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 (Toll Free)

Your take: CBS News segment examines ‘dying’ baseball card industry (take our polls)

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

CBS News examined what it calls a dying baseball card industry during a four-minute, 49-second feature on Sunday.

It included interviews with an author, a show promotor, a dealer-collector and vintage dealer “Mr. Mint” Alan Rosen.

We want to know what you think after you watch it with our questions after the jump. Please leave a comment if you’d like to say more.

Update: Panini America did not take the story lightly.

Note:  Our voting boxes were stuffed one direction overnight … but feel free to leave a comment with how you feel about the segment.

In your opinion, is this story accurate?

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Do you agree with the segment's overall stance?

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Does any part of the segment surprise you?

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Chris Olds is the editor of Beckett Baseball magazine. Have a comment, question or idea? Send an email to him at colds@beckett.com. Follow him on Twitter by clicking here.

62 Comments

Anything but Panini

I think cards are still going strong. Maybe don’t sell as many cards. But sell more higher dollar cards. Cards shows aren’t as busy. I think that cause ebay. You can get your cards right at home. So in all I think the industry has changed. Not dying.

Posted March 25, 2012 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

From the voting so far, it seems like collectors here are having a knee-jerk reaction and saying “not true!” But it is. Anyone who thinks the sports card market is as healthy now as it was in the 1980s or ’90s simply wasn’t around back then.

Of course, it didn’t get everything quite right, but one thing it did get right: Baseball cards have been collected for fun for far longer than they’ve ever been viewed as an investment. After the boom years, the hobby as a whole – from manufacturers to dealers right down to collectors – simply got greedy. Something that was simply fun suddenly started to become worth money, and people started wanting the dollar value more than the cards themselves.

Back in the old days, I busted packs for the sheer fun of looking for my precious Red Sox players and to build sets. I don’t bust packs any more and haven’t for a long time because I’m more interested in the commons than the high-priced inserts in many cases, so it’s much cheaper to buy the cards I want for a few nickels or dimes each than opening packs.

One thing I do disagree with: The hobby is never going to simply “die.” Maybe the hobby as we know it today may fade away, but not collecting. I got my first baseball cards one at a time out of boxes of cereal as a kid (Kelloggs’ sets still rank as my favorites) and as long as some company sees fit to make baseball cards in some manner, I’ll be looking for them.

I’m just not going to pay $50 a pack (or even $5 a pack, for that matter).

Posted March 25, 2012 at 8:29 pm | Permalink
Richard

The hobby will never quite die, but it will go through change.
Cards had a long history before the bubble years of the mid 80′s on.
It may never recapture the same level on insanity of that time frame.
I remember people buying cases in the 80′s planning to sell them when their
kids grew up and pay for college with it. Well, unless they bought 86-87
Basketball or were wise enough to sell off before the bubble burst, they ended
up owning mostly junk.

There are a handful of products that are still somewhat solid, but they were not
cheap to begin with. I imagine that a number of years of the hard signed auto
sets like Leaf Signature, Fleer Greats, Be a Player might still have some decent
value since they have key autographs of hall of famers who are now dead and
the designs were often quite pleasing to boot. But otherwise, most of the 80′s
and 90′s stuff is now kindling at best.

Compare that to the still strong collectibility of 1970 and before cards. Even cards
in lower grades actually sell vs what a card with a dinged corner of a modern card
would yield.

I think the base Topps sets will endure, but otherwise …. not so much.

Posted March 25, 2012 at 8:43 pm | Permalink
RJ

I remember a time when there was a card shop in my town and every surrounding town. Now, I have no idea where a card shop is. Shows used to be a weekly or a bi-weekly event, I haven’t been to one in over 15 years.

I thought the entire purpose of Topps getting the only license was to bring more kids into the hobby. I agreed with the idea at the time. Card production was getting a little out of hand and confusing but they haven’t done anything. What’s affordable? Topps regular but only if you pre-order before the planned gimmick/sp/error card is announced or Topps Opening day, which no likes because it’s just a rehashed version of the regular set. Everything else is $80+ a box with no real value aside from make believe BVs that are only good for trading. They did explore the net aspect with their giveaways but it’s as if no one in that company actually uses those sites and they pretty much destroyed that idea with this years promotion.

I just don’t bother much anymore. I used to be a huge player collector but it’s become boring with just one company and all high end/fake value product. The only set I really go for anymore is Allen & Ginter and mainly for the base(!!) to try and get some TTM autographs.

Posted March 25, 2012 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

The Hobby as we knew it in the 80s and 90s will never come back. I get that. And now hopefully many who saved their cards hoping for the big payday get that too. What I find very disappointing was that there was none…ABSOLUTELY NOTHING…discussed about how the Hobby has evolved. It had to. Otherwise, the Hobby would have indeed died.

The story itself was poorly researched. Stock video of past shows? Mentioning that Mr. Mint fields a quarter of the calls he used to get in his heyday (without saying how much he made in 2011)? Showing the “action” of a Tuesday night show? Glossy Gimmicks??! I guess if the point of the show was to tell the “outsiders” that our Hobby is dead, then CBS did a very good job telling them that.

I guess we’re not going to get “The Hobby is Alive and Well” story anytime soon.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama
bdj610

Posted March 25, 2012 at 9:34 pm | Permalink
Mike

for anyone contemplating on becoming a journalist, please take note on how NOT to write a piece.

Outside of pronouncing words correctly, cbs got very little right.

A regional TUESDAY NIGHT show is not the place to go to show customers. how about long running big shows, like the recently concluded white plains show which, again, had a large attendance….WITH KIDS! Lots of them too.

They could have also went to sun times show, or tri star shows or (oh my) the national.

You also can’t compare today to two decades ago when everything was grossly over produced (which is why late 80s to mid 90s are worthless). But shockingly, cbs “forgot” to mention that cards of the past 10 yrs.are worth a great deal of money.

And mr. mint. Sure, interview a dealer who deals only in vintage to give his thoughts on modern cards. Do you really think he would sing the praises of todays multitude of cards with
values in the hundreds & thousands of dollars?

its just another example of the press shatting on the hobby, done by people with no knowledge of it.

Oh, btw cbs, 1952 topps is not mantles rc.

Posted March 25, 2012 at 9:42 pm | Permalink
David Hollingsworth

I think the basic thought that the card industry will die with the middle aged men in the hobby today is correct. We all need from collectors to dealers to the Card Companies themselves need to figure out how to get the kids interested in it again and the best way to do that is to make it affordable again. I still to this day enjoy putting a set together over getting that jersey or autograph card– unless it is someone good of course– and tend to stick to the cheaper stuff.

I am encouraged by the amount of people that I see coming back to the hobby that are showing up on the forums here though.

Posted March 25, 2012 at 9:54 pm | Permalink
bill johnson

i dont think the hobby is dying. back in the early 90′s there were so many different companys making cards i think it flooded the market. i was big into collecting everything sports cards. i had to have every set that came out and i wanted to make it myself. sure you could buy factory sets, but making a set that came from boxes was way more satisfying then a factory set. these days i dont collect sets. i started buying packs again after a long time absense from the hobby. did i quit collecting. no. i just went after cards i wanted on the worlds biggest shopping center, ebay.
i think a lot of this negative feedback falls on the card makers. again, back in the 90′s there were about 20 to 30 different card brands. and because of that a lot of collectors left the hobby. and when they came back years later, what were they faced with? Four to twenty dollars for a pack of cards that only had 4 to 6 cards in the pack. recently i saw a vid with chris olds opening a box of cards that had 4 autos in a box. the box contained 4 cards. the price, 250 dollars.
the hobby will never die. as long as there are sports, there will be a market for sports cards.

