SCU Go Live Report – 2016 Museum Collection Baseball

Over the last few years, I have become a fan of Museum Collection baseball. Well, at least PARTS of Museum Collection. Some of the parts of it I could do without, but others are some of my favorite cards any company makes. This year’s baseball product mirrors the Football version almost to the letter, and that isnt necessarily a bad thing. Some of the cards are very successful, where others have the same issues it’s sister product did. Its a high end chase for some very nice cards, and Im interested to see what is in store as more of the product is opened.

Here are some of the bigger cards already up so far:

2016 Topps Museum Collection Mike Trout Auto /25

2016 Topps Museum Collection Jose Abreu Framed Auto /10

2016 Topps Museum Collection Corey Seager RC Auto

2016 Topps Museum Collection Jeff Bagwell / Craig Biggio Dual Auto

The focus of Museum during the last few seasons has been a combination of the framed autographs and other high end on card autographs, and 2016 is no different. Being that the framed cards are some of my favorites to collect, I was interested to see if they remained the same from Football. They look good as usual, although Im not a fan of the wood parallel that Baseball has used for the last few years.

I also really like the on card autograph content outside of the framed cards, especially the horizontally oriented ones. I think they really improved this over the stickers in football, and the parallels look even better with sepia toned photos and silver signatures.

Although the dual relic autos dont look that gross, the one part of Museum that I literally despise is the triple relics that add one more 1×1 square to the dual look. The L shaped approach of the configuration intrudes on the player, and makes the design so packed that everything looks strained. There are also jumbo relics where the player photo is about the same size as the product logo, one of my biggest pet peeves. On a high end product like this, silhouetting a larger player picture over the patch would be so much better. I hate when the player is a secondary focus to the relic, especially when the product logo has as much prominence. Its completely wonky.

For one of the first high end products of the year, Museum fills a gap that has been present since the release of Topps Series 1. I think that by the time products like The Mint roll around, the only cards of note from this will be the chase content and framed cards, so get your cards up if you are a seller. Sticker auto relics just arent special anymore, and I think that products like this should have a focus to maintain a 100% hard signed approach. As a whole the stuff is right on par with previous years, and Ill definitely be looking to chase down some singles of the guys I collect.

Trevor Story Ignites Baseball Card Values With Torrid Start

For the first week of the MLB season, there has been no bigger hobby news item than Trevor Story’s historic run. He has hit 7 HR in his first week in the big leagues, and as expected, collectors are going absolutely nuts. But, unlike many might say, I am going to break some bad news on this – you are too late. Buying now is more risk than high reward, and its breaking the cardinal rule of prospecting. Buy low and sell high.

Here are some of the auctions, you can see the insane prices right now:

2011 Bowman Chrome Trevor Story Base Auto RC

2011 Bowman Chrome Trevor Story Blue Refractor Auto

2011 Bowman Sterling Trevor Story Blue RC Auto

2011 Elite Extra Edition Trevor Story Auto Red /10

Bottom line, this is a dream scenario for prospectors, especially those who have waited YEARS for this time. Most people who have stood to make money already have, and its not from a short term investment in most cases. Trevor Story is a guy who was drafted 45th, to a team that had a need, and I can guarantee you that there were a lot of prospectors who saw him as a guy worth picking up a small stash.

Story’s cards probably sat in people's common boxes since his Bowman card from 2011. That’s the way many prospecting stories start. People like Correa and Harper were drafted #1, so their cards never were rock bottom the way his cards probably were.

That doesnt mean there isnt more money to be made, but the massive increases in his pricing have likely already happened, and the baseball law of small sample size will eventually catch up to him. Even if he goes on to win ROY, he might only go up in a small way. There is a chance that he hits 60 home runs and goes onto be MVP, but there is also a chance that the Twins win the World Series this year. Both are too slim to bank on.

If you are a Rockies fan, sure – go nuts. This is your time to shine. If you are someone looking to make some money on cards, my first inclination is to ask you why cards are your preferred investment tool? Then I would point you to Prospecting 101, where you might learn that buying guys that have already popped is probably the worst thing you can do.

