What Should Have Been Added to 2012 Topps Archives

Sweep the leg!

The 1984 cult classic “The Karate Kid” is featured in 2012 Topps Archives with autographs from actors in the movie. This was an interesting idea from Topps, and not a terrible idea at all. It matched their 1984 design, it was a classic movie with a large fan base, and it’s in a genre that collectors would enjoy. It just doesn’t fit baseball to me.

But when Topps posed the question on Twitter on what we thought the bonus addition to Archives would be, I thought they were going to go with Major League. And that’s something they should of had in the product to make it legendary.

Imagine a Ricky Vaughn Topps card. Maybe Pedro Cerrano. Willie Mays Hayes? All of these characters would look great in Topps products with their Cleveland uniforms on. Then throw in some on-card autographs from the actors. Leaf has tried this with Charlie Sheen and it got a great response and the cards have some pretty good value attached to them. I would argue if Topps did it, it would be more valuable.

I just wish Topps had done this with Archives instead of The Karate Kid, or even in addition to The Karate Kid. The product is great as it is, but it could have reached legendary levels with that addition.

I guess with the success of this year, there is always next year. If they can’t afford to get the actors from Major League, maybe add a movie from 5 years later…Rookie of the Year. Get a Henry Rowengartner (Thomas Ian Nicholas) autograph. Phil Brickma (Daniel Stern)  and of course, Chet Steadman (Gary Busey).

Getting Your Sports Card Graded

For the first time in my history of collecting cards, I have sent out a few cards to get graded. What is grading you ask? It’s simple. It’s a professional company set up to “grade” your card based on several attributes to determine what condition your card is in. Centering, edges, surface, and corners are the common places companies look at to determine the condition of your card. High grades mean better condition. The better condition, the more value your card has.

There are two big companies that are the most popular to collectors. Beckett Grading Services (BGS) and Professional Sports Authenticator (PSA). PSA is known for doing the best with vintage cards while BGS is better known for modern cards.

Both companies will grade your cards and then return them, slabbed in plastic, so they can not be damaged anymore. This will keep them in the same condition and in adequate protection so they can no longer be damaged. BGS measures the grade in increments of .5 while PSA uses whole numbers.

Getting your cards graded has a number of benefits:

-Adding value to your collection

-Adding a great layer of protection

-Presentation

-Organization (easily stackable, reference numbers to check your collection and population reports, etc.)

The only issue with grading is the price. You can get grading for a relatively low price is you’re willing to wait. But if you are looking to resell, it may help add value which would off-set the price of the grading. For instance, I’m getting a card graded that will sell easily for $150 ungraded. I plan on selling it for up to 2 times that amount when it returns with a Mint grade from BGS. (At least I’m 95% sure it will.)

Personally, I wouldn’t want to grade my personal collection. I like have the physical cardboard in my hands as I feel closer to the magic of collecting cards that way. Although, I am getting a personal card graded as well. My only 1909-11 T206 card I own. However, that is for presentation purposes only. Plus I’m afraid of touching a 100+ year old piece of cardboard and breaking it.

But if you’re new and looking into grading your cards, currently I would not trust any company other than the ones I listed above. They are the most recommended by collectors and hold the most weight on the secondary market if you are looking to resell the cards at any point.

2012 Bowman AFLAC Autographs Checklist

The information just keeps on coming from Topps about this year’s Bowman release. May 9th can’t come soon enough for the Chromies and prospectors, so here’s a little more information to whet your appetite.

The 2012 Bowman AFLAC Autographs Checklist:

Sonny Gray /200
Andrew Susac /210
Jordan Swaggerty /210
Dillon Howard /225
Gerrit Cole /225
Stetson Allie /230
Mathew Purke /230
Dillon Maples /230
Austin Hedges /240
Jose Fernandez /240
Daniel Norris /240

All of your AFLAC autographs will be sequentially numbered and feature some of the first autographs from future stars like Jordan Swaggerty, Gerrit Cole, and Dillon Maples.

