Hobby Breakdown: AFC Championship Game

A few days ago I broke down the NFC championship game from the perspective of value in the hobby. Today I want to do a similar thing for the AFC. Remember, this is not a discussion of who is better or who is going to win. Its just a recap of hobby value.

Quarterback
Team: Colts
Rookie Year: 1998
Best Rookie Card: 1998 Playoff Contenders
Average Sell Value For That Card: $3,000
Autos Usually Sell For: $120
Commentary: Manning’s contenders auto is EXTREMELY rare and is EXTREMELY expensive. I actually had to guess based on a few ending auctions. If the Colts win this year, he definitely becomes a front runner in the Brady/Manning/Montana/Marino conversation for the best ever.
Starter: Mark Sanchez
Team: Jets
Rookie Year: 2009
Best Rookie Card: 2009 Playoff Contenders (So Far)
Average Sell Value For That Card: $170
Autos Usually Sell For: $150 (all rookies)
Commentary: Sanchez is not the reason why the Jets are in this game, but collectors have overlooked his struggles. His most expensive card will be his Exquisite auto, but without release, the Contenders tops the list. If the Jets win, look for major movement, especially before and after the Super Bowl.
Advantage: Colts
Running Back
Starter: Joseph Addai
Team: Colts
Rookie Year: 2006
Best Rookie Card: 2006 Exquisite Collection
Average Sell Value For That Card: $85
Autos Usually Sell For: $20
Commentary: Addai has never gotten any love, from being swept up in the hype of Reggie Bush, or being lost among the Mannings, he hasnt found a niche yet with collectors. I dont see it changing much unless he blows up in the final two games, mainly because of a mediocre season.
Starter: Shonn Greene
Team: Jets
Rookie Year: 2009
Best Rookie Card: 2009 Playoff Contenders (So Far)
Average Sell Value For That Card: $50
Autos Usually Sell For: $30 (all rookies)
Commentary: If there is one person in this game that could hit the stratosphere in terms of value, its Shonn Greene. He has had an amazing run through the playoffs, and with a victory, or a good performance tomorrow, he could be a hobby superstar next year.
Advantage: Tie
Wide Receiver
Starter: Reggie Wayne
Team: Colts
Rookie Year: 2001
Best Rookie Card: 2001 Playoff Contenders
Average Sell Value For
That Card: $130
Autos Usually Sell For: $20
Commentary: Reggie Wayne is one of the best receivers in the league, but you wouldnt know it from his prices. His value really doesnt have that much room to improve either, as colts receivers have never been appreciated. I would call that the Manning effect, evidenced by Harrison’s low prices too, but I have a feeling its more their position.
Team: Jets
Rookie Year: 2005 (Browns)
Best Rookie Card: 2005 Exqusite Collection
Average Sell Value For That Card: $90
Autos Usually Sell For: $15 and Under
Commentary: Edwards went from hobby love child to hobby outcast during his stint with the Browns, mostly because of performance. When he was traded to the Jets, things picked up as the Jets got better. He really hasnt done much, but the fans still want his stuff.
Advantage: Colts
Tight End
Starter: Dallas Clark
Team: Colts
Rookie Year: 2003
Best Rookie Card: 2003 UD SPX and 2003 Playoff Contenders (tie)
Average Sell Value For That Card: $45
Autos Usually Sell For: $30
Commentary: Dallas Clark may be the best tight end in the league, and fans love the goofy white guy playing like a human bowling ball. His cards are suprisingly expensive, but I doubt they will go anywhere higher with a Colts win.
Starter: Dustin Keller
Team: Jets
Rookie Year: 2008
Best Rookie Card: 2008 Exquisite Collection
Average Sell Value For That Card: $22
Autos Usually Sell For: $15 (all rookies)
Commentary: Keller is a newcomer to the scene and has become a favorite target of Mark Sanchez. He has a lot of value upside, but I doubt he will be a decision maker in this game. If he is, he could move to a higher bracket for good.
Advantage: Colts
Overall
At this point, we can call it for the Colts, and they are the favorite in the game as well. I think this game may end up being closer than many of us expect it to be, and I am predicting a Colts/Vikings Super Bowl. For this type of comparison, the star power sides with Indy, and I believe its going to seem that way on the field too. However, the wild card is the choke hold of the Jets defense, which could spell defeat for Peyton.
Advantage: Colts

What Factors Go Into A Player’s Value?

