Tuesday, May 27, 2008

This is Beyond Ridiculous Pt 2: Even More Ridiculous?

After reading the second part to "For the Love of Sitting Around and Flipping Through a Price Guide" I might just stop going to baseball card shops all together, just to spite this guy. Holy fucking shit, man! The Baseball Card Blog (no link on purpose), has created a world where Baseball Cards have ceased to exist all because, wait - sit down for this, price guides have stopped their publication. It begins with the descripion of a pure utopia in collecting (my commentary, fire joe morgan style in italics):

"Here’s the situation. The list prices in price guides have been deemed useless on such a massive scale that Beckett and FW have ceased their publication. With no widely available prices, the majority of collectors now consult eBay for accurate card prices."

I love it. No longer will a douchebag ridden magazine set the prices for the 50% of uneducated idiots that still consult beckett for prices.

"Dealers do the same. And after they view the umpteenth autographed patch 1/1 card go for less than $20–pulled from a box that dealers paid a premium on to sell–they stop ordering high-end products from the manufacturers. The dealers understand that if they’re seeing these auctions on eBay, their potential customers are winning them."

Ba-what? Dealers who see the card pulled from a 500 dollar box stop ordering wax because their customers cant sell their pulls for a lot of money? How hasnt the customer part not happened already? I guarantee that the dealers will not stop ordering boxes because people are going to eBay to sell what they get. You know why? It already happens every fucking day, you arrogant ass. Dealers like Northridge Sports Cards and Santa Monica Sports Cards make their bread and butter selling boxes where people pull nothing and sell them for nothing. Do they fucking care that their customers cant sell them for shit on eBay? Sure, but only on a personal level. What they care about is that it has become more convenient for their customers to buy WAX on eBay rather than paying INFLATED prices at a shop. Once again, Im sorry that it sucks you cant spend 30 minutes bullshitting with Blowout Cards, but it is a necessary evil. Despite this trend, both the shops are doing fine. Seriously, if your shop is relying on singles to function, they NEED to go down with the ship.

"So many dealers stop ordering these cards that the manufacturers have a difficult decision to make: finally listen to dealers and put more value in each box of product, or dismiss dealers altogether and work exclusively with big box stores like Target, Kmart and Wal-Mart. It comes as no surprise when the manufacturers go with the latter choice."

This could be the worst paragraph ever written in the history of sports card blogs. Manufacturers will never go with the second choice because Target, Kmart and Wal-mart will NEVER, EVER, EEEEEEEVAAAR pay 500 bucks for a box of cards. They have flat screens and plasmas to sell rather than that bullshit. I would see UD and DLP sell to eBay directly before they do this.

Upper Deck to Target: Umm, yeah, we want to market Exquisite directly to Target.
Target: Sounds great, how much does it cost?
Upper Deck: At cost, about 400 bucks a box. You would probably want to mark it up to 599.
Target: *Click*
Upper Deck: Hello? Hello?

You dont think they have enough problems with security and shrink on their current stock? Now they gotta worry about protecting this shit, let alone SELLING it to collectors like me that would MUCH rather buy it from a trusted source without weirdo 50 year old men fondling our prized investment every 5 minutes...Ugh, it gets worse.

"Because the majority of shops deal primarily in new cards, they start to close. Collectors don’t notice right away, as most of them are tuned to eBay. And besides, the hobby’s gone through this before and survived, so what’s the big deal? Also, everybody’s got a Wal-Mart near them, so who cares if one more shop goes out of business? Shops sell off their inventory and shutter."

Again, this has already happened, but guess what? Shops are still open. Ebay is currently the hobby's biggest card shop. Other shops survive because they have found innovative ways to stay open and because they know what to sell: WAX and lots of it.

"Dealers at baseball card shows don’t feel the same pressure right away, though many of them do feel their brethren’s plight. Instead, without book prices to consult on every transaction, desperate, frenetic dealers result to using their best judgment. Collectors, fully aware of the situation dealers are in, refuse to be charged “judgment call prices.” Many dealers, citing lack of meaningful sales at shows, stop booking booths. What few shows remain shrink in attendance until they cease to exist. The National is the lone exception, chugging away, though it’s a magnet for news media to lament the hobby crisis. “Ain’t in the Card$,” is the New York Post headline."

