graded and "flip" it. Why? To recreate an experiment first made famous, at least archival, by Bob Brill and The Brill Report with his $10,000 project. I thought it would be cool to take the money invested in the pack and grading, sell it and buy something else to "flip" and so on and so one. Now, Bob had the advantage of owning a shop and having items walk in off the street that he could low ball people on who needed the money but in the age of eBay I bet I could replicate the exercise on a smaller scale.

Unfortunately, upon closer examination, I discovered this:

Yep. The unmistakable presence of a fricken corner ding, and a good one too. Looking at the cards in the rest of the pack, they were all dinged too. The rack pack had obviously been dropped at one point in time.

My emotions went from ecstatic to bummed. But that's when I remembered the real reason for this exercise. It was to recapture that lost feeling. NOT cash in BIG TIME!! So I settled down and with my primary mission accomplished, I'm happy. Thanks Cal.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Video Highlights: Absolute Memorabilia

Panini's First Hockey Release Delivers Decent Value But Has Room For Improvement

With a non-autograph/memorabilia checklist consisting of 182 cards, collectors will need to look else where for base RC's of this year's top draft picks. Relegated to Freshman Fabric Signatures and Freshman Signatures I find it a little bit difficult to swallow autographed and autographed memorabilia cards being numbered as part of the base set. These cards will command top dollar on the secondary market but I find it potentially confusing to collector's in the long run.

What is a plus, is that those same cards are signed on card, which as you know is a logistical challenge for the manufacturer an yet a highly demanded commodity for the collector. Serial numbered in several colored parallels, a Certified hallmark, versions can be found with numbering ranging from 250 (Mirror Red) down to the elusive 1-of-1 (Mirror Black). On design flaw to the Freshman Signature cards, in my opinion, is the area designated for the player autograph itself. Instead of color scaling the player image in the background (like a watermark) so that the area to sign still shows the player image in the background, their is no opaqueness to it at all and looks to cut the player in half. The problem is compounded with the addition of a memorabilia swatch which, again, in my opinion makes the card overly busy and crowded looking.

With a current SRP of $80 per box (10 packs per box) and $10 per pack(5 cards per pack) collectors will find the following:
  • 1 Autograph
  • 2 Memorabilia Cards
  • 1 Additional Auto or Memorabilia Card
  • 1 Mirror Red Parallel
  • 4 Additional parallels or inserts
So on the surface, you can see that for $80 the value is right in the wheelhouse for a product that delivers a "hit" almost every other pack.

This is what my box yielded:

53 Total Cards- 43 Base Card, 3 inserts, 2 Parallels, 3 Memorabilia Cards, 2 Autographs

Mirror Reds- Phil Esposito and Sam Gagner #'d/ 250


Collision Course- Daniel Carcillo #'d/ 250
Throwback Threads- Dennis Maruk (Cleveland Barons) #'d/500
Masked Marvels- Mike Smith #'d/500

Freshman Signatures- Nick Spaling, Brandon Yip both Mirror Reds #'d/ 250

Fabric of the Game- Nathan Horton #18/25

Shirt Off My Back Dual- Sidney Crosby and Steven Stamkos #'d 15/50

Unlike Absolute Memorabilia Football which went to great length to detail the origins of the material used in the memorabilia cards with specific language on the card back, this important component is missing from Certified. Particularly I'd like to know what's with the red swatch on the Nathan Horton card? It is such a glaring distraction from the card and should be black or yellow to color coordinate the whole card appropriately.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Banned From Baseball Loved By The Hobby

One of the things that make this hobby so great is knowing that tucked away in attics, on book shelves, dusty cigar and shoe boxes, even wall paneling, across the country are tiny pieces of cardboard treasure just waiting to be discovered like this remarkable discovery earlier this week.

Follow the link to Sports Collector's Daily for a truly captivating article.

TWOT- This Week On Twitter

This week's highlights include:

The Hobby- Panini launches a blog, Certified Hockey goes LIVE, new Shoeless Joe Jackson RC discovered, Young Gun hockey preview, changes to Topps Chrome Wrapper Redemption Program and much more.

Music- The Cars reunite, Rhapsody comes to Blackberry, Amazon $5 CD's include My Chemical Romance, Green Day and more

Movies- Jackass 3D a hit, Angelina Jolie cast as Cleopatra in James Cameron next venture

Lots more. Check it out!

