Upon my return to our beloved Hobby I quickly embraced the “Repackaging” trend as in many ways I missed the initial releases or opportunity to pull some of the “hits” during my hiatus.
Now after several case breaks I am quickly burnt out. As I mentioned in my previous blog post – Sketch cards need to go – or at least add some innovation. When you take a product like 2014 Leaf Best of Basketball which is retailing for over $250 a box and you only get two cards….I prefer NONE of my money goes towards an artist I never heard of making a sketch of a random player. With over half the of the ones sold on ebay bringing in less than $20 there just isn’t much “value” in many collectors view for the “1/1″
Putting the gimmick of a “1/1″ aside let’s discuss the buy-back inserts. Using my case as a sample I don’t see any card I couldn’t buy for $100 or less. I understand manufactures have to accommodate for overhead and packaging costs…but in a down economy I feel if I walked into a national cardshow with $50k-$100k of cash I could
leverage those finances to swing some fairly significant buy opportunities with dealers. Cash is king…and I grew up in an industry where Al Rosen, Mr. Mint, was infamous for walking up to a dealer, buying out his inventory….and putting his own guy behind the table to start selling instantly.
I don’t expect Leaf to lose money…and I don’t expect to make money on any of my breaks. But the disparity between laying out $750+ for a case versus the value being returned in the individual cards is becoming far too great.
This hobby has consistently worried about attracting younger collectors (which we seem to have blown right past with today’s prices) but I think more attention should be paid to keeping your existing collectors into the hobby.
For now I am pulling back on purchasing any repackaged product until I start to view better results….hopefully my overall collecting habits wont take me all the way out of the stadium again.
Now this is innovation I can get behind & it is great for our hobby! Topps will be accepting submissions of pictures from fans this year and will select up to 30 of them to be included in 2015 Topps Opening Day flagship product as inserts!
Every one who attends a baseball game ends up taking a picture or two – all of us hoping to capture a fleeting moment of our memory on film (or in today’s age in pixels).
Winners will be judged on the photo’s creativity and originality and submission are to be posted to Topps’s official Instagram @toppssports with the hash tag #ToppsLive. More information about the specific rules can be found here at Topps.com.
So what are you waiting for….get to a game and start taking pictures! If you are selected let us know as we will secure a copy of the card and want the whole story (and a signed copy as well for our Card Wall of Fame!) Is anyone else hoping that the first “Fight” baseball card is created?
Disappointment and surprise are two adjectives I would use to describe the sales results on these two boxes. I was relieved I listened to my intuition on not breaking a case as that could have been absolutely brutal. The card designs themselves were fun but the overall value per box left much to be desired.
Out of two boxes that retail for $135 a box….not one card sold for more than $20! You can catch the break here and in my opinion the two coolest cards (O.J. Mayo Prime Patch & Kyrie Irvining Die Cut Gold /10) sold pretty cheap.
Kyrie Irving Gold/10 $20, Robert Parish /15 Auto $6, Teague/10 $5, Draft #10 $18
O.J. Mayo Prime Patch $20, Draft #13 ($10)
Two of the autographs I pulled didn’t even sell (i.e. Kenyon Martin which I listed for $2 and Spud Webb which I listed at $5). It just doesn’t seem the hype or demand is/was there for this product.
The Draft Redemption cards actually sold for much higher than I thought. Getting $18 for the 10th pick in the draft (i.e. not knowing who it will be) seemed excessive….but not even those surprise sales could save me as I ended up losing $175 on the two box break for an ROI of -65%.
Oh well…they can’t all be good….on the to the next break & Catch you next time!
There was something magical about pulling a Donruss Diamond King growing up. Perhaps as it was an early form of insert card…or “hit” for collectors – the fact it was so different than the traditional stock photography and crossed the lines of art and sports. Regardless most collectors from the 80′s have fond memories of the Diamond King subsets drawn masterfully by Dick Perez. It started in 1982 when Perez drew the first Diamond King set for a new company, Donruss, who was innovating while at the same time nodding back to the painted tobacco cards of yester-year.
Mr. Perez’s art is prominently displayed in the Baseball Hall of Fame today and he continues doing one-man art exhibits illustrating his love for America’s Pastime. Fast-Forward 30+ years and multiple card companies have attached themselves to inserting “Chase” One-of-One Original Art cards as “Hits” inside their packs. Many high-end products actually insert them frequently in what I deem a replacement to an autograph or game used material.
Now don’t get me wrong I respect some of the artists work you find on the mini-canvas…and given the dimensions of a baseball card the details can be quite impressive. But the ugly side of this practice is the sub-par art that can be found where the player is unrecognizable. The art that looks “rushed” or more than likely done in bulk fashion to meet time constraints. I would love to see 1/1 art cards go away….or at least the act of them modified.