Or better yet, dealers use eBay prices and collectors finally find a great marketplace - outside of the scam ridden internet - to buy their cards. Or even better than that, Dealers, who have paid eBay prices to get their cards, stop marking it up and decide to open shops rather than booking tables at shows and sell their cards back to the collector on ebay. Now, because the New York Post would never write such and awful headline, nor post an article on collecting with this as its subject, I wont even address it.

"Without dealers, the manufacturers are no longer in the dominant bargaining position. They’re at the whim of the big box stores. Product’s gonna be late? OK, we’re diminishing your shelf space. The manufacturers are not used to their role as ‘just another product.’ What happened to all those dealers they used to push around?"

I dont understand the point of this. So without dealers they decide to stop producing despite having a perfectly good marketplace in eBay where they can still make the same, if not more, money? This is pure dribble. I dont even know where to go. Oh, but wait, there's STILL MORE!

"If I haven’t given my critics enough fodder already, here’s some more:

• The future of the hobby most certainly will not play out the way I’ve got it, though certain aspects of it are very close to happening now."

Trust me, you have given me a gold mine of material. However, thanks for acknowledging that your above written was basically a practice in stupidity and was not worth the space it was printed on (nothing).

"• No matter how much we distrust the prices within price guides, they’re essential to the well being of the hobby. If you’ve got a plan for injecting realistic card values into the hobby without killing hobby shops and show dealers off, please, I’m all ears."

First of all, they are FAR from "essential." They are a way for a magazine to justify their worthless existence on the planet. Other than that, price guides are worth less than nothing to the hobby. As for the second part, do you enjoy paying inflated prices for your cards? Why are you set on keeping shops and dealers in this hobby if they continue to sell you cards at twice the price you can get on a true free marketplace? I love the way you support dealers and shops PAYING eBay prices to get their cards but selling them to you at double.

My plan? Hobby shops should get out of singles. Period. Then, they should focus on selling two things: guaranteed autographed memorabilia and wax. I say this because wax prices are the only thing that eBay cant guarantee as the lowest price. With shipping prices at 10 dollars plus, stores can compete with using their own mark ups. As for guaranteed memorabilia, eBay cannot compete due to scams. Fake autos are so rampant, Im weary of even buying PSA/DNA authenticated stuff anymore. Shops have the ability to get their own materials and and get them auto'ed. Buy from PSA and other authentic sources and save me the trouble of going through places I dont trust for my auto'ed stuff.

"• One last thing: I wanted to work graded cards into this somehow, but never found a good spot. If raw singles aren’t really worth their book value, what about graded cards? I know that entire price guides cater to graded specimen, but will/should these prices be combined with prices for unslabbed cards? Or would that negate the values assigned to those that have been slabbed? Also, why does it feel to me that dealing in graded cards is going to be what saves shop owners and show dealers?"

This whole "one last thing" makes no sense, but what else is new? Graded cards are pretty much one big conflict of interest to begin with. Besides, it was solely created as a mechanism for, *gasp*, eBay and the like. It protected the buyer from unforseen........oh forget it. Just look here and here.

I know its against my better judgement to take on one of the biggest blogs out there, but still, who wants to put up with this shit? I hope the sheep dont take what he says as gospel. Just to set a precedent: after this, I will not be reading his blog without a very strong bias, and I encourage you to do the same.

As collectors we are thrown to the wolves almost daily by the very sources that are sworn to be our advocates. Why is this guy supporting everyone's enemy? His platform supports paying higher prices because it keeps the good ole days in tact, it supports price guides because they supposedly provide a non-existant backbone to the hobby, and lastly it supports underhanded dealers and shops who do their best to scam you out of your hard earned money because they dont have any.

Thank you, Woody Paige of sports card collecting, you have opened my eyes!!