Posted March 25, 2012 at 9:56 pm | Permalink

Documenting a bubble isn’t the same as documenting a fall.

To act like Mr. Mint is ever a spokesman for the industry is a sad state of affairs. He’s made his money flashing around hundreds and underpaying for cards he’s cherry picked from unsuspecting folks for years. “I bought dis for dis and sold dis for dis”…time for him to go away.

It’s never going to be the late 80′s again. The ‘investors’ (some of which are still around) fueled a bubble which major card manufacturers were only happy to feed with overproduced cardboard. It was probably fun for people selling cards, but those of us with thousands of late 1980′s look upon them with a sigh. It was a frenzy, and like any frenzy, it came and went. To have a serious discussion about the health of the industry, one would need to look over a longer time horizon of card sales from major manufacturers to see what the real revenue change looks like, not measure at it’s peak and compare that to today.

A bubble is a bubble, there were serious collectors before the bubble, there are serious collectors after. Quality products are being created, and plenty of kids are at my local hobby shop when I go to buy cards. The lame card show they put on TV and the ones like it are bizarre, but they were bizarre in the late 80′s/early 90′s too, with plenty of unpleasant characters around. Most of those clowns have thankfully washed out, but unfortunately so have a number of good dealers.

There is a problem bringing youth into the hobby, but it has little to do with video games (I had a Nintendo in 1985, a year before the 1986-early 90′s junk wax era really got underway). And guys were always interested in girls (sorry Alan, that’s not a new phenomenon). And there were always men collecting cards, some of the largest collections of vintage cards were formed by adults, long before 1980 rolled around. Kids, even amongst the noise of $50 packs and 1/1 inserts still like sports, still like certain players, and from what I’ve seen amongst those introduced to it: still like the simple act of organizing cards, popping packs for their favorite players, and so on. Card type games still rise and ebb like the tide: Pokemon, Yu-Gi-Oh, Magic the Gathering…and sports have remained paramount in the culture on a consistent basis.

The problem bringing youth into the hobby is partly the death of the local hobby shop, which major card manufacturers have done plenty to bring about (see Upper Deck pulling licenses from most small shops, Topps deciding they can be a wholesaler and a retailer, and MLB deciding that monopolies were good for spurring product competition despite all historical evidence pointing to the contrary, and thus granting an exclusive license to manufacture cards). Internet sales are great, for people who understand a product and know exactly what cards they’re looking for. If you want to find what you didn’t know you wanted, you need to be able to look at hundreds of cards right in front of your face, need to experience shopping for cards with a friend who dragged you along to the hobby shop (that’s how I got hooked so many years ago). The LHS is the franchise that brings that about for card manufacturers, which in turn leads to seeking out shows (even like the lame one in the segment, which is not representative of all card shows), and seeking cards from web sources like ebay.

This basic misunderstanding of the symbiotic relationship between LHS and manufacturers by the major card manufacturers is as much responsible for the decline in youth collecting as anything. If you own a Chevy dealership, you can be sure Chevy (the company) will run great ads touting the product you sell on your behalf, and won’t start offering a special web only glossy version of their latest car on their shoppchevy.com web site.

Or in summary: a bubble isn’t a fall, LHS are important and require real business relationships from the card manufacturers, there need to be multiple manufacturers, and youth do need to be won back (and they can be, and what’s stopping it isn’t “video games and girls”).

Posted March 25, 2012 at 11:04 pm | Permalink

It’s a little skewed when you have a whole segment using a small town’s old card show as an allegory for the entire hobby. Yes, there was a collecting boom and bubble and yes, there has been a collapse, but people/collectors remain interested. Right now, I would say that the industry is in a period of adjustment and still has its weaknesses, but it will get back to a healthy equilibrium. Whether or not we will see another collecting boon and bubble is unlikely, but that is far from dead.

What they segment failed to address is that the industry has been continually adjusting to the time, much like many other industries that remain in demand. The reason that community’s show is failing is because a lot of the collecting has shifted online, to online purchasing and online message boards and blogs. In larger cities, a lot of the remaining shows still draw good crowds and are still meeting places for like-minded collectors. Shows in smaller towns have fallen by the wayside mostly because it’s a numbers game. Since there are less people interested than before, off course the cities with lower populations will be effected the most visually.

Posted March 25, 2012 at 11:36 pm | Permalink

I consider myself in a very fortunate position in terms of my ability to comment on the state of our hobby. I have been involved in the business, yes, business of sports cards for almost 30 years now. I have been a hobby store owner, a set builder, a collector, a prospector, and now, as I have begun a slow, gradual, but not ever complete exit from the hobby I have known and continued to love for all that time, I can finally say I am someone who has fun with the hobby.

I am now a teacher, working with elementary and high school aged students. One of the things that the CBS piece got right is the fact that there is just a whole heck of a lot more to interest these kids now. I work at a school of about 400 kids, and the school I work at is a rather exclusive private school. Kids with money. I do not know of one single child there who collects sports cards, and I know most of these kids very well. That’s a sad state of affairs. How many of these kids are gamers? (360, PS3, Wii, etc.) 60-75%, at least. How many of them collect Pokemon, Yu-Gi-Oh!, or MTG? Maybe 10-15%. Still a MUCH better percentage. But these are the kids with money, the kids who could start and have their parents help them with a hobby like collecting cards, like my dad did when I was very young.

Truth is, that Tuesday show in NY is a PERFECT microcosm of what the hobby has become. Had CBS gone to the National, it would have looked much the same, AS COMPARED to what it looked like, say, in 1992 in Anaheim, when Upper Deck unveiled their Heroes of Baseball campaign, or two years earlier with the “Find the Reggie” craze. As much as Lin, Strasburg, Bryce Harper, Cam Newton, or going back a little further, Sidney Crosby, LeBron, or even Ichiro and Pujols have helped drive the hobby in segments, anyone who has been in the hobby longer than 6 minutes knows that the manufacturers have priced the kids out of the market.

It’s not that Topps Total, UD 40-Man, base Topps, and even Hoops have been failures at all. But if a tree falls in the woods, and no one is there to buy the product made from the wood of that tree, does it make a profit? When you have already driven the segment of the collecting base your product is geared to out of the hobby, they can’t purchase your product.

The hobby is, indeed, alive, but it is most assuredly on life support. While segments like vintage collecting are now driving the hobby, how much longer can that hold up? When you have entire generations that don’t know or care about Jordan, Gretzky, Montana, and Ripken, let alone Harmon Killebrew, Oscar Robertson, Bart Starr, or Bobby Orr, what is to become of our hobby?

Posted March 26, 2012 at 3:08 am | Permalink
David

I have mixed feelings on this segment. The Tuesday night Parsippany show is absolutely not the show I would have featured as your typical card show. It’s in the middle of the week and it goes from 4-8 pm so a guy like me who works in Manhattan and gets home around 6:30 has no shot to get to this show. This particular show caters to dealers who deal with other dealers mostly. So this isn’t the show to profile.

