Sales of SP Authentic Defy Explanation

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:

2011 SP Authentic Cam Newton Base Auto SSP

2011 SP Authentic Cam Newton Base Auto SSP – 2nd example

2011 SP Authentic Cam Newton Base Auto SSP – GOLD version /15

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.

33 thoughts on “Sales of SP Authentic Defy Explanation

  1. The base autos that are on-card look pretty sharp, would possibly consider picking up some singles off of Ebay, but I will not waste my money on a box or pack of this stuff. Sorry, as an NFL fan I want to see my favorite players in NFL gear, not College uniforms. And using cheap Wal-Mart brand jerseys to fill the jersey windows of the rpa’s is just lazy and cheap. Makes this stuff look like Press Pass on steroids.

  2. Stickers in SP Authentic?! Is nothing sacred anymore? I always thought sticker-less was what set this product apart from the rest. Now, the multi-autos are no better than SP Signature cards.

    That being said, I’d love for UD to get the NFL license back. With a full calendar they’d be on par and probably better than Topps. But, kudos to Topps for putting out some great products including many more hard-signed cards. My dream product would be a Chrome set that included a big veteran checklist with all on-card autos.

  3. It just goes to show how little people read and or care about what the jersey is in their cards. As I get less and less room to have a collection and dollars get fewer dollars to spend I would never even buy event used singles let alone this crap. Some where out there people yell sick 3 colors! Give me the true collectable stuff, this junk will be in boxes for a buck 10 yrs from now.

  4. I tried to convince myself to buy a box of this but I just couldn’t do it. I bought 3 boxes last year but this year’s design just doesn’t deliver. On the other hand, for around $120/box, I don’t know if there is anything else that is any better.

  5. Gellman, Although the title is “Sales of SP Authentic Defy Explanation,” you have provided a very good explanation. While many Topps Football products this year seem to provide “Good Rookie Autos” as a case hit, SP Authentic is giving box busters a great hit every other box. Result is box busters are happy and I am ordering my forth shipment of SPA.

  6. You forgot to mention the “Future Watch” on-card autos…these are some of the hottest cards around right now. People love the retro 1998 look (reminds them of Peyton’s famous card) and the 1/1 auto’s are selling at ridiculous prices.

  7. One thing you haven’t mentioned is the College licence. I’d happily pay for an AJ Green auto from this set in his UGA jersey (not the airbrushed crap, looking at you press pass) than in a Bengals jersey. The appeal of players in the colleague uniforms cannot be overstated.

  8. SPA has exceeded my expectations saleswise. People really like getting 1 rc auto patch a box and the box toppers are creating some buzz.

    BTW, Upper Deck is also making a Legends NFL release for 2011.

  9. what kind of Jerseys do you think they wear at the NFL rookie photo shoot Gellman? also…we have UD, Sweet Spot, SPA and 2 moreon the horizon…5 products slated and maybe a few more for next year…..you seem to think we are irrelevent but you know damn well Topps/Panini dont and want us out…Topps products this year are average at best and I promise the volumewe did on SPA beats Topps with the exception of a few…yet you get orgasmic with each Topps release….MOST WITH STICKERS…I dare to say maybe your blog has become irrelevant…..do I sound bitter?? ;)

  10. of course shop owners are going to rave they are selling out of it! people want the product

  11. and instead of whining about our cash flow…shouldnt you ask yourself why flush companies like Topps and Panini arent using as many of the top rookie autos as we do per product? shameful!….also SPA has had RPA’s numbered much higher then this in the past and look at some of the numbering on Topps products….your hypocrisy knows no bounds

  12. Topps and Panini use authentic jerseys or at least replithentic jerseys with sewn on letters, numbers and team logos. SPA is not at that quality.

  13. They put out up to 15 products per season. They have no need and no ability to dump all the autographs into 3 products. That would severely damage the collectability and sales of their stuff.

  14. Seriously Gellman? How can you criticize UD for numbering rookie autos/699? Topps has had print runs over 1000 on SEVERAL products this year. In fact, they’ve flooded the market and pretty much single-handedly depressed the value of rookie autos. I now look at some of Panini’s rookie autos numbered /499 and think, “that’s a low print run.”

