When in the desert people will drink sand. It is an often stated phrase but at some times of the year in the card industry it rings oh so true. I was reminded of this when I saw these sales for Robert Griffin III “cards.” As far as you and I are concerned, Robert Griffin doesn’t have any real cards out yet – the only thing that has sold on eBay are these horrific “I made them with my laser printer and put them in a phony slab cards.” But there is an important thing to note about the prior sentence, I said sold, as in someone sold and someone paid. That my friends, means that sand is being exchanged and in fact, the market is heating up, so it must be desert sand.
I say all this only to bring ip something I’ve been thinking about for the last twelve months. Across all sports, the quarterback is an extremely unique position – although he and a pitcher share the same quality, in that they have a enormous control over their team’s destiny for that game, they diverge when it comes to the hobby. It truly doesn’t matter what NFL team the QB plays for, sure a Green Bay helps but any team will do. If a quarterback is performing well, there’s almost no ceiling for the cards – recall Hot Listers this year like Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, Tim Tebow, Alex Smith, Joe Webb, Matt Flynn, Tom Brady, Cam Newton, Andy Dalton, Eli Manning and Peyton Manning – oops, not so much on the last one. QBs are prime targets for both media and hobby hype and that’s interesting because we must flash back all the way to 1998 to recall when two QB prospects have been more hyped than Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin. In 1998 there was no clear cut #1 – it was a constant debate between Peyton and Ryan “Nissan” Leaf and the Colts must still offer up prayers of Thanksgiving, daily, for their pick. At the time, both Peyton and Ryan’s rookie cards sold like hot cakes and Peyton’s 1998 Contenders still go in excess of $2k and you can expect the same kind of craziness over Andrew Luck and RG III’s rookies. A poll I put up this week in the football forum found that many collectors believe that RG III’s Leaf Autos will sell in excess of $150 as they release this week, we shall see. The Leaf release will provide some excitement in an otherwise slow week for the hobby!
1. 2011 Topps Marquee Museum Collection Autos
Comments: Topps Marquee provided “big hits” like Jumbo Patches of guys like Angel Pagan and autos of relatively unknown young stars, who are yet to make their mark in the baseball world. I’m fairly certain that I was rather critical of the product on this blog, at one point in time or another. However, it did provide something really cool, albeit in small quantities. Museum Collection Autos which are super thick, #’d out of ten and just generally in beast mode. Many of these cards were redemptions and have been hitting the market just recently. The checklist is enormous but it doesn’t seem to matter who you have, these are bringing coin – an Ian Kennedy sold for $142.50, an Angel Pagan for over $50 and if you want one of the big names you’ll have to decide between that card and a President’s Auto from the 1800′s, I’m not kidding.
2. Ilya Kovalchuk 2001-02 UD Young Guns
Comments: This former #1 draft pick recorded his second hat trick in just over 3 weeks. Ilya’s scored a lot of points in his career but scoring in bunches like he has recently raised his name onto more hockey radars – as a result his Young Guns card which features one of the most radiant photos I have ever seen doubled in the past week. It’s an interesting phenomenon that I have noticed when I’ve tracked hockey cards on this blog – in football you look for prices of Exquisite and National Treasures Autos and in Baseball you look for Chrome Refractor Auto but in Hockey you go look for the “plain” Young Guns cards that everyone loves.
3. Starling Marte 2011 Bowman Chrome Refractor Autos
Comments: I wonder how many out there like me have run lots of “Starling au*” searches and had their screens filled up with Mr. Marte instead of the man named Bubba. Well, so far this spring training Starling is showing that he is worth of his own attention, starting 8 for 8 with a home run. It’s kind of funny too, Starling was mentioned in a tweet by a scout and bam, buy it nows are hit and here he is, on the Hot List. Starlings Chrome Refractor Autos bounced up from $13 to $20 and we’ll see over the course of the season if he can further distinguish himself from Bubba.
