Collecting Card-bored?

Every once and awhile someone will get bored of collecting sports card. Even yours truly has gone through the points where it just feels boring. I mean, in the end, it’s usually the same thing across the board. Sports players on cardboard.

Sure you’ll have your refactors, inserts, sets to complete, game used, and autographs, but those kind of get boring after awhile as it’s the same thing repeatedly. Some people even go to the point where they get bored of their personal collections and sell everything off.

When I get bored at sports cards, I like to change things up a little bit. I may switch my sports focus for a little bit. Right before I started the blog, I went through a phase of boredom in the hobby. I ended up going to a hobby shop, Wayne’s Sports Cards in Edmonton, and decided to open my first hobby box of NHL hockey cards. Well, it turned into my first three boxes. This opened up a brand new collecting door that I had never tried to open and boy, it got me going. I have always loved hockey and hockey cards rekindled the fire once again.

It just goes in spurts. The previous lull in my sports card collecting journey I started opening Benchwarmer products. Who doesn’t like hot chicks on cardboard? The fresh designs and faces again rekindled the collecting fire.

I’ve never been to the point where I just sold everything I have, but I’ve gotten to the point where I just sold off all of my trade bait just so I could go out and open some more boxes or get some personal cards for my collection. Lately, I’ve been thinking of selling off some of my personal collection that I don’t display and get cards worthy of displaying. I have countless autographs and game used cards that I don’t display or ever see and would like to put their combined value into something really nice. But I don’t think I could get rid of them as they are all teams I love.

What do you do to change up your collection or rekindle the fire inside you for collecting?

Upper Deck Presents National Hockey Card Day in America

February 11, 2012, will be a great day for hockey collectors in the United States. This year, Upper Deck will follow up their successful “Hockey Day in Canada” card promotion with a “Hockey Day in America” promotion in hobby shops all across the country.

Each Hockey Day in America set is 15 cards with a 16th bonus card provided when you purchase some Upper Deck product. You can find the set by opening up 5 card packs of cards which are also seeded with some great autographs for collectors to chase.

I was able to snag a Hockey Day in Canada set when I was up in Canada about a month after the promotion thanks to the wonderful people at Wayne’s Sports Cards in Edmonton. While they just gave me a full set, the cards were very nice. I wish I was able to open up some of the packs though to try and grab one of the exclusive autographs in the product.

Now I don’t have any decent hobby shops in my area and I don’t live in a hockey city besides our Junior team. Hopefully I can find a way to grab some of these packs from somewhere. Maybe I’ll try and contact Upper Deck to see if I can grab some packs from them to give away? I think they are selling them to dealers for extremely cheap so maybe I can get in on that and then give some packs away on Hockey Day in America.

Stay tuned, I’ll see what I can do! If I can’t, hopefully your local hobby shop will have some of these packs to give away to their customers.

2011-12 Basketball Rookie Cards

The NBA lockout has caused a number of issues with fans of the NBA, people who work for these professional teams, the players themselves, but also with trading card companies.

Panini America, the exclusive licensee of NBA trading cards, has not made any NBA licensed trading cards this season because of the lockout and will not create any products during the lockout. There does not appear to be any NBA trading cards as long as there is no NBA season. Definitely a bummer as there will be some great rookies to watch in their first season like Jimmer Fredette (exclusive Upper Deck signer), Derrick Williams (exclusive Panini signer), and Kemba Walker.

Since Panini will not be creating cards, what will happen to rookie cards of these future stars of the NBA?

2011-12 Upper Deck SP Authentic basketball released just last week and features some of the future stars in their product, which is fully licensed by the NCAA. You can find your autographed rookies of future stars like Jimmer Fredette, Nolan Smith, or the Morris twins.

But if there is no NBA season, how will the collectibility of these rookies be affected? With no season these rookies won’t get any exposure and won’t get to debut until next year with another class of rookies coming from the college ranks.

Will these Upper Deck cards be considered “true rookies” still or will they be marked as a “XRC” by a place like Beckett. Will the values of these rookie autographs drop or will they out gain next year’s products as they were produced first?

I guess time will tell, but I can see either occurrence having a legitimate chance of happening. My guess is that they are considered a “XRC” and really don’t have much of a rise in value nor a drop after the prices have been established. But they could possibly jump up in value as well, especially if one of the rookies in that product becomes a superstar.

We’ll find out if this NBA lockout ever ends.

What Infuriates You as a Collector?

As with every Friday night for the past couple of months, I have made sure that I turned on Cardboard Connection Radio and tuned into their discussions about trading cards. In fact, I wrote an article a couple of weeks ago about hearing the story of Mario from Wax Heaven and my thoughts on kind of a dark side the hobby may bring people into.

 

But tonight was interesting as it had Brian Gray of Leaf and Lance Fischer of Onyx Authentics chatting about their small companies. Brian Gray is the owner of Leaf trading cards and puts out several products featuring prospects and some top names in sports like Ichiro Suzuki and Mohammed Ali. Lance Fischer owns Onyx Authentics which sells authentic autographed memorabilia as well as game worn items from prospects and top players like Jon Lester and David Price.