Friday, October 22, 2010

FRAUD ALERT!! Auctions A Dumping Ground For Forgeries?

You didn't know had auctions or carried Sports Cards and Memorabilia? Either did I until tonight. Sports Cards is one of my daily Google Alerts I receive and one of the links directed me to a listing on the sight under the subcategory:

Home > Sports Cards & Memorabilia > Cards > Football-NFL > Other > Uncertified Signatures

Well it was obviously the "Uncertified Signatures" that caught me researching various listings on the site. For example, how is it this seller has managed to obtain in person autos of some truly dynamic pairings and has dozens of them?

Or this piece? Which I would LOVE to own were it not for its dubious COA from ProSignedSports.

Now I am admittedly not the expert at spotting forgeries that Gellman from Sports Cards Uncensored is, but I do know that the age old saying, "If it looks to good to be true, it probably is?" carries tremendous weight when it comes to autographed items.

What do you guys thinks?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A Facebook Conversation on Trading Cards, Design, and the Future of the Hobby

Here is a recap of a interesting thread on Facebook today.

Doug Cataldo- Random thought for the day and a topic for this week's show...

Is it time for a new hobby entity to enter the fray? One that can have the impact of Upper Deck's entry in 1989? One that will focus on the collectors? One that will take all things into consideration from design, to content, to cost, to secondary market, to... the future? Because from all I am seeing, a lot of those things are being sacrificed at the expense of the collectors who are sick of the same old same old. I think that creativity is truly the key to the future of this hobby & it's time for a reboot. Just because someone can do a job well doesn't mean they are the right person for the it, if they just deliver the norm day in and day out. It's time to shake things up & get new blood at some of the trading card companies. Stop consulting with dinosaurs & fossils and look towards the future or their will be no future.

Jon Waldman- Doug, I agree with you. The problem that exists though is finding that new blood. The traditional path was finding people in hobby media, like Jeff Morris, Fabio and Baron -- guys who learned all the ins and outs about the hobby or as much they could while on the media side. Could a couple of the elite bloggers be recruited (ie those that don't just use their space to piss and moan)? Sure; but a lot of these writers are still relatively fresh (for comparison sake, I was working in hobby media for 5 years or so). Two years down the road, if a blogger is still committed, then I expect them to start getting headhunted.

Jon Waldman- As for other creativity, there are some great home-made designers out there who could be recruited, similar to the guys who customize McFarlanes.

Doug Cataldo- Yeah but it's a pretty secluded club. The media part of it gets you ready for some of the work load, but you have to know and love the hobby and the subject be it sports or non-sports to do a product development job. Having a team that's open to both suggestions and criticism and also bosses that will let you break the mold sometimes. Because from what I see, product development all falls on simple formulas and no one is adding any new elements to the mix...

Jon Waldman- Depends how you define development Doug. There have been some great concepts that have come out, such as the 1972 series that ITG did last year. Some, however, would say it was similar to Franchises or Original Six. I agree though that it has to be guys and gals around the table that will listen, but that is the same as any business and comes down to a CEO or director that will have his or her ears open. Sometimes it's personality, sometimes it's training.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

TWOT- This Week On Twitter 10/9 - 10/15

This week's highlight's include:

New Products Galore

MLB Postseason

XBOX Gamer News

Netflix News

and more!!

Check it out.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Opportunities Missed

Exploring affiliate advertising opportunities through entities like Commission Junction, Link Share and Amazon, I found a glaring lack of involvement from high profile hobby entities. Whether that was online retailers like Blowout Cards and DA Cardworld, or manufacturers retail channels like The Upper Deck Store and Shop Topps, it would seem that obvious that affiliate advertising programs would be a natural fit for these companies.

Paid advertising models are something that companies like these tend to shy away from for the understandable reason that they have other means of promotion and advertising available to them that are less expansive than traditional banner advertising. The cost savings comes with the sacrifice of measurability which is why setting up affiliate programs would seem to be a cost-effective alternative. With hundreds of blogs and YouTube channels, dozens of forums and countless other online Hobby information dissemination resources, I hope to eventually see The Industry's major players share a small slice of the pie with the publishers of the content that generates so much PR for their products.

In addition, many people find these sites through search engines and providing these sites affiliate programs would possibly generate sales and click thru's from non-traditional users, outside the collecting mainstream.

