When I first posted my review of SP Authentic, I thought it was absolutely nuts why people were buying and buying, considering how awful the main box hit looked. Although the subset autograph’s designs were relatively measuring up to the previous years of SPA’s foray into NCAA cards, most of them are stickers, where they had once been on card. Partner that fact with another that this is February and not prior to the season, and I honestly thought this was a train wreck waiting to happen.
The crazy thing is, with only 3 products on the calendar for football this year (UD, SPA, and Sweet Spot), Upper Deck had a lot more autographs to play with for guys like Cam Newton and company. It was also a very strong draft class, and that will always help sell boxes, no matter what the cards actually look like. Personally, I think this would have been a MONSTER product if it came out in October/November, but four months later, I think the availability for the true potential of this product is diminished.
I will say this, the secondary market performance for these cards is staggering. I cant tell if it is because of collector loyalty to the brand name, the lack of availability with Blowout or a lot of local shops, or just that people want on card autos, regardless of the jersey they are pictured in. I think that of all the cards, there are a few that just blow me away. The first are the SSP base card autographs, ones that are selling for absolutely crazy money.
Check these out:
I think these cards are the best designed ones in the entire set, harkening back to what SPA used to be. Some of them are stickers, and they aren’t selling for the same prices that the on card ones are. I think that the ones like Cam Newton, Jake Locker, Mark Ingram, DeMarco Murray and Christian Ponder are looking like they are unexpected SSPs, and collectors are racing to pick them up. I actually think these are some very nice cards, and the graded versions should command some pretty high values.
Overall, Ill admit that I cannot explain why SPA singles are selling the way the way they are, but I think that after seeing this performance, its obvious that UD missed a huge opportunity in releasing this late. Some of these patches, numbered to a RIDICULOUS 600+ copies per card, should not be selling the way they are. Newton alone has 299 copies, which by this year’s standards for other companies, is enormous. I do think that the lack of college affiliated cards available this year made this reason a good candidate for why they are selling. Yet, when you look over completed sales, I am shocked by how many have sold the way they have. Hell, the jerseys that are being used are not even authentic jerseys! From what patch quality is showing, they look to be the junk ones you can buy from the student book stores. I get that college jerseys are hard to come by, but seriously people, this is lower quality than ever.
Prices for players other than Cam Newton have steadily declined once people are seeing just how many of the non-SP cards exist, and I don’t see that stopping anytime soon. Once the market is saturated, supply will meet demand every single time. Even outside of the law of diminishing return as collectors fight each other to open boxes of this stuff, I am still surprised beyond my wildest expectations.
I also think that tossing in packs of SPX at 4 per case and SP rookie threads to boot shows that things are very odd over in California. Gregg Kohn admitted that products based around a college branding can easily get over-saturated, and that is where I get concerned. How is it possible to build a company around a license that only allows for X number of products per year before people get complacent. 3 products per year is obviously under-saturation from what we are seeing with SPA, and when you have to fold in 2 other products that were once stand-alone products, I start to wonder why this was the case. UD and their cash flow have made headlines in the hobby over the last few years, and although they are sounding the “ALL IS WELL!” alarm, I think this is a perfect representation of the money challenges they face.
SP Authentic is a success so far, but I think a ton of collectors are surprised as to how well it has done. I think if all the cards looked as good as they had in the past, I wouldn’t be as shocked. I like some of the stuff, like the SPX jersey autos and the signed base cards, but other than that, I think this is definitely a step down in quality, which only brings about further questions. In the end, im sure we are all going to get impressive feedback from both shop owners and Upper Deck about the wax. However, this only begs the analysis of what COULD HAVE been.