 

They got into a chat about why they feel the hobby is going downhill and things that really infuriate collectors out there. They talked about redemptions, sub-par customer service, and brought up the “game used” issue that may not exactly have been game used. (In case you missed it, there was a recent operation in which sold jerseys that appeared to be game used to card companies that was taken down by the FBI.)

 

So what infuriates you as a collector? For me, there are a couple of things I’m not a fan of. I don’t get infuriated over many things, cards is not one of them. I’m a pretty calm person and just take things as they are but there are things I think need improvement.

 

  • Redemptions. To put it simply, if a player does not sign by a certain amount of time then they don’t get paid and you have someone else sign and get that done quickly. Money talks in this world and if athletes realize they don’t get paid if they can’t meet a simple deadline of writing their signature 1000 times then maybe they will get things done. I find it hard to believe that it takes that long to acquire signatures from athletes. Stop coddling them like they have been done their entire lives. Or do us collectors a favor and stop using athletes that take forever to honor their commitment. I like seeing products like some Upper Deck hockey products where there are no redemptions. Guess what? We don’t have to worry about expirations on redemptions that they don’t have. That means more sales for shops as people won’t be hesitant to buy older product. Cutting down redemptions will aid in your “save the hobby shop” campaigns.
  • Sticker Autographs. If you can send someone a bunch of stickers to sign, you can send them a bunch of cards to sign. I know this risks damage to cards, which is why you have them sign a few extras just in case something is damaged during transit. Or even better, have them come to your office or have a few acquisition people around the country with the task of sitting down and getting cards signed. You’ll have in person authentication and instant payment to the athlete when they are complete. I’m not sure exactly how this works now, but a regional acquisition person would be great as they could set a time through a player’s agent and either show up at their house for signings or at their stadium/arena of work. It may cost a bit more, but better looking cards and less worries about redemptions would improve the hobby and allow more trust in your brand which would mean more sales. For that idea, you can hire me for the Northwest/West Coast region. Just sayin’.
  • Memorabilia. We haven’t heard quite yet which companies bought the forged memorabilia but something needs to be done to assure the authentication of such items. Work with the player’s associations of each sport and get them from the association, the player’s agent, or the player themselves. You would think there would be markup if bought from a third party anyway, get it directly from the source. If you’re going for a retired/deceased player, make sure you can verify where each jersey came from through the timeline. You guarantee your items are authentic? It’s time to prove it.
  • Customer service. For one, there would be less of a strain on customer service if some of these ideas are taken into consideration. But customer service people should at least know something about sports and cards if they are the ones taking calls about product questions and replacing redemptions. Speaking of redemptions, a response within a reasonable time frame whether it’s by phone or email needs to be implemented as well as coming through on promises of replacements in a reasonable period of time. How does it take 6-8 weeks to replace a card? Is the redemption department completely unorganized? Why isn’t there a system in place that shows an item needs to be replaced and a section of inventory which is used for replacements? Find equal value, pack, and ship. I understand it can’t be that easy, but why can’t it?

I don’t know. Maybe my ideas are outlandish and somehow can not happen under the current landscape of the ways each company is set up. But there needs to be improvement in these areas from pretty much every large company out there. The smaller companies do a great job, but they have a smaller collector base and less products to begin with.

So tell me what infuriates you and how you think it can be fixed. I know all the complaints out there, but I would like to hear some ideas on how you would fix things.

The 2011-12 Hockey Season is Underway

With every team now having played a game for this 2011-12 NHL season, we can now sit back and watch the new teams, new players, and new story lines unfold throughout the season. As a sports card collector, the first thing I think of is all the new rookie cards that will be coming out soon.

The NHL rules when it comes to rookie cards work like this. If you are a skater, as soon as your skates hit ice you are eligible to be on a licensed trading card. If you are a goalie, if you are sitting on the bench and active you are eligible to be on a licensed trading card.

So with all the rookies hitting the ice the past few nights like Cody Hodgson (actually got some time last year), Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, and Adam Larsson (amongst others) will finally have their rookie cards made and inserted into products. You better believe that Panini and Upper Deck already had cards designed and ready to be printed for some of these top rookies. Some probably even printed beforehand for autographs.

My personal favorite rookie this season is the number one pick in the NHL Draft, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins of the Edmonton Oilers. Being a part-time Oilers fan (Hurricanes will always be number one since they were the Whalers) I am excited to see RNH in products. I wasn’t lucky enough to pull any Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, Magnus Paajarvi, or even Jeff Skinner cards in 2010-11 products, so I’m hoping I can pull some RNH this year.

Who is your favorite rookie you are looking forward to collecting this NHL season?

Here are some rookie autographs ready to go out from Panini.

A big congrats to RNH for scoring his first goal in his first NHL game!