Success of Sports Memorabilia Industry Should Serve as a Source of Potential For Cards

Sports memorabilia and autograph memorabilia is a big deal these days. Such a big deal that memorabilia collectors are some the largest whales in any hobby – not just collectors from this type of an arena. If you think people spend a lot of money on cards, people spend 10-15 times that amount per capita in memorabilia. To capitalize on this huge group of people, companies have started to creep into the space slowly but surely, as we have seen with Upper Deck authentic and Panini authentic. They arent even the big dogs, and there might even be a new big dog in the game now that Fanatics has decided to go after a growing number of people who love to get signatures from their favorite teams and athletes. They are even getting extra creative at bringing collectors closer to the game.

Check out these awesome examples:

1972 Miami Dolphins Team Signed Stadium Chairs

Yasiel Puig Full Sized Signed Home Jersey

Colin Kaepernick In Focus Signed Print With Inscription

Companies like Fanatics, Tristar, CSA, GTS and others will take their connections and build entire conventions and shows around the high profile guests they schedule to attend. Its actually pretty impressive, having attended quite a few of them. One of the more recent shows had most of the living members of the 1985 Bears, all signing in one place at one time. That is awesome, no matter which way you slice it. The National Convention may have thousands of tables selling sports cards, but just as many people also go to meet the hundred or so players that are signing throughout the weekend. When attending, its fun to watch all the different items people bring to have signed.

Although these shows give people like me a great chance to meet their idols, its not going to come cheap in any way, shape or form. This isnt a place that anyone should go and bring some cheap cards to sign. That is just not cost effective. Shows like I am describing are for those people looking to get their collection centerpieces marked by the athlete with no questionable authenticity.

The market is not all about autographed photos and items either, as game used memorabilia is easily the tip of the top of the mountain. Collectors will go nuts trying to acquire rare items from their favorite players, eras and teams. Whether its jerseys or equipment, its all worth chasing to many of the people who live and die by these pieces. Some of the golden age memorabilia can sell for millions of dollars, especially for people like Babe Ruth and other titans of the game.

Just talking with some of these bigger collectors makes one feel like small potatoes. Cards are just not the thing that is worth anything compared to the absolutely stunning items that I have seen sold at the bigger gatherings over the last few years. Rarely does a card make news the way a signed piece of game used memorabilia can.

We always talk about the hobby thinning out, but the strength of the memorabilia industry should be a breath of fresh air. If I were the card companies, this is the market I would be chasing.

2013 National Treasures – Some of the Best Patches Ever Made?

I am a firm believer in the fact that jersey cards as a whole are completely dead. Not only are they now practically worthless, but even multicolored patches rarely sell for any type of money. With 2013 National Treasures, Panini set out to revive the patch card, and included some of the most ridiculous logo patch cards I have seen in a long time. Many of you are probably thinking that logos are now commonplace, and they are – FOR ROOKIES. Its becoming more and more infrequent that we get them for vets and HOF in game used fashion.

Game Used Logo Patch Cards – Veteran and HOF

These cards are all logos from the upper chest, which mostly use anniversary designs and special commemorative patches. Because these patches are usually the most intricately designed logos in the league, it should be pretty clear why these cards are as ridiculous as they are.

2013 National Treasures Joe Montana KC Chiefs Anniversary Logo Patch /6

2013 National Treasures Chris Johnson Titans Anniversary Logo Patch

2013 National Treasures Adrian Peterson Vikings Anniversary Logo /6

Game Used Logo Patch Cards – HOF 50th Anniversary Patches

These cards are from jerseys that were used during the couple of weeks where the NFL celebrated the anniversary of the HOF’s opening. The insignias were all incredibly nice, and Panini did a really nice job including them in these cards. We get full player pics on these, which I like a lot more than the ones mentioned above.

2013 National Treasures Robert Griffin III HOF Anniversary Logo Patch /6

2013 National Treasures Darren McFadden HOF Anniversary Logo Patch /6

2013 National Treasures Alfred Morris HOF Anniversary Logo Patch /6

Game Used Logo Patch Cards – Captain’s Patches

This set is reserved specifically for the captain’s patches that players wear on their jerseys. I actually asked Scott Prusha at Panini back in 2011 why these were never used in cards, and he said he would make it a point to use them in a set in the future. Not saying this was my idea, but Im glad they did this. They turned out awesome.

2013 National Treasures Peyton Manning Captain's Patch /4

2013 National Treasures Drew Brees Captain's Patch /4

2013 National Treasures Jay Cutler Captain's Patch /4

These cards are selling for an absolute ton of money and I could not be happier that they are. Its about time we got some action on jersey cards.

2014 Gypsy Queen is Live With First Cards of Top RCs

I have always had a soft spot in my heart for Gypsy Queen. Even though the set is mostly focused on cards that I don’t usually collect, they have always been some of the best looking of the stable of retro sets. With GQ slated to hit shelves today, I am already liking a lot of the cards that have started to show up from early box breakers.

Here are some of the hits posted already:

2014 Topps Gypsy Queen Mike Trout Mini Auto

2014 Topps Gypsy Queen Masahiro Tanaka Variation Action Shot

2014 Topps Gypsy Queen Adam Jones Green Auto /10

2014 Topps Gypsy Queen David Wright Jersey Auto

2014 Topps Gypsy Queen Jose Canseco Black Variation Auto

Gypsy Queen is also the first opportunity for collectors to get their hands on a card of Masahiro Tanaka in uniform, which has already brought a lot of people to open the packs that wouldn’t normally open them. Although the autographs of the new Yankee pitcher may not be making it into packs anytime soon, there are quite a few people who will be chasing the rare base cards.

