Wednesday, April 28, 2010

So What REALLY Transpired at the Industry Summit

Well most of us weren't there but the communication being disseminated via their newsletters has been rife with optimism. To add a bit of reality to the official communiques I wanted to take a minute and weigh in with my 2c in response to some of the recent comments made by attendees.

B2B trade shows like this are often filled with a lot of complaints from the "boots on the ground", in this case the card shop owners, and a lot of industry "Rah, Rah!!", from the manufacturers. Time will tell if this event sets the course for a new era in collecting or simply served as a way of placating dealers with a town hall forum.

A complete and unabridged list of the comments can be found

“At a time when it would be easy to be negative, card stores have stepped up with optimism and a willingness to share ideas that need to be listened to, but more importantly, need to be implemented. Now the ball is in our court."
- John Buscaglia, Topps VP/sales

It’s 2010, the retail/industry side of The Hobby has been in serious decline if not crisis for the last several years. The ball has been in the manufacturer’s for years. Are statements like this really just PR fluff or will Topps really do something to aid brick-and-mortar stores besides the tired old FREE card gimmicks they have made famous with things like “Turn Back the Clock”. Like buying back and documenting the destruction of unsold product to preserve secondary market values, or making changes to their distribution model so that true card shops are given priority over big box, and online retailers.

“These are things we’ve wanted to do for 10 years. We are no longer turning a blind eye to the problem that has been killing margins for hobby stores."
- Mike Anderson, Panini VP, announcing the company’s revamped distribution plans.

Really? So who or what stopped you? You are the ones calling the shots. In talking with several brick and mortar card dealers, this is something that has been discussed at every Hawaii Trade Conference (the precursor to The Summit) for years and something that manufacturers know dealers want to hear but never do anything about because they don’t dare upset their shelf space at big box stores.

“If we know with confidence that the industry would wait to pursue the Topps licensed rookie card, and not that from an unlicensed manufacturer, we’d go that way. Unfortunately, I’m not convinced the industry would wait for a licensed card. If you look at Jason Heyward’s most pursued card, it isn’t a Topps card right now. So right now, (waiting until a player makes the majors to approve a Rookie Card) is a risk that we are not ready to take."
- Evan Kaplan, MLBPA

Ok, this one totally threw me for a loop. Wasn’t this the whole point of creating the Rookie Card Logo? It seems to me that the MLBPA and MLBP aren’t on the same page in any way shape or form and an obvious problem that needs unity and resolve.

“We lost a lot when Dr. (James) Beckett sold the company – but we still have a lot of customers, and a lot of eyes visiting our site. Our new ownership is willing to invest in this business. I want you to know that we need to do better, and we will do better."
- Bill Sutherland of Beckett Media, responding to an assessment of as a “broken toy’’ during his “10 key questions’’ segment.

Don’t get me started. But I love the fact that someone publicly referred to them as "a broken toy" :)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

2010 Exquisite Baseball- What could have been . . .

Exquisite, a brand name synonymous with high-end excellence in every sense of the word, was scheduled to make a complete return as a cross-pollinated insert set in 2010 Upper Deck baseball products. Unfortunately for collectors, most of the cards created for the set, will never see the light of day. After the hobby landscape altering court-room drama from earlier this spring, the company was forced to "destroy" the cards not yet packed out in product. As one Twitter account user at the company put it, "It's the nicest set that never was."

Upper Deck has had plenty of cards leave via "the back-door" in the past and it honestly wouldn't surprise me if some jaw dropping discoveries of these cards existence on the secondary market comes to fruition later in the year. But for now, we'll have to give them the benefit of the doubt. However, several cards did make their way into products like 2010 Baseball, and Signature Stars and their existence alone is a reason to create a chase.

Below is an image gallery of current and completed listings from the last 60 days on eBay which you can see

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Longest Season

Random encounters of items from your favorite player are fun. While I was in Walgreens today waiting for a prescription I ran into a display (really just a pile on a table) of children's book. This book was on the top of the pile as if placed there by someone that knew I would be in the store today.

A simply told story of the final season of the streak, this book was published in 2007 and was actually authored by the Iron Man himself. What really attracted me to it was the artwork of illustrator, Ron Mazellan, a fairly artist of children's books.

An oversized, 16" x 16" with full color sketches just like the cover, on every other page. The book is available on Amazon for $16.99 but I got it for only $5.99. Cha-ching. Can't wait to read this to my daughter at bedtime tonight. Hearing this story told thru Cal's own words is really cool.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Unexpected Power Source: Andruw Jones Looks to Revive Career

Left for career death in the oblivion that houses many once great players and franchise favorites, Andruw Jone,s has suffered the fate of aging journeyman since leaving the Atlanta Braves in 2007 after a 12 year career. Once an annual 30+ HR and 90+ RBI guy, Jones' power numbers dropped like a stone combining for just 20 HR's over the last 2 years with stints in LA and Texas.

While still early in this 2010 season, the Chicago White Sox can only hope that Jones' early season numbers carry through the entire year. Through just 14 games, he already has 6 HR's (including a walk-off), and 9 RBI while hitting,, a more than respectable .295 with a .415 OBP.

White Sox collectors have scant choices depicting Jones in his South Side gear other than this card from the Topps Team Sets available at retail or here on ebay.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

TWOT- This Week On Twitter 4/17 - 4/23

Great content from around the web. The Hobby, sports, music, movies, TV, social media, tech & gadgets, news, photography, video games, comic books, and more.

