Lionel Messi For 2013 Topps Allen & Ginter

Below is my pitch for the Argentine FC Barcelona star to get his own card, and autographed card, in 2013 Topps Allen & Ginter baseball.

Lionel Messi is one of the best footballers in the world right now. For those Americans, he is one of the best soccer players in the world right now. He just recently broke the record for most goals in a calendar year, a record held by Gerd Muller. In fact, he ended the calendar year with 91 goals, 6 more than Muller. That is impressive enough.

Football, soccer, whatever you want to call it is on the rise in the United States. It is one of the fastest growing spectator sports with Major League Soccer expanding to new markets and more people watching the EPL on the “tele” more than ever before. Who was the last international soccer star to appear in Ginter? Pele? That was 2009. (Maybe it wasn’t. But he is slated for 2013 Allen & Ginter!) Did we even see David Beckham? We’ve seen plenty American players like Hope Solo and Heather Mitts, Allen & Ginter could use a couple more soccer players instead of B list celebrities that no one ends up caring about.

The secondary market would be huge for Lionel Messi cards, especially autographs. He is a man beloved in Argentina and Spain, as well as around Europe for this talents on the pitch. It would also expose your products overseas with such a huge name. Lionel is 25 years old and just about hitting the prime of his career. He is going to continue to break records, win titles, and more awards. Although he lost the Player of the Year award to Iniesta, he did place a close second.

Topps, please bring international soccer to Allen & Ginter. If not Messi, maybe a big star like Wayne Rooney could make an appearance.

Fradulent Game Used Jerseys Still Raising Questions

September 13, 2012, was what seems like a long time ago now. I was on the plane back from Hawaii. Most people were still buzzing about what they saw at the National a month before. The best part of the baseball season was underway. “JerseyGate” was brought up, and forgotten by most collectors.

3 months later, we still don’t have any answers.

The New York Daily News posted a story back in September giving the details on how a fraudster sold fake game used jerseys to companies in order for them to make trading cards. The fraudster says he knew they were fake, the companies knew they were fake, but they purchased them anyway. He names all of the biggest manufacturers in Upper Deck, Topps, and Panini America.

The story also mentions in an interview with the suspect a certain incident he had with Upper Deck where he was selling them fake game used Derek Jeter jerseys and how they were “inviting fraud” because they were “unwilling to pay market price.”

Many collectors originally made a stink about the whole issue, but the card companies just wiped everything under the rug as if nothing happened at all. Consumers were never given a statement by any of these companies, so the question still lies…where are these fraudulent jerseys now? What steps have they taken to ensure this doesn’t continue? We’ve heard nothing.

I, for one, no longer personally collect game used jersey cards. After reading about the rampant corruption and fraud within the memorabilia industry I just stick with autographs, and even those have their own issues as well. At this point, what part of the industry isn’t a sham?


Topps Five-Star Club Details and Issues

This week with 2012 Topps Five-Star baseball, Topps has rolled out the details and the application process for their “Five-Star Club”. This club is reserved for those collectors who like to spend their money on Topps products and support Topps in their mission of producing great football and baseball cards. There is no fee to join and you must fill out an application here.

Here are some of the perks:

  • Exclusive Five-Star football and baseball parallels
  • VIP access to Topps events
  • Quarterly phone calls with Topps staff
  • Exclusive autographs
  • A membership card

First, there is no fee to apply and join this exclusive club. However, you must spend at least $10,000 on Topps products in a given year. That is enough to disqualify 99% of applicants. I understand they want these people to be loyal to Topps, but with one of the perks especially, it may just all be lip service.

That 1% of people (you’ll see why I call them people in a moment) comes from mainly two different categories. Extreme collectors and resellers. There is also a small amount of people that do crossover. For instance, there are people out there who buy 30+ cases of a product to break and resell on eBay for profit. They are in it strictly for monetary reasons and run it like a business. Some have no interest in collecting cards today. Why do those people have the requirements fulfilled to at least apply for membership while great collectors with great ideas like some of the bloggers I’ve come across don’t meet the requirements because they can’t afford it? If anything, it’s the passionate collectors that should be talking to Topps about what they like and don’t like on a more personal level.