Aside from Tanaka, another top rookie this year will also be making his debut in the set. White Sox Cuban phenom Jose Abreu has a base card, and is likely to have other content as the set gets opened. He is already slated to have an autograph in Bowman, but these look pretty damn cool.

My biggest complaint is that the autograph checklist continues to be relatively weak, as it usually is for a set that is focused more on the base set than the hit portions of the box. Being someone that has always gravitated towards the content outside of the normal base cards, this is a problem, and usually prevents me from breaking down and opening a box or two.

On the other hand, when you do end up pulling something crazy nice, it is about as nice as it gets. The cards have a retro feel to them that I have always loved, and though the majority of the content in the product hasn’t changed all that much, its something we can appreciate for the design. The inserts and other mini cards are fun and a blast to collect for the set collectors, and its no secret that the variations are a draw as well.

After seeing cards like the “Around the Horn” booklet autos, its clear that Topps is looking to build some new elements to the product that haven’t been done before. Although the autographs are stickers, it’s a cool concept to have an oversized card come out of a folded booklet. You cant deny they are thinking outside the box.

Gypsy Queen may end up being among the forgotten at year’s end, but its one of those under the radar products that is a fun rip. I would check out some of the singles even if you aren’t a big collector of sets of this sort.

Big Cards in 2013 National Treasures Hit the Block

I am a big fan of National Treasures this year, and I am very excited to be able to pick up some of the nicer singles that are now starting to hit. As I was discussing with a friend today, there is one big issue with all the high end products this year. Its close to impossible to come out ahead even if you pull a nice card. Without a top rookie class, high end doesnt work well in the NFL.

The top rookie card in the product just hit ebay, and as you can see, the seller is trying to list like its 2012:

2013 National Treasures Eddie Lacy Auto NFL Logo 1/1

That being said, its hard to justify buying a 450 dollar box of cards when you cant even come out ahead when you pull the best of the best. With Five Star coming out in a couple of weeks, it makes me legitimately worried how few people will buy knowing that fact.

Look at these big hits and the BIN prices. They will take less, which only makes the sting worse. You can get the best players in the NFL on card for less than the price of a box. Why waste your time ripping through cases?

2013 National Treasures John Elway Colossal Auto Relic On Card

2013 National Treasures Jerry Rice Auto Relic On Card

2013 National Treasures Brett Favre Auto Jumbo Patch 1/1

2013 National Treasures Richard Sherman Auto 2/10

Here is the wild card. With group breakers continuing to open NT and the like, the singles buyers like myself may catch a break. Collectors can still buy in for a whole case and not get their ass handed to them, and that is a huge plus to this format. Get nothing? Only out 60 bucks instead of 1500. That’s a bargain.

Look, there are still people that love the thrill of opening product. I sure do. That will always be a draw. But this is the place to start gambling if you arent someone that has the money to spare.

2014 MLB Opening Week Stories Keeping it Interesting

Even though I am not a huge baseball fan, the first part of the season is always a fun time for me. Football season is over and the draft is still a month away, which means that I have a lot of interest in a sport that I normally dont. It sure helps that there are some interesting story lines playing out.

Mike Trout Off to Torrid Start

If more players modeled themselves after Trout’s game, there would be a ton of superstars in the making. To have his game plus his ridiculous talent, and you have a winning combo that I will tune in to watch. Trout has been lighting it up for the last week, proving that he came into this season looking to be back in the running for the MVP. He is the top thing in the hobby right now, across most of the four major sports, and his cards are only getting hotter.

2011 Topps FInest Mike Trout Auto Refractor On Card

2013 Gypsy Queen Mike Trout Auto On Card

2013 Five Star Mike Trout Gold Ink On Card Auto

Derek Jeter’s Farewell Tour Underway

I hate the Yankees so much, and I love when they play horribly. However, I do respect the fact that Jeter has been the face of the team for so long. All that being said, I doubt he would have the fanfare if he played in Milwaukee his whole career, but maybe that’s the allure of the whole thing. He played the whole time under the brightest of lights and really never gave an inch. His cards have been up since the announcement of his retirement after the season, and I am curious to see what happens if he actually plays well.

2008 Ultimate Collection Derek Jeter Auto Dual Relic

2005 Reflections Derek Jeter / Cal Ripken Jr Dual Patch Auto

Puig Benched

Lack of maturity will scare collectors away, as it will speak to long term success in the game. Puig has had his share of off the field minor issues, and its starting to be a question of when the first major thing will occur. After being benched for late arrival to the stadium, there are questions surrounding his professionalism. He recently held a team meeting to ask how he could be a better teammate, which screams desperation, but his talent is nothing to balk at. Its clear his cards wont ever be worthless as long as he plays, but some of the corners of his values are getting dinged a bit.

2013 Topps Chrome Yasiel Puig Silver Signings Auto /25

2013 Inception Yasiel Puig Auto On Card

Is Pujols Done?

It hasnt been a great start in Anaheim for Albert Pujols. After multiple MVP seasons in St Louis and a monster contract, he has yet to return to form. With major drops in all the main categories, its time to ask the question of whether or not he has become just another player. He is only a few HR shy of 500, which will make some news as it happens, but lots of disappointment surrounds this former hobby superstar.

2001 SPX Albert Pujols Auto RC – I remember how much these used to go for.

2007 Ultimate Collection Albert Pujols Auto Relic

Thanks to these stories, im interested in the season so far. Maybe this will be the year that I can hold out for the whole season. You never know!