Highlights from the week-

* Heritage Auction Results
* Pandora and Facebook Team-up
* Kick-Ass Debuts
* Sports Business Awards
* Splinter Cell Conviction Debuts
* XBOX to Launch TV Channel
* Recap of the Chicago Comic-Con

darrenrovell1 This rookie jersey ('66-'67) worn by Bobby Orr sold for $191K in Heritage Sports Auction today

eBayCollectors It's officially live..see what's up for #auction in #ebay 's first #comic book superhero auction event:

BreakingNews New Jersey court rules blogger isn't a journalist, can't be protected by shield law - read the ruling

espn Tiger Woods blogs about his experience at Masters -

FCBsportscards The April 23rd hot list is LIVE Ike Davis, Andrew Cashner, Sidney Crosby, Tim Tebow, Justin Smoak, all on the list.

bbgeeks Have secret things on your BlackBerry? Hide them from prying eyes -Protect them all with MblVault!

LIFESportsNews Baseball's Greatest Southpaws

LIFE Hubble Telescope: Greatest Hits

SportsCollector Five Underrated 1980s Football Rookie Cards: Five mint condition, long-retired Hall of Fame studs you can buy for ...

GeekTyrant Trailer For World War II Drama JOHN RABE

Reply Retweet youtube The war-drama Brothers starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Tobey Maguire is available for rent on YouTube.

GeekTyrant Insane Trailer For DEAD HOOKER IN A TRUNK

LIFESportsNews John Daly's Eye-Popping Pants

xbox_news Microsoft 'Xbox TV' Channel in the Offing? - PC World - Digital SpyMicrosoft 'Xbox TV' Channel in the Offin...

PlanetXbox360 Ten Reasons Why You Should Not Date a Girl Gamer - A Funny Look at the Opposite Sex in Gaming:

SportsCollector #scdaily: In the Game to Unveil Superlative II Hockey

cheaperthandirt New Blog Post Reading Wind and Mirage - how to measure and compensate for the wind in long...

danicaracing Interview from SouthPark Magazine "Danica Patrick: Driven to succeed"

foxnews Ben Franklin's going hi-tech: See the newest $100 bill right here

boltbrowser Pandora Partners with Facebook for Social Music -

amazonmp3 It's Iggy Pop's birthday. Celebrate by picking up Lust for Life for just $5:

PlanetXbox360 Ubisoft Details Splinter Cell: Conviction Uplay Win Rewards w/ New Video:

LIFE 12 Grisly, Unsolved Murder Cases

SportsCollector Hobby Became Business for Chicago Dealer: What keeps one long-time sports card business ticking.

GeekTyrant KICK-ASS Had 18 Minutes of Deleted Scenes - Including Superhero Groupie Sex

BeYourOwnFan RT @rscibetti Inaugural “The Business of Sports Awards”

Torrie11 Guys! Plz call 1-877-989-2255 & tell em u r not "offended" by natl day of prayer & need to keep it! Plz!

TheBigLead if you were a fan of Upper Deck baseball cards ... you'll love this post

blowoutcards 1982 Topps CAL RIPKEN Rookie Orioles BGS 10 PR!STINE goes for $13K

blowoutcards Sleeper Prospects to Pick Up...excellent collector info...

toppscards Part 1 of the state of the hobby roundtable is up. It's long. And that's just the beginning.

SportsCollector #scdaily: Card Shop Hoping for Kid Revival

CardCornerClub **NEW** c2e2 Electrifies Chicago

IGNcom Hey @jimreilly here: Batman: Arkham Asylum 2 Will Be 'Really Dark'

BeYourOwnFan Great idea Indians and @DigitalRoyalty

BaseballHall Giving back: AAGPBL star's family donates artifacts to #halloffame Photo Gallery:

AuctionBytes Survey Measures Effects of New eBay Initiative #AuctionBytesNews

darrenrovell1 Want to see sports photos minutes after they are shot? There's an app for that

SBJSBD This year, SBJ and SBD subscribers can vote to help decide the winners of the Sports Business Awards. Ballot here:

PlanetXbox360 Top 10 Xbox LIVE Indie Games You Have to Play Before You Die:

DC_NATION DCU: The Source - Heading back from Chicago:

sportscards Update: : Vintage Card Collection Hits Cooperstown

LIFE Extremist USA: Homegrown Hate

Auctionreport New blog post: PSA 8 T206 Honus Wagner To Be Displayed In Baseball Hall Of Fame

GawkerTV Accidental Fortune is the New Antiques Roadshow

foxnews George Washington still owes fines at NYC library ... just 220 years overdue

xbox_news 5 XBOX 360 games that will dominate E3 2010!. - WCCFtech (blog)

PlanetXbox360 We're giving away a copy of Splinter Cell: Conviction to one of our Fans on Facebook and Digg: and

Marvel We've updated our #C2E2 photo gallery with over 120 photos from the convention:

C2E2: Bendis Spins an "Ultimate Mystery"

thecardtweet Ruth Gehrig Cut from Triple Threads pulled by EBay.

SportsCardNews Collectors Concerned About Authenticity of 09 Ruth/Gehrig 1/1 Cut Auto: A very interesting discussion going ...

CBR C2E2 LIVE: DC Universe Panel

SportsCollector MLB Union: Upper Deck Not Paying Us: Major League Baseball player agents are being told not to deal with Upper De...

SportsCardNews Fan Pack Successes - Get Free Stuff From Sports Teams Through Email --

And The Winner Is . . . .

If you can't read this, beardy, is the winner.
Email me your address at

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Caring For Your Collection- A Survey Poll

The Industry Really is Just a Good 'Ole Boys Club- Al Muir to Head Panini Hockey

So, who is Al Muir and why is he to be the new head of Panini Hockey? Well, first and foremost, he lives in Texas. Second, he is the former Senior Editor for Beckett Media's hockey department. Don't believe me? It's right here in his LinkedIn profile.

