non sport card market dead?

Joined: December 28th, 2007, 4:32 pm

December 26th, 2016, 3:56 pm #31

Been watching the bay & it appears only rare & scarce cards are selling. Maybe
it is me, I'm wondering what you guys are thinking. People are talking about the
T51 college set, but it looks like people can't give them away. Is it worth the
time & effort to sell a card for a buck or $2. I am very curious as to what you guys
are seeing. Like I said maybe it is me. I hope a few guys respond so I can get
a feeling as to what is actually going on. Thank you!
Best discussion thread in a long while! Look for an edited version in the upcoming Wrapper #304. Still kickin' - Les "The Wrapper"
P.S. May the Force be with us in 2017!
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Joined: May 20th, 2012, 3:06 pm

December 26th, 2016, 9:09 pm #32

Been watching the bay & it appears only rare & scarce cards are selling. Maybe
it is me, I'm wondering what you guys are thinking. People are talking about the
T51 college set, but it looks like people can't give them away. Is it worth the
time & effort to sell a card for a buck or $2. I am very curious as to what you guys
are seeing. Like I said maybe it is me. I hope a few guys respond so I can get
a feeling as to what is actually going on. Thank you!
Hi Tony,

Again, it makes total sense for the investor class. But again, my interests run neither to that ideal, nor to cards that are desired enough to warrant fakes (for the most part). There is also the fact that PSA and SGC have had their fair share of bad authentications. Bill O'Keefe's book on the T206 Honus Wagner sufficiently shatters the notion of infallibility, particularly the section where he does the hard algebra of pitting cards sent in against actual employees, plus hours of operation, and return-time for grades. We live not in a perfect world, but I digress...

Finally: Joe Orlando's business has nothing to do with a journalist's personal collection. The article was about how certain cards become valuable and what sustains them beyond certain bubbles. SGC's magazine ended up publishing it.
Last edited by bcxists on December 27th, 2016, 4:38 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Joined: April 6th, 2009, 12:17 am

December 26th, 2016, 9:21 pm #33

Been watching the bay & it appears only rare & scarce cards are selling. Maybe
it is me, I'm wondering what you guys are thinking. People are talking about the
T51 college set, but it looks like people can't give them away. Is it worth the
time & effort to sell a card for a buck or $2. I am very curious as to what you guys
are seeing. Like I said maybe it is me. I hope a few guys respond so I can get
a feeling as to what is actually going on. Thank you!
As Les says, this is an interesting thread. It seems that the non sports MARKET is doing okay. I even played an unusual part in that market this year. Thanks to all that I have seen and learned about here at this chat board, I have, after many years of NS collecting developed an interest in older cards. I never pictured myself dropping $500 for 8 cards I would never paid attention to in the past. To make it even worse, they were graded cards too and I do not like graded cards. But they caught my interest, learned my name and ended up in my bag. To make it even "worser", I am now in the NS market looking to see if I can possibly complete a graded set. As I said I do not like graded cards but these look so great....

As long as there are people with money to spend on something they can look at as an investment, the NS market will be active. On the other hand, how is the NS Hobby doing? Any one notice that there were no threads about the Philly shows this year? At my age my memory can play tricks so I looked to check. I went to those shows. The last one was the saddest I have ever been to. I got there Saturday about noon and as I walked into the show, at the top of the ramp, something looked wrong. Walking around I quickly saw what was wrong. Where were all the dealers. For the first time I can remember one side of the back row was empty tables. Artists were filling slots that usually held dealers.

For the first time in a long time I had a want list. Thanks to my Wrapper prize I had an almost complete set of 70's Star trek cards to fill in and I discovered that my Topps Planes set was actually missing 4 cards from the second series. I stopped at dealers I usually passed by looking for those cards. The piles of available cards were smaller then they used to be. I couldn't get even one of the blue backed planes cards I needed but Todd had some of the Star Trek cards. That day, the "Philly" show looked like a sad shadow of what it had once been.

The market may be alive, but the NS hobby seems to be in trouble. The NSU has become a joke. It and the price guide are aimed toward the commodity market buyers. The Wrapper is having its problems and that is one resource the hobby needs to keep. It appears to me that the non sports hobby is what is in trouble and that, in the long run, will not be good for the NS market. Who is going to buy those esoteric card sets that the board members like discuss? Still, there is some hope. Kids LIKE picture cards. Just ask Jason. I passed on another 10,000 dupes to him for the kids at the Jaycees' Halloween party (Thanks in part to Richard who provided the 65 pound box I won)and he will tell you that they are really interested in those cards. So a future can exist for the hobby. Is there anything the members of this board can do to make it come to pass? I got questions but am short of answers.
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Joined: March 19th, 2014, 1:15 pm

