Are Low Quality Products To Blame More Than A Low Quality Rookie Class?

There is something that I have noticed over the last few product releases that is very concerning, especially considering that 2 out of the three cost $150 per box and over. Aside from the fact that the rookie class continues to be one of the most unimpressive classes of recent memory, there are very few people opening the products from what it seems. Bowman Sterling is the first product really to break the 250 dollar mark per box, and from what eBay is showing, there are very few auctions up. Limited was also released last week, and like Bowman Sterling, the once popular set has very few collectors taking the plunge. Funny enough, more auctions are up for Sterling, despite the ridiculous MSRP.

Here are the top cards up for Bowman Sterling:

2013 Bowman Sterling Peyton Manning Gold Refractor Auto

2013 Bowman Sterling EJ Manuel Gold Refractor Auto Patch

2013 Bowman Sterling Bernard / Lacy / Ball / Michael / Davis / Bell Six Auto Relic Book

Here are the top cards up for Panini Limited:

2013 Limited Landry Jones Auto Logo RC 1/1

2013 Limited EJ Manuel 3 Color Patch Auto RC Phenoms

2013 Limited EJ Manuel / Geno Smith / Mike Glennon Pen Pals Triple Auto

Its one thing to see why Bowman Sterling would be a stretch for most to break, as none of the base autos or even high numbered refractor autos will break 100 bucks. When you get into the more rare parallels, the cards can get a bit more expensive, but there are minimal amounts of hits in the product that will cover the box cost, let alone the price of a pack. The difference between Sterling and Limited is that the cards look that much better, and Chrome technology with Superfractors always will sell, while Limited’s ugly design coupled with stickers on foilboard have driven away more people than it brought in.

Going back a set before with Absolute, because there are so few cards in the product that can be considered appealing by any stretch of the imagination, not many collectors will jump in on a box that costs as much as Absolute does. Like both Limited and Sterling, the top base autograph wont cover the cost of the box, and 95% of the product wont even cover the cost of a pack.

The question remains – how much of this situation is directly related to the quality of the rookie class and how much is related to the horrible quality of the products? I dont think Bowman Sterling is really a poorly designed product, I just think the configuration of the wax has been bonkers for many years. Even in 2012, Sterling was a hard break to stomach despite a great looking design, made even worse by lack of quality in the rookies this time around.

With 2013 Topps Chrome on the horizon, delivering the top valued chase cards of the ENTIRE year, its curious to wonder how a product that costs 65 bucks a box can deliver the most expensive cards? Its clear that Topps Chrome has been a loaded release for years, which drives loyalty and trust among fans like me. Its a testament to show that when the companies deliver a consistently amazing product, it drives value in the set itself. When a company churns out watery donkey shit like Absolute and Limited for the majority of the year, collectors lose that drive to buy. Not only are the most expensive cards done without relics, but they are done without any true gimmicks at all. That is power.

If I am a company, this is the year that I strive to make a mark, not sit back and wait like I see Panini has done over the course of the calendar. I would never think to release a product close to as terrible as Prominence was, or god forbid the way Prestige was. This is the year I would have chased the dragon and see how far I could push the limits. If that means I released the minimum number of products required by the license, but made sure each and every one of them was gorgeous and built on quality, that could sustain it. Instead we are forced to endure nothing but bucket after bucket of products like Totally Certified and the like.

I would challenge everyone to speak out against the laziness we have seen in delivering low quality content for the same box price, something that should never be the goal for any card company.

6 thoughts on “Are Low Quality Products To Blame More Than A Low Quality Rookie Class?

  1. The problem is group breakers continue to sell case after case of crap product b/c people can buy in for the 30-40 dollar range. There’s no incentive to make better products when so much garbage sells.

  2. I agree, it artificially inflates perceived collector interest in the products. People are willing to spend 1/4 of the box price for a team in a case break, but wouldnt dare buy a box for themselves.

  3. Even the group break phenomenon will die down soon. ROI on busting wax is ridiculous right now. I LOVE busting and I just can bring myself to do it. When almost every box costs $110+ all in and yields maybe $20 SV, I just can convince myself that it was 90 bucks of fun. Even buying ’12 wax right now is futile–the “big dogs” from that class aren’t selling any higher than they were last year. I think we are headed for a bottom in the industry on the wax side. It will be interesting to see how that impacts singles buyers and Ebay sales. It actually may raise prices on that end.

  4. To me the products are the same every year its definitely the class..

    Most of Panini’s products are the same configuration and hit level as they were in 2006. Leaf rookies and stars 4 hits 3 of them jerseys and a bunch of crazy foil parallels. Limited, Certified same same… But I dont really need to bad mouth them, I just dont buy them. Even last year there was no interest for me in Panini products..

    I opened 11 boxes of Finest and 3 of Platinum and liked what they did. There are multiple parallels and a lot of low numbered content that gives sense of value even thought its not really there.. But I also pre bought at a level close to direct pricing so its a win proposition for me to break at that level…

    Out of the 11 boxes I pulled 8 auto patch cards numbered to 25 or less. Also had 4 refractors of various colors numbered out of 10.. The avg price they sold for was higher than I would have thought maybe because of the class and product people are willing to pay a little more for their guy for something low #ed and a wowzer manu patch than in other years.

    There seems to be a lot more prospecting on players this year because there isnt star like Luck or overhyped like Griffin.

    I dont think most people buy products very smartly either… Bowman Sterling isnt any different to me than Finest and when you break the cost down by price per hit, Finest comes out ahead…

    Im amazed at the Chrome opinions as well. The price per hit is one of the highest in the hobby but the demand even outstrips the massive amount of product that is out there… Its a minimum $70 per hit when Finest and Sterling are closer to $50 and Platinum is close to $30.. The value of Platinum is significantly higher than Chrome. It will be interesting to see if Chrome demand can push the secondary price even close to $100/box

  5. If that is the case then why don’t companies package boxes in quarters? 24 pack boxes with four 6 pack mini boxes? or 10 pack boxes with 2 mini 5 packs inner boxes..

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