Muir served Beckett faithfully for 17 years. In 2008 he took his freelance role with Sports Illustrated full time, covering the NHL. His most recent article can be found here and a complete archive of articles over most of the last year, can be found here. As you can see, Al knows his stuff when it comes to hockey. Not more or less than some of the other notable NHL beat writers out there but more than enough to provide Panini Hockey with a crash course in NHL personnel.

You can follow Al on Twitter, and reach him through email from any of SI/CNN articles.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Best Job in the World

Some of you know and many of you don't, that effective this past Friday, my company was shut down. As sudden as it was, it wasn't entirely unexpected. I have a VERY good exit package that provides same benefits and compensation until June 18th and then I'll receive 6 weeks severance and 2 weeks paid vacation. I honestly believe in the saying, "When God closes a door, he opens a window." In addition, there is the possibility our group is reformed under new ownership so I am far, far from hitting the panic button.

That all said, I have been slowly working on these two Vintage Consignments, over the past several months. If any of you sell in bulk on eFee (eBay), you know it can be a time consuming a laborious process. Well, knowing that I'd be wasting my time jump starting a job search while a potential management buyout is in the works, I have plenty of time on my hands to "work" full-time on the Vintage Consignment.

So be sure to check either the widget in the side bar or my eBay seller id: bargainbinsportscards for vintage sports cards from all 4 major sports. I'll be listing some more '69 baseball and then get started on hockey.

Monday, April 19, 2010

PSA/DNA and UD Prominent Cuts UPDATE

Shane, the "Man on the Street" , contacted PSA today and sent me this email.

"The cut signature is a perfect match of actress Jean Simmons (see the attached pic for comparison). I spoke with PSA this morning and they were concerned that the wrong auto maybe stuck on the wrong card. I am guessing they are showing concern because it makes it appear to be a PSA error...when in fact its a Upper Deck issue all the way. PSA authenticated the signatures, attached the oval PSA sticker (with number) and sent them to Upper Deck. Upper Deck "glued" the cards together or added the cuts to the empty card."

So as it turns out, and not too surprisingly, it appears the error is on Upper Deck's part. Shane will be contacting UD with his findings and PSA's formal response along with any response from Carlsbad.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Infallibility of PSA/DNA Authentication

Most of you remember Mario's "Man on the Street", Shane. He recently brought something rather disturbing to my attention. As if forgeries aren't already abundantly prevalent in The Hobby and often hard to identify, now, the holy grail standard of autograph authentication, PSA, themselves have seemingly made a major blunder.

Upon it's release Upper Deck's Prominent Cuts was a $200+ product. It has come down in recent weeks and still promises (1) Cut Signature card per box. Not limited to just sports, their is a strong Hollywood/entertainment segment of the checklist. Each of the Cut Signature cards was certified authentic by none other than PSA/DNA.

As you know Shane is a bit of a high-end gambler and recently tried his luck and came away less than happy.

It's not that Shane has anything against the British film actress, jewelry designer and Dancing With The Stars contestant.

Quite the contrary. Shane a collector of all things autograph related, owns and has seen several different signatures of Ms Seymour. The problem then? He doesn't think it's legit and in looking at these exemplars, I am inclined to believe he is right.

Jane has several different signatures which would ordinarily make the Prominent Cuts tough to spot. The real problem is that she NEVERS spells her name J-e-a-n.

So mistakes happen right? The problem is, in the autograph authentication business, they just can't ever happen. Especially for a 3rd party product that is to be resold.

Infallibility, from Latin origin ('in', not + 'fallere', to deceive), is a term with a variety of meanings related to knowing truth with certainty.

Giveaway- Cardboard Gods

Last month you may remember that I received an reviewed advance copy of the book "Cardboard Gods" by Josh Wilker author of the blog of the same name. The publisher was nice enough to provide a hard cover version for me to giveaway.

All you have to do to be eligible to win is to leave a comment answering this question. When you close your eyes and think of baseball cards, what is the first card that comes to mind?

That's it. I'll take entries until next Friday night at 10pm CST.

TWOT- This Week On Twitter 4/10-4/16

Great content from around the web. Sports, news, weird, hotties, music, movies, TV, comic books, video games, The Hobby, photography, tech, gadgets, and more!!

GeekTyrant Peter Jackson Gives an Update on THE HOBBIT

SportsCardNews Upper Deck Company Continues Layoffs: Blogger Two Packs A Day alerted Sports Card Report of a new round of l...

blowoutcards Baseball America's first Prospect Hot Sheet

sportsnetworker Top 6 Life Lessons from Great Sports Films: The greatest sports films ever to grace the big screen are not...

CBR Bendis Turns "Scarlet"

bbgeeks Having battery issues or memory issues with your BlackBerry? Here are a couple apps to help you out -

JamesRyanJ Great #twitter search list on Social Media Today site. Awesome resource.

SportsCollector #scdaily: Historic Ruth Home Run Bat Story Ready for TV

GeekTyrant Unproduced Bruce Lee Film Being Brought to Life - THE SILENT FLUTE

GeekTyrant ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN Getting an Animated Series!

foxchicago RT @AnnaTarkov: Remember when @foxchicago cut into #24 with a weather alert? @windycitizen commenter has explanation:

IDWPublishing The Library of American Comics now has its very own website! Yah!

PlanetXbox360 Top 10 Amazingly-Fun Xbox 360 Achievements

CBR Peter Weller Talks "Fringe"

collectorswkly Got a collection you'd like to share with the world? Show Us Your Stuff!

GeekTyrant Giveaway! Win Some Free KICK-ASS Swag For Watching KICK-ASS!

