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:
Here are the top cards up for Panini Limited:
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.