This is an idea I have thought about on and off and am not sure I have articulated it well. Most likely because it is an idea that I have not fully wrapped around in my own mind so sorry for me thinking out loud. Do any of you know what I'm saying?

Product Review: Topps Pro Debut S2

2010 Topps Pro Debut Series 2 understandably picks up where Series 1 left off, with an additional checklist of 220 cards. The sequential numbering continues for a combined master checklist of 440 cards. That is a LOT of prospects. At first I struggled to figure out the significance and/or purpose of this brand. Upon the products’ original release earlier this spring, I originally thought it was redundant and seemed to potentially be a product that would cannibalize a Topps collector favorite in Bowman and it’s sister brands Draft Picks & Prospects and Chrome.

Read the rest.

The Cup- Video Highlights

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Card Corner Club Radio Guest Line-up

Guests scheduled to appear on upcoming episodes of the Card Corner Club Radio Show.

Friday October 15th
Tracy Hackler former chief editor of Beckett and new Marketing figure at Panini. We'll ask Tracy what he is doing at Panini, what his role is, how he came to the decision to leave Beckett and get an insider's perspective on how those Magic Johnson autograph stickers ended up on Jordan Swagerty baseball cards.

In case you missed our interview with Tracy at this year's National, you can see that on Card Corner Club's YouTube channel.

For those of you wondering, I am able to seperate people from the businesses they work for. I have never had a personal problem with Tracy in anyway as evidenced by the interview at The National.

October 22nd
MR. GEM MINT 10!! GEM MINT !!ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?!? Don West joins us to talk about his new resurgance in the sports collectibles market, and getting his own trading card from tristar in TNA Icons.

Join us! It's going to be fun.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Beckett Blog Struggles With Writer's Block

How else do you explain this less than original thought.

I find it quite the compliment that less than 48hrs after announcing our guest for this week's episode of Card Corner Club Radio that the #1 Authority on Sports Collectibles, Beckett (Sucks), themselves, suddenly found it news worthy to post a piece about the very company (That's My Ticket) that we are interviewing on air tonight.

It really validates the credibility we (Card Corner Club) have achieved over the last 10 years that the mainstream hobby media feel the need to outright steal content in order to get the "scoop" on us little guys. It's a shame that the so called experts and hobby insiders, WHO GET PAID, to deliver noteworthy content to collectors, need to look outside their own understanding of the hobby for inspiration.

It's hardly surprising really. When you do it for a job, it really becomes, well just that, another job and I imagine with that, part of the passion for the hobby dies as a result. I guess it's really no wonder than that the minute a credible idea is promoted outside their sphere of influence, they feel the need to leech onto it.

Thanks guys, at least I know you're listening and paying attention. We'll be sure to keep you abreast of future guests in case on any particular day you are feeling too uninspired in the routine of your day to day lives in Dallas to think for yourselves. Writers block is a bitch, glad we can help.

OMG, He's Back . . . .

Saturday, October 9, 2010

TWOT- This Week On Twitter 10/2 - 10/9

This week's highlight's include:

Video Games: XBOX gets ready to go 3D, NHL '11 Review

Comic Books: DC lowers cost of continuing series, NY Comic Con

Sports- MLB Post Season!!, Puck drops on 2010-11 NHL season

The Hobby- Late season releases hurt LCS, Topps Chrome, EEE, The Cup

Check out these stories an many more . . . NOW!!!

When Hobbies Collide

Two stories caught my attention this week that blend two of my favorite pastimes, sports and comic books. The first, was the announcement that Bluewater Comics will be releasing a biographical comic book featuring Indy and NASCAR diva, Danica Patrick. Penned by CW Cooke, with art done by Valerio Giangiordano, the 32-page book is slated for a December 2010 release with a cover price of $3.99. In this excerpt by Bluewater's publisher and editor, Matt McGloin, he provides a glimpse of what to expect from the book.

[“We've all seen the pictures and heard the gossip about her,” Cooke said. “But digging into her story and learning about her really focused me on the fact that she's a real person and not just a pin-up model or a one-note person.” Cooke hasn't created a white-washed version of Patrick's NASCAR performances, either. The comic covers the critics who say that Patrick hasn't had enough success on the track to deserve all the attention that she gets.]

Readers of this blog know I'm a Danica fan. I know she has had more resources thrown at her then she probably deserves, particularly on the NASCAR circuit but she is a consistent top-10 finisher in the IZOD Indy Racing League and she is good for the sport and good for the trading card hobby. So suffice it to say, this book will be on my Christmas list.