We all know that production is the forefront of where value is determined in this hobby. If you produce, your cards will be valuable, so much so that if you producED at some point, they will still hold some value even if you are not producing now. However, there are a few things that can add to that value, most of which don’t necessarily stem from long term production, and some of them are pretty nuts.

Aside from sustained production, the main contributing value add on is dominance. If a player is good to the point where they are dominating the league, value jumps into the stratosphere. Look at Jordan, LeBron, Peterson, Tiger, Pujols, they are all incredible players that dominate the games they play, and are all the highest value in their sports. These guys have added that wow factor to their production, and they have achieved more in the hobby than the guys who just have that long period of sustained production.

Piggybacking on dominance, setting records has a lot to do with value. Look at what happened to Favre’s cards when he set the TD record, it was very similar to what happened to Tom Brady’s cards when he set the single season record. Peterson set the NFL single game rushing record in his ROOKIE season, and his cards almost became un-buyable because of the cost at that point. Its very comparable to things like the 500 home run/3000 hit club in baseball, as those “records” usually put you in a higher value class.

Another more interesting factor in value is attitude, both good and bad. The more flamboyant you are, the more your cards are worth, with a few exceptions. Its why people like Chad Ochocinco are worth more than people like Reggie Wayne – he is always in the news cycle at the beginning of the week, and the end of the week. This drives him to the forefront of people’s mind when they buy, thus putting him in a higher tier. In fact, I believe his TD dances alone have raised his value 5-10% minimum. That’s the kind of effect a certain attitude can have on someone’s cards.

It does work both ways, however, as people like Terrell Owens and Randy Moss have definitely gone completely the other direction. For both, their attitudes have been so poor in the past that card companies have pretty much stopped approaching them for autographs. Not because they don’t want them in the sets, but because the cost of dealing with them and the opportunity cost of maintaining a relationship with someone like that is very high. It goes to show that having fun will always net you more than complaining in any sport.

If you have production, dominance, attitude and you do it for a long time, you are going to end up in the HOF. Being in the hall adds that much more on top of everything, more importantly if the player is older and playing baseball. Even some of the least well known hall of fame baseball players are regularly sought by collectors, and this actually drives more of the business than most of the other factors. The HOF is like a stamp on your permanent record, and unless you kill someone or get arrested (or both in OJ’s case), value will always be had.

In football and baseball, the position a player has on the team can also be a factor. In football, unless they play running back, quarterback or wide receiver, a guy is rarely going to be worth anything. In baseball, the corners, the OF, and the shortstops carry more value than a second baseman for instance, even many dominating pitchers don’t achieve much.

Lastly, and sometimes most importantly, production in your rookie year can do more for you than anything else. Players like LeBron, Derek Rose, Peterson, Matt Ryan, Rick Porcello, and others all had amazing rookie seasons, and therefore ignited a lot of people prospecting their futures. If you can get the prospectors on board, and you deliver for a few years after, things can get crazy. Its like a compounding of the different x factors, all of which are then exponentially exacerbated by a great rookie campaign. If a guy doesn’t perform as a rookie, it can take years before people in the hobby notice his production or even dominance. Because the hobby’s success usually depends on rookie cards, rookie performance is that much more important.

In most cases, value is never going to be a formula, and that’s why it is so dynamic. Guides try to capture a fraction of that, and it’s the biggest reason they fail miserably. For something that changes as much as hobby prices do, there is little any static number can show. This is mainly because of how many of the above factors can change week to week, and this is only a short list. Because each collector values certain characteristics over others, prices can go every which way. In the end, its up to us to determine what we are willing to pay, and its up to the companies to provide the products that we love. It can be a vicious cycle, but ill take it.

