Undoubtedly the biggest news in sports cards this week was the buzz about my interview on the FCB podcast last week. Riiiiight, maybe not. Although you shouldn’t do it for me, you should listen – it will even give you a little insight into the Hot List.
Paragraph break to reset, the biggest news in the hobby this week was the release of 2012 Topps, that’s right, base Topps – you know, the one that pretty much has base cards – a few crummy inserts here and there and that’s about it? If you are thinking that, you are sorely wrong. The competition in the card industry over the past few decades that has driven card companies to provide as much bang per buck as possible, has now even infected base Topps with Autographs, Coin Cards, Rare Parallels, Patches and Squirrels, that’s right, Squirrels.
I think there’s another thing that’s great about base Topps, nostalgia. First of all, it’s been going now for what, 61 years or something like that (we’ve established many times that consistency = very good in the card industry, card manufacturers still sorting that out….), there’s just something about that first release of the new year that’s cool. As a kid, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on a few packs, see the new design and break a pack or two hoping for the one in a million autograph. Now, about those autographs, if you were lucky enough to hit the one in a million auto, you likely would pull someone like Mickey Morandi. The Cal Ripken Jr. you were hoping for? Well, that’s an auto SP – which reminds me of the “Dumb and Dumber” moment where the desired woman says everything to Jim Carey but an all out no and he says “so you’re saying I’ve got a chance,” when we all know, he doesn’t. Yes, that’s where we all were hoping for one of these big hit autos. However, one year I struck gold, 3 retail Wal Mart packs and I pull an on-card Alex Rodriguez autograph out of 1996 Topps – what a hit, still to this day probably my biggest rush every in spite of having busted over 50 cases the last few years.
Now, the autographs are much easier to pull but the good ones..those are still tough. Topps also benefits from it being a bit of a “dry” release time when there isn’t a ton else going on in the hobby but collectors are beginning to get wound up for the season. You know what it also does, it provides fodder for the Hot List, yes, just like nuts for squirrels.
1. 2012 Topps Skip Schumaker Squirrel SSP
Comments: Speaking of which, you have the infamous Squirrel card (does anyone reaaaallly care about Skip Schumaker). This seems to have been a bit of a gimmick for Topps in these base releases – a card that draws attention (you recall Jeter and GWB a few years back) and is thought to be a good bit of a short print and ultimately winds up on the front page of yahoo.com. Now here is an interesting thing – in the card world something like 100, well that’s short printed, however, even if a small chunk of America wants 100, one isn’t nearly enough to go around and prices skyrocket. This happened to the Squirrel card and early sales were over $300, now they are around $100 and I’m sure will slide further but this is still a very nice value add for those opening packs.
2. Angelo Dundee 2011 Topps Allen and Ginter Auto
Comments: A recurring theme we seem to experience on the Hot List is in the inclusion of famous, or even semi-famous players who pass away. It’s kind of strange to be honest but we talk about price spikes and why they happen, regardless of the way they may have come about. You’ve heard a ton about Muhammad Ali and his autograph values if you’ve followed sports cards at all. What you might not have known up until this week was that his trainer, Angelo Dundee also had autographs and also had a following (for the record, I’m absolutely convinced a Rocky set with autographs of Mick, Paulie and the crew would sell amazingly well). Angelo passed away this week and I’m guessing the amount of eBay searches went up significantly causing his Allen and Ginter autos to quadruple from $15 to $60.
3. 2012 Topps Jumbo Boxes
Comments: For all the reasons I wrote in the introduction, Topps Jumbo Boxes have risen 25% or more this week and are moving like wildfire at local card shops and retail outlets alike. See how that works, write intro, cut description of another slot short, sweet!