The other story that came out this week had me even more intrigued. The NHL website released details of a seemingly odd pairing in superhero creator extraordinaire Stan Lee and the NHL which "announced Thursday their unprecedented partnership to form Guardian Media Entertainment LLC. This partnership creates the platform from which to launch Stan Lee's vision for his latest superhero franchise, The Guardian Project, which will encompass the creation of 30 Guardians (one to represent each NHL team) as a new series of superheroes, with a creative concept that organically and authentically incorporates various NHL elements but is not set in the world of hockey."

This seems bizarre yet strangely intriguing at the same time. The full transcript of the press release can be read here.

Friday, October 8, 2010

2010 Topps Finest- The Current YTD Football Product of the Year

The title isn’t a fabrication. In addition to being, in my opinion, the best football product of the year, thus far, I believe 2010 Finest Football will also be a contender for Football Product of the Year. Yeah, it’s that good. There is no argument that collectors love all things shiny and Finest doesn’t disappoint. However, unlike its cousin, Topps Chrome, the card stock used in Finest doesn’t cause any fuzziness to the images and lettering to which Chrome is susceptible.

Read the rest.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner!!

I was due for a contest win and thinks to the great guys at Cardboard Connection I came close, as their Runner-Up in their 2010 Topps T206 Contest. The question was, “which past sports card sets would you most like to see revived”.

My answers by the sports asked;

Baseball- Upper Deck Authentics for the simple reason is that I loved the 16" x 20" framed pieces.

Football- Fleer Authetix because while I think the product itself missed at the time, I think incorporating tickets into cards, when properly themed and designed is a still relatively unexplored area of product content.

Basketball- Topps Tall Boys circa 1970. I think the oversized cards would be able to do wonders for the modern day sports photography of this sport today.

So while I lost to a guy who honestly thought that one of my most hated card designs of all time should be brought back (1987 Topps "woodies") I was very pleased with the package that arrived for me yesterday. In addition to some Chicago teams base cards, Gridiron Giveaway code cards, and a Gridiron Giveaway Rookie Redemption, the guys sent me these three "hits".

From top to bottom; 2010 Panini Epix Jay Cutler Jersey, 2010 UD NCAA Sweet Spot Matt Forte Dual Jersey, 2009 Bowman Draft Picks & Prospects Chrome Jared Mitchell Auto.

Thank guys!!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

eFee (eBay) Sticks It To Sellers . . . . Again

It's fair enough to say that without sellers, eBay ceases to exist. The argument could be made for buyers as well I suppose. However, the key difference is that a consumer is going to buy what they want to buy, where they want to buy it, and at the price they want to pay. So the idea is simple, "List It and They Will Come". Which means in order to have listings, you need sellers and it seems at every turn, or at the very least, 1x per fiscal quarter, eBay has apparently changed the seller rules . . . again. This time without even the common courtesy of being notified beforehand.

Today I received my September 30th invoice. Five days late but that's another story. I immediately noticed something drastically different. In the past, eBay has provided a 21-day grace period from the date of invoice to the time the prior month's invoice will be debited from your account. Today's invoice said my bank account will be debited for the due amount "sometime within the next 5-7 days". First of all, when did this change take place? Well looking back at my eBay invoices, it appears the practice took effect with the July 31st invoice. Having bought and sold on eBay for so long, I don't know what made me actually open and read this invoice. So while apparently this isn't current news, I certainly don't remember reading about it in the monthly eBay Feedback & Updates Newsletter, which I do read, or seeing it as a direct message or anywhere else they communicate user announcements, LIKE WHEN I LOG IN.

They built the sandbox I know. I get to play in it as long as I play by the rules, which is fine. However, not being taken for granted and shown the common courtesy of being communicated to of pending changes, and certainly those involving issues of banking and cash flow, would seem to be the least they could do.

Fortunately for me, I'm a small player whose livelihood isn't dependent on my eBay sales. I feel sorry for the guy who does and somehow, like myself, missed the memo.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Players Poised for a Post Season Uptick- Part 1

They say you can't script October but you can certainly predict which players might see some Hobby love with a memorable performance. Fresh teams in the post season is always good for The Hobby and with the Rangers and Reds joining the fray, their is plenty of players on both sides to speculate on. Here are a few to keep an eye on as well as their key rookie cards.