Marvel Kick-Ass goes digital! Get the hit series on your mobile device:

blowoutcards 2008 Donruss Americana Sports Legends Case Break with pics

LIFE Jackie Robinson: American Pioneer

myhouseofcards Through Baseball Cards, a Meditation on Life - Bats Blog -

ChiSportsNet #Bulls GM Gar Forman released a statement today regarding the recent reports of an altercation between Vinny and Paxson

PlanetXbox360 Ubisoft Bringing All-Free Content to Splinter Cell: Conviction

IGNcom Splinter Cell Conviction Guide

LIFESportsNews Head Cases: NHL Goalie Masks

SportsCardNews 2010 Historic Autographs - Baseball PSA/DNA Cut Auto Set: A group of auctioneers have gotten together to rel...

GeekWeekOnline DARK HORSE To Release New Editions Of FRANK MILLER'S SIN CITY - GeekWeek -

SportsCardRadio Updated Blog: New Company Making This Set Founded by Heffner/DiFrancesco/Huggins -

SportsCardRadio Early Look: 2010 Historic Autographs Baseball Box - HOF & All-Star Edition: Its not often I'm intrigued in multipl...

SportsCardRadio 2010 Historic Autographs Baseball Box - Preview -

EveMarieTorres Please check out the blog I wrote last night on WWE Universe after winning the Divas Championship!

CBR "Kick-Ass" Invades Hollywood

PlanetXbox360 Splinter Cell: Conviction - Review

PlanetXbox360 NHL 10 Predicts Chicago Blackhawk Will Win Stanley Cup

cheaperthandirt New Product! I-Kam Extreme Eyewear with Video and Audio Recording - what you see is what you...

bbgeeks Oh Yeah! Check out The Ultimate guide to the Best Free BlackBerry apps on BBGeeks!

AuctionBytes Extends Offer of Free Service to eBay Sellers #AuctionBytesNews

blowoutcards Twitter Reveals Business Plan: Promoted Tweets...

chrisolds2009 Roundtable discussion about licensing and the state of the sports card industry today:

chrisolds2009 Were you a winner on Free Stuff Friday?

foxnews How much of your $$$ went to cover the stimulus? Find out with our great new taxpayer calculator

chicagobulls New BullsTV exclusive: Scottie Pippen describes what it was like to play for The Dream Team posted at

VOTC A good gauge oh how bad the economy really is? Check out the SOLD prices from's latest auction.

SI_Swimsuit Swimsuit Photo of the Day: @CherylBurke1 photographed by Steve Erle in Los Angeles, California -

PlanetXbox360 Call of Duty Execs Form New Studio: Respawn Entertainment

GawkerTV Sexual Milestones of Old Hollywood

Marvel Read five issues of X-MEN for free this week on Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited:

PlanetXbox360 Ubisoft Reveals New Details for Ghost Recon: Future Soldier

versustv Here's our Playoff Schedule, we hope you enjoy lots of hockey!

hockeycardshow Now that the playoff series are set come join our #nhl playoff pool!

GeekWeekOnline ToyFare To Reveal Line Of BATMAN: ARKHAM ASYLUM Action Figures - GeekWeek -

baseballzoch @TwitchWasHere my first month, I got 2 amazon giftcards. It does work if you use it. Look on during the day for codes too

versustv Here are the highlights of the Indy Grand Prix of Alabama.

tradercracks I have ventured in video box break territory (Rocky IV) and done something different with it:

FrankandSons Check out our upcoming Legends of Horror & Sci-Fi signing for Sat, April 17th

myhouseofcards Life lessons for entrepreneurs...courtesy of baseball: All things are possible in business and baseball -

GeekWeekOnline 10 Hottest Geek Girls. Shax Measures A Response.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Baseball Card History Quiz

Quiz time!! Mental Floss and Mint Condition author, Dave Jamieson team up for this fun, albeit, relatively easy quiz. They are even giving away junk wax!!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Auction Results of Staggering Proportion

Proving that despite the state of the economy there will always be collectors and fans with deep pockets that simply "must have" an item that only comes around once in a lifetime. In this case it's Yogi Berra's World Series Worn Jersey from Don Larsen's perfect game. Bidding closed today at a staggering $564,930 at Grey Flannel Auctions. This level of memorabilia makes our $50k shopping spree look like a joke considering the amount spent on this single item could have been used to fulfill the dream lists of 101 bloggers/collectors.

Topps is Listening- Now What? . . The Hobby Round Table

1. How long have you been collecting? What are your favorite players, teams, sets, etc. to collect? Which card in your collection means the most to you and why?

I have been collecting for almost 20 years. My team collections consist of all Chicago teams (Bulls, Bears, Blackhawks, White Sox, and Cubs). Player collections consist of Nolan Ryan, Cal Ripken Jr., Walter Payton, and Shoeless Joe Jackson. The card(s) that mean the most to me are my 1968 Nolan Ryan RC because, for a time, I didn’t think I would be able to afford to own one. My 1982 Cal Ripken Jr. Topps Traded RC because it was the last RC I needed of his, having had the other 3 for years (Donruss, Fleer, Topps), 2001 UD SP Legendary Cuts Joe Jackson Bat Card- need I say more and 1976 Topps Walter Payton RC, an iconic card of an iconic player.

2. In the time that you have been collecting, what is your favorite story, memory, experience, etc?

My work with Card Corner Club. Being given the opportunity, back in 2003, to start writing product reviews for and expanding our content delivery to include social media, video, and now radio has been an extremely rewarding experience.

3. What are the effects on the hobby of major card companies moving toward exclusivity deals with sports leagues? Given that this could be the direction that the industry is headed, what should card companies do to continue to provide a quality product to collectors?