4. Christian Yelich 2010 Bowman Sterling Autos
Comments: If you follow prospects, this isn’t the first time you’ve heard of Christian Yelich. However, you also know if you follow prospect sale prices that there has been a rising tide of sales over the last month that seems to be driving notable prospects that make top 100 lists and things of that nature, much higher in price. Christian is one of those guys – what happens is in the offseason prospectors have more time to sift data, lists and analysis and determine who they feel to be under priced, it appears that Christian was one of these guys and his 2010 Bowman Sterling Autos have risen from $8 to $12
5. Bryce Harper 2011 Bowman Chrome Autos
Comments: Bryce’s Chrome Autos have started picking up steam. It’s rare that people would ever consider a Chrome Auto that sells for $150-$200 depressed in value but that’s where Bryce was. As the season nears more eBayers begin to consider Bryce’s massive talent and what that might mean this year. Here’s the thing, Bryce has the chance to go bonkers at almost any time and given the reputation that precedes him this will mean a TON of media coverage when/if that happens. A ton of media coverage in tandem with some huge hype will mean that $200 is going to seem awful cheap for a Chrome Auto. Bryce’s Blue Refractor Autos have moved from the $450 range to over $600 in the past week.
6. Bubba Starling 2011 Bowman Chrome Draft Autos
Comments: One of the things that annoys me a bit at times is when a certain player has one card and the information comes out that there will be a second card made. Reactions like “omg sell sell sell!!!”, “guess I better list those” and “those gotta go now” abound. I have to imagine the people who made a fortune off Jason Heyward Elites, Mike Trout Elites and others must laugh. Typically the instigator of these statements is a players Chrome issue that comes out after some other set has released an autograph. Well, now Topps is doing it to themselves with this USA contract. Bubba’s 2011 Bowman Chrome Draft Auto was not his first auto, that was in 2010 Bowman Chrome (also 2010 Topps USA, 2010 Bowman Sterling and so on). And what are collectors saying? “I’ll take both, thank you.” Is what they are saying. Bubba’s Chrome cards of all varieties are going nuts. Now that’s easy to say when a player is so hot, I have a feeling there are going to be a lot of Chaz Roes (search that name in the forum if you don’t understand too) but in the mean time, people are starting to pay near $70 for Bubba’s Base Chrome Autos
7. 2012 Topps Blacks /61
Comments: Parallels of base cards that don’t shine typically don’t sell for much either. Topps Blacks, now /61 are certainly a large exception. The Placido Polanco above sold for $30 – now, I have nothing against P^2 but the first thing that comes to mind when I hear his name isn’t “He has a large hobby following.” It’s more like “yep, role player that does nothing in hobby land.” Except when he’s a part of a big set like Topps Black and in that case, he gets some bids and it is entirely possible that the seller who sold that card represents the only person who will receive a $30 payment tied to the name Placido Polanco this year.
8. Tom Brady High-End Rookies
Comments: I know Charlie Sheen was describing his own life when he said “winning.” But he would have probably been more accurate were he referring to Tom Brady’s football career. I have no soft spot for the Patriots, nor the Giants but I have to hand it to Brady and Belichek, Rodgers has his moment, Brees his, Manning his, Manning his and others but at the end of the day Brady and Belichek are always there. They just win and heck, somehow they seemed to do it even a little under the radar this season. Brady may very well be the Michael Jordan of football cards price-wise as his cards soar every higher. In the last few weeks there have been 4 sales of Contender Auto rookies over $4k, that’s right, $4 grand.
9. Prospect Autos
Comments: I rarely write about something as general as “prospect autos” but in this case I think it is merited (and I have little else to write about at this point). If you have been following or bidding on prospect autos you’ll know that as the season draws nearer, the card prices seem to be rising. Whether it is autographs from 2011 Bowman Draft or cards I wrote about like Christian Yelich above – prospect autos are on the upswing.
10. The Cold List
Comments: That’s right, I’m taunting you. I often receive comments “where’s the Cold List?” Well, that’s not exactly what I’m tasked with writing each week but it is something that I use as filler from time to time. I think it does maybe make some interesting points about human psychology. Everyone loves a good diss. Mitt Romney hates poor people, Newt Gingrich believes the moon is made of cheese, Barack Obama’s best friend is Fidel Castro and he loves Trotsky and Lenin. All exaggerations but none the less, I think in the love of the Cold List, we’ve probably made the point of why negative advertising works and character slams are more effective than interesting ideas. I’m also not that mean to taunt you with a Cold List mention and not throw something out there. However, it’s not card related, you know who’s cold? Kendrick Perkins is cold because this week, he may have become the ultimate victim of posterization, ever. You know who else is cold, me, I sold a Blake Griffin Gold Refractor Topps Chrome 9.5 for $300 a few years back, that’s a $1k card now.