Is it just me or does it seem like 2010, even though only halfway gone, has already been a year of big stories both in the sports and non-sports realms? In sports you have: the rise of Jason Heyward, the fall of the Fighting Lebrons , Braden’s perfect game, Halladay’s perfect game, Canada’s win over the U.S. in the Olympic Gold Medal hockey game, maybe the most anticipated debut ever – Stephen Strasburg, Bryce Hyper, sorry, Harper and the 2010 draft and the list goes on and on. The majority of these have had significant impacts on the collecting world as well.
However, they’ve just been distractions when compared to: the battle over health care reform, the battle over the Arizona immigration law, the figurative sinking of the Greek economy, the literal sinking of the Deepwater Horizon BP Oil Rig, continued high unemployment and so on.
It is fair to say that the news media both sports and otherwise, has had plenty of fodder to report on this year. If you are still reading about the fire department rescuing kittens out of a tree it might be time to find another periodical…there is plenty to report on.
It has been no different in the baseball card prospecting world; there has been a lot of excitement thus far this year, the pinnacle of which has been 2010 Bowman. As I was thinking about 2010 Bowman I saw some interesting parallels between it and the oil spill in the gulf. Let me offer up five. Disclaimer: I am in no way intending to mock, lessen or diminish the impact and general awfulness that is the Gulf Oil Spill, I’m just offering up some thoughts.
- There was much discussion about each before the actual event occurred. The upsides and downsides of offshore drilling have been discussed and debated (in some cases hotly) for years. This is really quite similar to what happens on message boards, like FCB each year, as collectors discuss the merits of breaking large quantities of Chrome wax to try and make a profit. There’s no debate that there are some significant risks involved but there is also very little debate about the rewards that may lie deep within the cases, or deep under the sea, in the case of oil.
- As new discoveries come to light, interest and prices increase. There has been an increasing interest in offshore drilling, particularly in deep water as more and more oil has been found there. This causes increased prices for land leases, as companies like BP bid for the rights to extract it. Similarly, the more we found out about 2010 Bowman, the larger we realized the value “pool” was. We learned there were Strasburg Chromes, Heyward Chrome Autos, Castro Chrome Autos and the list went on. The more we found out, the more the rights went up for the opportunity to extract these cards.
- The results were stunning. Very few would have believed that Strasburg Base Cards, Harper Chromes and cases of 2010 Bowman would sell for anywhere close to what they are selling for. When jumbo cases hit $1,100 per, most were surprised they’d got that high. In the same way, no one thought the explosion on this rig would eventually turn into the worst oil spill in history (by leaps and bounds). Each time we thought things were at a containment point in the gulf (containment dome, top kill etc.) things continued to get worse and the amount of barrels spilled continued to rise, there is no end in sight. So it is with the price of 2010 Bowman cases.
- The events have been big enough that they may have a profound long-term impact on the industry. Collectors won’t soon forget the prices Heyward, Strasburg and Harper were selling for from 2010 Bowman. In fact, they’ll be in the back of prospector’s minds as they purchase lesser guys, thinking “if they can only get to what Strasburg sold for, I’ll make a fortune.” Similarly, the oil industry may never be the same after this spill, as it will linger in the waters of the Gulf for years and in our heads for many years beyond that.
- Things are beginning to dry up. A parallel I only wish I could make. As less 2010 Bowman is busted, Strasburg makes his debut and Harper gets drafted, things may begin to calm down a little for 2010 Bowman. We can only hope that the actions taken over the next days, weeks and months have the same result on the Gulf Oil Spill, it is truly my prayer that this happens.
Frankly, you could write a paper on each one of these parallels and there are many more beyond what I’ve listed. It is amazing though how one grand event in the card world, shares so many common themes with one catastrophic event in the energy industry.