As I have mentioned many times on my blog, and on the radio show, competition breeds creativity and innovation. I don’t think it is necessarily a good idea for the respective licensing leagues to hand out monopolies to the highest bidder. As a collector I want a choice. Using baseball as an example Topps has woefully underperformed in the area of high-end card products. As a player collector, the requisite is there to accumulate all of the necessary base and non auto/memorabilia insert cards of said player to meet the minimum standards of a completist. However, the cards I want to display of that player are high-end singles and I can honestly say there have been few, if any, produced by Topps in the last few years I feel are “must haves” for my collection.

Now I am left with no choice. I take that back, I now have the choice of- 1) not buying the currently produced high-end singles produced by Topps or 2) go back and purchase high-end singles from past products made by Upper Deck. As a collector, with the inherent “junkie” complex that really isn’t much of a choice.

What is also on par with exclusive league licensing is exclusive player licensing. Even if multiple companies were producing baseball cards it’s simply wrong to pigeon hole the consumer into being left with only one company to purchase from when other, often times, more attractive options are available. Take the CMG licensing deal of retired legends. Topps has failed to deliver those players in a product I would want. Yet when UD had the license, I purchased SP Legendary Cuts every year. What would I have purchased if both companies had rights to those players?

4. Pick a timeframe- 5, 10, or 20 years. In that timeframe, what has been the single best and worst development in the hobby?

Nailing this question down to a single instance, pro or con, is difficult because there have been many, for each. But with all the various happenings, and the implications they have had for The Hobby, I think these have been the biggest.

Best- Advent of eBay. The ability to acquire desired cards, liquidate undesired cards and to determine a card’s true value has been a vital resource for collectors. The creation of a secondary market place has also been instrumental in seeing cards from various product you wouldn’t normally otherwise, unless pulling them yourself or seeing them pulled at your local LCS.

Worst- It’s a toss up between either the move to exclusive licensing or the self created one-ups-man-ship created by the chase mentality. After the advent of game used and autograph cards, instead of letting the idea breath, and evolve it created a tidal wave of now worthless cards that have lost all of their cache. The extra costs required to obtain game used material caused manufacturers to focus less on true innovation and design and instead trying to out-do each other with the number of “hits” per box, the amount of material you could fit on a card etc.

5. What are your thoughts on prospecting? Do you do it personally? Why? Has the clamoring to find the next big rookie affected the quality of products, either positively or negatively?

I don’t personally prospect. I know many people that do and I don’t begrudge them of that if that particular aspect of The Hobby is something they enjoy. I actually admire people with the ability to identify talent and the courage to put their money where their mouth is by investing heavily hoping for a payday. I don’t personally have the time, energy, money or inclination to conduct the necessary research to be successful at that. I also don’t consider it collecting. When your only interest in prospects is to learn which ones you can flip for profit, it’s little more than stock trading with cardboard.

I definitely think it has affected product quality negatively by watering down a lot of products with too many unknowns. Few collectors get a thrill from ripping packs and not knowing who the players are. However, I have no problem with an emphasis being made to limit that type of checklist to prospect themed products like Bowman, Draft Picks and Prospects and the like.

6. We are collecting tangible products in an increasingly intangible world. As our lives move more and more online, what will the effects on the industry be? Will the next generation of kids be as excited about collecting cards as we are? How should the major card companies respond?

The tangibility of trading cards and memorabilia is part of its intrinsic value and attraction. To touch a card containing a piece of jersey worn by your favorite player or held by a player while autographing it, those connections are what brought me back into The Hobby. As children, trading cards helped connect us to our team and its players. Owning a picture, studying the stats and bio were crucial to that experience. With the dawn of the information age and media on demand that aspect of The Hobby has changed forever and no longer resonates with children as it did for generations past. When you can “follow” and interact with athletes via social media, or “be” them in the most realistic video games we have ever seen, or pull up an image gallery that would takes years to explore, kids don’t “need” trading cards like my friends and I did when I was a kid.

The card companies should respond by knowing that the market is no longer exclusively children and hasn’t been for years. Instead it is people like myself, the 20-something to 50-something year old, primarily, male with a wife, kids, mortgage, and some discretionary income who used to be a collector as a kid. I am not saying forget the kids entirely and I will address that in a moment. What I am saying is that you can’t produce one brand of product and expect it to appeal to all age groups. Produce cards for your current customer base.

With children, you have a very short window to appeal to them and I would say that range is from about 5-8. Old enough to open a pack, plays or watches baseball, but doesn’t yet have a video game system. Once they are connected online or digitally, their gone. And no degree of ToppsTown, Upper Deck University, 3D novelty or TCGs is going to keep them. If there is one thing that I have learned by being a father, and an uncle, is that kids don’t want to be pandered to. Making them a “kid friendly” product while admirable in thought and intention may get you their allowance money or money from Mom and Dad at target and Wal-Mart, but it will not convert them into lifelong hobbyists.

One of the ways you might be able to expose kids to trading cards in the first place is to partner with video gaming companies. What if at certain levels of a games achievement you earned, in some cases “free”, and in other cases discounts, for trading cards. For example- Complete a winning season in MLB the Show get your choice of team set. Set records for a statistical category get a coupon for 50% any blaster. These are just a couple of “off the top of my head” ideas. Or what about branding your own video game with similar incentives? Topps could partner with someone to handle the production side.

7. How has new media changed the way you collect? How should the major card companies utilize new media to connect with their consumer base? How can new media change and/or revitalize the hobby?