Im guessing that Topps is already looking for more ways to get Story into products, which means he is likely going to be in a lot of products as the year progresses into the second half. He already has 3 Topps Now cards. Considering the draft is coming up and 2016 Bowman is on its way, you might want to figure out what you need to study to find your targets.

I love stories like this because it brings attention to the hobby, especially when you see what kind of money people are paying for Story’s cards. If you remember back to Yasiel Puig, a very similar thing happened to what is happening here. Lots of HR, high batting average and a potential to be one of the next big super stars. We all know how that has worked out so far.

Prospecting is an art, and I would say that most people dont really get how to survive. The ones that do it well are already done unloading Story, and are onto looking for their next guy. They will also have a hundred tales of investments that didnt work out. All in all, there is always risk, and basing a collection on a few games is never a good idea.

SCU Go-Live Report: 2015 Flawless Football

I was shocked last year when Panini decided to bring Flawless to football, especially at a price tag that was suited for Basketball. The singles havent performed very well long term, and though the box price remains high, its more because of group breaking than anything. The thing is, because the product came out SO early last year, it had a completely different appeal to it. There were no high end cards of that caliber even close to the stuff in Flawless and that added a lot. This year, its the last product, and boy its looking like that was a huge mistake. Thankfully the design is much better than NT was, so I can look to get some singles of the guys I collect.

Here are the big hits up so far:

2015 Flawless Jameis Winston Auto Patch RC /20

2015 Flawless Marcus Mariota Auto Patch RC /15

2015 Flawless Amari Cooper Quad Photo Auto RC /20

2015 Flawless Peyton Manning Auto Jumbo Patch /10

2015 Flawless Dan Marino Auto Jumbo Patch /20

Right now, the football market as a whole is insanely soft for singles, with many collectors already into offseason mode and planning for the upcoming draft class. Similarly, Panini JUST released National Treasures a few weeks ago, and the dust hasnt even settled on that set. Production delays happen all the time, but this is a bit ridiculous. There is no reason why the two biggest Panini products of the year should hit within two weeks of each other. No way.

My biggest gripe with Flawless has always been that it offers nothing unique. In fact, it offers less chase content than both Treasures and Immaculate, by a significant margin no less. Add in that at $1500+ per box, it costs 3 times the amount, or 5 times the amount if you consider where Immaculate is in price right now. Asking people to pay that much for what they get in Flawless is so insane I cant even put it into words. People will come in the comments and say “Well the price supports what people will pay…” but Im not sure that is a true representation with group breaks in the mix. This is a set built almost explicitly for that format, and its maddening to see how little Flawless offers outside of an encased hit per box. I wish Upper Deck was around so we could see what they would do with a price tag of this nature. I have a feeling it would literally be the most crazy content ever put in a box.

That isnt saying the Flawless cards dont look great, but with NT delivering such similar content so recently, its not special at all. I really like the quadruple exposure cards that Panini previewed a long time ago, and the main autograph patches in the set are definitely the best looking cards Panini has made so far this year. I just dont see why we dont get something more on the level of what NT and Immaculate offer for chase content, and that is why Flawless singles dont hold up. Treasures literally has cards with like 50 NFL logos on them, including logos all over the product. Flawless has none of that, despite Panini offering them in just about every other product this year. Panini has so much Event Used shit in their warehouse that they can put 18 logo cards in Black Gold but none in a box that costs a ton.

I havent even started discussing some of the names on the checklist, which is like a who's who of college players that didnt pan out in the NFL, mixed with HOF guys who dont charge much for their autograph. Paul Hornung, Charlie Joyner, and Dan Hampton are all there, and they are coupled with FLAWLESS MEDIOCRITY in Danny Amendola, Julius Thomas, and other current guys. Lets not forget guys like Antonio Freeman and Dallas Clark, who were good but dont sell. These guys probably dont want 150 bucks a card like Montana or Emmitt, and collectors cant see how they are in there to cut corners where corners shouldnt be cut.

Of course, guys like Montana are in there, but I have already seen him, Thurman Thomas and Tony Dorsett in uniforms that arent their main team, which cuts value even further below on the secondary market. No one wants a Dorsett Broncos card over a Dorsett Cowboys card, and its poor planning to buy those relics knowing people are going to devalue their presence.