Rookie Value Rankings Show Me Some Things

I have never really put together a post that is a display of the sell value rankings of all the rookies, so I thought it would be fun to try it out in preparation for our upcoming 3 box limited break. What I did was look at all the different Leaf Limited Phenoms Patch Autos /149 and compare them in terms of recent auction values from eBay. Most of them fluctuate 5% either way with each auction, so be sure to factor that in. These prices also factor in multi colored patches, as with Limited, it only adds so much. Afterwards, ill discuss my feelings on the pricing.

1. Percy Harvin – $100+
2. Knowshon Moreno – $65+
3. Matt Stafford – $57
4. Mark Sanchez – $52
5. Josh Freeman – $50
6. Michael Crabtree – $45
7. Beanie Wells – $30
8. LeSean McCoy – $25
9. Jeremy Maclin – $24
10. Mike Wallace – $23

1. Percy Harvin – Well, Im not too surprised he is at the top spot, especially with all the national hype that Harvin is getting. Another factor could be that all of these redemptions were just fufilled, so the initial go live bump could be in effect. Because Harvin is a WR im not sure if his values will stick through next year, even more so if his production drops when Favre leaves.

2. Knowshon Moreno – I think his price is the most right on of the whole group. As a RB for a top team, his value should stay pretty consistent, and his production should do the same. I would even see a lot of room for growth as he becomes more comfortable in the NFL. Also, RBs are just below QBs in terms of the skill position value hierarchy, so that’s pretty good for his stuff too.

3. Matt Stafford – At the start of the season, Stafford and Sanchez were top 2 with a bullet. Kind of interesting that their values are now where they are. I think Stafford’s will rise as the Lions get better, but overall, its still shocking that they are as high as they have been. That 5 TD game did help though.

4. Mark Sanchez – Recent struggles have greatly affected his value. This card used to be over 100 bucks, but when you throw no TDs and a few picks per game, the fickle bitch that is collector favor will fade with your problems.

5. Josh Freeman – I am wholeheartedly surprised that Freeman is this high on the list. He did beat the packers, but since then, little has been good for him. It needs to be said that the Bucs are fucking awful, but usually collectors cant see past that. Either way, I still think he has potential to be good, but this is peak value in my eyes.

6. Michael Crabtree- His values are slowly climbing as he plays more, but his initial offerings are still very much hurt by the extensive hold out and primadonna attitude. Crabby will be a good receiver based on what I have seen, but it will take some forgiveness and/or production to get values up where they started.

7. Beanie Wells – Although the Cardinals have been doing great lately, Wells still needs to prove he can handle playing in the NFL at an elite level before he will make a move on this list. He has had a few good games which have bolstered things, but overall, he has still had a struggle to produce.

8. LeSean McCoy – He may be the savior of the Eagles running game due to Westbrook’s concussions, but his values have not necessarily reflected that the way I thought they would. I don’t think McCoy will continue at his production pace because Westbrook will eventually come back, but he should carry some value because of his heightened role this season.

9. Jeremy Maclin – Maclin has shown flashes of absolute brilliance this year, especially being among the only rookie WRs to have a multi TD game. Maclin will be a great player in my opinion, but he will never have top value because of his position.

10. Mike Wallace – I think its awesome that the Steelers have lost to as many bad teams as they have, and Wallace has had some good production. The problem is that I think more of this value comes from the jersey he wears more than the prodction on the field.

Im sure these rankings will change as the season draws to a close, though I do believe they are pretty representative of what I expected.

Be sure to check out our Limited break this coming Saturday or Monday as we are sure to pull a few of these cards in our break. Hopefully it will be a good one.

The Playoffs and Card Values

Everyone knows that when a player does well in the playoffs, regardless of sport, the card values immediately respond. When Tom Brady won his first Super Bowl, his cards went nuts. When Peyton Manning won his first playoff game, the same thing happened. The card values may already be high in most of the cases, but a national stage only perpetuates more value. At this point, when you are holding a card for a player you have no attachment to, this is your chance to sell and for a lot more money than normal. The playoff bump doesnt last forever, and its always wise to cash in while you can.