December 27th, 2016, 1:50 am #34

Been watching the bay & it appears only rare & scarce cards are selling. Maybe
it is me, I'm wondering what you guys are thinking. People are talking about the
T51 college set, but it looks like people can't give them away. Is it worth the
time & effort to sell a card for a buck or $2. I am very curious as to what you guys
are seeing. Like I said maybe it is me. I hope a few guys respond so I can get
a feeling as to what is actually going on. Thank you!
Re: attics empty?
Last edited by agfav on December 27th, 2016, 3:24 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Joined: January 16th, 2008, 3:07 am

December 28th, 2016, 6:37 pm #35

Been watching the bay & it appears only rare & scarce cards are selling. Maybe
it is me, I'm wondering what you guys are thinking. People are talking about the
T51 college set, but it looks like people can't give them away. Is it worth the
time & effort to sell a card for a buck or $2. I am very curious as to what you guys
are seeing. Like I said maybe it is me. I hope a few guys respond so I can get
a feeling as to what is actually going on. Thank you!
I have been hearing the same thing for 10+ years.

But every year, including 2016, my non sports sales have increased. I rarely advertise to sell my non sports cards, just what shows I will be set up at. I never fully depend on those sales anyway as my display always includes a high percentage of sports related items except when I do the Philly non sports card show.

But 2016 stands out as being probably the 2nd or 3rd best year that I have had for selling non sports cards since 1976.

My wife always says to me "stop buying and sell what you have". So every year, I set a target, and tell her that I will quit buying and selling non sports cards if I don't make that target.

I am still here buying and selling non sports cards because every year in the past 10 years, I have exceeded my target.

I really am very tired of hearing this statement and watching "collectors" and occasional dealers who advertise common non sports card items in The Wrapper try to convince others that their hobby is dead, and sales are dead. I had one of my best Philly shows ever earlier this year.

Yes, we have lost some very heavy players in the recent past, and often their passing has influenced recent sales, but non sports is far from over. They said the same thing about comic books in the past, and that hobby is also far from over.

If you are still convinced that the hobby is dead, please contact me to sell me your collection. I will buy all of your cards -- especially the ones I need to complete sets I am making. Check out one of my recent ads (just not the last 2 issues) in The Wrapper, and tell me what you want to sell.

Steve Sabow
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Joined: May 21st, 2011, 4:13 pm

December 29th, 2016, 4:03 am #36

Been watching the bay & it appears only rare & scarce cards are selling. Maybe
it is me, I'm wondering what you guys are thinking. People are talking about the
T51 college set, but it looks like people can't give them away. Is it worth the
time & effort to sell a card for a buck or $2. I am very curious as to what you guys
are seeing. Like I said maybe it is me. I hope a few guys respond so I can get
a feeling as to what is actually going on. Thank you!
My original post in this thread was meant to be similar to Steve's in that anyone who thinks the market is dying should sell me their cards, though I'm not sure that came across.... (But seriously... sell me your cards!)

Joe is correct in that many kids who attend our annual Jaycees Halloween function seem to really appreciate the non-sports packs and singles we give out each year, many through his generosity. Of course, there are also those kids whose mindset is, "Can I eat this? No? Then why are you wasting my time?" But there's a wise guy in every crowd.

A good piece of "reluctant testimony," as my former oratorical professor liked to say, comes from my wife, who dislikes both non-sports cards and the Jaycees due to the time and money "wasted" on both that could otherwise be spent on her. The last time she attended the Halloween event Joe mentioned was in 2012, when we drew a record crowd of about 750 kids due to Hurricane Sandy having blown through two days earlier, rendering many neighborhoods unfit for trick-or-treating due to flooding, downed trees and widespread power outages. I had bought one of those coin-operated card vending machines and set it on "free play," so to speak, with a volunteer there to make sure each kid pushed the lever only once. They had the choice of either "Batman Returns" or "Hunchback of Notre Dame" cards.

At one point in the evening, three out of the four slots were jammed, and, busy with another "emergency" (who knows what it was at this point?), I asked my wife to go to that end of the block and see if she could get them working again. She managed to free two out of the three, which was good enough, as the evening was winding down at that point. As she was closing the machine back up, she saw a little girl eyeing the stack of "Hunchback" cards she had pulled out to free up that slot and asked if she would like to have them. The girl's eyes got wide, and she could only smile and nod. Those cards made her night.

I think it's the subject matter, more so than the hobby itself, that draws modern interest. The cards that have drawn the most excitement at our event in recent years have been "Harry Potter," "Pokemon" and anything superhero-related. We see those three themes reflected in many the costumes, as well. Many of those kids likely had no idea "Harry Potter" cards even existed before seeing them there, and while they may have known about "Pokemon" game cards, they likely did not know about those based on the cartoon series, which is what we gave out this year (thanks again, Joe!).

