There’s something beautiful about the fact that lots of sweet products come out during the off season, it is like a little holdover for us avid fans, who can’t do without thinking about that sport for the better part of the year. We are now in the NFL and MLB off-seasons simultaneously and true to form we’ve had several notable products released over the past few weeks. Namely, football Contenders, football SP Authentic, baseball Contenders and football Five Star. Just around the corner are 2012 Leaf Metal Draft and 2011 Panini National Treasures. All of these releases create an interesting dynamic in the market, that I believe gives shrewd buyers an opportunity and collectors a chance to spend a little less money on that card they want.
The typical belief has been that prices for any given product are highest shortly after release. Now, in all fairness, I have to challenge that assertion in the case of some prospect laden products like this year’s Bowman Draft but none the less, I think the maxim certainly holds true for the bevy of football products. So, lets say you are like me and see the Illinois patches on Mikel Leshoure’s Patch Autos in SP Authentic for the first time and short out your keyboard with drool. Well, take some time in replacing the keyboard because after the release of Contenders and Five Star and then subsequently National Treasures you’ll likely be able to pick one up for cheaper because the other people drooling have now turned their eyes to the new horizons. Sidebar: ever wonder why every card shop owner praises most all new releases? It’s because the customers that come into their store drooling = cold hard cash. Why what’s that? Yes sir, I love the trapped auto and in fact I think it’s an ideal way to display USA Signatures and at that price the boxes won’t be here long…
Anyway, that aside, we all know that knowledge and action in the card world often have no correlation – so in this case, what I’m saying is that you could have been nodding all the way through the section I wrote about waiting to purchase cards but as Mr. Petty says, it’s the hardest part and after reading this you’ll go bid up the first Contenders Auto you see of a prospect you like. It’s just another interesting wrinkle in this hobby that has more facets than any outsider would believe. It’s also why many new releases make this list because they are selling for crazy dollars, the reason they sell for crazy dollars is crazy people and on that note, away we go.
1. 2010 Dillon Maples Bowman Chrome Autos
Comments: But but but where is Jeremy Lin you ask? Well, as you’ll recall percentage increases week over week are the primary driver here at the Hot List and it becomes pretty hard to put up a big % when you start at $2,000 but more on that later. Dillon Maples sounds like a brand of syrup, or a park that you might go to “hey honey, lets go out to an afternoon in the park, I’m thinking either Muir Woods, or the Dillon Maples, what do you think?” You see, that may not be too far off because if you went to a baseball park seeing the Dillon Maples would be possible, perhaps in Peoria next year? Dillon was a late round signee who fell likely due to signability concerns as he had options to play football in college. But the Cubs, no stranger to throwing around cash whether merited or not signed Dillon and lately prospectors have started to realize that Dillon is of higher value than the average 14th rounder. He has 2010 Bowman Chrome Autos that sold routinely at $5 until last week when they moved promptly to $15 as Dillon comes on to more people’s radars.
2. 2006-07 Steve Novak UD Exquisite Patch Autos
Comments: Steve Novak is the first Knick and first New Yorker on a list that will feature many more. Steve had a great college career and there were many, myself included who thought of Steve as just that – a great college player who would probably be around the NBA a little bit and then find himself eating a great deal of hummus, playing somewhere in the Mediterranean. Quite honestly, this was exactly how it was playing out until Steve found himself on the Knicks, a team that is all of a sudden much more willing to explore the depths of their bench (I wonder why….). Steve rarely played in any games before early February and since February 6th has been averaging about 20 minutes a game and in that same span has made 30 three pointers in 10 games doing his best Robert Horry impression. Exquisites as a result have awoken and the Gold Version pictured above sold for double this week what it did last week.
3. 2007 Bowman Chrome Draft Travis D’Arnaud Auto Rookies
Comments: The big hit when Bowman Chrome Draft was released in 2007, at least from an autograph perspective was Michael Burgess. So far in his minor league career Michael has more K’s than he does hits, so that breeze your feeling in Daytona is from Michael taking batting practice. A lesser name, in fact, more like a “couple buck” name was Travis “I will not be confused, nor called Chase” D’Arnaud. The people I know who bought him, bought him because he was a Phillie not because they were in love with his tools. Since then, Travis has left the Philly system but blossomed into a bonafied prospect who is at the top of a lot of prospect lists, this week’s Baseball America 100 included. That gets you noticed and that makes your Refractor Autos double, even if they are still an affordable $35 dollars….now where did I put those Daniel Moskos cards.