Here is a list of players that should get some nice bumps come December and January:
The No Doubters

Adrian Peterson – Peterson has only played in one game, and did reasonably well. If he pulls off a big game, it could be a fire sale on his cards for the people holding them. However, he is already the most expensive non-retired player, so who knows.
Brett Favre – Favre’s values have been rising ever since he put on the purple, but it could get crazy if the Vikings go deep into the playoffs. Look for a ridiculous spike on all his Vikings cards and a generous bump on the Packers ones if he wins or has a big game. SPA and Exquisite should be the first place for on card Vikings autos.
Percy Harvin and Sidney Rice – Harvin is already at or near the top of the class in rookie value, but the Playoffs could do some crazy things for his numbers. Rice’s value has been climbing just the same, so a big 10 reception game with a few TDs could do wonders for his undervalued cards.
Peyton Manning – I dont think there is a ceiling for his cards, but a huge playoff game could give some big bumps to his already high cards. He has so many cards that its tough to predict where they would end up, but it could go very nicely for those of you who have them.
Reggie Wayne and Pierre Garcon – Two guys that are ridiculously undervalued as receivers and one with barely any cards. If you have the chance to pick up cards for either one do so now, because a Colts playoff run will make you lots of money.
Joseph Addai – Everyone loved Reggie Bush, but Addai got very little love. Its too bad, because he definitely deserves it. Addai is primed for a great game and that will help your Addai cards tremendously.
Drew Brees – I cant say anything that hasnt already been said for Brees. His rookie cards are at peak value right now, but his other cards arent quite there – YET. If he does well again this year in the playoffs, its game on.
The Probably Players
Carson Palmer – I think Palmer is a player that hasnt gotten enough of the credit for the Bengals success. The guy has played like an elite QB all year, and his cards havent really adjusted from previous follies quite yet. I think Palmer is a great pickup.
Kyle Orton – I have seen odd things happen with Orton’s cards over the last few years, but this one is definitely his best. If he does well, the cards should hit peak value for the first time.
Brandon Marshall – Marshall has had a great season, but generally collectors are weary of latching on to a guy labeled as a troublemaker. Marshall could break out, and really suprise people.
Knowshon Moreno – Moreno is another top value guy and he should get better as the Broncos gear up for the playoffs. If he has a huge game, his values will spike more than you can imagine due to the Peterson effect. Collectors love running backs that they see have amazing games, and the playoffs will do that ten fold.

Tom Brady – Cards are already high for him, but lack of sigs have made recent values higher than normal. He had a few stickers in 2008 and 2009, but nothing on card for a long time. This could be the year where he gets some of that 2007 value back.
Laurence Maroney – Maroney’s value hit rock bottom last year, and I see him earning that back a little with a potentially big game in the first round. He has had the best year of his career so far, and with all the injuries, he should get the majority of the touches.
Randy Moss – Moss has had little to nothing in the last few years, predictably, and I see even better things this year for those early cards if he continues to be awesome.
The Maybe Guys

Aaron Rodgers – Rodgers deserves more credit than he gets in a lot of cases, and the 2009 playoffs could be the stage to do it. His cards have been going up dramatically, and this year will be it if he can get the Packers to the post season. Its going to be tough with Baltimore next week, but maybe they can pull it off. If they make it, he is going to be incredible.
Chris Johnson – I hate Chris Johnson because his sig sucks, but his cards will skyrocket if the Titans can pull off a miracle comeback. He will never have top value as long as his sig stays the way it is, but cards will respond to a game like the ones he has had this year.
Maurice Jones Drew – Like Addai, MJD doesnt have the following that he deserves. I expect him to do great things in years to come, and the playoffs may be the stage to bring collectors on board. Hopefully he will be able to have a good game and get those cards up to where they should be.
Jeremy Maclin – Maclin has put together a good year, but is not the top guy as a WR and due to his lack of consistent production. He will be great in the long run due to the Eagles lack of options, so this may be a good time to pick up some of his stuff beforehand.
Rashard Mendenhall – Mendenhall was hurt all last year, so his value was crap, but this year, it has all come back around. Again with a shitty sig (what is with 2008 RBs?), but he is a Steeler, so that will help. They still have to get there, but his playoff run should bring his cards to peak value.
Mike Wallace – I dont have the same feelings on Wallace that others do, but he has had a good season. He is the Steelers’ only position rookie, so his value could spike if he gets involved in a big game. He has become an all or nothing guy in 2009, with some great games and others where he has gotten junk.
Ben Roethlisberger – Ben’s cards have always been high as the savior of the Pittsburgh regime, but who knows what will happen if he enters Brady territory with his third ring.