Increasing Your Card Shops Sales

The first staggering statistic I heard from those who attended the Las Vegas Summit was the number of card shops who don’t use social media to improve their customer base. The next statistic was the number of shops who don’t utilize the internet or other avenues to increase sales.

First, we’ll start with the internet. There are a number of sites you can sell your singles or card lots on that you may have never used before. The first of which is eBay. Arguably the easiest place to sell your cards at, eBay is the first stop collectors go to when looking for singles. Creating an eBay account is easy and listing is even easier. The only downside is the need for a PayPal account and the fees eBay imposes. However, if you want your singles sold quickly, this is the best place to go. If you aren’t using eBay, you are losing out.

The next best place, in my opinion, is CheckOutMyCards.com. This is a great place to sell your singles as well, especially those with lesser value. This is quickly becoming a close number two to eBay. The way this site works is that you send in your cards to them, they scan and list them for you, and you set the price. That’s all you have to worry about. The fees are much less than eBay, and from what I hear, sales are good. I’m going to be sending in a batch soon to them, so I’ll be able to explain more about it in a later post.

A site I just learned about, is Listia.com. Shane K. posted about this site in our last article on saving the card shops and he had some interesting points to use this site. “This site is similar to ebay auctions, except that no money is exchanged – it is all based off of virtual, free credits. This website has many sports cards that people are giving away for free – and often offer free shipping! I’ve seen plenty of serial numbered, game-used, or autographed cards being “auctioned” off. Its a good way to get rid of cards that may be collecting dust on your shelves, as well as obtain hot new cards to display and sell for 100% profit in your store!” I would also think it would be a great place to get some of your local team cards and sell them at your shop. I’m giving it a try right now for my personal collection.

(Tip: You can also use sports card forums like the ones listed to the right as a great place to help sell your singles and sets.)

There are numerous other places as well as I’ve seen people sell on Amazon, Beckett Marketplace, and numerous sports card auction/classified sites that pop up all the time. It’s not hard to find a place at all. I’m just showing you some of the easy ways.

I would also recommend putting your business online. I know Topps doesn’t require anything special, however, I would get with your distributor about becoming an online sales place for Upper Deck and Panini products. Putting your full business online is a great way to increase your sales and customer base. It’s pretty simple to set up yourself if you know a little bit about building sites, but it should be relatively cheap for the amount of extra business you’ll do to pay someone to do it.

Finally, why not sell more than just sports cards at your shop? Adding additional sports related merchandise would be a great addition. You know those stores that sell sports clothing and paraphernalia? Trying buying some team license plates, pens, beer mugs, jerseys, t-shirts, and all that fun stuff. You can not only market yourself as a sports card shop, but also as a place to buy other sports stuff for your favorite team. I know stores in my area which are very popular for their sports stuff and do good business. If you sell enough sports memorablia/paraphernalia, you could afford to drop the prices to a very competitive price as well. It’s definitely an idea worth exploring.

All of these ideas are great ideas from myself and the card collecting community. I invite other collectors out there to share their ideas to help card shops help increase their sales.

 

Topps Unveils Bryce Harper “Rookie Card”

Yesterday on Twitter, Topps posted a picture of the newly debuted Bryce Harper’s rookie card. Let’s take a look:

Oh wait. That was Bryce Harper’s first card from Topps…from last year. Let’s take a look at the new Bryce Harper “rookie” card.

Topps is ready to insert Bryce’s “rookie” into Topps Series II coming out in a couple weeks, and I’m sure several others including the Golden Giveaway and whatever else they have planned for the “phenom”.

Personally, Bryce’s rookie card is 2011 Bowman. I don’t care about the MLB rookie logo, it’s not the first licensed card of Bryce made by Topps as that was made last year and most collectors would agree. The only way this new rookie will be worth anywhere close to the Bowman rookies is if Topps decided to short print this rookie…which might just happen.

Update: Topps has confirmed that Bryce Harper’s Topps Series II rookie will indeed be short printed.

Bryce will also be featured with autographs in Bowman, Allen & Ginter, Tier One, Archives, and the rest of Topps products throughout the 2012 season.