Perhaps the cost would be prohibitive but what would the hobby pay for a true One-of-One Diamond King done by the Great Dick Perez??? Or what if the chases were done by recognizable Comic Book artists as a form of cross-promotion. Todd McFarlane, Jim Lee, Humberto Ramos, etc…Even if they were unheard of artists from say Pixar (Wall-E designers, etc….) putting a little bio on the back of the cards with who the artist is.
The whole concept of an art card is to make it very desirable and personable on some level. Help us get to know the artist the way we got to know Dick Perez. Perhaps then the Hobby will care more about them.
I’d love to hear other collectors thoughts. Until Next Time…..Happy Collecting!
I was excited to break a case of this product since my favorite break of the year currently belongs to In The Game Stickworks so my hope was ITG continues to jam their products with value.
First let me applaud the innovation on the autographed cards. ITG wanting to move away from the autographed sticker route that many collectors despise found a way to incorporate the autograph “into” the card and meld design elements so it is very seamless. I loved the concept and if I had a choice between a sticker autograph or this incorporation – no contest!
The second aspect of this product that caught my attention is how Prospect Heavy it is on the autographs. Granted you get at least 5 Autographed cards per box…but I was expecting more “Present” players and the majority of hits were prospects “Future.” That is not a bad thing…as many collectors love chasing players before they become stars
On the “Special” inserts it was a bit Tale of Two Cities for my tastes. Out of a case we hit TWO MONSTER Patches of Duke Snider /5 & Robin Yount /5 – and if ITG can incorporate a picture or head shot of the player in future iterations this could easily become a PERFECT card.
We then hit 3 PSA Authenticated Autographed Buy back cards Goose Gossage, Bert Blyeven and Bobby Doerr which were cool but not great. We pulled an ITG slabbed Johnny Sain Cut Auto 1/1 but since he is not a HOFer it wasn’t too exciting.
Then there were buyback rookie cards of 1985 Donruss Kirby Puckett (PSA 8), 1974 Topps Dave Winfield (PSA 4), 1969 Topps Craig Nettles (PSA 9 – MC). I was hoping for more Vintage based on the sales sheet and for me that discounted the 85 Donruss Puckett and though the Nettles is sharp….the MC designation is like pulling a flawed card.
The final “special” hit was an ITG Slabbed Early Wynn Sketch 1/1 – but for me the whole Sketch card phase in sports cards doesn’t make sense. It is relative for Comic Book collectibles as it fits in their medium…but unless it is a famous artist I would’ve preferred a low-grade vintage RC 100 times out of 100.
My initial reaction is I think In The Game has a great concept to expand and evolve in this product around their autographed insert innovation, Buy-Back Graded Vintage including Autographs and their Mega Patches.
I am not sure for current breakers if the overall Value will be there off the bat since it is so prospect heavy. For a higher end product it may have made sense to have less overall autographs per box and instead focused some more resources into the buybacks.
Either way I am a fan….and will be looking out for ITG’s Next product to break!
I love the design of the base cards for 2013-14 Panini Intrigue Basketball. The dark backgrounds with the color splashes really make the player’s pop on the cards. With so many inserts and variations I only ended up with three actual base cards out of two boxes so this will definitely be a tough set to build!
We hit an O.J. Mayo Top Flight Prime Patch /25 which featured a pretty cool Adidas swatch. What was also interesting was in our first box there were two JRue Holiday’s Top Flights one the base version and the other a Prime Patch version /25. Though I am not a JRue fan that was actually kind of cool to see both next to each other….then you realize how much more desirable patch swatches are!
The Intrigue autograph subset we pulled what appears to be a short-print Robert Parish autograph and jersey swatch /15. While you will never turn down the Chief….I do wish it featured him in a classic Celtics jersey….heck even a throwback Golden State Warriors uniform would be sweet!
My favorite insert hands down is the Slam Ink featuring many of today’s high-fliers but mostly because the autographs are on-card. It truly makes a world of difference. We hit former Slam Dunk Champion Terrence Ross of the Raptors /25.
This complimented our Intrigue Dunk Co pull of one of the most popular slam dunk contest winners ever, Mr Spud Webb.
Our most valuable pull could very well turn out to be a variant out of the foil pack of Kyrie Irving Gold Die-cut serial numbered 8/10. You never know what the bidding will go to among personal super-collectors but I am hoping there are a few watching eBay this week!
Overall a very nice product…each box had one Game Used, One Prime Patch & Two autographs. As an added bonus you also get Draft Pick Redemption cards for this coming draft (1 per box).
I think if you want to roll the dice this is a very fun break and one with some potential bang inside!
This was by far the most controversial product break we have done as several notable on-line case breakers were very disappointed with the results and multiple exchanges occurred between Leaf CEO Brian Gray and BreakerzAnonymous who did some excellent statistical analysis you can check out here based on 11 case breaks they documented including ours!