On the other hand, I’m at 3-4 shows a month and most of them are small and not very well attended. Not all of them are this way but many of them are. I find that I see the same group of collectors and dealers at all of the same shows. There are very few kids at these shows which is the biggest problem our industry has and the prices of everything is, to a large part, too expensive for many people.

I agree that for this particular segment, they should have chosen a big show because those generally are well attended. Comparing shows from 20 years ago during the boom isn’t really fair but there is no doubt this industry has shrunken in on itself. Using Alan Rosen to discuss the industry isn’t appropriate either since, as someone smartly wrote in a previous post, he only deals in vintage, not the newer stuff and his business model isn’t that of your typical hobby shop.

What this industry needs is a way to get the kids back into it. The video game remarks are valid – make no mistake. And comparing your 1985 Nintendo playing days to today is also not very fair. I liked Mario Bros as much as anyone but can you seriously compare that to todays market. My kid plays football outside with his friends all winter and then plays Madden 2012 with his friends online the rest of the night but he isn’t into collecting football cards. There are other distractions as well and some of those will never go away, like girls, but seriously, it’s the many choices kids have today that has diluted the appeal of baseball cards.

As much fun as it is to rip open packs, organize and sort your cards, they have a very finite span of capturing your attention unless you have a place to continue “using” your inventory. I’ve tried to get the local store to hold trading nights with limited success. I’ve held trading sessions with adults and kids and had great experiences and made a huge amount of contacts with people who want to get in on the fun. This IS supposed to be fun, I have to remind people of that at every show I do since I cater to low end inventory (so that the few kids who show up wanting a Derek Jeter or David Wright card can get at a buck or teo a piece).

Many people have lost sight of that, including Topps. WHY are they going to make Five Star Baseball? How will that help? Why are they trying to make yet another ridiculously expensive product and why does anyone buy it? They can’t put superstars in each box or pack so most of it won’t be worth what you pay for it. They should make another product like Lineage and keep the price affordable for kids so that they can buy it and have fun with it. I don’t think the industry has to die, but the dealer who said it’s going to die “with the men in this room” wasn’t too far off the mark. It’s slowly fading with those of us who remember what it was like when it was just a fun hobby….

…back when it was cool to open a pack and get Fernando Valenzuela and Mike Schmidt in the same pack (1984 I believe), when we all scratched off the instant win card hoping to go to the All-Star game or World Series, when we ate the gum for a minute before it disintegrated in our mouths and you could buy a pack of cards at your local deli, supermarket or from the ice cream man….

Posted March 26, 2012 at 7:41 am | Permalink
chrisolds

FYI: The ballot box has been stuffed.

Posted March 26, 2012 at 7:53 am | Permalink
Brian

I totally agree with this. As a kid in the 80′s I remember my dad taking me to shows to find old cards of the Yankees. I remember the anticipation of waiting for the first packs to show up at the local corner store and rushing to pick them up. But today the price of packs are way out of my sons league. I tried to get him into the cards but with his videogames it never grabbed his interest enough to care about. These companies that make cards need to find a away to get the kids back or there won’t be baseball cards. They need more cards priced for kids. All these high end cards are nice, but if kids aren’t into cards then in the future once we are all gone there won’t be a market left. And in my area there used to be a show at least once a month now there is maybe 2 shows a year.

Posted March 26, 2012 at 8:03 am | Permalink
David

Chris, what’s your opinion on the CBS spot? What did you think since you’ve been collecting as long as we have??

Posted March 26, 2012 at 8:08 am | Permalink
Tom Waldron

There are many factors to the decline of the hobby and the exceses of the 80′s and 90′s surely has played a part. I would also say today exclusive liscencing will doom the hobby if that isn’t solved. Exclusive liscencing breeds no innovation because it doesn’t have to. Panini can be commended to have taken on the Basketball niche but untill they get the stars in their fold High end prodcuts won’t get you a true fanbase. Topps to me has fallen off as well gimicks and such are a tried and true way to gain market share or profits but again won’t get you therein the long run.
Ebay has filled the spot left by loss of local hobby shops but for sellers and collectors nothing replaces that card shop and the card shows it’s the human interaction and the stories that still drive our love for whatever game we love to collect. Upper deck always to me had a better look but overproduction and bad busineess descisions have hurt their reputation and solvency.
As stated above the deline of Local card shops and internet has to be accounted for.
Support you local card shop.
thanks Chris
Tom W

Posted March 26, 2012 at 9:21 am | Permalink
JeffNSU

The only ones who believe this industry isn’t close to dying are the ones who have a horse in the race and NEED it to stay alive for their financial well being. All the bloggers, Beckett, eBay sellers, etc… will say it’s going to be OK because they NEED it to be. But deep down, I think they all know that the clock is about to strike midnight.

Posted March 26, 2012 at 10:11 am | Permalink
chrisolds

Jeff: Couldn’t disagree with you more.

Posted March 26, 2012 at 10:31 am | Permalink

I think the business should go back to being a hobby and try to get more kids into it…I know we are Commons4Kids.org are doing everything we can to give the hobby back to kids; we’ve donated over 250,000 cards to kids and we are working on a donation of 165,000 cards to our Little Leageurs!!!

Posted March 26, 2012 at 10:31 am | Permalink
chrisolds

David: I think it’s short-sighted, flawed and one-dimensional, failing to meaningfully acknowledge any of the innovations since, say, 1996 and show how “the good old days” were destined to fail. Did every manufacturer pass on talking to CBS? Why not show more from the Sun-Times show, which they did go to and would be a striking difference from a Tuesday night small-town show?

I could go on and on as to why, but would instead refer you to my Twitter feed on Sunday where I — and others — had plenty to say. @chrisolds2009

Posted March 26, 2012 at 10:32 am | Permalink
XstreamINsanity

I don’t think I would say the industry is dying, because I honestly don’t think it will ever die. I believe suffering to be a more appropriate word. I don’t think the industry will ever die because there’s money to be made there and I don’t know anyone that doesn’t like to make money. My dad knows I collect cards, and all he wants me to do is sell my cards. At one point, he was thinking about sending me money to buy boxes to open them and then sell them to make profit. And to my knowledge, he’s never collected a single card. So, I don’t think the industry will ever die.

Now, I agree that kids are the catalyst to getting the industry back to where it was, but it isn’t as easy anymore. Back in the 1980′s and before, there weren’t many insert sets, mainly base and rookies. And then even when they had inserts coming to the main stream, they were easily pulled. But then there were harder inserts, then AU, then GU, etc. Now, kids want the hits. Why? A few reasons. 1) They can say they have something of that players. 2) If and when they can sell it, they can get money easier than base. 3) If they trade with their friends, it’s easier to trade AU or GU than base. 4) They look nicer. 5) Us collectors out here already, while some of us are still set/team/player collectors, would rather trade for a nice GU/AU rather than a hand full of base (not me, just what I’ve seen while trading on here).

Now, the problem is that if the manufacturers were to add more GU and AU, as they have, then the price per product goes up. The players aren’t going to take less money for their jerseys and autographs just to get the kids involved. And I think one way the manufacturers tried getting kids involved without adding too much more GU and AU (though that was done as well) was by adding parallels with lower numbers, making them harder to find. But those look almost the same, not very different. And then they went too far with them on some products, making 7 or more variations of it.

