ITG Signs Exclusive Agreement with Artist Jared Kelley

Do you not know who Jared Kelley is? Well you should.

Have you seen those amazing U.S. President cards from 2011 Goodwin Champions by Upper Deck? The ones that are hand painted on the cards? That’s Jared Kelley’s work. Simply put, those cards are amazing looking and sell for a pretty penny on the secondary market.

Well Dr. Price over at In The Game trading cards has signed an exclusive agreement with Jared Kelley for Sport Kings and ITG trading cards. His first assignment with Dr. Price’s companies will be with Sports Kings Series E which will release in the spring of 2012.

So if you are into the beautiful artwork that Jared Kelley does, look for more of his work coming out soon in trading cards by ITG/Sport Kings.

How Much Gold is in Panini Gold Standard?

I was scouring the internet tonight in search of some collectors thoughts on some products. I do this quite a lot just to see what is currently the trends in the hobby and where they are going. I like seeing what collectors like and what they don’t like, their opinions, and of course checking out their box breaks.

But tonight I found something different. The question was posed, how much gold is actually in 2010-11 Panini Gold Standard basketball cards? I found a collector who actually went “Gold Mining” on a Gold Stars insert card that is embedded with real gold. A gold embedded Shane Battier card numbered to 8 gets the brunt end of a knife and a collector who really wants some gold.

With all respect to Shane Battier, it’s only Shane Battier. With the current price of gold reaching an all-time high for an ounce the other day, how could you blame him?

But at least we now know the answer of how much gold is in 2010-11 Panini Gold Standard basketball. As expected, it’s not a large amount, but it is a cool idea that collectors are eating up. Topps is even getting into the gold craze next year with 2012 Topps baseball. I wonder if he will destroy an Adam Dunn gold card next season?

My Perfect Trading Card Set

I was thinking the other day on what my perfect card set would be. So I am going to create the perfect set of trading cards, at least in my opinion. I’m not going to talk about design or anything as that would take a lot of work for me and I’m not THAT good with Photoshop CS3. So we will just pretend.

Packs Per Box: 18

Cards per pack: 7

Base set (200 cards)

The base set would consist of strictly veterans of the game and a few retired stars. I would also have card numbers 151-200 be short printed cards which are slightly harder to find. I wouldn’t number the SPs, but they would be limited enough where you only pull maybe 1 SP every 5 packs. I would also parallel the base to two numbered versions. I would number them to 50 and 1. That’s it.

Rookies (25 cards)

I would choose 25 of the top rookies for whatever sport we are doing. However, these rookies would be limited to maybe 199 copies of that single card. This keeps the rookies limited and fresh while helping them hold value over the long term. Maybe only include 1 or 2 rookies per box.

Inserts (4 or 5 insert sets of 15-20 cards each – at least 1 veteran, 1 rookie, and 1 legend set)

I like inserts and I love that they break up the monotony of pulling just base cards. However, I would only have inserts included 4 or 5 per box. Maybe one of each insert per box? Every insert would be numbered according to print run, and I don’t really have time to put together exact numbers but we’ll just say maybe numbered to 299.

Game Used/Autograph (3 -4 total per box)

The parallel versions of these inserts will include either game used memorabilia or autographs. I would parallel these cards a few times but with specific reasons for each parallel. Memorabilia cards numbered out of 100, prime memorabilia cards numbered out of 75, autographs numbered out of 50, autographed memorabilia numbered out of 25, and autographed prime memorabilia numbered to 10 or lower. The autographed prime memorabilia would be the best patches you can put together. I think keeping these numbers low is key to having them hold value over the long term, especially when you are pulling star players.

Base/Rookie Autographs (75% of cards in base set, every rookie)

Base and rookie base autographs numbered to 50 and numbered to 1. Again,we are printing lower numbers and getting less autographs of these players in a product. In reality, who wants a product flooded with autographs of a single scrub player or two?

Box topper (1 per hobby box)

I think box toppers should be in every product. These are so versatile and you can do anything you want with them. Rip cards, 5×7 cards, autographs, memorabilia, random minis, or anything your creative team can think of. Any added value to the collector is a great thing for everyone involved.

This is a very generalized set that in my opinion, would be a great starting point. I haven’t really run the numbers on how many cards would be needed, price of product, price of creation/distribution…but the basics are there for a product loaded with potential value and the hits that collectors would want to get. It’s large enough for set builders to have a challenge as well.

I understand the numbers may not work or whatever, I’m not claiming to have done the math and the actual hard work the people who get paid the big bucks get to do. I’m just thinking of ways to improve value over the short and long term.

What would your perfect trading card set consist of?

 

Interview: Thomas Fish of Blowout Cards

After the success of my interview with Adam of Dave and Adam’s Card World and my review of Blowout Cards vs. DA Card World I received an email recently from Thomas Fish, one of the owners of Blowout Cards. He was disappointed that I gave the nod to DA Card World when it came to customer service and assured me that Blowout Cards treats every customer with the same level of customer service and mentions how Blowout gives away a lot of product during the year without customers needing to buy anything. For one, I can attest to that as I entered one of their contests recently for a full case of product for showing your reaction to receiving a redemption card. After spending time in their forums, which I had never really visited, they give away items quite a bit to members on their site which is great for promotions. So I recommend people check out the Blowout Cards Forums.