I applaud the efforts and passions of BeakerzAnonymous as debate and factual research are necessary to continue advancing our hobby back to the golden age of collecting (at this juncture many of us would welcome the silver age!)
For our Case +2 Boxes I included the sales results below of the cut autos (2 of them did not sell) and the lowest priced box I could find for sale on the unopened product between Blowout Cards, SteelCityCollecibles and DaCardWorld.
2014 Best of Leaf Football Unopened Edition
2011 Plates & Patches $83 ; Y.A. Tittle Auto $15
2011 Topps Chrome $129 ; John Mackey Auto $10
2007 UD Premier $100
2008 SP Rookie Threads $129
2012 Panini Black $147 ; Jimmy Johnson Auto $34
2013 Playbook $99 ; Maxie Baughan Auto $21
2012 Topps Supreme $113 ; Herb Adderley Auto $22
2011 Playoff Contenders $114 ; Joe Namath Auto $51
Based on the numbers above we experienced a -13% Return on Investment or a loss of ($173) after opening 8 boxes.
What I personally found interesting is how many breakers were fired up by the losses incurred in this particular product when in comparison to my other breaks I have lost MUCH more from Topps & Panini in breaks. Perhaps the repackaging theme is running it’s course or maybe because companies like Heroes of Sports are driving the envelope for major hits inside repackaged products?
If the intent is to break 2014 Leaf Best of Football and then break the box inside consider that a double gamble….but if you collect sealed boxes then there is some added fun to be found in seeing your mystery box. For me personally I still had a lot of fun with this particular product and look forward to a basketball & baseball release in the future.
I did decide to break a couple of the boxes, but felt it was more fair to keep those single card sales separate since Leaf didn’t have anything to do with the internal contents and that could skew the numbers in either direction. Though the 2013 Playbook Football found me a card for the personal collection!
A collector was disappointed when they pulled this card from a pack of 2014 Gypsy Queen and their initial reaction was to contact Topps Customer Service for a replacement card. One that would feature the actual Autograph of last year’s Rookie of the Year – Wil Myers.
My advice though was to consider sending the card in to get graded by either BGS or PSA to see if they would acknowledge the error in the labeling. My personal opinion is that the error (assuming it is a rarity) would be more collectible and could actually sell for more than the $20 the autographed version is going for on eBay today.
We recently picked up a vintage collection of cards from 1959-1961 and as I was sorting through the treasures I pulled aside a few “shared” cards. You know the ones with the casual photography where the players are talking batting or doing a quick pose on the field before a game.
I guess you could call these the first “insert” cards as it was a way to get additional pictures of your favorite players – often in very interesting groupings. It made me wonder why this practice has declined over the years?
Today you will find “pairings” in modern products like Topps Triple Threads with cool nicknames, but those are individual pictures put together and not a single shot – which captures a moment in time.
For me the ultimate “shared” card is the 1962 Topps Manager’s Dream pairing of Mickey Mantle & Willie Mays. As a 12 year old when I first saw this card it jumped to the top of my want list. I still have the original one I purchased with four well rounded corners, some ink drawn on the back and a surface crease….but it was the one I could afford and it is still a favorite of my collection.
Over the years companies have touched on the concept a few times with some notable results such as the 1992 Upper Deck Bloodlines subset. Or Fleer’s run in the late 80′s capturing some great match-ups….but it is an area I think has become over-looked.
With that in mind what is your favorite shared card in your collection?
The Best submission by the end of April will win a card from our Secret Stash!
CONGRATULATIONS to our Twitter Follower Jeremiah Johnson for his submission and Contest Winning card of:
I have always been intrigued by Through The Mail (TTM) Autograph Collectors. The originators of TTM were innovators of our industry – way before there were autographed insert cards inside packs TTM chasers were getting their cards signed and building impressive collections.
Today’s current TTM collectors are like rebels in our industry who buck tradition and create their own autographed innovations and only pay a fraction of the price! While doing some research I stumbled upon a very impressive TTM collector who happened to be a great guy as well. Travis Jossenberger started collecting in 1990 when he was 7 years old and like most of us has been off and on for the last 24 years. Travis was generous enough with his time to allow me to interview him and below are the excerpts:
How did you get started collecting TTM autographs?
“I got started in TTM collecting from an article in Sports Illustrated for Kids, back around 1994. A reader of the magazine wrote in highlighting his successes obtaining autographs through the mail. I had no idea that getting autographs through the mail was even possible. A short time later my father bought me book of retired and active player mailing addresses, and I became hooked.”
What was the 1st TTM Autograph you received?
“My first ever return was and is my all time favorite player, Orel Hershiser. I sent him a letter and a SASE. He sent me back a signed 1990 Fleer. I put it in a frame and it hung on my wall all the way through high school. The card and autograph are now sun faded, but as far as sentimental value goes, it’s priceless.”
