I have been a little shocked by a specific part of 2013 Tier One, a part that seems to be unique to baseball. There are a number of subsets in the product that feature jumbo patches, some with autographs, and they are selling at ridiculous numbers. What is confusing is that this is a phenomenon unique to baseball. In a sport like football, it would mean little to nothing. Im curious how event used material in football has limited this same situation, as almost every current player who is worth collecting has had enormous amounts of crazy patches thanks to what happens.
Because there is no rookie photo shoot in baseball, do these collectors not have the same level of desensitization?
Lets travel back to 2005, when the Absolute Memorabilia Tools of the Trade set was released. This was one of the first sets that capitalized on the potential for jumbo swatches, so much so that more fakes exist today than real cards. The Babe Ruth jumbo swatch card from this set is still one of the most sought after memorabilia cards in existence, if not only because of what it represents.
Fast forward to 2010, when Upper Deck produced Ultimate Collection baseball for the last time. They offered jumbo patch cards in this set with the understanding that they would likely lose the ability to produce baseball cards ever again. Clean out the storage locker, so to say. Like 2005 Absolute, these cards sold for crazy amounts, inspired enormous amounts of attention from patch fakers, and remains one of the most successful high end baseball products of all time.
Tier one is approaching this same crowd with its own checklist of jumbo patches this year. The challenge is that they are that much more rare, numbered only to 10, which means they have a lot less quantity than normal. They are still VERY nice cards, which I wish came hard signed in the same orientation, but the design was switched for the autographs.
Here is my thing.
I know that we need the rookie photo shoot in football to accomplish certain things that are not available any other way. Whether that is pictures of rookies in their new uniforms, hard signed autographs, or stickers to be used during the first half of the year. I just think its a bad idea to continue diluting the market the way we have seen in the last few years. 2011 and 2012 National Treasures have so many ridiculous patches that it creates a vacuum of value. Collectors think its the best, because they love logo patches, but they dont seem to understand how it creates an inability for other cards to be valuable in the future, the way they are in baseball.
A middle of the road player's jumbo patch can sell for a crazy money if it has nice content. In football, that is almost non-existent, even for the best players in the game. Even though ALL ROOKIE CONTENT is not game used, even the real stuff doesnt sell. Things are so spread out that there is no real value in good content as a result.
More importantly, it prevents easy detection of fakes the way we have seen in the past, as it is now MORE common to get a crazy ridiculous patch more than it is to not get one. Baseball is always going to be a different animal, but this factor continues to intrigue me. Maybe I am interpreting this the wrong way, but I have to believe there is an element of truth in my personal perception.