So after that email and checking out what he was talking about, I decided to ask him a few questions. I used questions in my interview with Adam and also got some more input from the sports card community. Again, nothing really hard hitting but you can read his responses and maybe it will help you decide where you want to purchase your products from. So here is another uncut interview from Sports Card Blog (Caution: Another long read!):

 Sports Card Blog: I’ll start with the basics, how did Blowout Cards get its start in the trading card industry?

Thomas Fish: Blowout Cards was founded in 1998 by Chris Park. Chris started off breaking boxes and cases and selling team sets and singles to collectors and card shops across the country. His customer base expanded and he bgan to move from singles cards to unopened wax. Providing unopened boxes and cases at the best prices on the Internet became his niche. While others were focusing on card shows back in the late 90s, Chris was building an Internet presence through newsgroups and websites…one of which was eBay. In 2005, Thomas Fish partnered with Chris and began to build and market BlowoutCards.com.

Sports Card Blog: How many employees do you have working for you?

Thomas Fish: The Blowout Cards team currently consists of approximately a dozen members and that number does fluctuate depending one what projects we have and the time of year.

Sports Card Blog: In your opinion, what makes your company a better choice when purchasing products?

Thomas Fish: The consumer has many choices when making their purchases and our goal is to provide a hobby shop experience online for collectors.

Blowout Cards is focused on providing consumers with a fun place to shop, the most competitive prices and the very best customer service. We are very proud of being voted best online retailer the last 2 years by collectors. We do our best with the assistance of our community to provide as much information as possible so our customers can make smart choices when making their purchases.

Sports Card Blog: Why was Blowout Cards not included in the first batch of Upper Deck Authorized Online Retailers? Or why do you think this happened if there was no official reason?

Thomas Fish: This is a question that should be directed to Upper Deck. The director of hobby sales Michael_Phillips@upperdecknv.com or the CEO of Upper Deck Richard_McWilliam@upperdeck.com would be better suited to answer that.

(SCB Note: I have sent an email to Michael Phillips and await a response.)

Sports Card Blog: Now I have some questions from your consumers…I had a few people ask if you plan on carrying older wax products or more of a selection of older wax products then you currently have in stock?

Thomas Fish: We are always looking to enhance our product selection. If collectors are looking for any specific products the Blowout Cards team has numerous resources to procure older wax. We are always adding to our product selection and urge collectors to follow us on Twitter where we constantly update with our new offerings and restocks.

Specific out of stock items or older wax inquiries should be sent to chris@blowoutcards.com

Sports Card Blog: How are you able to keep your prices so much lower than your competition?

Thomas Fish: We run a very efficient business and negotiate with vendors the best deals possible and pass on the savings to our customers.

Sports Card Blog: An issue that several people weren’t impressed with was the way giant sales are handled by Blowout and if you planned on a different system in the future? (ex. Black Friday)

Thomas Fish: We were the first in the sports card industry to run a “Black Friday” sale on that scale on-line. The Black Friday sale was one of the most successful sales in Blowout Cards history with over 2 million page views. We were able to offer our customers thousands of boxes at prices never seen before. We did learn a lot from that sale and although mostly positive, some customers did have difficulty getting through and ordering since many of the boxes sold out within a few minutes. The Blowout Cards team is constantly looking for ways to enhance the customer experience. We are very open to any suggestions and ideas and all are appreciated and can be emailed to fish@blowoutcards.com.

Sports Card Blog: Does Blowout plan on starting a loyalty program for repeat customers?

Thomas Fish: We do appreciate all of our customers and run some of the industry’s most entertaining and fun promotions. We are planning on many more exciting things for our customers…STAY TUNED and be sure to visit us at Blowout Cards and follow us on Twitter.

Sports Card Blog: And finally, do you personally collect cards yourself? If so, what are your favorite teams or players to collect?

Thomas Fish: Although I don’t currently collect cards myself I do still have my collection from when I was younger. Somtimes I look through it and I am amazed to see how things have changed. It is crazy to think that at one time inserts “limited” to 10,000 were considered extremely rare. Come to think of it when I was first buying packs in the last 70s and 80s inserts didn’t exist. My favorite and first card I bought was a 1976 Fred Lynn at a coin show in White Plains, NY. I instantly became a Red Sox fan. I do collect original comic art and understand the passion that collectors have.

Thank you for allowing me to share with you and your readers.

Sports Card Blog: Thank you Mr. Fish and go Red Sox!

So again, I would like to thank Mr. Thomas Fish of Blowout Cards for spending his time answering these questions for me. It is obvious that he loves his job and understands the passion that collectors have out there. I think with him having a forum on his website, he clearly sees that day in and day out. I will try and get that information on why Blowout Cards was left out of the Upper Deck Authorized Internet Retailer program and see if I can get an answer. I’m not sure if I am to expect one or not but if an answer is given I will immediately post the information. It’s definitely a head-scratcher to me as to why Blowout Cards isn’t included and it would be nice to know.

If you haven’t checked out Blowout Cards for your trading card needs I recommend visiting their website. They have some of the best prices on the internet when it comes to boxes and make sure you check out their forums too. They seem to always have cool stuff going on there.