I don’t think the manufacturers haven’t tried getting the kids involved. But I think what it will take to actually get kids involved will cost the manufacturers more and that’s why the price points keep rising. If we could get kids interested in base sports cards, or collecting their favorite team or player, and not worry about the “hits”, then I think we could get back to where we were years ago. But I don’t see that happening. So I think the industry will primarily stay with people who have a job, so 18 years of age and higher. There will be new adults who come into the hobby from time to time, but it wouldn’t be as fast as if kids were involved.

Also, I fully agree that there is so many more things that distract kids today for them to even worry about sports cards, or even going to sporting events, which keeps them from having a favorite player or team. Yeah, there were girls back then, but were they wearing what they do today or doing what they do today (very sad story what kids do these days). Yeah, there were games back then, but you can’t compare Contra to Modern Warefare 3 where you can communicate with your friends and play in different households. Then you have cell phones and texting. Back then you had to beg your parents to use the phone for your friend who was across town because it may be long distance. Also, it’s more fun to go out and do things than sit at home and organize cards. The internet has helped and hurt. We now can contact many more people than we used to, but shipping fees are now involved. Also opens the door for more scammers.

My foresight on the industry: It will always be alive and not like it used to, and the majority of those dealing with sports cards (buying, selling, trading, etc.) will be people who have a job and able to pay the prices that cards cost.

Posted March 26, 2012 at 11:52 am | Permalink
Art Razo

I was a major collector from 1989-1992, back then upper deck was “high end” I don’t recall why or when I stopped collecting but I just stopped and threw away all my cards. A few months ago My dad found a box full of cards and he gave them to me, Of course I was excited to find out their value since they were mostly 86-92, I had been out of the hobby for so long that I had no idea cards had dropped in value so much. I was shocked to see that a Ken Griffey and Frank Thomas had dropped in value so much. I Began to research the reason for the drop and obviously mass production was the main cause. I stopped by my local card shop a few days later and was amazed to see many high end products and the prices of a pack being so high, They have a bid board on weekends and I was immediately hooked again. I believe the hobby is not dead but rather it is more elite with much higher values of certain cards, My local shop becomes so crowded on weekends that you cant even move There are maybe 60 people in there at one time in a small area and even during the week there are several people at any given time breaking boxes. The hobby is far from dead it is just no longer a Kid friendly, sadly the new generation will never experience what most of us did and eventually when we grow old the hobby will then vanish unless card companies realize that their survival depends on themselves.

Posted March 26, 2012 at 11:59 am | Permalink
David Johnson

That was a very narrow-minded showing. While I do not disagree with the entire segment, it was definitely some one-sided journalism. The reason a lot of shows don’t get as many people is that now people can buy/sell/trade online and not just at a show. Why didn’t this new story even mention the advent of the internet and how that effected the hobby other than being a distraction for kids.

Posted March 26, 2012 at 12:08 pm | Permalink
Richard

It’s stories like this which keep the hobby alive.
http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/news?slug=ap-rarebaseballcard

There will likely always be someone paying a premium for some weird collectible or other.
Whether it’s a gold nintendo cartridge, a piece of barbed wire, a rare penny, comic book, or
yes baseball cards. Just like the painting painted by the masters will always have a following.

Some things created solely for the collectors market will always be money losers on the whole. Pogs, beanie babies, cabbage patch dolls, etc. had too short a run to allow for
enduring memories. You need a solid decade or two of collectors built up organically for something to survive the almost inevitable bubbles.

Once the amateur “investors” get involved, things get messy. Amazing Adult Fantasy #15
could have been bought for a fraction of what Detective #27 or Action #1 gets, now its
almost on the same par. I expect that a decade or two from now a true first printing of
TMNT will be worth $15K, provided they don’t screw up the legacy with the next movie.

Posted March 26, 2012 at 12:18 pm | Permalink
joe

the hobby is not dead but it is drastically different. So are thousands of other business. Look at many other business have adjusted to changing times, interests and ideas. The music industry has changed 5 times in 30 years (records – 8 track – cassettes – cd’s – ipods/mp3′s).

The business and hobby of cards is changing. I think there needed to be fewer card shops and shows to drive demand. Shops have dried up a little to much but you can still go to a show almost every weekend.

I do think the hobby needs some kind of governing body to regulate production and deals with sports leagues. I loved donruss product like classics, diamond kings, and absolute but they really did go overboard. Nolan Ryan does not need a card for every team he played for in each set. I think leagues having exclusive trading card deals really hurts the hobby. I think having UD, Topps and Panini ( or at least two per sport) doing all four major sports can be good as along as there is a limit to what they can produce.

Alot of people I know say the economy sucks and the hobby is dying. I respond by saying as long as there are 50-100 million dollar sports contracts being signed, record tv numbers, record attendance numbers and players playing sports, cards will never die.

FYI – the economy is bad but Hunger Games just did 150 million this weekend. So there will definately be a Hunger Games trading card set on the way very soon.

Posted March 26, 2012 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

i think that between E-bay, and the newest fade Video box and case breaks on Utube, this generation does not see going to a card show or your local card shop as exciting as we did in our youth, why go to a card show when you don’t have to leave your home, just wait for it in the mail,even when players sign at the big show, its in and get the auto then go home and watch a box or case break, i’m not saying kids are doing anything wrong, its just what they know, its just easier. who knows if it were this easy for us we mite have done the same, but i sure am glad i grew up when i did, wow what a time i had, but i will hold on as long as i can. and i hope its outlast me.

Posted March 26, 2012 at 3:18 pm | Permalink
JonathanI

The clientele’s age has changed, but how many of our rarest cards are from tobacco products? Those were not aimed at kids, and neither are the $100+ boxes for sale today.

Posted March 26, 2012 at 3:27 pm | Permalink
gary

Slowly but surely the hobby is going the way of the dodo bird.

Posted March 26, 2012 at 4:55 pm | Permalink
JDUB

I agree. It is dying. Therefore, I will do you all a favor and accept your high end vintage cards since they will all shortly be worthless and thus not worth holding on to. I will, however, pay for shipping.

In seriousness, this piece was poorly done–’black or white’ extremist journalism at its best. There will ALWAYS be a market for vintage cards (see the laws of supply and demand). And there will ALWAYS be at least a niche market for the cards that continue to be produced. As long as there are people who like sports and also like organizing things, sports cards will exist. This ‘dying market’ take is tiresome. Decreased revenue from the bubble days DOES NOT equal dying. Did people say that e-commerce/internet based companies would no longer exist back in, say, 2002 (i.e. post bubble)? If they did, they were clearly wrong.

Posted March 26, 2012 at 5:03 pm | Permalink
steve santucci

I live 8 mins from the Parsippany show. It appears that they have more dealers then the last few years. The Show is every Tuesday from 4-8 pm. By 7 most dealers are packing up. Thats every tuesday 12 months a year same dealers. dozens stream in and out over that time. Its either commons and some minor stars and stuff for low prices or old stuff to fill sets or a 2-3 dealers selling wax by the Box. It is not like the late 80′s but again nothing will be as baby boomers re-connected with their past and discovered the stuff they played with as a kid was worth something! thats it its worth something because fewer exist in supreme condition. The late 80s and early 90s were driven by speculation and the markers fed into it by providing what people wanted and wanted and wanted only to see the bottom go out. I went to my first national 2 years ago and traded cards with C-Olds and was amazed by the volume of people of all ages. I know take my three boys under 9 to shows to meet players of the past present and future and they have enjoyed it. We also collect together. Its all what you want out of it.