How do you acquire addresses? Any Tips for beginners?
“I used to rely on several books for addresses, or for active players, send directly to their home stadium. Now, the best source out there in my opinion is the online data base www.sportscardforum.com It’s continuously updated by users, who rate their successes and failures. It’s easy to use, and covers almost all major sports. ”
What do you send to the players?
“Normally, I send at least a request letter, a SASE, and something to sign, normally a card. The request letter is very basic, “Dear Mr./Ms. _________, I wanted to write because I am a fan and am hoping to ask for your autograph. If not, no worries! Please know I am a fan either way. Thank you for all that you do for (which sport it is here) and its fans. Respectfully yours, ___________.” I always type the letter, but sign it by hand. Some people try to hand write every letter, but I am not sure that it increases the odds any given player will sign. It’s worth noting that some players respond better to personal letters, and sometimes even questionnaires. But, unless I really have something to say, I try to keep it short and polite.
Most times, I send just one card, unless I know for sure that the player will sign more (and I have more). Sportscardforum’s TTM Database is great for tracking other collector’s successes and failures to help make the determination if sending more than one card will be successful, as members can track how many cards they send and how many are returned signed. Some players, like Frank Tanana, will sign everything, while others, like Jimmy Key, will only sign one. Some players may even keep the extra cards.
Finally, some players do charge, and in that case, I will send cash if I really want the autograph. Prices vary, from very reasonable to ridiculously high. Some prices also vary depending on what you are requesting to be signed.
Ultimately, I can’t stress enough: do research. Sports Card Forum’s TTM Database is an AMAZING tool for this. It takes just a few moments to research any given player from any given sport. “
How big is your collection today?
“For TTM autos, I have about 300 returns, and about 40-50 pending as of now.”
What is your favorite(s) TTM Autos you currently have?
“I have a few returns that I was very happy to get back. Clayton Kershaw is one, as active players of his caliber normally do not sign for free, or at all, TTM. One of my all time favorite returns was Carl Erskine. I sent him a ROMLB, which he turned into a “stat ball.” It was a special touch, and it was much appreciated! Though he has since passed, I was also happy to get a return from Cecil Travis. He may be an unknown name to a lot of collectors, but he played for the Senators from 1933- 1945. If you never heard of him, it’s worth checking his career stats. There’s an obviously drastic dip post WW2 (and he did serve), but if not for that, he would have easily been a HOFer. It’s a reminder that a lot of people, from all types of backgrounds, gave a lot in service of their country. Finally, a last favorite was also my first, Orel Hershiser. I grew up watching him pitch, and my earliest memory of baseball is the Dodger’s win of the ’88 World Series. He’s always been my favorite player, and getting a return from him when I was a kid solidified that for me.”
Top players on your want list you are still pursuing?
“There are a few HOFers on my want list that I am still after, but in all honesty, the thing holding me back is the cost of their autographs. Unfortunately, it can sometimes be cheaper to simply purchase a reliably authenticated autographed piece than to pay for one via TTM. That being said, one player I am currently trying hard to get is Alan Trammell. He signs very, very selectively, and more often than not cards come back unsigned. I’ve sent a few attempts, all of which have been returned unsigned. But I am still trying to score this elusive signer!”
Here are some additional Tips from Travis on how to research on Sportscard Forum’s Database:
-Research, research, research.
- Often, for any given player there will be more than one address. Make sure to find one that has the most recent successes!
- Always check if a player charges for their autograph. This information is usually in the “notes” section, or other users will leave it in their comments.
- Some players charge, some don’t. Some send the money to charity, some don’t. Even on a basic level, some players sign TTM, some don’t. Whatever a player’s reasons may be for signing or not, don’t take it personally.
- Things can and will get lost in the mail, especially with plain white envelopes! It’s just part of the game.
- Even if a player has 100% successes, it doesn’t hurt to do a little checking. For example, if there are 100% successes, but they are from 2 years ago, and there are quite a few pending since then, don’t hold your breath!
- While they are obvious targets, star players and HOF legends rarely sign TTM, or charge quite a bit. Pick players wisely, and you’ll be happier with your initial success rate.
- Send a card that an autograph will look good on, and even come out on! Most, if not all, players use dark ink. Photos will all dark colors? Not a great idea, unless you’re willing to send (and give up) a special pen. Also, Chrome cards usually won’t take autos well, nor will cards with high gloss. Hitting them with an eraser will sometimes take off enough gloss so autos will stick to the card.
- If you send a baseball, you’ll need a #0 and a #2 bubble mailer. Make sure to get ones that self seal. The #2 is to be your SASE. Make sure to include enough postage on the return. Most post offices can help you calculate the exact amount.