  1. Holy cow man, you just single-handedly destroyed Ben Henry's Blog...

  2. Ben Henry has four times the readers I do, so I dont think I could even if I wanted to.

  3. Hi Gellman
    To be honest Henry is a fool if he believes the crap he writes and I will to read you over him anyday. Also if he thinks my card shop will lose card sales he is dead wrong because along with cards they sell all types of memorabilia along with other types of sports collectibles.The kicker is they sell all the other stuff more then cards so Henry can screw off in my opinion. Just keep writing and hopefully he will give you even more stuff to write about.
    Best regards,

  4. Ha, thanks Bill!

    I have to agree that diversification is good with any business, ESPECIALLY collectibles. Besides, how many of you actually go to a sports card store that doesnt sell CCGs? The more, the merrier in my opinon.

  5. There were no card shops in the good old days. Why? Because the good old days happened before the insane market flood of the late 80's/early 90's when memorabilia shops started selling more and more of these worthless cards.

    This guy is insane if he thinks this hobby will thrive with underpaid/overpriced goods being sold. If anything, it was the beginning of the end.

    Personally, I look forward to the day when these greedy money whores vanish from this hobby along with their scam boxes. Manufacturers and dealers alike.

  6. You make a lot of good points, although I would argue that the Beckett book price might show you more of the long-term value of a card than looking at the 30-day auction selling prices on eBay. I consult both sources, and to each their own.

    Take it easy on Ben though. It's perfectly legitimate to disagree with him or any other blogger, but there's a line between honest disagreement and a personal attack, and this post is very close to that line. Agree or disagree with him, his blog has been very influential over the last few years, and has inspired many people to get back into collecting and to start blogging about cards. No matter how much I may disagree with one of his posts, I'll always respect the time and commitment that he has made to producing a great blog about our hobby.

  7. You know, I understand that he has put a lot of time into his blog, but I have put as much if not more time into my collecting life and my personal stash - both of which, he just squatted over and took a big shit.

    If he had well thought out comments that actually made sense, I might have some mercy on him and not call him the arrogant ass that he is. The problem is that he is supporting the people that as collectors we should not support, mainly manufacturers and high mark up card shops/dealers.

    Ben Henry's blog gets a ton of visitors because most of the time it is a fun site that really doesnt address issues that most collectors face on a daily basis. This blog was created to make sure that true collectors have a voice and make sure we are not censored by the powers that be on many other places where collectors speak. If we break a few eggs to make this omelette, so be it.

    Right now, being a collector sucks because we are always taken advantage of. I refuse to continue to live in that world - Ben Henry supports that world. So fuck him and the horse he rode in on.

  8. Collectors have always been taken advantage of but it's their own damn fault! Crimmeny you're buying cards that are #'d to whatever that are no different from cards that are numbered higher or lower... What are you paying for, card design? Certainly not rarity... Nothing is rare anymore. You pulled a jersey! That's special, how is a Limited jersey any different from a Topps base jersey? Seriously. It's cardboard and cloth and they can and will make more. You got a patch from your favorite player, wow! And how many of those exist across how many products in how many years?

    True market price never equals book price - that goes for any collectible, from stamp to card to coin to comic book. True market value is what a person is willing to pay TODAY. Not yesterday, not tomorrow, certainly not 30 days ago on eBay or last week at a card show.

    I've been in the antiques business damn near my entire life, 4th generation dealer. Nothing has EVER sold for book value. They've sold for more, less, and you know... A lot just doesn't sell AT ALL. There are things I can sell at shows for more than I can sell on eBay. There are things I can sell on eBay that people won't touch locally if it was sitting on the curb for free, there are things that won't sell for a year and then you RAISE THE PRICE AND IT SELLS IN TWO DAYS. Meanwhile, some old fart writes a book on Depression Glass that values a cup and saucer for $25...Based on...? Oh, what he thinks it should be worth so HIS collection is worth more or so he can dump a bunch of crap glassware on the market at inflated prices (that undercut his book value) whilst selling books to Mrs. Homebody who loves watching reruns of Antique Roadshow.

    However, we can't forget those that collect for the sake of collecting and bust wax for the fun of it - as a money sink (hell, it costs $10 to see a movie, why not buy some packs and save yourself the trouble of ringing cellphones and those kids sucking face beside you?)

    I am one of those collectors. I collect what I like and I spend money on it. I never had a bad "break" because I don't look for value - I look for entertainment. If that's being a sheep... Baa.

    But, yeah, this guy lamenting over the demise of book value is clueless.

  9. I couldn't have said it better myself Andrew. Bravo.