Posted March 26, 2012 at 5:27 pm | Permalink
Anything but Panini

I can tell you how this hobby will die if it’s not fixed. Redemptions. Panini has 100,000s non filled redemptions. They are getting loans from us collectors and not paying back. Basketball is my favorite sport. But since Panini has the only rights to the NBA. I refuse to collect them. I’m not the first and I won’t be the last. But if card manufactors goes the path of all these redemptions like Panini. More and more collectors will not be buying cards from certain companys or maybe no companys at all.

Posted March 26, 2012 at 5:45 pm | Permalink
Richard

At one time, there were few hobby shops.
You bought your collectibles through the mail from a trusted dealer.
Shows were infrequent, but exciting.
The thing is, in order to make shows worth while after a certain point, it was
felt you needed signers to show and they started charging more and more to get
in to the show, not to mention parking/gas/concessions.
So, if you add up all the basic costs that you paid just to get in the front door, you
can take that money and buy several cards you want online. So why go?
People want value and they know they have choices.

Posted March 26, 2012 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

I guess it depends on what you use to evaluate the hobby. Compare 2012 with 1992 or 1998 (whatever)-Please note that I am in suburban Philadelphia, which has had a run of highly successful sports teams the last 5 years or so as well.

Number of hobby shops-down dramatically

Number of card shows at local malls-down dramatically

Number of dealers at those shows-down dramatically

Price of normal pack/box-up dramatically

However, with the internet (trading, selling directly, etc), that part of the hobby is doing well, in my opinion.

The hobby has shifted focus more and more to the higher end, higher priced, higher “value” cards in all sports. This hasn’t helped attract younger people to cards.

I would summarize by saying the hobby has morphed, changed, and become less popular. But, it is still popular enough for a core group of collectors.

PS-A TUESDAY NIGHT SHOW? REALLY?? GREAT INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM THERE!

Posted March 26, 2012 at 7:44 pm | Permalink
Michael Chase

The hobby is not going away my friends. Ask Topps,Panini,Leaf,Tristar,Cryptozoic,Press Pass etc. Don’t ask Upper Deck right now, they aren’t sure.

If anyone knows if the hobby is dead or dying it would be them and BECKETT of course!!! Not much need for a price guide for a dead hobby is there?

How come people keep outbidding me on ebay if the hobby is dying?

The only thing I can think of that may contribute to killing the hobby is the arsenine people in the blogosphere. There is some good stuff in there don’t get me wrong but a lot of it is a bunch of crap coming from people that should have put their cards down a long time ago. Some of those reads are enough to turn anyone off the hobby altogether.

The only way to get anything across to card manufacterers or any manufacturers for that matter is to speak with your wallets. Quit complaining and just speak with your wallet.

Personally I feel what has died the most about the card industry is the greed. The greedy little grubbers fell hard as supply far outweighed demand. Those guys are long gone with their tails still between their legs. Don’t get me wrong there is plenty of greed left in the hobby as with anything but a lot of them have fallen.

To determine if an industry is failing or dying it would take scrupulous amounts of math and figures and not just a few comments from guys who seemingly would love to put the final nail in the coffin.

This video is complete crap in all senses of the word. But who knows a little exposure might make a long lost collector look through his collection after seeing this and maybe just maybe the passion could re ignite.

Posted March 26, 2012 at 10:15 pm | Permalink

It’s just a rehash of the whole bubble burst old story to fill time on a tv show. If it wanted to be an actual “news” piece it would have discussed the actual market and products of today in some fashion. When I get time I’ll write the “Twilight” of baseball card collecting or baseball the sport series books and get those turned into movies and BAM! hobby saved. ha ha

Posted March 26, 2012 at 10:57 pm | Permalink
Michael Chase

Also and sorry for the double post but I wanted to point out that this video is less of a view into the card industry and more of a window to poor news practices by cbs.

Posted March 27, 2012 at 1:02 am | Permalink
steve santucci

I live very near the Parsippany show. Thats show has been around for a long time and begins at 4pm and goes to about 8pm. I have gone there off and on for the past several years. JSA has Been their numerous times and sometimes a retired player to sign autos. It looks as though more dealers are there then in the past few years. This show is every tuesday of every month. No doubt the news clip was one sided and failed to see how the hobby has changed. As to the wild days of the 80s and 90s, well baby boomers discovered that their toys were worth money and those BB cards were gold! That dorve the speculators that drove the makers that drove the common lay persons and the rest of us to invest. It became a wild cat investing frenzy that busted. Anyting that is sold as a collectable rarely ever retians the intial price anything that is meant to be used enjoyed tends to retain a value becuase they are not thought as collectables at the time………..I collect to relive the memories when I opened a wax pack and saw my favorite players or built a set or had something to share with my father and now with my 3 sons. I think this weekend the boys will place baseball cards in their bike spokes and learn the many uses of the versatile Baseball Card

Posted March 27, 2012 at 7:16 am | Permalink
chrisolds

Well-said Michael.

“The only thing I can think of that may contribute to killing the hobby is the arsenine people in the blogosphere. There is some good stuff in there don’t get me wrong but a lot of it is a bunch of crap coming from people that should have put their cards down a long time ago. Some of those reads are enough to turn anyone off the hobby altogether.

The only way to get anything across to card manufacterers or any manufacturers for that matter is to speak with your wallets. Quit complaining and just speak with your wallet.”

Posted March 27, 2012 at 10:54 am | Permalink
Tom O'Brien

The worst thing that can happen is 1990 all over again. Too many manufactures promoting too many sets. Do we really need Opening Day, Bowman, Platinum, Chrome etc. Now Panini. Triple Play, Premium Cards that cost $200 per box for one card. Ridiculous.
Seems many of these use the same pictures as it is. What do collectors want? Auto’s, relics, variations? The quick hit, that will make them rich overnight. I’d rather just collect what I like. That’s what it should be about.

Posted March 27, 2012 at 11:22 am | Permalink
Slamdaddy

Just like anything else, I believe greed has a lot to do with the hobby, by both manufacture and consumer. Yes, when most of us were kids, we probably wanted our favorite team’s cards and or players and chucked the rest. At least I can say I did.

Mostly, manufacturers drive the greed part. 1 of 1 autos, player hypes (Harper/Strasburg, etc) create it with “its the only one and I have it syndrome” so I will sell it and get big money. Card collecting has turned into a game of chance, no different than a lottery or a blackjack table. Sure folks still build sets by hand and keep them for a minute or two until they run out of space or see that the cardboard isnt as valuable as when they first got.

Modern tech has also contributed with the greed, its easy to reach out and sell that auto or 1/1 superfractor. Its a business like any other, an its profits which drive manufacturers to create new things and promote them as if they are the next best thing to sliced bread.

Its the money and modern tech that has probably driven lot of younger folks from cards, as reported. Fifty bucks for a pack of cards, if you would have said that back in the 70s you would have been put in a nut house. Things change along with greed, newer ways to more doughage.

