If you read the thread each week where I ask for suggestions for the Hot List, then you noticed that much of the debate this week, particularly between three moderators (jcmint, myself and cgilmo), was over the beauty, or crapsicle (thanks for that new one, Joe) nature of 2011 SP Authentic football patches. By the way, if you don’t read the thread, shame on you AND you are eventually going to miss out on the fact that someone will mention a card in your commons is scalding hot – where it will sit until it cools off. But anyway, back to the question regarding the beauty of the 2011 SP Authentic cards. Honestly, as with a collectors opinion on any card, it is very much a personal question for each buyer to answer themself, sure eBay may answer it from a total hobby standpoint but you can still make your own determination.
All that said, there is a bigger point to be made here, just the fact that debating Upper Deck at this time is interesting. Throughout the ’90s collectors had brand upon brand upon brand to choose from. Topps, Donruss, Fleer, Upper Deck and all the deviations thereof brought oodles of sets to market each year. Recently, in most of the major sports, the licenses to use big league logos have increased in price and the licensees have therefore decreased. One casualty of this from the football perspective was Upper Deck and considering the impact of the SP Authentic and Exquisite sets each year, that was a big deal. As the licenses faded, many of us pondered the fate of these non-licensed companies and some may have thought it was a “one foot in the grave” type of situation. However, a couple of years removed from the last licensed SP Authentic set, here we are discussing the release of 2011 SP Authentic football and in a few months, we’ll probably talk about Leaf Metal Draft and Andrew Luck autographs and all the rest – all this to say, it seems that the licensing isn’t quite as big of a deal as we may have thought. So what does that really mean at the end of the day for Joe Collector? It means that he still has many selections from which to buy and it also means that the card manufacturer has an opportunity to increase value in their product and still increase their margin without incurring another dollar of cost (thanks to Brian Gray for pointing this out on the FCB podcast) – please note I said opportunity, it is no done deal.
Now speaking of licensing – in the basketball world only Panini has one and in the baseball world it is only Topps. This can create some downside for collectors. Think a little harder – this means that when Panini decides not to produce any basketball cards this year (at least so far) that collectors have nothing new to buy and just like the raccoon who won’t let go of the shiny piece of tinfoil in the trap, we hobbyists love the new and different and it just isn’t there in basketball. I think as a result of this, players who are experiencing breakout seasons in their 2nd, 3rd, 4th or whatever year are going to see a bigger spike as collectors look for something to get excited about. And so after all that, you finally have my transition to #1 on the Hot List.
1. 2010-11 Jeremy Lin Patch Auto RC /99
Comments: Jeremy Lin, Jeremy Lin is the auto patch you pull from National Treasures and mutter some curse under your breath, he’s not John Wall, he’s not Demarcus Cousins, he’s not really anyone to you expect a thorn in your case breaking side. However, Jeremy turned from thorn into rose in record time as he began lighting it up for the Knicks last week. This brings up another point, although it seems like we have to reach back to the Patrick Ewing, Derek Harper, John Starks days to remember when the Knicks were good, they are still a very big name in the basketball world. New York is a very big name in any sports world no matter how crummy that team might be – and therefore, they too are still looking for something to get excited about and they have found Jeremy Lin. Jeremy’s National Treasures Patch Autos literally went from $25 to $300 plus overnight and those collectors who were too lazy to sell when they pulled the cards are sure cashing in now.
2. Curtis Martin 1995 Signature Rookies
Comments: I want to point out two amazing things for number two on the Hot List. First, it is amazing how many truly great running backs there have been in the NFL – I mean guys who have lasted and will be remembered for decades – the Jim Browns, Walter Paytons, Barry Sanders, Emmitt Smiths of the world, there just aren’t that many when you consider how many played the game. Amazing thing number two – Curtis Martin is the 4th leading rusher in NFL history and he’s already faded from the consciousness of many avid football fans. His election to the Hall of Fame this week brought him back to the front of many folks minds and therefore his cards as well. His signature auto rookies were at one point available under $10 bucks and hopped up to $15 this week after his election was announced.
