Living in Texas, I know the effect Johnny Manziel has had on sports in the lone star state. At this point, after becoming the first Freshman to win the Heisman trophy, he has achieved legend status without even finishing two years at Texas A&M. He has also solidified himself as the expected number one draft pick in the 2014 draft, as long as he continues to play at a top level. With another terrific recruiting class, its almost a foregone conclusion that A&M will have another historic year, and that means $$$ in the eyes of collectors.
With the release of 2013 Leaf Metal Draft Football, Brian Gray has already started to see the connection early on. We have seen “mystery redemptions” popping up all over eBay, and for the most part, collectors speculate it will be the first available Johnny Manziel autograph card. Because he is still technically an amateur, no true cards can be created with his likeness, but cut autographs and art can be done without penalty – as displayed in the 2012 Leaf Custom Cut Set.
These redemptions have been bringing in huge money due to speculation, and if past value is any indication, these could be pretty expensive for a long time to come. They are promised within 2 weeks of entering the code, so we should be starting to see the results of the ‘mystery’ shortly – Manziel or no Manziel.
Its tough to deny that Johnny Football will take the hobby by storm when he eventually comes out in the draft, and I think this is a very good way to add value to a product that many collectors have come to love over the last few years. Although I feel the design isnt half as strong as it was in 2011 or 2012, hard signed autographs on chrome stock will never be turned away at the register.
This is going to be a VERY difficult year for the football hobby, as I have discussed before, so I have to give Leaf a tip of my hat for thinking of a way to get the most popular college athlete since Tim Tebow, to appear in their products. Geno Smith looks to be the top guy, in terms of collectability, for 2013, but his auto is not one that I see cracking 100 bucks legitimately until his performance on the field can be judged. Not a good situation overall, and it will rely on the 2012 crop’s continued value to be a good placeholder for 2013 products.
The highest sales for the refractor auto set so far do not look good when compared against previous years:
Im sincerely hoping that the card companies have something up their sleeves to make this work. I know that not every class can be what 2012 was, but there has to be a tent pole in every class to at least carry value above box price when you pull the best auto. So far, it does not look like there is anything that can be done until the class hits the field, but Manziel provides some hope for 2014 along side the rest of the QB class that could be in place.