Hate if you want, the man played like he wanted it and LeBron James now has a ring. Amazingly enough, LeBron’s cards already sell for so much money that there’s not really much of a pop to be had…which brings us to an issue I’d like to address.
I know that the dog days of summer don’t start for a while longer but this is often the time that begins to feel that way particularly in the sports card industry. The NHL playoffs are over, the NBA playoffs are nearly over, the NFL hasn’t started in spite of what ESPN might have you think, we are mid-season in the MLB and the MiLB and card releases are slowing down.
From a Hot List perspective the beginning and ends of seasons provide by far the most fodder for card movement – players exceed expectations either at the outset or turn in outstanding performances in the playoffs (ahem, Mario Chalmers). In the middle of the season it seems that it is just harder to get the attention of collectors and thus we see less baseball “pops” on the list.
Not only is there a little less going on in the actual sports world but releases tend to slow down a little bit in the card industry during the summer. This causes two things – first, less interesting “hot” new cards coming on the scene but secondly, the releases that do happen get gobbled up even if they are of lesser quality, case in point, Topps Tier One.
If you browse the forums for commentary regarding Topps Tier One you are going to find two things, first – the big hits that are coming out of the product be it bat knobs, acetate rookie reprints and gold 1/1s are very big hits. Second, the majority of autographs in the product are what we like to call “dead wood.” From a forum perspective you might be thinking eh, not bad, I’ll take my chances to get the big one. If you are starting to think that way, pause, go read some box breaks where the hit was a Salvador Perez Autograph /25 and take your funds and buy the card you want on eBay. I know you are in the desert but it doesn’t mean that you must drink sand.
1. Chris Archer 2011 Bowman Chrome Autos
Comments: Chris made his major league debut on what shall be known as “Pine Tar Day” – no, not the poster on the forums and no not George Brett, Joel Peralta. I imagine it has to be very nerve wracking to make a Major League debut but then to be told that the opposing pitcher is Stephen Strasburg, well yeah that ramps the nerves up to a new level. In spite of that Chris pitched a great ball game for the Rays and once again the Cubs are left wanting as they watch a former prospect pitch really well. Chris’ autos were selling for $2 the week before and immediately jumped up to $15.
2. Magic the Gathering “Land Tax” Card
Comments: I am not going to sit here and expect you to believe that I understand why Magic the Gathering cards change prices like they do. Apparently, this card long ruled to powerful to be legal was ruled to be legal recently and thus became much more of a factor in gameplay and thus prices went from $5 to $35. If the “Land Tax” card has anything even remotely resembling the power of the IRS or heck, even property tax collectors I am going to go ahead and say this is a game over type deal. It’d be particularly funny if they had land tax cards for different countries. Russian land tax, please leave your dacha so Mr. Putin can move in.
3. R.A. Dickey 1997 Bowman Chrome Rookies
Comments: In perhaps the feel good story of the season R.A. Dickey continues to leave prior expectations so far in the review mirror. Everyone seems to love the old guy who rejuvenated his career by doing something different, heck, everyone just seems to love the old guy (how much publicity did Jamie Moyer get just for being 49 this season?). R.A. is not just the old guy, he is the old guy pitching at a super high level with consecutive one hitters. Bowman Chromes went from $5 to $20 as a result of these unreal performances.
4. Webb Simpson 2012 Leaf Metal Golf Autos
Comments: Leaf Metal Golf was a resounding success this season as the initial release received rave reviews for design and also for player selection and great autographs. However, there was another element that some may have recognized, Leaf Metal Golf now provided an opportunity for many to try and pick the dark horse that might win the next major and see a “major” spike in their cards. Webb Simpson is just that, prior to winning a major his cards were selling for $5 and for a time afterwards they moved up to near $20. Imagine if Tiger Woods had a Leaf Metal Golf Auto from his rookie year…yeah, insane.
5. Mario Chalmers 2008-09 Exquisite Autos
Comments: (Insert your own favorite Mario joke here – itsa me, Mario!) Michael Jordan won 6 championships and in helping him along the way were guys like Horace Grant, Luc Longley, Bill Wennington, Steve Kerr and so many more. This year it was Mario Chalmers and Mike Miller – both difference makers in Game 4 and Game 5. Lebron and Dwayne Wade are devastating going to the hoop particular when M & M are knocking down 3s from long distance like they were. Mario seems to have a knack for coming up clutch in big situations and his game 4 performance brought renewed interest to his 2008 Exquisite Rookies which jumped from $40 to $90 this week.
6. 2003-04 Topps Matrix Wade/James/Bosh BGS 9.5s
Comments: One of the most popular things about 2005 UD Ultimate Collection Baseball Dual Autos was that it had really interesting and unique pairings. They were pairings that were developed by watching players compete over the course of many years. So the fact that Bosh/Wade/Lebron wound up on the same card in 2003-04 long before “not 5, not 6, not 7″ was even an idea is pretty unreal. For that reason alone this is a very unique and interesting card and oh yeah, it doesn’t hurt that they did just win it all. BGS 9.5 copies bring a huge premium and jumped into the $400s this week.
7. Tyler Thornburg 2010 Elite Autos
Comments: One of the most interesting things about the massive amount of card selling that happens on eBay is how quickly things can change. Thornburg was called up to make a start, his Elite Autos almost immediately doubled and then that start didn’t go so well and they cooled off pretty quickly again. Regardless, Thornburg was a very very cheap card when 2010 Elite was released and his autos popped over $10 this week.
8. Topps Tier One Bat Knobs
Comments: If this Hot List was written in 2006 you better believe that the Alex Gordon Topps error cards would have been on there. Not only were they hot but the prices were being driven up by a certain mega collector, Keith Olbermann former ESPN anchor, former MSNBC anchor, former insert a few other stations anchor and lightning rod of political controversy. What’s not debatable is that when he decides he likes something Keith is willing to spend stupid amounts of money on cards, like the bat knobs that he is loving in Topps Tier One.
In other news…
Overproduction stinks – this was evidenced as I was looking through sale prices of autos for the USA draftees that were drafted recently. If there were just a couple solid sets it would be fantastic but right now an eBay search for Albert Almora generates 233 results.
Something that does not stink on the other hand, the FCB BGS Sub, we are consistently sending and grading nearly 400 cards a month at BGS – its the best deal out there, what are you waiting on?
Looking for hot rookie reprints that will sell for more than the real thing? Look no further than here.
Panini Past & Present Rookie redemptions, hot simply because they might be Kyrie Irving