3. 2011 Panini National Sets – Kyrie Irving
Comments: So I pretty much took two spots off before continuing my rant about Panini not making many basketball cards lately. I’m kidding, that horse is so dead it isn’t suitable for the glue factory anymore but Kyrie Irving does have one card out. It’s the card that Panini included in their National Set along with Derrick Williams and a few others. In a normal year, it would be worth jack squat, in this turned upside down year, these sets are now going for $80 and that’s up from $60 last week and $45 the week before.
4. Eli Manning 2004 Topps Chrome Refractors
Comments: The last couple weeks, the Hot List feature some Tom Brady rookie refractors that sold for $500, earlier this year we were talking about Aaron Rodgers Topps Chrome Refractors that were selling over over $200 each, Drew Brees 2001 Topps Chrome Refractors also sold for over the $100 mark this year. I guess the lesson to be learned here is that if you really believe in Cam Newton as the next huge thing in NFL quarterbacks then his refractor prices shouldn’t scare you where they are right now. But this isn’t about Cam, it’s about the now two time Super Bowl winning Eli Manning whose own refractors went from $75 to $125 this past week after he bettered his big brother in Super Bowl wins.
5. Paul George 2010-11 Panini Absolute Auto /299
Comments: First name, first name – a classic example, oh wait, yeah so – In his second year, Paul’s stats are up pretty much across the board. He’s shooting more accurately, scoring more often and even doing the other things like rebounding and passing. Collectors and fans alike are starting to take more notice of Paul and his rookie year autos like Absolute are creeping up, moving from $10-$12 up to $16-$20 this year and even though they like what he’s doing now, Pacers fans continue to be excited by Paul’s potential.
6. Nolan Arenado 2010 Bowman Chrome Autos
Comments:Last week in this spot, we had Bubba Starling – Bubba has certainly had an explosion in prices but it has been over a few months time frame. This week, we feature another player who has just kept rising to get to the point that he’s at now – Refractor Autos selling for $63, a new high up from $53. However, aside from their rise up in prices and proficiency with the bat, Nolan and Bubba are different. Bubba was one of the names in 2011 Bowman Draft, collectors on the other hand were ripping 2010 Bowman w/Chrome looking for Donovan Tate Autos, Strasburg Autos and Base Cards, Bryce Harper USAs and so many other names, Nolan was an after thought. After though no longer, this AFL MVP’s cards continue to parallel his climb on many prospect ranking lists.
7. 2011 SP Authentic Patch Autos
Comments: Ah, the subject of the earlier debate – on the boards that is, it appears that there isn’t much debate on eBay as a card /299 like the Newton above is selling for $500 plus right out of the gate. However, the bigger question is what do you think? Post in the comments whether you consider it good, bad or ugly and why and someone will win a random slot in FCB’s Contenders giveaway.
8. Christian Yelich 2010 Bowman Chrome Draft Autos
Comments: Read all the things I said above about Nolan Arenado and the excitement or lack thereof when you pulled an auto. In this case, you wanted to see Manny Machado or Jameson Tallion and instead you got Christian, a guy with a last name that sounds like some Eastern European delicacy. But as it so often goes, it just takes a while for some guys and some winters later they start showing up higher and higher on prospect lists and all of a sudden, a Yelich sounds somewhat more appetizing – and Chrome Autos for the first time ever exceed $20 and head towards $25.
9. Mason Williams 2011 Bowman Chrome Blue Refractor Autos /150
Comments: It always seem like each winter, one Yankee really gets hot. It was Jesus Montero a couple years ago, Gary Sanchez last year and now this year it seems like it is going to be Mason Williams whose Blue Refractor Autos moved over $90 this week.
10. 2012 Topps Gold Standard GU Patch Autos /10
Comments: A week ago, I read a question posed on the boards, something to the effect of “when do you think the high-end GU market will blow up?” If you recall, when UD first started doing GU in the mid-90s normal jersey swatches sold for huge money and as you might expect, the bottom fell out of that market. Then there were patches and to a large degree, that market too has tanked. The one GU market that continues to go strong is the vintage GU market particularly as it relates to patches. Here’s the thing – to get a vintage GU Patch you have to get a patch of someone who played in an earlier time, with earlier technology and therefore lots less “patchworthy” material. I just don’t see that market going away any time soon and I think cards like the Ernie Banks above make my point – the Gold Standard Patch Autos /10 are selling for huge money!