I like new ideas in our hobby. The first time I ever pulled a numbered insert from a $1 pack of Donruss Baseball I thought it was the coolest thing ever. I remember finding an autographed Chuck Knoblauch rookie card in a pack of Score. Then came memorabilia cards with Press Pass leading the way with pieces of race used tires. Upper Deck got into the craze pretty early and their game jersey and bat cards have always been at the top of the market. With odds of one per 2500 packs or more you felt special when you found one.
Recently that special feeling has been going away. Almost every product has memorabilia cards in them, and most boxes you open these days have at least one piece of something hidden in a pack. In fairness to Upper Deck and the other companies, they have introduced some cool new ideas including autographed memorabilia cards, numbered memorabilia cards, and even rookie memorabilia cards. The problem is that with every new, overproduced memorabilia card the prices drop on all memorabilia cards including the ones that were so hard to find just a few years ago.
When I returned from my honeymoon in mid-December I had about three weeks worth of products to catch up on waiting for me at my local shop. I open one box of everything and sometimes I'll go for a second if I really like the cards. That weekend when we returned I found 40 different memorabilia cards in the eighteen or so products that I had missed. I figured I was pulling nearly two "special" cards per box. This was just the beginning as I also returned home to find out that two new products with one memorabilia card per pack were on their way.
Pacific got the jump on Upper Deck when they released 2001 Private Stock Baseball, which would prove to be their final baseball product ever. Each $15 pack had either a game bat, game jersey, or game jersey patch card with 182 total cards in the memorabilia set. Upper Deck didn't waste any time and this past week saw the release of SP Game Bat Edition. With pack prices in my area of $20 to $25 it makes me ask where our hobby is headed. How can you introduce a young collector to sportscards? Sure they can still buy base products for under $1.50, but how do 10 common cards size up against the Ken Griffey Jr. Game Bat card their friend found in his pack of SP?
As a product, without price as a major concern, SP Game Bat Edition is very nice. There are 55 different players in the bat set including some legends like Nolan Ryan and Joe DiMaggio. You can also find many big stars that are under exclusive contract with Upper Deck so they weren't in Private Stock. One box I opened had bat cards of Ken Griffey Jr., Alex Rodriguez, and an autographed bat card of Andruw Jones. The card design is beautiful, just as you would expect for a product with the SP brand on it. UD has numbered a gold parallel set to 25 for all 55 of the bat cards as well as the 9 autographed bats.
The problem with products like SP Game Bat and Private Stock is that they are having a huge negative impact on the value of older memorabilia cards. Values are controlled by the simple rule of supply and demand so when the supply goes out of control there's no way the demand can keep up and prices drop. In the case of memorabilia cards many collectors are not so concerned with the brand or odds of finding the card, but more with the player and type of memorabilia. What happens to the collector who spent $150 to $200 for a Game Bat card of Ken Griffey Jr. just last year when he sees the new SP Game Bat Griffey cards selling for under $30? Even if he were to try to sell his Griffey he'd be lucky to get $50 to $75 for it now. By flooding the hobby with these cards, the manufacturers have destroyed the market they created over the past few years.
Whenever I talk to a
manufacturer about the thought that they are ruining their own market I always
get the same response. They talk about how great their sales are and how
they've completely sold out of the product. It seems like they have no
long range view. Do they think that the dealers, investors, and collectors
will continue spending more and more on each new release? Does it matter
that the contents of a $300 box of cards sell on Ebay for less than $200?
If we're that dumb then they might as well start selling products for $50 per
pack, or even $100 per pack. Now that would really be ridiculous.
Next page > Too Late - The $50
& $100 packs are already here > Page 1, 2
Next page > Too Late - The $50 & $100 packs are already here > Page 1, 2
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