On the other hand, extreme collectors of Topps products may also create issues, although they are more in tune then those strictly reselling. Extreme collectors of Topps products can at times be blinded by what is going on. Their brand loyalty is admirable, but they have lost some ability to criticize a product that needs to be criticized. For instance, there are some hardcore collectors out there that loved 2011 Topps Gridiron Legends football. Most collectors out there saw what it was and deemed it a failure on Topps part. It is what it is.

Topps is allowing vital information that could help the hobby, and their company, to go towards those sympathetic to their cause or with ulterior motives.

And speaking on giving vital information, if you are member of Five-Star Club, you must present Topps in a positive light under any circumstances. Since Topps is owned by Disney, everything they do must be magic.

I thought the Five-Star Club would be more than this. It would be an opportunity for even the casual collectors to get involved in helping shape the cardboard industry. Instead, it is something for Topps to show their appreciation for those who pay large amounts of money for their products. That’s not necessarily a bad thing either, but the format is just a little less to be desired.

And I already know Topps response to this. “Collectors can help the industry and the brand by speaking up in various forms of social media with Topps representatives like on Twitter and Facebook. This program is just to show appreciation for the big spenders.”

But how do we know we are even heard by those that really matter? (No offense personally to their Twitter guy, he seems like a nice guy.)

For the record, I feel pretty much the same about the Upper Deck Diamond Club which is essentially the same thing.

The eBay HOT PACK: Rip Off or Rewarding?

eBay is consistently littered with these auctions for “hot packs” of products where you are guaranteed a hit card in a seemingly random pack of cards. This can drive up the price of the single pack multiple times over what it would sell for at the hobby or retail shop. But is it worth it?

A lot of these sellers will sell these packs after they have “searched” both retail and hobby boxes looking for the hits. This either comes at the expense of your local retail store or a hobby shop that either allows it to happen or doesn’t notice. I will never get into these searching techniques. If you want to learn, you can Google how to search packs of cards. Unethical? Yes. Illegal? Not unless you are actually damaging the product and putting it back on the shelf. That’s a whole different topic.

There are other sellers who are running even shadier practices. I’ve seen a lot of collectors buy a “hot pack” on eBay and then notice that the pack of cards if partially torn open. These “hot packs” are just repackaged to look like they are random packs, but in fact they are planned and seeded that way.

Personally, I would stay away from these packs as you can never tell if you are getting a fair deal. It also encourages those to “search” the packs at your local store which may result in you or another collector no longer having the same odds to pull one of the hit cards. Personally, I prefer to go to card shops that sell single packs behind the counter or buy blasters/rack packs from retail stores to avoid this.

If you want to get hit cards and aren’t willing to try these “hot packs” which can be rip offs, have you tried group breaks yet? You can usually get some nice hit cards, some of extraordinary value, for a cheap price if you’re lucky. There are a few group break sites out there. My personal favorite and the one that I trust the most is MojoBreak. Check them out and get involved in their group breaks. I did and was able to grab a SWEET 2012 Panini Prestige Doug Martin Patch Auto! The best rookie from my favorite football team.

Check them out, in my opinion, group breaks are a much better alternative to the risky business of eBay hot packs.

NFL Week 4 SCB Rookie of the Week

Week 4 is in the books and the rookies continue to shine in the league. With some fantastic quarterback play this week from the likes of Robert Griffin III and Ryan Tannehill, you would expect that a quarterback would win this one easily. Not so fast. There was also some great running backs on display as well. But we aren’t going with one of them either. Receivers? Nope. Okay, so maybe you picked someone on defense. Chandler Jones has been outstanding this year for the Patriots, it has to be him. Sorry, it’s not Chandler Jones.

The NFL Week 4 SCB Rookie of the Week is a kicker.

Greg Zuerlein of the St. Louis Rams did things that a rookie kicker has never done in a game. He also did things that any kicker in the history of the game has never done in a game. He was that good against the Seahawks this week as he went 4 for 4 in field goals hitting one from 58 and one from 60 in the same game. The 60 yarder was a franchise record (as was the 58 yarder earlier in the game) and he is the first kicker in history to hit one from both 60+ and 50+ in the same game. Not bad for a first year kicker.

While I don’t think Greg Zuerlein has ANY football cards, I’d imagine he would be a great addition to any Rams or kicker collector. Let’s try and get Greg his first NFL football trading card, eh?