Likewise, my 12-year-old stepdaughter, who, aside from a brief infatuation with "Harry Potter" cards around age 6, hasn't cared about trading cards in years, put a set of "Little Mermaid" cards on her Christmas list this year, only because she happened to see them as I was leafing through my Benjamin guide one day and discovered they existed (it has always been her favorite Disney movie). For comparison's sake, the other items on her list were an iPad, a new American Girl doll and a horse. Two out of three ain't bad.

TL/DR version: If we want a new generation of card collectors to emerge, there must be affordable cards with subject matter they care about, and they have to know it exists. I bought my first non-sports (and baseball) cards from my local grocery store. Try finding them there today! Hobby-only boxes are nice, but ironically, they aren't doing anything to grow the hobby.

Whether that means those kids eventually will be interested in collecting pre-1970s R-cards or 19th-century tobacco I can't say... but I sure hope so because 40 years from now, I'll have plenty of the former to sell them!

Edited to add: Regarding the Philly show, there may have been fewer vendors at the last show, but what was there was quality; I certainly didn't spend much less. I was saddened, however, to learn that the hot sauce guy didn't make it this year
Last edited by a71678 on December 29th, 2016, 4:09 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Joined: December 23rd, 2008, 4:03 pm

December 29th, 2016, 4:50 pm #37

Been watching the bay & it appears only rare & scarce cards are selling. Maybe
it is me, I'm wondering what you guys are thinking. People are talking about the
T51 college set, but it looks like people can't give them away. Is it worth the
time & effort to sell a card for a buck or $2. I am very curious as to what you guys
are seeing. Like I said maybe it is me. I hope a few guys respond so I can get
a feeling as to what is actually going on. Thank you!
Well, I think the manufacturers should stop making sets marketed to the "investors", look at any modern sets, there are more chase cards than what's in the base set, people are buying boxes, if not cases, to try to hit big on the rare one. Gone are the time were you would go to the store an buy a few packs to try to complete your set, trading with friends along the way.

Make a regular set, may be a sub-set, like the stickers one Topps use to include at a rate of one per pack, don't sell cases and boxes to the regular customers, only to merchants.
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Joined: October 11th, 2004, 4:37 pm

December 31st, 2016, 3:11 am #38

Been watching the bay & it appears only rare & scarce cards are selling. Maybe
it is me, I'm wondering what you guys are thinking. People are talking about the
T51 college set, but it looks like people can't give them away. Is it worth the
time & effort to sell a card for a buck or $2. I am very curious as to what you guys
are seeing. Like I said maybe it is me. I hope a few guys respond so I can get
a feeling as to what is actually going on. Thank you!
Well lots of interesting ideas being bandied about here.

I see a tension between collecting and enterprise. Striking the balance is the hard part.

Anyone who says they are Simon-pure collectors with no investment concerns is not being honest. Not in this day and age. No one likes to spend money on an antique item that has (as they say on Roadshow with regard to counterfeits or repros) "decorative value only." We'd all like to think of ourselves as shrewd people who collect things with value to others. Especially so when we spend the family's moolah and lots of free time acquiring cards, going to shows and putting our little treasures into specially purchased holders and such. Then, when it becomes too much about the Benjamins, when the Rolex boys move in like they did with baseball cards 30 years ago, a lot of the fun just withers up and dies because we spend too much time worrying about condition, flips, and investment potential. Ugh!

But whaddayagonnado? Ignore what things cost? Ignore grading? Ignore the all-powerful "Market" (hallowed be Its name). Yeah, not so much. I play the slabbing game because only a fool wouldn't when selling, and yeah, I even like how it helps protect and organize the cards, but if it wasn't for the return on investment, I'd never bother. Take a $5 card, spend $6 to slab it, and if it hits the charts the buyers tear you apart. Where do I sign up? Beats the piss out of working...

I suppose at the core of the flummoxing discussion for me is what it all means. I've never been a fan of comparing pee-pees during my leisure time, not with the mean, rough world we inhabit and the need to compete to eat on a daily basis, but that is how I see the whole slabbed card competition thing. And for what. precisely, do we enslave ourselves to "Market" (hallowed be Its name)? Who cares, really, if some wooden-faced dork with a bad haircut gives you a certificate at a pressed chicken lunch in a convention center in Cleveland? "We now anoint you king of the dipsh*ts because you have the most expensive Topps set." Good for you. See how much it impresses the ladies...or not. The flip side of the flip game, of course, is that if the cards don't qualify for the game, no one wants them at any price, and who wants to spend more of the family treasure and precious time on this Earth on crap no one values. Might as well just fire up the 'cue and cook my steaks with the cards as kindling.

