Sunday, June 13, 2010

Is Topps Getting Ready to "Over Do It"?

The anonymous comment in response to the poll below, represents an fundamental misunderstanding of the topic at hand. While most trading card products have some collectible value, and some certainly much more than others, the question posed in the poll pertains to the feeding frenzy that Topps has themselves worked into a lather about, regarding the unprecedented success of this year's Bowman, capitalizing on the realized hype of the sensation that is Stephen Strasburg.

Secondary market values for unopened product, even retail versions, are through the roof. Base and Chrome singles for Strasburg are commanding, on average, $20 and $30-$35, respectively. The excitement surrounding this product for collectors hoping to catch lightning in a bottle and either flip for quick profit or invest for log-term gain is rare in The Hobby anymore.

So what does all this have to do with the poll question and title of this post? As a trading card manufacturer, Topps sole purpose is to operate a business entity that turns a profit, understandably. But do they also have a responsibility, given the product they choose to manufacture (sports cards), have a responsibility to preserve the future value of their product, particularly when the success of that product is driven primarily by one player?

Knowing that Topps is planning to include Strasburg in every pending release, won't this negatively effect the value of Strasburg's base and Chrome Bowman cards? Isn't the fact that base cards have largely become irrelevant in The Hobby been part of the biggest problem? So here we have a product that is bucking that self-created trend and instead of limiting Strasburg's cards to maintain that level of collectibility, The Hobby is poised to instead be inundated with a plethora of Strasburg cards.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

I think Major League Baseball has helped assure that. Not that Strasburg is a Puljos but Albert has so many rookie cards (by Topps, UD, Fleer, Donruss etc..) that even if they are short printed are incomprehensable. His Bowman Chrome and Topps Traded cards are probably they only 2 that is identifiable by many collectors.

The major potential problem I see with Strasburg is that if Topps puts him in Bowman, Bowman Chrome and Bowman Draft(if there is one). Since the advent of the rookie card logo, I don;t think one rookie was in all three sets. Last year you could only get Gordon Beckham, McCutchen, Coughlan in Bowman Chrome. They were not in Bowman or Bowman Draft (even though Beckham was on the Box for Draft.)

Either way Strasburg cards will be more limited than if he came up 9 years ago.

Anonymous said...

I meant that MLB helped assure that the hobby won't be overrun the Strasburg cards.

cynicalbuddha said...

Yep. They use to do the same thing with comic books too. When a character would get hot the company, Marvel or DC, mainly marvel (ie Spiderman, Punisher, Wolverine) and saturate the market with a know profitable character. I have no doubts the Topps is about to do the same thing with Strasburg. They did it years ago with Barry Bonds and Brett Favre too Remember the Home Run and Race to 420 cards? And honestly no Topps has no responsiblity for maintaining the after market value of its products. It would be nice if they did but again I'll use the comic book example. Comics are printed much like novels and have an initial print run usually based on preorders. If a certain printing sells out and demand for a second printing is strong the company will reprint the issue. Sometimes multiple times. Now a first printing or first edition is always more valuable than reprintings or later editions when you remove the scarcity of the object with comics it's basically the story it drops demand of the first printings down. Now with that said Bowman cards aren't actually even true rookies as they were produced before Mr. Strasburg's debut. So now his true first rookie is the 661 card released by Topps. Which now only available online throught the Million Card Giveaway. Will raise demand for Series 1 and 2 products for redemption codes. It's a very sinister and well thought out business plan and none of this was on accident. Remember the 2007 Jeter, Bush, Mantle card. Opps yeah right.

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