As Forrest would say, thats all I got to say about that.

Posted March 27, 2012 at 2:41 pm | Permalink
Jason

I should not have read this. I was all ready to open a card store now I’m having second thoughts. I guess I should invest my money into another type of business that I won’t be happy in but will I make enough money to support my family.

Posted March 27, 2012 at 4:07 pm | Permalink
RJ

I was alerted to this segment at my place of work, and got into a small discussion with the people who told me about it(I work at a rest home). I told them, that any small card show was probably not going to be the best light for the industry. Let them look at The National… on a Saturday, Sunday, or Wednesday night Sneak….

As with all industries, things change. We have seen companies fold (Pacific, Pinnacle) and things look bleak, then good again. I’m not quite sure where the industry is going, or what it will look like, but the companies will look to keep changing.

Cards and other like minded items, are creating history. A piece of history people can have. Companies, products, and trends will always change, but things still last. Not everyone will make it (Upper Deck), but I don’t think the hobby is going out. There are other hobbies that should die out first!

Posted March 27, 2012 at 5:25 pm | Permalink
Randall

Like all newscasts, this segment was slanted to the view of its producer. No, the hobby isn’t as big as it was in the late 80′s/early 90′s. But when they show a small card show in a small market on a TUESDAY night (for crying out loud), how many people do you think will be there? I live in the Houston area. We have two Tristar shows each year along with several small ones. The hobby isn’t dying off. EBAY is what happened to the hobby. But the slanted news show never mentioned that one single, solitary time. Television news is just sensationalism. Completely worthless.

Posted March 27, 2012 at 8:11 pm | Permalink
Sidney Bailey

E-bay has taken over the card business.
I have not been to a show or shop in years.
I can find what I wan t on e-bay.
I can sell what I want on e-bay.
Still a huge demand for pre 1980′ s cards

Posted March 31, 2012 at 12:34 am | Permalink
lARRY dAVID

i recently bumped into the cardking http://www.youtube.com/bcatman to my surprise at a show in white plains, ny -he stated to me the hobby never dies or goes broke for vintage cards. all the negative news is always regarding or about, NEW overproduced -mass produced cards. Never the vintage cards as you can confirm with an auction is NJ last year during recession it grossed $10,000,000 in sales

Posted March 31, 2012 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

Cardboard collecting has died… it will continue to die for some…

kids can’t afford high dollar prices. They are more interested in games, girls, clothes, music, ect… Most people I know in today’s society are not thrilled about cards. None of my friends collect cards. I collect, because it was my passion growing up in the 90′s. I stopped off & on throughout the years. I’ve seen a whole city die… there were tons of baseball shops in Santa Barbara, Ca in the early 90′s. Lots of competition. Lots of cardshows… today, there is on standing cardshop & the owner has thrown in the towel & is trying to sale, only problem, nobody wants to buy.. because it is hard to make money in a card shop.

I have lived in San Diego now. I’ve seen a few card shops go under. When I did call them or walk into their store.. they have no wax.. or hardly anything new. Even big shops, like Centre, in down town San Diego has limited wax & millions of old cards that nobody wants… you can hardly walk down the only isle, because it is filled with boxes and/or collectibles… that nobody wants to pay for.

Most collectors that I’ve talked to online or at my favorite LCS in Chula Vista, named PJ’s Sports Cards, want to buy/trade for cards & flip them for profit. It is very hard for small collectors to make a profit.

The turn around money is just not there, unless you open up tons of cases & are a huge dealer or powerseller on ebay… Why do I spend $2,000 on a case of 6-10 boxes of cards, that hold a small amount of cards… is it to get a chance of owning an autograph card of my favorite player? yes. I buy wax for the thrill. I buy it, even though I know I should not spen my hard earned money on cardboard… at least not that much. My wife gets mad at me for wasting my money. But I do it for the hobby, for the love of the game.

I collect only basketball, because I can not afford everything. Packs of cards have sky rocketed over the years.

Take a look at SPX basketball… packs were $4-8 in 2006-07 (before they dropped), then in 2008-09, they were $18-25 a pack.. that is a huge jump in price. Why did they jump? it is because Upper Deck was greedy… they wanted every penny they can squeeze out of us collectors… they throw in, that you get a GU or auto in every pack, that is why the price jumped… so what! GU come a dime a dozen now.. they are as common as an insert in the early 90′s, if not more.. yes, all those autos can be expensive, but that is part of the competition between manufactures of releasing good card products… everybody wants the autos!!

With NBA only having one manufacturer of NBA cards….. card collecting lost competition & the NBA created a MONOPOLY…. it made a lot of collectors stop collecting or go back to collecting older cards.. looking for those rare inserts and/or autos..

Go to your local elementary, junior high, or high school… even colleges… ask those kids if they know what a baseball card is (any sport)… or ask how many of them collect cards? I bet if you go to Santa Barbara, Ca… the answer you will get is NOBODY.. maybe a small handful of college students, but they are not super collectors…

How much does an average collector spend every month? Where do they spend it? More likely, they buy on ebay. Tons of collectors today are overseas, for basketball, especially asia. If you look back to the early 90′s or before… overseas collecting was none, or very limited… now it’s huge… I think that is what is saving the card industry today… all those overseas collectors with big money, spending like crazy!!

Card manufacturers are doing very limited advertisement, except online, throughout the sports card forums… I don’t think I have every seen an advertisement online… very little in sports magazines if any at all… go to a sports game, ya, you might get a free card or pack of cards… but those usually get given away or tossed for those non collectors…

collecting will never totally die, but the type of new products being released will change over the years… card companies are trying to limit certain players autos, to make them harder to obtain…. just to try to keep value… or they will over produce them, like Kobe… you can get his auto for under a $100, because Panini releases a few hundred if not more in every product.

STICKER AUTOS KILLED PEOPLE WANTING TO BUY WAX… why spend tons of money to open up a pack or box of cards, when I can log onto ebay & get the exact cards I want for a fraction of the price… ??

Posted April 2, 2012 at 3:35 am | Permalink
Corey

Would have to agree with this story. Back in the 90′s I worked at the place where Fleer and Upper Deck and Skybox and Leaf were print and package.Work there for 4 years was a huge business it keep growing and growing it just got to big and to many cards flooded the market.To many sets and different sets. Then the lock out then the steroids.Baseball it self help ruin the business some what.I am in my 40′s now and just started to collect again and there are many changes.The cards are just getting to prices for kids to buy. As the story points out video games and internet just doesn’t help just hope today’s youth can see that their is a cool hobby in collecting again and the people that I have met threw here and at show have great stories about there cards and just love the game and the hobby.

Posted April 9, 2012 at 6:53 pm | Permalink
Ryan Nolan

i am 14 and i have been collecting cards since the age of 5

Posted May 21, 2012 at 5:51 am | Permalink
al

Excluse contracts did sports cards in! I collected UD basball cards for 20 years until Topps was the only
game in town . Topps cards are awful & I refuse to buy them.. MLB killed my hobby.,thanks very much !!!

Posted June 11, 2012 at 5:39 pm | Permalink
Seattle Slew

Panini’s response is a self-serving joke. Anything that is manufactured with the INTENT of being a “collectible” is garbage….plain and simple. This is toilet paper.

