With only one day left in the year, its time to go back through all that was 2015 and talk about the best and worst things that shaped the year. If you dont like these kind of recap posts, I completely understand, but I think its pretty interesting to run back through the things that we experienced over the course of the year.
Best Product: Topps Dynasty Baseball
I know, its a cop out to pick something recent, but this one deserved all the hype it got. I still find myself seeking out case breaks to watch online, as each one is exciting to see what comes out next. Although the product DID have flaws, I cant think of one that I had more fun chasing. Not only are the patches absolutely insane in just about every way, but the design just screams super premium. Parts of the checklist might have been weak, yet the dud to win ratio in a case is very good for a high end product.
Check out these cards:
Worst Product: Panini Spectra Football
Like every year, Panini had some huge fucking dogs on their calendar. Gridiron Kings, Rookies and Stars, Playbook, Clear Vision, all disgustingly awful products. Nothing compares to Spectra. I understand that there is a cult of people out there that like it, if not only because its easy to pull 1/1s. I dont get it personally, as I dont want ugly pulls, even if the player quality is nice. The eye burning crazy patterns, the horrendous neon paint pens, the price point, the design of the actual cards, all were so bad I cant even put it into words.
These hurt my eyes to look at:
Best Storyline: MLB Rookie Madness
Lets break down this rookie class. Bryant, Correa, Sano, Schwarber, Matz, Buxton, Lindor, Pederson the list goes on and on. Every week in Baseball there was a new rookie to chase, and many of them had great years. Although both Bryant and Correa didnt get far in the playoffs, the class itself was legendary. Lets hope that many of them go on to be stars. The hobby was absolutely enthralled with each of these players and rightfully so.
These prices on many of their cards were astronomical:
Wort Storyline: Panini’s NFL Exclusive
As a huge fan of what Topps has done in football, it killed me to see that Panini had secured another league exclusive. Even though they do have some products that are worth our time, as a whole, this spells disaster in many, many ways for collectors. Not only is a 60 year presence in the sport gone, but it is replaced by a company that doesnt even produce the best sets. Its sad to think that this will be the first year in almost 60 years without Topps.
Biggest Flop: 2014 National Treasures and the Odell Beckham/Teddy Bridgewater Disaster
Right around draft time in April/May, Panini released what was going to be the set with the most value to many collectors. The problem was that hundreds and hundreds of cases were being opened without any of the best cards being pulled. At the time, Odell Beckham was the top rookie in the class, and Teddy Bridgewater was a clear second place. For a few weeks, no one pulled their main cards. Each were numbered as high as 99, and they were AWOL from the first wave of cases to hit. Many blame Panini or collation issues, which are all rooted likely in some aspect of the truth, but in the end, it was just a sheer train wreck.
These remain some of the most sought after cards in the product:
Biggest Surprise: Digital Cards Take Center Stage
Both Topps and Panini now have apps that focus on digital cards. Both will be making huge investments in digital come 2016. Although Digital has been around for years, nothing made more news this year. Topps recieved mainstream coverage online and in print surrounding Star Wars Card Trader, and Huddle was NFL licensed for the first time. In fact, Huddle may end up being the way Topps continues to be competitive in the football market next year, and I love that in so many ways. Digital opens up doors to a world of consumers that never pay attention to physical trading cards, and that means the hobby can grow for the first time in almost a decade. With Topps users numbering in the hundreds of thousands, you can see why this is such a big deal.
You can see how high some of the digital cards can sell for:
Overall, the one thing I took away from 2015 is that things are changing and changing big time. Some things for the better, others very much for the worse. Either way, its clear that 2016 might end up being quite a boom or bust year for all of us, and for everyone’s sake, I hope it turns out well.