A quick note, due to the fiasco that has come as a result of the "Rookie Card Logo", there are often wide discrepancies in the years from the cards collectors refer to as a player's RC and the year the MLB says is their rookie card. For the purpose of this post I will be referring to the player's first recognized card and making a note, when applicable, of the year the player's RC logo card appears.

Joey Votto- Coming off a Triple Crown caliber season Votto has the rare gift of being able to hit for average and power. A few timely hits, a couple of majestic home runs and a good team showing could push his cards up 20-30% short-term and 10% long-term.

Key RC- 2002 Bowman Chrome #BDP44
Rookie Card Logo Year 2008
Notable Game Used Auto-2008 SP Authentic

Buster Posey- Collectors are already very high on Posey having made his pro debut earlier this season. A catcher many compare to the Twins Joe Mauer he hits for average and shows flashes of power which he is expected to grow into. With his cards already trading at a premium, collectors should expect a 25% to 50% spike in prices if Posey breaks out with a memorable post season run.

Key RC-2008 Bowman Chrome Draft BDPP128 Auto #'d/500
Rookie Card Logo Year 2010
Notable Game Used Auto- 2008 Elite Jersey Auto RC /100

This is Why I Don't Gamble

Well, I suppose every time I purchase a pack of sports cards I am gambling a little bit but that's besides the point. April 2nd of this year I offered my MLB predictions and boy did I screw this up. Let's take a look.

My 2010 MLB predictions are as follows.

AL East- Yankees
AL Central- White Sox
AL West- Angels
AL Wildcard- Red Sox

NL East- Phillies
NL Central- Cardinals
NL West- Rockies
NL Wildcard- Dodgers
World Series Match-up - Boston vs Phillies with Boston in 6

The only thing I got 100% correct was the Phillies winning the NL East. The Yankees made the post season but as the wild card.

I honestly didn't see the Braves giving it the run they did or the Rangers to skate in the AL West. My Chicago White Sox, on paper, looked like the team to beat but they never hit on all cylinders following the All-Star break.

What I really want at this point is to see something fresh for a World Series match-up. TV ratings and the suits at MLB be damned I am rooting for a small market and smaller market World Series in the Reds vs. the Rangers which is probably a pipe dream. While it's true that Bud and his cronies would much prefer to see the 1st and 4th largest markets in NY and Philly in a rematch, most of the rest of the country doesn't. So while there are certainly plenty of people in those respective metro markets, do they out weight the rest of the country? Perhaps.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Topps Platinum Under Review

Guest Review: Russ Cohen

Whenever there is a release that costs around $82.00 that’s enough of an investment that the collector is expecting some instant value and value down the road, this set offers the value down the road but I’m not sure about the instant value.

I managed to get 43 rookies cards, which means they are falling almost at a rate of two per pack. If you are looking to get a Sam Bradford or Golden Tate then you will, but it won’t have a lot of value on the secondary market.

Read the rest.

TWOT- This Week On Twitter 9/25 - 10/1

This week's highlights include:

- Topps News
1952 Mantle Redeemed from MCG
New Customer Service Procedures
Topps Chrome Incentive

- Movie News
Paranormal Activity 2
Star Wars 3D
The Hobbit

- And More

Check it out now!

Friday, October 1, 2010

The Lingering Effects of Operation Bullpen Continue

The link below leads to a disheartening article that further reveals the staggering amount of fraudulent autographed memorabilia on the market and also provides insight into the depths that crooks will go to when dealing in supposedly "unopened" vintage wax packs.

Buyer beware. Read more.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Legalized Bait and Switch

If you missed the the radio show last night, in addition to having legendary baseball artist, Dick Perez as a guest, we discussed with our other guest, Dmitri Young, the problem with redemption cards.

The issue came up as a result of me entering a new redemption code at Upper Deck's website and finding I was still waiting for a redemption from last November. Now, the standard procedure is to notify customer service who will ask if you want to continue to wait or provide them a list of players that would serve as a suitable replacement. This current system requires the collector to take time out of their schedule to help the card company live up to their obligation.

To register for any of the companies online redemption accounts, you need to provide an email address. It would seem that if the card companies were at all concerned with customer service, they would implement a maximum wait time of no more than 3 to 6 months and then send the collector an email saying something to the affect, "We apologize for not being able to timely fulfill your redemption request. We are offering you the following choices as a substitute: Choice A, Choice B, or Choice C. Please reply with your replacement preference and it will ship within 48 hours."