So what does any of this have to do with the "Market" (hallowed be Its name)? I dunno. These are just the things I contemplate when I am free-associating about collecting. I like Star Trek (Original Series, of course; the rest is for pussies) so I collect the cards. I had the wherewithal to pay for a few certed autographs and I put 'em in holders because I think they look nice:




Is it stupid? I have no idea. But I enjoy looking at them anyway. Maybe the answer is as simple as that: if it relaxes you it is a good hobby and worth something, if it raises your BP, get out. Someone chided me recently on a different board for buying a $1 card. Why would I do that? Because I wanted it for my set and I enjoy collecting. So get off my back!

But back to the Market (hallowed be its name). Ahh, foul commerce, you raise your stinking head again. Why is everything in this beautiful, vicious bastard of a country about a market? Wish I could answer that one...But I digress again. Any "market" is just the sum of the participants' manifestations of their passions and prejudices. The OP says that the NS Market (hallowed be its name) is one where rare stuff moves and the rest rots and asks why it is so. There is no answer. Maybe we have enough of the other stuff? Saturation, I suppose is possible. I mean, everyone has enough of the base cards from modern sets to light every bonfire in the USA on the 4th and still have them coming out their yin yangs, so that's some of it, especially when it ain't baseball cards. Part of it may be peer pressure: you wanna impress your peeps, so you chase after what they chase after. Then there's just the herd mentality factor. Never underestimate the predictability of stupidity. Put a rope outside an empty dive bar and the idiots will not only flock, they will pay a cover to get in. And the more who line up, the hotter the place becomes. Perception = reality. Then there is the Pinto factor. Remember the Ford Pinto? Had a bracket near the gas tank that would shred it in a rear ender, plus door mechanisms that jammed shut when the car got hit. Result: crispy critters. When Ford got sued and nailed and the story went public as to how Ford decided to BBQ a bunch of its customers because the cost of fixing the defect was more than the cost of paying off the dead and wounded, Oregon or Washington, I forget which, decided to liquidate its fleet of Pintos. Surprisingly, there was a market well above scrap value. Not everyone makes rational decisions using the same calculus as us geniuses, which means there is a market for everything, even an exploding car. You just have to find the right price. Maybe that's the core answer to this dilemma.

Anyhow, it's 7:00 on a Friday night, I have jet lag from my vacation, and I want to go home, eat dinner, and play with my cat who I haven't seen in two weeks. [insert mike drop meme here].
Last edited by boxingcardman on December 31st, 2016, 3:16 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Joined: January 16th, 2008, 3:07 am

December 31st, 2016, 4:17 am #39

Been watching the bay & it appears only rare & scarce cards are selling. Maybe
it is me, I'm wondering what you guys are thinking. People are talking about the
T51 college set, but it looks like people can't give them away. Is it worth the
time & effort to sell a card for a buck or $2. I am very curious as to what you guys
are seeing. Like I said maybe it is me. I hope a few guys respond so I can get
a feeling as to what is actually going on. Thank you!
Boxingcardman:

Interesting thoughts that sparked some additional thoughts from me:

1-- When anyone asks me what they should collect or invest in, to be sure that they make their money back on their purchases, my answer is always the same: Collect what you like so if you get stuck with it when you want to sell, if ever, you will always continue to enjoy it. I have followed that same path since day 1; I never buy anything that I plan on selling that I don't like myself, so even if I spend $1,000s for a collection or box, that item has to interest me as well.

Last year, I began buying full unopened boxes of the original Wacky Packages cards because I like them, not because I can make a profit on them down the road. But if I don't, I will continue to enjoy them anyway!! I now need only 6 of the 16 boxes to complete that run. Some boxes I now have three complete unopened full ones. It's an endeavor that I have fully enjoyed and it makes me happy to find each new one that has eluded others in the past.

But it was much easier in the late 1950s/early 1960s, when comics were 10 cents and packs were 5 cents. If nothing else that is what really knocked the kids out of the hobby in recent years, the inflation of the costs of collecting new items. Only adults can really afford to collect new or old at these prices.

2 -- I really love those Star Trek cards of yours. They should bring enjoyment-- and that is what collecting is all about.
Having fun and enjoying doing it.

Happy Holidays!!

Steve



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Joined: May 20th, 2012, 3:06 pm

December 31st, 2016, 7:01 pm #40

Been watching the bay & it appears only rare & scarce cards are selling. Maybe
it is me, I'm wondering what you guys are thinking. People are talking about the
T51 college set, but it looks like people can't give them away. Is it worth the
time & effort to sell a card for a buck or $2. I am very curious as to what you guys
are seeing. Like I said maybe it is me. I hope a few guys respond so I can get
a feeling as to what is actually going on. Thank you!
Buy cards or collectibles is not an investment. Buying stocks and bonds is. Don't confuse the two.
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