The fascination and growth of the card-collecting hobby came about from many people in the late 70′s and early 80′s revisiting their youth and buying cards that they had become familiar with in the 50′s and 60′s. It snowballed to where it became more than “collecting” and was fueled by the same kind of opportunistic approaches that appeared for dot.com stocks in the late 90′s….Greed, speculation and the “greater fool” theory. There also were a variety of more visible “gurus” and publicatons promoting “rookie cards”, “error cards” and focusing on the financial rewards rather than the true collecting aspect.

The TV piece was pretty much on the money with respect to what it was tracking….namely the baseball card collecting “craze” of the 80′s and early 90′s…which is now DEAD.

Yes, there may be innovations and neat products, and if they are priced so that kids and young adults can buy them and enjoy them for what they are (souvenirs) rather than really believing that they will ever be worth more than they paid (99% will be worth MUCH less) then all is good. However, when I hear the Panini toutman pushing 8000% increase in the value of a Jeremy Lin card….sounds like the pump and dump of a penny stock boiler shop. Terrible to try and lure in people with that line.

Posted June 18, 2012 at 1:30 am | Permalink
Paul Rogers

Pre-1980 is very strong, especially high grade PSA/SGC cards. New stuff is dead and almost worthless. There is no need to go to shows as you can buy anything on Ebay. The show dealers still think they are selling diamonds and are for the most part inflexible and overvalue their inventory(still living in the greed era).

Most of the dealers that still work the shows are morons and trailer park trash.

Posted September 22, 2012 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

The freeze frame of the video is of DonRuss Diamond Kings. My husband was one of the artists of this series- Mark Turnes. Those may even be of his signature, but the film is too grainy. I feel that this story is true. My husband is an avid sports fan and has quite a collection of old cards, however, our 6 & 8 year old sons only know about baseball cards because their father painted portraits for some!! We are partly to blame because we let them play video games and use the computer etc. But, I agree that there were far too many produced for circulation. I think they need to streamline and focus on something that really captures people’s attention- true works or art.

Posted December 3, 2012 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

Am I the only person who believes if Topps or some other card company would just start making cards like they did in 1975, no flashy stuff, just basic cards, and sold them in corner stores at a very reasonable price, they could take off again? Release them in series so that players traded or who were free agents appear on the correct team. Put them in places where kids go and sell them for a very minimal profit. Grow the kid base for a decade or two.

This story was dead-on accurate and extremely sad to me.

Posted March 30, 2013 at 11:37 am | Permalink
chrisolds

Barry: You might be. Products that have taken that approach in recent years have floundered and not lasted — because they did not sell enough to justify their existence. Example: Topps Total.

The story itself is inaccurate for many reasons — for example, the Internet’s presence isn’t addressed fully. Plenty of cardboard — old and new — gets sold online.

Posted March 30, 2013 at 2:24 pm | Permalink
Brian Powell

The hobby of card collecting is far from dead, but I agree with Mr. Mint– it will never be as it was in the late 80s-90s. That time of the hobby was marked by hyper-speculation with the intent of making a huge profit some time in the future. That mentality fueled mass production and even created card companies!

There was nothing wrong with the price gains of a lot of vintage cards (made from 1869 to 1971). It was the happiness and frenzy of a fast-growing adult hobby. Supply and demand. However, the producers of new cardboard wanted to get in on that kind of money and profit. The collecting consciousness of the 1970s transformed everyone, including all moms who tended to throw away old stuff, into “I’m gonna save that; it might become valuable some day”. This mindset was for everything, not merely baseball cards.

Some of you dismissed the notion of Mr. Mint being interviewed. Nothing could be further from the truth. He was the kingpin from the mid-80s until, at the very least. the late 90s. True, he did not deal as much in new stuff. He was too smart for that. He knew where the big money was–vintage. He not only rode that muscle car, he was the major catalyst who built it. He still drives it, but as he said, the hobby has dropped. The major drop is in modern cards, which again, tried mightily to feed the misunderstanding that all sport trading cards would be ’52 Topps baseball, ’52 Bowman football, or 61-62 Fleer basketball. The misguided investment became reality when young and old alike tried to sell their modern card collections. They discovered to their horror that a couple million other collectors also had similar collections.

The segment spoke rightly of the influence of video games. Someone even had the temerity to suggest that they should not have let their children play so many video games, and got them (railroaded them–yeah right) into baseball cards. How absurd! If they could only hear themselves. Their children MUST do as they did! How would you have responded in the 50s if your parents said you must not watch this new-fangled television? You should be content with radio, as I have been since the 20s!

Kids usually pick up and follow our evil or bad habits. While I agree that video game selection should be monitored, because there are some emotionally/mentally harmful games, another problem as well are the dip-headed naive adults letting their 6-12 year-olds playing games rated MATURE/ADULT.

My son never had an interest in baseball cards. Just as my father did with me, I never really encouraged him either way. I essentially stopped following current baseball in the early 70s, preferring old baseball history. That was true of my collecting pursuits. So, my son never gravitated to baseball, nor baseball cards. He fell in love with video games at a Sam’s Club. He stood transfixed watching a line of people, that he soon joined, playing Sega’s Sonic the Hedgehog. It was fun. He loved it. He still loves video games. They have never given him one moment’s thought of, “this’ll be worth a lot of money some day”. It’s never turned around and “bit him” or cause him pain or regret, save that he’s overweight.

So what did I do to respond to this different interest of his? I tried my best to listen to him talk about Sonic, Donkey Kong, Crash, and many others. He would show me things. My wife watched him play the games; that was one of his love languages. I got on eBay and helped him build up a Sonic collection that I must say is mighty impressive. Every month my wife and I would make the trip to the local grocery store, now comic outlet, that sold the Sonic the Hedgehog comic book. He in turn listened to me talk about regional baseball cards, Mickey Mantle, and Jackie Robinson. We could not be closer. The mutual love and respect is as thick as it gets. He doesn’t like baseball cards. So what. They have comic and video game conventions that echo the hey day of the trading card hobby.

Some people get it; some just cannot grasp it. Baseball card shops and conventions shifted to the internet. SO MUCH LESS OVERHEAD FOR SELLERS. Some collectors, young and middle-aged, truly want to meet and speak with other fellow hobbyists and people who will educate them. Some are coming back to the hobby, after taking the time to figure out what they truly loved in collecting, down deep. Whether they will find it, and whether there will be mature adults who won’t gut or hose them is another matter. As some have said, the hobby changed because it had to. Grading companies came about for some good reasons, though they are pricing themselves out of too many people’s discretionary money. However, authenticated items have driven the market for 15 years, and that is not going away.

I know. More than enough said

Posted July 5, 2013 at 1:07 pm | Permalink
phil m

People have to wake up, America is not America anymore. Not the America we dreamed it would be. The word old school is key. look around at your block or town, it has all changed. There is no more old school shops and cars. There is no more past time. There simply is no more time. The greedy political pigs have drove the country to a melting mess. Now nobody has any time or money to spare. Sorry but I got to go back to work so I can help pay for the 30 million illegals running the country.