That seems the least they could do.

However, I'll take it one step further and make the claim that the trading card industry is the only industry on the planet where it has become perfectly acceptable to use a blatant method of bait and switch as a standard practice. Imagine buying a new XBOX game and pulling out a cardboard CD and written on it is, "Due to circumstances beyond our control, our programmers have not finished the final stages of the game prior to the product's release date. Please log on to (insert website here) and enter your redemption code. When the game is finished we will mail you a copy."

The bottom line is, if a card is on the official product checklist and isn't physically available at the time of pack-out too bad. That's on the company not the collector. I don't know how this practice is even legal.

A few years ago, Upper Deck's Richard McWilliams stated at an industry conference, that they were implementing a 45-day redemption program. Add that to the long list of Upper Deck failures.

TWOT- This Week On Twitter 9/18 - 9/25

This week's highlights include:

- Looks at 2011 Topps, Epix and Platinum Football, Gridiron Gear, Elite Extra Ed.

- TV's Fall season kicks off

- Netflix expands geographic services and partnership with USA Network

- Product delays

- DC Entertainment moving operations to Burbank, CA

and more.

Check it out NOW!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

When Does A Book Become A Collectible?

When it is a collaboration of artwork by the legendary Dick Perez.

An artist of immense talent recognized by casual fans and die-hard baseball card collectors alike, Dick Perez has been creating canvas beauty for generations. Now collectors have the opportunity to own a limited edition printing of his new book, "The Immortals".

Distributed exclusively through Dick Perez, this beautiful compilation will not be available at retail. A limited number of copies will be produced and there will not be a second printing.

More details and a HUGE image gallery.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Status Report: The Vintage Consignment

Hours of sorting, dozens of transactions and several months later from originally starting this project, I thought it was time for an update. If one were to make a legitimate part-time or full time job of this project it would have needed to be concluded months ago. Fortunately for me, my consignors are business colleagues aware of the demands on my time from a career and family aspect so they have been content receiving the periodic check or PayPal payment.

When it comes to selling vintage, condition is everything. So naturally the more accurate and detailed the item's description, the higher the sale price. Of course your description is only as good as the pictures that accompany it and as is the case with any selling endeavor, these things take additional time. Time being money, you have to find a balance.

Awhile back I posted a picture and link of the listing software I was using (PageMage) but ultimately abandoned this as it significantly increased the time to list an individual item. Unlike pack pulled cards, you have to carefully exam every vintage card, often under magnification and at different light angles to formulate an accurate description.

So that said, here is a picture of what I have remaining to list.

So what started as (2) 5,000 count boxes has had the proverbial dent put into it, but isn't even 25% complete. Which on the one hand means more money, yeah, but on the other hand means more time, boo. So what has this all equated to in terms of money you ask?

The project to date total in net revenue (less fees and shipping) is: $1,120.39. Of which my take has been $408.11.

If anyone is looking for vintage football, I currently have a nice RC and Star lot from 1973 Topps on eBay which you can find here.

TWOT- This Week On Twitter 9/12 - 9/18

This week's highlights include:

- Hotties (Sports Wives and Ex's Gallery, Lingerie Football League)

- New Product Preview (WWE Platinum, Supreme Football, 2011 Baseball)

- New Mob Movies!!

- Pete Roses' Return to Cincy

- an much more!!

Check it out NOW!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

And Your 2011 Topps Card Design Is . . .

Today, Topps released an image of their 2011 base design. I have to admit I really do like it. It has a Stadium Club like look to it with a big photograph and unobtrusive lettering and logos. I do find it funny that they choose to debut it as "2011 Topps Baseball" when in reality it is recycled for not only Series 1, 2 and Update but also Pro Debut, Football, Chrome Baseball, and Chrome Football. So you better like it because half way through the next year's release calendar you'll probably be tired of looking at it.

Panini Has A Moment of Clarity

In the 8+ years I have been reviewing and writing about sports cards, I have never seen a company release an official product preview (complete with email distribution from their PR firm, widely distributed sell sheet and social media commentary on the product) and then reconfigure the product's pack-out based on negative feedback received.