Bottom line, if you are looking to enjoy Flawless, pick up some singles, because they are nice. The cards are good looking and they do hold Treasures like value for the first few weeks. Once the novelty wears off, the prices will drop hard. Just join in on the massive amounts of group breaks before diving into personal boxes. It will be much more price friendly and if you get skunked, you wont be out 3 grand on a case.

I hope that the day of reckoning for this highway robbery comes fast. Its disgraceful to see them too lazy to even put on a ski mask when they mug their customers.

EDIT: User Pazerbaijan on Blowout just posted this analysis and I think it is amazing. Panini is such a fucking joke.


SCU Go-Live Report: 2016 Gypsy Queen Baseball

I like Gypsy Queen a lot, especially because of the retro themed nature of the product. Its all on card autographs, with a retro design and that painted type HDR filter that I really have come to like more and more over the years. Although there are always some major duds on the autograph checklist, as a whole, the set looks really nice this year, as it always does.

Here are some of the bigger hits so far:

2016 Gypsy Queen Kenta Maeda Green Parallel Auto /99

2016 Gypsy Queen Jeff Bagwell Framed Mini Auto MVP

2016 Gypsy Queen Kyle Schwarber Auto SP

2016 Gypsy Queen Frank Thomas Mini Auto Book

The biggest news for Gypsy queen this year is the inclusion of the first Kenta Maeda autographs, who figures to be a big draw all year. Another import from Asia, much like Darvish and Tanaka, Maeda’s value will be high until his performance shows his true potential. At that point, its a skyrocket or a plummet, and hopefully he does well.

This is designed as a more involved amalgamation of a set builder’s product and a hit chaser product, with lots of fun inserts and base cards along side high end content with autographs and patches.

My favorites are the mini autographs that come in the included SP Mini pack with each box, as I think they just look really cool. Although the cards are smaller, the pictures and autographs still look really different and interesting. They have a different photo than the normal autos in most cases, which is also a cool change. There are also framed mini autos of some players, but those are exceptionally rare.

The autographs range from the base variety all the way up to autograph mini patch booklets and a bunch of others. There are also SSP photo variations and SP base that make the set a bit more fun in the main base area of the box.

Overall, GQ is a pretty underrated product as a whole, mainly because Topps has made on card autographs such a standard occurrence over the last few years. I really like the look above and beyond most of their main products, and will definitely be busting a few boxes if I have the chance.

Some Thoughts on Topps NOW

Over the last few days, Topps has been teasing their new online exclusive product called Topps Now, which is an on demand printed set commemorating daily moments from the previous day’s MLB action. This is really the first time a physical product has been branded around timely printing of recent results from Baseball, and it could be very interesting to see how it plays out.


Being that Topps Now has the ability to print cards that celebrate items as they happen, it could be a very interesting way to special content onto the market as quickly as possible. If you think back, players like Yasiel Puig and company stormed onto the scene, and had very few cards to support the enormous demand of their production on the field.

To counter this situation, Topps is pledging to print the cards within 3-5 business days and ship quickly, which could ensure that extra value is maintained for cards of players who dont have any on the market, or do something huge on the field. If Clayton Kershaw pitches a perfect game, the card that is made for the event could end up being valuable above the $9.99 Topps is charging.

The only thing is that certain cards are going to be higher run, as there seems to be no limit on how many are printed with each release. Topps has said they are going to announce the runs as they have them, which could mean that a low count version can have some added success on the secondary market.

To be honest, this type of content has been available for years in a digital format, and some of the cards have quite high prices on eBay. Since Topps has had such huge success with Bunt, its not surprising that they want to get these built on a physical side of things as well.

The only piece of this that is still in question has to do with awareness. How many people are going to know about the set, care about the set, or even want the set. Same question can be asked about individual pieces. I think that Topps just wants to make sure that Topps Now remains somewhat of a collectors item, even if the final product eventually gets stale. Going to be very interesting to see how this all plays out.

I have to say, for me, its worth a look right now.