The (Good) Collector Dilemma

Every so often, a collector has to make a choice. You come into some money, and then the chase starts with what to buy, what will be coolest in three months, etc. For this its always down to three choices for me, Wax, Single, or Memorabilia. I have been really good about making great choices lately, but this time seems to be a little different. Here is a glimpse into my thought process.

Wax

I love busting wax, I fucking love it. I don’t gamble out of fear of losing money, but for some reason, I love buying packs of cards. The exhileration is pretty much unmatchable when it comes to the short term, and from my last break you can see that I had a ton of fun with pulling huge cards. That’s the draw, right? 99.9% of the time you are not going to pull something you collect, but you don’t care if you still get something good. I wouldn’t buy a Chris Johnson auto with my own money, but when I pulled that dual auto and the shadow box auto, I pretty much drooled at the awesomeness of getting them in a pack. Same thing with the guy who breaks case after case of 2007 Exquisite Football looking for a Peterson over on Blowout’s forums. He could easily just buy one, but in his mind, it wouldn’t be the same as pulling it. I actually find similar feelings with cards I have pulled, but that is just an absurd thought. I guess when you have the money, it doesn’t matter.

For me, I love this option because it will always provide a ton of fun in the short term. But when a lot of money is involved, its not for me. HOUCollector over on twitter said to go buy some Black, but with the price of that product, its too rich for my budget. Even if it had diamonds in the packs, I would much rather take the sure thing when I am spending the amount I plan to spend.

Singles

Of the three, this is the way I have gone almost every time over the last few years, and I think my collection is awesome because of what I have decided on. Every time I make a purchase, I get to make the decision on what I will end up with, and every purchase is something I want. I know the current value of the end item, and I will feel comfortable in what I paid. The problem is, the short term excitement is rather low, and you have to appreciate the presence of your Man-display to really take pride in your collection if it is built this way.

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However, if you do have the patience to forgoe the original lack of short term excitement, the long term value and excitement is that much higher. I now have 15-20 cards in my collection that I would never sell just for more money to spend on cards. Those cards are what I chase, and now I have them thanks to avoiding large wax purchases. I cant buy one every month, but if I plan accordingly and have patience, they will eventually come my way.

The problem is, singles are still a piece of the player that most people wouldn’t be able to appriciate unless they have had prior exposure to cards. UD has been focusing on this a lot, trying to make casual sports fans into card collectors, but that is still a fledgeling program. People will appreciate the autograph, but in all reality the prestige of the card itself will only be a draw to another collector. If you want to impress someone, or even satisfy your own want for a huge draw, option three is the way to go.

Memorabilia

I have said from day one on this blog that I was always more an autograph collector than a card collector in my life. Thanks to this blog, things have tipped the scales more towards cards now, but the auto chaser in me drives me towards the auto cards more than anything. For that reason, making a cool memorabilia purchase can always whet my appetite when spending larger amounts of cash. When I say memorabilia, I mean signed photos, equipment, jerseys, balls, etc, and right now I have lots of all of those.

Since its football season, and since I have yet to get a large Adrian Peterson piece of memorabilia under my belt, I decided to go that direction. Now that my move to a more permanent location is iminent, my man-bungalo is as well, so I will need wall decoration to fill it. I have lots of Peterson signed stuff outside of cards, photos, mini-helmets, and other stuff, but a Jersey has eluded me since his rookie year. Now that he has switched his signature to the bastardized “AD 28″ I was not going to waste my money. Luckily for me, DA Cardworld and AD28Authentic.com still has old signature Peterson jerseys, so I bought one of those without hesitation.

I am really happy with my purchase, as it didn’t cost me as much as one of the Peterson cards I am still chasing, or a large wax purchase. I still have some money left over for Black singles when it comes out, and overall I am really fucking happy. I cant wait to get it framed, shadow box style, for use in my little man-area before the larger version comes into reality.

Who knows, maybe I will have this chance again soon, and my decision will be different.