However, that is exactly what happened this week, with regards, to 2010-11 Donruss Hockey. Upon the public release of the sell sheet, the disproportionate price to card ratio for what has always been seen as a quality, low end brand caused quite the uproar on Twitter, Facebook, the blogsphere and was also a subject for debat on Card Corner Club Radio last week in which we asked Scott Prusha, Marketing Director for Panini America, point blank, what they were thinking with a 5 card pack costing $3.99. As to be expected, Scott delivered the company line about insuring value at any price point and now was the time to think outside the box as they re-enter the hockey market.

Now, updated product information has 2010-11 Donruss Hockey, packing out with 10 cards per pack and a much more reasonable SRP of $2.99 a pack putting it right in line competition and value wise against Upper Deck Series 1 and 2, a long time collector favorite. If you missed the show, we also asked Scott why the conscious decision to leave a product gap and not compete for collector's dollars usually reserved for UD S1/S2. He said, "We don't pay attention or care what they (Upper Deck) are doing." Which is obviously not true and certainly not now on the heels of this recent happening.

Was this real time market research or did they get caught with their pants down? What do you think?

Monday, September 13, 2010

If I Wanted Topps Attax Cards I'd Buy Them

That was my first thought about 2010 Topps Football.

2010 Topps Attax Football packs out with, . . . . wait a minute. This is a review for 2010 Topps Football, their annual flagship release, not Attax. It’s easy to get confused though when 10% of the cards pulled are not in fact Topps Football base or insert cards but instead from a separate product entirely. This is a repeat of the overt cross marketing Topps pulled in baseball and last year in football. As recently as 2008 Topps Football packed-out with 10 legit cards and then included a Ticket To ToppsTown card. Did they really think without changing the price that collectors wouldn’t notice that they are essentially paying for 36 cards of garbage? This is the type of gimmicky underhandedness that drives collectors crazy, once aware of the less than ethical practice.

I couldn’t do an honest review of this product without getting that out of the way first.

Read the rest and see the image gallery.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

TWOT- This Week On Twitter 9/4 - 9/10

This week's highlights include:

- NHL drops the puck next month. (Card previews, EA NHL 11 release, NHL rookie premiere)

- Promos for Topps Gridiron Gear and Panini NFL Player of the Day ramp up

- NFL returns for 2010-11 Season

This and much more! Check it out.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

2010 CECE- The Chicagoland Entertainment Collector's Expo

I trekked out to the annual CECE show today and was pleasantly surprised by the experience as non-sport trading cards is a little bit out of my realm, but not entirely. I do, however, own complete sets of The Sopranos and the 24 series and collect specific genres of comic books. Additionally I am a huge fan of movies, Americana, and pop culture so in reality I found myself more in a comfort zone than I originally would have thought.

The venue was held at an area Holiday Inn and was larger and well attended than I would have thought. The organizers should be commended for assembling such a diverse array of comic book and sketch artists, actors and actresses. Dealers of non-sport trading cards had unopened boxes AND complete sets of every imaginable release from Alias to Zoro.

One of the highlights for me was meeting some of the many women of 007 James Bond, including Caroline Muro (The Spy Who Loved Me), Martine Beswick (From Russia With Love) and Shirley Eaton (Goldfinger).

Several other recognizable celebrities were in attendance including Richard Kiel (Moonraker, The Spy Who Loved Me, Happy Gilmore), Erin Moran (Happy Days), Bonnie Piesse (Beru- Whiteson-Star Wars Episodes II and III), Felix Silla (Twiki- Buck Rogers, Cousin It- Addams Family) Tanya Roberst (Charlie's Angels, That 70's Show Beastmaster and Sheena) and many more.

The lineup of comic book and sketch card artists was too extensive to list in its entirity. Some of the highlights included Ken Kelly, Mark McHaley, Dave Dorman, Chris Achilleos, Larry Elmore, Tony Miello, and Manny Mederos. Some people know artists like you and I know starting line ups and team rosters. I am NOT one of those people but I did recognize several base on the comic books at their tables. Here are some of the sketch cards I picked up from Trevor Mueller (Harley Quinn and The Joker), Jay Shimko (Al Capone), and Russell Lissau (Batman), Tony Miello (Dark Knight Joker), and Manny Mederos (Batman).

You can see a gallery from the show floor here which includes Doug Cataldo (my radio co-host) and his charity auction win- a Larry The Soup Nazi" Thomas signed soup ladle :)