4. 2004-05 Exquisite J.R. Smith Patch Autos
Comments: From the city of Brotherly Love back to the Big Apple we go. I’ll admit, I had no idea that J.R. Smith was on the Knicks until I saw him in the same highlight that I saw Steve Novak in. New York drivers, beware. As you can see from his Wikipedia entry, there have been times in his career where J.R. has set scoring records regarding driving abilities and not basketball abilities. Apparently J.R. was spending some time in China this year before signing with the Knicks but has come off the bench to provide a spark. Again, with this spark old Exquisites come to life and J.R.’s 2004-05 Exquisites that were going for $90 move up to $140.
5. 2010-11 Jeremy Lin National Treasures Patch Autos
Comments: In the Hot List, if we had to characterize our entries into two categories they would probably be either 1 – low valued card goes up like 10x in value or 2 – high valued card increases even more to astounding levels. Yeah, Jeremy Lin is all that in the span of three weeks. Any time cards get featured in major outlets like ESPN or Yahoo! Sports things go crazy and Jeremy’s National Treasures did…as a result one of the recent BGS 9.5s had 6 different bidders over $21,000 – what recession you talking about fool – people are interested in these at the “very nice used car” price point and I’ll say it again, a month ago you could have had them all at $30.
6. 2010 Bowman Chrome MasonWilliams Autos
Comments: A few weeks ago on FCB, I bought a lot of 10 Mason Williams Base Chrome Autos for $22 each – I haven’t got them, nor have I got a response to a PM (they’ve been read), nor a response to email, nor any other communication. Oh yes, Yankees1218 is still around – heck he entered the BA Top 100 contest and everything else but I think part of the issue is that he sold Mason Williams at $22 and Mason Williams is now selling for $35 an auto – he’s just kept moving up the entire offseason. I would like my money back but even more I would like the Mason Williams cards I bought because he’s hot enough to make the Hot List.
7. 2010-11 Paul George Absolute RPM Autos /499
Comments: In every basketball product last year rippers kept looking for that magical name J.Wall. I always think of the name in that fashion because there was a guy who played basketball at the gym I worked out at who wore a J.Wall shirt every day without fail. I thought he was maybe a little early on that and indeed, Wall’s second season in the NBA hasn’t been much different and in some ways, it’s been a little worse. On the other hand Mr. George is now average 12 ppg, shooting better AND is in the dunk contest this year. In baseball, chicks dig the longball, in basketball, chicks dig the dunk and if Paul has a great showing you better believe he’ll be on this list again and it will be because the autos above are selling for more than the $25 they are now.
8. Bryce Harper 2010 Bowman Chrome Autos
Comments: The category of “a card that already sells for a ton, that then proceeds to sell for more” over the past year in baseball, we could have just went ahead and called that the Bryce Harper category because that’s what it is. Bryce’s Chrome Autos continue to heat up, in this case to over $300 as the season approaches.
9. 2011 Contenders Football SPs (we think)
Comments: Each year a part of the fun that comes with Contenders football is the speculation about who is an SP and who is not. Honestly, eBay makes it a lot easier and people have gotten pretty good at it – this gives them the opportunity to bid up these projected SPs in anticipation of print run announcement by Panini. This year it is guys like Aldon Smith, Martez Wilson and Jeremy Kerley. Aldon Smith got a lot of pub when the ’49ers were making their run but guys like Wilson would have no business selling for over $100 were it not for the SP speculation.
10. 2011 Topps Five Star Aaron Rodgers Jumbo Relics
Comments: As I mentioned in my opening comments – it is really tempting to pull the trigger on cards you see that you desire right after release. One of the reasons for this is the fact that you think they might not show up again – in the case of the cards above – a ball used in the Super Bowl by Aaron Rodgers, you are probably right and it’s time to snap them up – these things are going to be insane.