    Sure, Topps has some low print runs, but when you add 15 products’ worth of /50 autos, you still get a ridiculous amount of autos.

    As much as you criticize Panini for poor design & UD for poor patch quality, you should rip Topps for ridiculous print runs. Is there really much of a difference between a “crap jersey” card that nobody will buy and an auto that sells for $1.99 on Ebay?

  15. Im not criticizing them for doing it, Im wondering why collectors are valuing them that way despite that fact.

  16. Uh-oh, Gellman’s criticizing Upper Deck products and hurting Gregg’s fee-fees. Hey Gregg, got a few thousand unlicensed Yu-Gi-Oh cards I can have?

  17. I hope this Gregg guy doesn’t actually work for UD…what kind of professional company goes onto a blog and responds that way? I know almost nothing about the “behind-the-scenes” issues facing card companies, but if I didn’t know a thing and came on this blog and saw “Gregg” “representing” his company this way I would think this is amateur hour. I would also fire him.

  18. Honest question – what does “player worn football memorabilia” mean? Is it the same as “event worn?” Did the player actually wear the jersey replica that UD purchased from Wal-Mart to use for the RPA’s?

  19. Why are collectors focused what the print run is or how many colors the patch is? I’m with SCU in demanding innovation and great design. I don’t collect cards numbered to 5 or show off single color white jerseys. I showcase cards that look awesome.

  20. His twitter account says he works for upper deck. He’s been doing the same crap on twitter. He’s making himself look like a huge douchebag. If he actual does work for UD then he is representing them very poorly. I was actually going to buy a box of SP just to see what all the buzz was about………I think I’m going to spend that money on Playoff Contenders.

  21. I really like this years SP Authentic better than last year. The base design reminds me a lot of past sp authentic products. The Signature Threads are an awesome design with on card autos and are definitely my favorite. I hope UD gets their NFL license back soon to be able to push out NFL products. They hands down have the best design department. Topps has brought the heat this year though and they deserve props, but UD is head and shoulders better.

  22. Well, I hope no one pulls any redemptions out of this crap. Good luck getting them any time soon. I’ve been waiting on a 09-10 SP Game Used Basketball redemption for 2 years now and an 08-09 Exquisite Marc Gasol RPA for 8 months.

    Gregg, since you like to stalk these Upper Deck – related posts, can you tell me why both UD “Customer Care” lines just offer a recorded message and a hang-up? Your company is a joke.

  23. It’s amazing how much you said in this article that perfectly matches the reactions I had when I first saw this product:
    – the rookie patch auto cards are hideous
    – the vertical cards are really nice
    – they’re selling for insane prices, especially Ponder/699
    – and i love the spx cards but how the heck do you lump products together like this?

    are those jerseys seriously that though? For some reason, I assumed they were game worn.

  24. do you know me well enough to call me a douchebag? do I know you….is name calling where your blog is headed now Gellman? I will be at The National this year and will gladly discuss any product anyone would like in person if anyone wants to call me a douchebag we can discuss that as well

  25. yes, the players actually wore the jerseys….same as at the “event” worn gatherings

  26. so, by defending my company and its products with a hard line I should be fired? by defending what I know as the truth I am poorly representing my company? I may go a bit far sometimes but I believe in what I do and say and do not appreciate when someone bashes without cause

  27. they also ordered at leats doube the amount of sigs per top rookie that we did

  28. All I am saying is that in the past when we were NFL Licensed when we did a shit product Gellman took us to task and deservedly so….but now with Topps no matter what they do it is fantastic….do I get more upset then I should..yes..overreact..yes…go to far…probably..but I just ask for truth and fairness. I always gave that to Gellman when he asked for it. I probably to a fault was too honest, my bad. I shouldnt have reacted how I did but I will not apologize for speaking the truth

  29. You do realize I have had to lower my standards too. You guys were putting out 8 products a year with on card veteran autos. We get one licensed NFL product all year now with on card veteran sigs, and it costs 500 a box. Philadelphia, one of my favorites you did, cost 40 bucks and still had all the same stuff.

  30. Huh. Gregg came back to post more but could not explain why Upper Deck’s “customer service” department is so horrible. I mean, you can’t get in contact with a human on the phone there and the e-mail I sent last Thursday hasn’t been answered yet. Imagine that!

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