It feels like spring doesn’t it? I mean, honestly, in most of the United States this past year people will tell you that it never really felt like winter. However, in the land of cards, it feels like spring. We have new seasons starting – both MLB and MiLB and new products releasing National Treasures Football, Museum Collection Baseball, Leaf Legends of the Sport Basketball and oh so many others. Not only is spring blooming but it is looking like we’ll have a bumper crop this year.
If the card micro economy is at all indicative of the health, or change in health, of the overall economy I would say that the safe assumption would be that it is improving. Cards of all flavors are selling for record amounts, new releases are selling insanely well right out of the gate and old favorites are appreciating in value. On the one hand, it is kind of exciting to see, on the other hand, if you were in the market all along you are mumbling curses, as you have to pay higher for the cards you are buying from both new releases and old favorites.
All of these changes present us with a pretty interesting dynamic this week. First, spring training is winding down, second, the MLB season really just started today, same with the MiLB season and this left much of the focus this week on new releases. Two in particular caught collectors eyes – National Treasures Football and Museum Collection baseball. Neither of these products are of the “find them in your local WalMart” persuasion but both products have huge hits and wising rax prices. Which leads me to this – typically on the Hot List we focus on week to week sales jumps but this week, with the new releases, we do a little more including of the new hot cards.
1. Cam Newton 2011 Panini National Treasures Autos
Comments: Cam has been on this list repeatedly because seemingly every time a product debuts his cards come out scorching. National Treasures was one that many had wondered about for some time – what would Cam Patch Autos /99 sell at? Well it appears that the initial answer is $3,000 with sales settling lower over time. This is significant in that previous patch autos selling for $3k plus include Blake Griffin and a handful of other basketball Exquisites and that’s about it. Cam is treading where no football autograph patches have tread before. This means, your $300 box of National Treasures gives you a shot at a $2500 card #’d /99, that’s pretty incredible.
2. 2012 Topps Museum Collection Wax and Autos
Comments: Last year Museum Collection Autos were a hugely popular subset of the Topps Marquee product. As a result of this, Topps decided to build a product around those autos and so far it’s been a hit. This has been for multiple reasons – first, they didn’t screw with a good thing with the Museum Collection Autos, second, they included a ton of great logo patches and third – they didn’t include autos of Angel Pagan to excess. As a result, this wax is getting broken at an unreal rate and if you a big hunter of interesting patches and beautiful autos, then Topps Museum is currently affording you plenty of opportunities.
3. Brett Jackson 2010 Bowman Chrome Autos
Comments: I frequently read the website realclearsports.com. One of the things that I find useful and interesting is the fantasy commentary that is included on the site – whether it be Matthew Berry’s wandering stories, or a random list by a fantasy writer. A frequent feature at the beginning of each season it seems, is a list that often incorporates bold predictions – one of them I read this year was that Brett Jackson would make the team and finish with double digit home runs by the end of the year. Depending on what time he makes the team, that may not be too bold but it certainly would be rather beautiful for Cubs fans. Brett nearly made the team out of spring training and 2010 Bowman Chrome Autos are popping at their highest level ever, $30.
4. Lorenzo Cain Rookies & Autos
Comments: If you ask the question, whose card values benefited the most from a Spring Training performance – Lorenzo Cain ought to be at the top of the list. It has been almost 6 years since Lorenzo came into prospectors minds in 2006 but it is just now he’s making his presence felt as a part of the Royals, not the Brewers in the MLB. As a result, his cards have sprung forth with new life this offseason, even his later release like the Topps Series 2 Auto that went from $8 to $13 this week.
5. Austin Wood 2011 Donruss Elite Autos
Comments: Austin Wood is going to be a common theme on this Hot List in the months to come, no, not Austin Wood the player but others like him. Austin went out and had a fantastic debut in Cedar Rapids and as a result, his cards move from a buck to $5 bucks in the case of the one pictured. Others will follow suit and so goes the MiLB season.
6. Kirk Nieuwenhuis 2010 Bowman Chrome Autos
Comments: There was a conversation that recently happened on the FCB Podcast surrounding baseball cards and the pronunciation of names. Pronunciation of names is often difficult enough but in today’s card world – so much interaction happens online that we often type things thousands of times prior to ever saying them out loud. This causes simple pronunciation issues to go on forever and honestly, I won’t be saying Kirk’s last name to any one in person any time soon but someone on ESPN might have too since Kirk is expected to be called up as a result of Andres Torres calf injury. Kirk’s Chrome Refractors moved up to $15 very quickly after the news.
7. Kobe Bryant 1990s Inserts
Comments: High-end basketball inserts are often nominated for the Hot List but I haven’t frequently recognized them as they don’t really meet the week to week increase criteria. However, in a week where we are straying from that a bit it’s time to recognize that a Kobe insert /100 from the ’90s is over $30K with much time left to go. Einstein defined insanity as repeating the same thing time and time again and expecting different results, I define it as this auction, stuff it Albert. High end inserts from the ’90s particularly of players like Kobe, Jordan and others are quite possibly the most sought after cards in the hobby today and oh do they sell.
Other Hobby Observations
1. Cameron Maybin
Comments: 2006 Bowman Sterling Cameron Maybin rookies are selling for $23 in 9.5 form and Refractor Autos /199 have sold near $50. Cameron had two hits and a HR in the Padres/Dodgers game yesterday and this could be a resurgence for a guy who probably had three threads created about him a day on the BMB.
2. If you’re looking for variety, you don’t have to leave FCB
Comments: Seriously, just pop over to general chat where you can discuss scotch collecting, cigar smoking, find out if anyone is a Ford dealer, get involved in a political flame war and discuss the rest of life. Remember, variety is the spice of it.
3. Just the opening act
Comments: Not only have we seen releases of Museum Collection, National Treasures and more this week – there is more on the horizon. Bowman w/Chrome, Allen and Ginter, Exquisite Football, Leaf Valiant Draft, Leaf Army and so much more, it’s going to be a fun next few months.