4. Deron Williams 2011 Auto Rookies
Comments: Illinois players in the NFL and NBA are bad for me personally – I rationalize all the reasons they are going to be wonderful and buy in. Often times I wind up holding the bag with my Dee Brown rookie cards but I tell you what, Deron Williams does me proud. The kid who struck me as “chubby” the first time I saw him went for 57 last week and in spite of the fact that the Nets are all kinds of bad, Deron is all sorts of good and his Rookie Autos really started rising after his stellar performance.
5. Kyrie Irving 2011 Panini National Convention Promos
Comments: Speaking of all sorts of good, in a year that’s been admittedly so-so for NBA rookies (while being unreal for 2nd year players) Kyrie stands out as a really good player on a really bad team. The interesting thing is that a lot of scoring point guards are guys who just shoot the ball after they get past half court, see Iverson, Allen. Kyrie on the other hand is doing this while shooting over 40% from 3 point land and 48% from the field. Given the fact that the 2nd and 3rd leading scorers on the Cavs are Antwan Jamison and Anderson Varejao (is fear not struck into your heart now?) this is pretty impressive. I’ve bemoaned Panini’s lack of NBA rookie cards enough this year (wait did I just bring that up again) so I’ll just suffice it to say that I sure wish I’d picked up a bunch of these free Panini Promo Packs at the Nationals because the Irving hit $80 this week, up from the mid $60s last week.
6. Stephen Strasburg 2010 Bowman Chrome Refractor Autos
Comments: 2012 Bowman was nominated for this list and it wasn’t because of a Nationals rookie, that’s a first because the last two years Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper have MADE that product. Now, interestingly enough both the Strasburg and Harper cards on this list come from Bowman Chrome because Topps doesn’t miss a chance to insert either of them into a product but I digress. As the season grows closer, the expectations for Strasburg after Tommy John surgery rise higher and higher. This is paralleled by the prices of his cards – Bowman Chrome Refractor Autos surged to $225 this week, a price they have not seen in some time.
7. Bryce Harper 2011 Bowman Chrome Autos
Comments: I guess Bryce pulled a muscle today – it’s funny because we all know that and it’s indicative of what kind of information age we live in. That exact same information age is driving these Harper Autos up across the board as people continue to read that he’ll “have every chance to win the RF job in Spring Training” this surge drove Bryce Autos past the $300 mark this week.
The Cold List, The Not So Hot List, The Not List
1. Seller Bulletbillfan on Ebay
Comments: I’m sure Mr. Bullet is a great guy but this sale isn’t so great. If you watched the Box Busters that had Brian Gray with the guys from Beckett, you’d know that an Andrew Luck metal card only appears once in every couple of cases – this means that even the base card is probably limited to under 200 copies and this means that selling one for $33 is a dunce move. See that table there at Bullet’s house – yeah, there’s lots of money left on it.
2. Manny Ramirez 1992 Bowman
Comments: I saw a PSA 9 1992 Manny Ramirez Bowman sell for $4.50 this week – a sad state for what used to be a huge card and honestly, that sale was probably higher than it was before he signed the contract. The Not So Hot aspect of this is how fast Manny has fallen. In 2008 he had 17 HRs, 53 RBIs and an OPS of 1.252 for the Dodgers in yes, just 53 games and now Manny’s in the news because it’s a novelty that a former slugger signed a one year contract with the As when most of us thought he was done. I was a huge Manny fan for many years, this is sad.
3. Lucas Giolito Perfect Game Cards
Comments: Yes, last week’s #1 is on this week’s cold list. Lucas got injured this week and all of a sudden those $65 prices that were being realized tailed off to $30 or less in a hurry. So it is not that Lucas’ cards sell for nothing now, it is the precipitous drop that happened just shortly after his appearance on the list. It’s an example of how quickly this hobby can turn with modern information flow and the ever fluctuating market known as eBay.