When you say new media I imagine you are referring to social media and user generated content. New media has helped me find and connect and interact with collectors from all over the country. Some like minded and some not which, in and of itself, has allowed me to look at aspects of The Hobby in a different light than I normally would. Until recently, Upper Deck has been a leader in new media, primarily, with an emphasis on broadcasting and friendly interaction with some minor Q&A. The recent commitment Topps has seemed to make with using social media to connect to its most passionate and vocal customers, is a positive step in giving the consumer (collectors) a voice. In essence, if it’s our money you want, it only makes sense to listen to what we have to say and this Hobby Round Table is a great example of putting that into action. What Topps does with the information gathered here in an entirely different story.

8. How has the recent rise in counterfeits and scams affected the
way you collect? What advice would you give the major card companies to help combat this?

In all honesty it hasn’t for me personally. I think an educated collector is a scammer’s worst nightmare and it comes down to that, education. What I think the companies themselves can do is being more proactive to respond to the known existence of such activity when it becomes known and use their corporate voice and muscle to get companies like eBay to ban individuals who routinely sell stuff that is known to be fraudulent. One of the most egregious of these practices has concerned a Topps product with the Rookie Premier Autographs in football and yet Topps did NOTHING to help collectors by either changing the way these cards were produced or communicating to the market their existence in the first place. An accessible photo database of signature exemplars would be a good place to start with several versions of an athletes autograph to compare to.

9. The poor economy has affected all of us in recent years. In what ways would you like to see card companies respond to provide interesting, affordable products for collectors?

What about the concept of producing cards made to order? I can’t necessarily always afford the next Hobby product to come out but I could afford to buy some of the hits. I don’t claim to know how the details of production, fulfillment or profitability would play out with an idea like this but it might be worth exploring. What about teams sets for products other than the base brand? Manufacturer coupons, reward program (with good stuff, not a hat and t-shirt).

10. We've done autographs. We've done just about every kind of
relic/game used product you can think of. What's next? Where do we go from here?

Many great ideas have been discussed on various blogs and message and the majority come down to feasibility/profitability. One of the ideas I like is to have themed sets like Season Highlights, Plays of the Year, etc with the added dimension of having an embedded audio clip of the player describing the moment depicted on the card. You could even have some of the cards autographed. Also instead of inserting a CD-Rom like the old PowerDeck cards from UD, what about embedded video clips where the actual card is a screen in and of itself. Those would be ideas for higher-end product.

While I believe memorabilia still needs to be part of mid and high end products their should be guidelines for its use. You shoul never be pulling single color jersey swatch cards from a product that costs over $100. For product costing over $200 3-color patches should be the minimum, even if that means being less of them. In addition, on lower end and lower mid range products $40-$70, why not put redemption cards for things like full jerseys, framed matted photos with autos, etc. Obviously, the odds would be incredibly high but ultimately more rewarding than just another single color jersey swatch.

For lower end products, while it’s hard to turn back the clock, there has to be a way to restore value to base cards. I don’t know if that is with lower overall production figures, buying back unsold product and destroying it, prohibiting dealers from selling product below wholesale cost or what, but The Hobby was built on the base card and while adults like myself have grown accustomed to, and actually many may prefer, the chase mentality, it runs contrary to everything that turned this hobby into an industry.

11. If you could say one thing-anything- to Topps and know that the CEO will read it, what would you say?

The single most important thing is to stop using sticker autographs in any product that costs over $75. Save the stickers (if they must exist at all) for lower end products. Second- it will be unacceptable to not have a corporate presence at major national and regional shows. If there is a corporate pavilion, Topps needs to be there. No exceptions.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Blog Bat Around- My $50K Spending Spree (Hold the Cardboard)

To give credit where credit is due, this whole idea for the current topic of this blog bat-around got started by a similar post at Cardboard Connection. I started fiddling with the idea and wow, I can only imagine how fun that would be. Well this is what I found.

Babe Ruth Single Signed Baseball- As a collector of the 500 Home Run Club, I knew getting my hands on the deceased members, particularly Babe Ruth and Jimmie Foxx would be the most difficult because of price. But if I had $50K and was forced to spend it on baseball cards and memorabilia, this would be at the top of the list.

Price $14,995

Nolan Ryan Houston Astros Game Used Jersey- As a Nolan Ryan collector this would be the crowning achievement of my player collection. I have always had an affinity for the horrible ugly striped jersey of the 80's. It's just one of those things that it's so ugly, it's beautiful.

Shoeless Joe Jackson 1915 Cracker Jack- As a White Sox fan infatuated with the 1919 Black Sox Scandal and the wrongly implicated Joe Jackson, I have a modest player collection of him. However, this is THE card I covet.

Price $18,500 (BIN/OBO For the purposes of this exercise I hope the seller would take $15k)

Mickey Mantle Single Signed Baseball- Another notch in the original 500 Home Run club members.

Ted Williams Single Signed Baseball- same as above

Cal Ripken Jr- Game Used Autographed Bat- Ripken constitutes my other player collection and a game used bat specimen, autographed no less, would be exquisite.

Price $2,500

Walter Payton Signed Football- Sweetness is one of my true sports heroes. Not only for the way he played the game but for the man he was off the field as well. A tragically too early end to a brilliant life.

Walter Payton Signed Jersey- Same as above.

Time's up.

Total spent $48,560

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Topps Is Engaged AND Listening . . .

Topps recent embrace of social media is not by chance. They have actually hired someone with a social media/marketing background to help them connect with their customer base through multiple venues like Twitter, Facebook and the recently launched Topps Blog. This week they solicited bloggers, via Twitter, to engage in a round table discussion. Of course, for them, this is very cost-effective market research as compared to a focus group. For myself and other blogger/collectors it is the opportunity to have our thoughts finally heard by a trading card manufacturer. Time will tell if this new level of engagement is just fluff and simply an attempt to pacify the vocal minority, however, based on some of the existing exchange of dialogue, which appears genuine, I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt.