Posted August 6, 2013 at 11:16 am | Permalink
chad harding

It’s not that the kids don’t care. It’s the fact that a pack of cards cost over 100 dollars a pack and there’s 25 different versions of the same card. it started to come back some when they started the autographs and jersey’s and numbered cards, but the cards have lost value huge just in 2013 alone. you can buy any card you want practically on ebay for a fraction of the value. I think the card companies are getting greedy once again. they ruined this hobby in the 1980′s. They should show a little class instead of trying to be the federal reserve. I have some nice auto jersey cards on ebay 1/1′s of Ryan Mallett Number 15/15 made his jersey number and a 3 color patch under his jersey number and I can’t give it away. it’s a one of a kind in the collecting world and it’s worth maybe 25 bucks

Posted November 17, 2013 at 7:21 pm | Permalink
Rich

I don’t know if the hobby is dying, but it’s certainly on life-support. Tried selling any old Topps sets lately?
I’ve been trying to unload a 1957 set and a 1963 set (the vast majority of cards excellent or better) and the
very few dealers interested wouldn’t give me a thousand dollars for either one.

Posted December 8, 2013 at 12:36 pm | Permalink
Michael T

As a card collector when I was a kid in the 1960s, and then picking up the hobby again as an adult in the 1980s, I’ve seen these changes. The thoughts of the 1980s, which were that cards produced then would be as valuable in the 2000s as cards from the 1950s and ’60s were getting to be in the ’80s never materialized. The obvious reason is that more cards were produced in the ’80s, and more people kept them in pristine condition in the hopes of gaining that future value.

The CBS report is accurate in one way, in that people do not attend live shows as much, and there are not as many shows. But they completely miss the fact that a huge chunk of the market trading has shifted to the internet. Not only that, the internet, primarily ebay, has greatly increased the supply of products, which has kept prices from escalating. Vintage cards still retain value, but prices have been fairly constant for probably 10 years or so.

The one area that has created price increases is graded cards and memorbilia. Graded product commands a pretty nice premium, because it puts some intrinsic value into the item.

To finish with a personal thought, I think the graded market is a hoax that collectors buy in to. But people like that extra confidence that a card is in a particular condition, and the grading companies push that by advertising set registries and the idea that you’re an elite collector if you own a bunch of 8,9 and 10 cards.

Posted March 8, 2014 at 12:09 pm | Permalink
Eric L

I am not a dealer. I am a collector in my late 20’s. Because of that, maybe I see things differently than others who have posted before me, but I am far from happy with the direction the hobby (emphasis on the word hobby) has gone in the last decade plus.

I have a collection numbering somewhere between 40,000 and 50,000 cards that I have accumulated since I picked up the hobby in 1995. I remember saving my allowance every week so I could go down to my local card shop and rummage through the $1 card bin every weekend, never knowing what I might find. I remember tagging along on trips to the grocery store with my mom just so I could visit the vending machine with the card packs in it (which was the greatest invention I could think of at the time). I remember reading Beckett like a book, memorizing the listings until I could tell you the value of every card within its pages and making mental notes of cards to look for on my next trip to the card shop.

I didn’t collect for the value cards, the memorabilia, the autos, the 1/1s; I collected for the sake of collecting — because it was fun. I still recall pulling a Kobe Bryant rookie card from a pack of Skybox I begged my mom to buy me at a Circle K. I still recall nearly dancing when the card shop owner told me a Grant Hill card I’d pulled from a pack of 1995-96 Metal I bought at K-Mart for $1.99 was worth $50 — and I never considered selling it. That was the joy of collecting for me. Those who make the cards seem to have forgotten this joy.

I loved opening packs and boxes as a kid. The anticipation of what might be inside was intoxicating. Now? Now I have to spend $100 for a box that will probably have 80 cards inside. Long gone are the days of 15 cards per pack and boxes filled entirely with packs and not Styrofoam filler (re: value). But this kills the opportunity for kids like me who might only have $5 or $10 bucks to spend. Collecting is no longer accessible to younger generations, with fewer retailers even carrying sports cards anymore.

The shift towards collecting for profit has sucked the soul out of the hobby. When companies realized how much more profitable selling 20 pieces of cardboard for $300 was versus selling 300 pieces of cardboard for $20, they might as well have just flipped us “collecting for collecting’s sake” guys the finger. I understand the other side of the hobby, and I believe it has its place. However, a guy like me who would just as soon pull a well-designed card of an average player as a game-used jersey card of LeBron James has been pushed to the periphery by manufacturers. Maybe sets with more players and lower prices haven’t performed well in the past, but who can be surprised by that when so many youth were priced out of the market years ago? All I would like is to see some respect paid to the average collector, the guy with binders of commons he values just as much as the high-end cards.

On my wall, I have 3 plaques with Michael Jordan cards in them. One is 1995-96 Hoops SkyView with a Beckett value well above $100. The other two are a 1991-92 Skybox SkyMaster and a 1993-94 Upper Deck SkyLights. The two together aren’t worth $5. But if I had to choose 1 card to keep from my entire collection, it would be the SkyLights card. The memories that card holds are priceless to me, worth even more than my Pete Maravich RC or my Larry Bird auto. That may not make sense to many, but no one said passion was supposed to make sense.

Posted June 22, 2014 at 4:35 am | Permalink
Heenja

Im in my early 30s and I have always loved collecting stuff. From toys,cards,comics to limited edition sneakers. Being in Singapore it was always tough to find stores that actually brought all these stuff in and it was always a hobby that was done in seclusion for me. In my early teenage years, we barely had any NBA coverage here in Singapore and the Internet was still young (56.6kbps!!) but I was still buying the packs hoping to pull one of those 1:2 or 1:5 inserts or anything Jordan! I was also seriously dumping a lot of money into Magic the Gathering cards and other stuffs. Later in the teenage years and 20s, I stopped buying any of those and even sold a large collection of Jordan cards(on the cheap to anyone willing to buy here in Singapore) to fuel a gaming and dating habit! Now that I am earning a comfortable living again I am once again going into collecting and opening packs(my wife does not approve!). I see kids are always collecting stuff, whether its yu go oh or Disney Infinity to Skylanders so I believe that collectors will always be collectors and there will always be people wanting to collect things!

One thing I have noticed now and spent a lot of money on are Online Collectible Card Games. They have huge fan bases and have cards that are traded very very regularly and can be very valuable (check Mobage games like Rage of Bahamut and Marvel). I have trade room chats and auction room chats on my mobile phone that have 200 people in them constantly looking for trades or purchases and I awake to thousands of messages being posted. These is what I believe, are your modern day card shows. The excitement and buzz that happens when a new card comes out I Imagine would be similar to when a new hobby pack comes out in the hey day

Now this is where I see a huge opportunity being missed out by the card manufacturers. They need to combine and evolve the passion of collecting (what i believe is innate in collectors) to a modern day platform that includes some sort of social gaming. There have been attempts at it (i.e Panini Adrenalyn, Futera) but it really needs to be hobby wide for the hobby to strive and to be relevant. They need to build stronger ties with major game developers to make this happen. Football and soccer cards manufacturers need only look at EA’s Ultimate team games and how much revenue that makes for EA for them to get that push. This will bring much youth and constant excitement to the hobby that would please the old school collectors as well as the new school of virtual cards collectors. I long to see the day when I pull a Michael Jordan card that has super stats that I can play on the NBA 2k series.

Posted July 20, 2014 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

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