Below are the questions myself and 12 others have been asked to respond to. I'll share my answers with you when they are published by Topps, however regularly readers of this blog will be able to discern from past commentary what some of my answers will be.

1. How long have you been collecting? What are your favorite players, teams, sets, etc. to collect? Which card in your collection means the most to you and why?

2. In the time that you have been collecting, what is your favorite story, memory, experience, etc?

3. What are the effects on the hobby of major card companies moving toward exclusivity deals with sports leagues? Given that this could be the direction that the industry is headed, what should card companies do to continue to provide a quality product to collectors.

4. Pick a time frame- 5, 10, or 20 years. In that time frame, what has been the single best and worst development in the hobby?

5. What are your thoughts on prospecting? Do you do it personally? Why? Has the clamoring to find the next big rookie affected the quality of products, either positively or negatively?

6. We are collecting tangible products in an increasingly intangible world. As our lives move more and more online, what will the effects on the industry be? Will the next generation of kids be as excited about collecting cards as we are? How should the major card companies respond?

7. How has new media changed the way you collect? How should the major card companies utilize new media to connect with their consumer base? How can new media change and/or revitalize the hobby?

8. How has the recent rise in counterfeits and scams affected the way you collect? What advice would you give the major card companies to help combat this?

9. The poor economy has affected all of us in recent years. In what ways would you like to see card companies respond to provide interesting, affordable products for collectors?

10. We’ve done autographs. We’ve done just about every kind of relic/game used product you can think of. What’s next? Where do we go from here?

11. If you could say one thing-anything- to Topps and know that the CEO will read it, what would you say?

Feel free to share your answers to some of these questions in the comments section.

Monday, April 12, 2010

It's A Buyer's Market

Because of the state of the economy, many people look to sell their memorabilia and card collections to make ends meet or supply disposable income for more current pursuits. I warned the two people that I am doing vintage consignments for that if they didn't need the money they should think of waiting. Needless to say for their own particular reasons they choose to sell.
On the flip side, a down economy also creates an opportunity for collectors with discretionary money to acquire long coveted items for deeply discounted prices strictly due to the lack of bidding competition between people with money to drive prices higher.

An excellent example of how this is effecting the current auction market can be seen with the results of's recently completed final sales numbers. This catalogue provided a wealth of quality cards and memorabilia, almost, all of which went at ridiculously low prices.

Higher end modern cards fared ok as evidenced by these two cards. That said, if you HAD to choose between one or the other, which one would you want and why? They both sold for $527 each.

2004 Leaf Certified Materials, Fabrics of the Game, Game Used Jersey #1/3

2005 Playoff Prime Cuts Timeline Game Used Quad

(Bat, Home and Away Jerseys, and Pants)

So you can have either one. Which is it going to be?

Monday Musings

NHL- Congratulations to the Chicago Blackhawks, who narrowly missed the Western Conference title by 1pt. Bring on the Stanley Cup Playoffs!!!

The Masters- Poetic Justice, Phil "Stand By Your Wife" Mickelson wins The Masters as the chronic adulterer returns to the links. Way to go Lefty!! Total feel good story.

Junk Wax- Many people knock me for throwing away, recyling or burning my junk wax instead of "donating it to a youth organization where it will be appreciated". My logic- I don't want a kid to be given a bunch of crap from 1987-1993, and want to "know what its worth" and end up buying a Beckett (Sucks) only to find out that in actuality the cards are really worth nothing, thus, most likely, turning him off to The Hobby forever.

Card Corner Club Radio- Seems to be a resounding success. here is what some people are saying:

Great show!! I know where I'll be at 11pm on Fridays...unless I'm out, then I know what I'm listening to on Saturday mornings :)

Great show tonight. Very enjoyable!

Card Corner Club Radio is on the air!!! Tune in I'm listening right now. Good stuff!

DEFINITELY a good show!!

That was the best show you guys have done!

Great Show! Enjoyed It - looking forward to next week.

So tune in every Friday at 11pm CST!!

Danica Patrick- There is just something about fast cars and fast woman, let alone brunettes who look like the girl next door with a natural beauty but polish up to look like runway models. I want her to succeed but at this point despite all of the resources thrown at her, I am beginning to seriously doubt her overall talent level as a driver.

Holy Crap eBay Auction- Alburt Pujols 2001 Bowmnan Chrome RC Auto goes for

SportsCardRadio and SportsCardReport - Ryan and Colin run a great couple of sites and I was pleased to do an interview for them which you can catch on the latest podcast.

Box Breaks- Upper Deck 2009/10 SP Game Used Hockey is a very hit or miss product by the box and not recommended by the pack. If you can swing it, cases seem the way to go. Look at what this guy pulled.

Baseball- Too much other stuff going on to care yet. April games just don't get me going.

Vegas Industry Summit- The first annual Industry Summit opened this weekend and representatives from over 80 shops atteneded. While organizers were happy, I think it is a sad reflection of the state of The Hobby, that the people with the most to gain (and lose) didn't come out in stronger numbers. You can read more here.

Thug Life- The NFL is more closely resembling the NBA with allegations, indictments, incarcerations, arrests, etc. Wonder which has the higher crime rate overall per capita?

Saturday, April 10, 2010

TWOT- This Week On Twitter 4/2 - 4/9

Great content from around the web- Sports, photography, The Hobby, CONTESTS!, movies, TV, music, hotties, comic books, video games, tech & gadgets, and more!

GeekTyrant DANGER GIRL Comic Book to Get Film Adaptation!

CollectAuctions I posted 19 photos on Facebook in the album "Sports & Americana Auction No.4 - SOLD PRICES"

Marvel Marvel On Demand: Free Video (4/9/10) Watch the latest videos from and see what's coming next week!

toppscards We have a FB fan page for our MCG but perhaps a hashtag is in order for you guys to talk trades, etc. here #MCG?

IGNcom Marvel just announced that Spider-Man is joining the X-Men... more reveals coming next week -

LIFESportsNews The Week's Best Photos: 4.3.10

GawkerTV The Worst Video Games Made into Movies

EricFisherSBJ Octagon Digital launches FanWaves, a Twitter-based ad network that embeds banners atop linked-off pages.

mental_floss 6 Constitutional Amendments That Just Missed the Cut --

bbgeeks For those that missed the news - The BlackBerry Twitter App is now in public Beta

SportsCardNews Tiger Woods Autograph Prices After Masters Round 1: On Saturday we took a look at the prices for an Upper De...

LIFE The Best Civil War Photos

Microsoft_Xbox 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa DEMO is now available on XBLM. ESRB: E (Everyone).

myhouseofcards 10 Pleasingly Hideous Baseball Cards from the 1970s -

GeekTyrant This Week in Comics, 4.8.2010

GettyImagesEdit From The Kings road to life on the road: The Pistols, The Clash and more, it's Punk in the spotlight.

UpperDeckSports Show us some of your favorite Upper Deck Football cards on our facebook page for your chance to win a signed Rookie Photo Shoot football!

cheaperthandirt New Blog Post Sighting in Your Scoped Rifle

GawkerTV Nike's New Ad Puts Tiger in His Place

GawkerTV South Park Explains Everything That Is Annoying About Facebook

sportscardhaven We're starting a new service for our SCH members and Facebook fans! If you would like us to link to youe eBay...

myhouseofcards Huffington Post - Jim Watkins: Loving Baseball Cards, Then Loving Baseball

sportscards Update: : I-Phone Aps For Sports Card Collectors

Ve3tro Modern Warfare Enters the Real World with Frozen Crossing

FrankandSons Trailer: TRANSFORMERS: WAR FOR CYBERTRON (Multiplayer Chars)

FrankandSons TRON Is Set To Be A Trilogy!

BleacherReport The Greatest Hairdo (Mullets) in the History of the NHL. The J. Jagr 1991-edition is a can't miss.

upperdeckblog Easter Egg Hunt Pays Off Exquisitely

collectsideshow Our latest express update has been posted! Log in to see what collectible goodies are available!

Chicago_Reader Skinhead-turned-tolerance advocate Frank Meeink speaks tonight in Skokie

sportscards Update: : How to Spend $100,00 on E-Bay in 15 Minutes

BleacherReport The hottest women spurned in sports...this will make you want to fight C. Ronaldo (if you don't already)

LIFE When Swimsuits Were Shocking: LIFE Salutes the Bikini -

AP Nearly half of US households escape fed income tax:

ESPNChicago The Chicago Cubs have installed eight large photos on the exterior of Wrigley Field

BreakingNews Berlin's main international airport shut after construction workers discover World War II bomb there

PlanetXbox360 Naval Shooter AQUA Coming to Xbox LIVE Arcade in Summer

darrenrovell1 Dream of @mcuban for a sports betting hedge fund has become a reality

sportsnetworker Companies That Understand Sports Social Media

SI_24Seven Coffee Break Photo Gallery: 12 Greatest NCAA Title Games -

boltbrowser RIM reportedly working on #blackberry Magnum phone with full QWERTY keyboard + touchscreen

Reply Retweet LIFESportsNews Hank Aaron: A Legend Looks Back

CBR PREVIEWS: New Comics On Sale Today

eBayCollectors I'm headed to Vegas next week for the Sports Cards Industry Conference Stay tuned for updates.

SportsCardNews Jason Heyward Rookie Cards - Prices Soaring: The 20 year old rookie already had collector's attention before...

PlanetXbox360 Top 10 Things Microsoft Needs to Dominate E3 2010

AP Rhapsody cuts monthly music plan to $10 at spinoff.

sportscards Update: : 30 NHL Teams, 30 Rookie Cards

Comic_Con Photos from WonderCon 2010!

AP Ever feel like you're being watched? Cameras make Chicago most closely watched US city.

CardInformant With so many great box breaks and reviews at We introduced something totally unheard...

ThunderTreats The 2010 Cougar Madness Champion has been crowned!!

SportsCardNews Most Watched Jason Heyward Rookie Cards: First Major League at-bat? 3-Run HR. If Jason Heyward's cards were...

GeekTyrant Two New IRON MAN 2 TV Spots - More Black Widow Footage and Unveiling of Mark V

PlanetXbox360 Modern Warfare 2 Stimulus Package DLC - Review

SI_Swimsuit Swimsuit Video of the Day: @CherylBurke1 & Maurice Greene-

SportsCollector REA Auction is up. Wow. It's an online baseball museum.

JimmyPSHayes I'm going to go stand in line to get my ticket NOW!!!!!- Megan Fox Offered Red Sonja? - Superhero Hype!

LIFE Wacky Roadside Attractions

toppscards is now live. Here's the info on the giveaway we'll be starting today.

myhouseofcards Baseball card collecting poised to pull out of slump -

GeekTyrant 5 Favorite Sword Fighting Movie Scenes

LIFESportsNews LIFE's Best Baseball Pictures

AP Presidential first pitches are now a 100-year tradition; see photos from Taft to Obama: -CS

FCBsportscards 2010 Topps Pro Debut Box Break and Review Comment for your shot at winning a box of your own.