Thursday, June 5, 2008

The Times, They Are A Changin'

Frequently I discuss that there is no point buying wax, especially high end, because the odds are overwhelmingly against you to make most of your money back. This got me to thinking that there might be a way to change that, but it means borrowing a page from retail stores - BLECCCH.

Over the last few years, hand packing high end products has become a commonplace occurance on the market floor, but hand packing for value has not. Sportkings Series A was the first product to promote the fact that they not only hand pack their cards, but they also try to make each $400 box contain enough value to be considered a good break. Of course this begs the question of what is actually considered valuable enough for these guys, as most of their boxes seemed less than stellar.

But, what if it was possible to pack a box to contain a certain value like the guaranteed book value packs from Target? Upper Deck, DLP, and Topps could be deciding to make sure that each box contains a good amount of value, but for some reason this isnt reality. I find this especially disturbing considering how much a box of Exquisite and Natty Treasures actually costs. I mean, this is the first time in the history of the collecting world where someone pays so much for so little in terms of quantity. Why not make it worth their while?

Assign "cash values" to each player in the set. Research a number of sources to determine a list, all the way down to the scrubbiest of rookies. People like All Day, Payton Manning, Walter Payton, Tomlinson, Emmitt Smith, and Jerry Rice would all be considered top value football, as Jordan, Kobe and Lebron would for basketball. Then, after all this research is done, start ranking and assigning a cash value (as a reference point).

As a BASIC example, last year, Peterson was the top dollar guy for football so I would say $150 bucks should be his value. Walter payton is probably the best selling retired star, so give him the $150 dollar price tag too. Emmitt Smith and Joe Montana are great sellers, but not as good as payton, so give them a $149 and a $148 respectively. I would say Tomlinson and Manning are top guys now too, so give them those numbers on the active side too.

Now, when building your box of exquisite, you should have to have at least $400 worth of players in the box. Of course a base card will be worth as much cash as a logo 1/1, so you better hope your $150 value hit is not the base version. Of course, you could easily pull some nice cards at a high rate, but of course, the box structure would be the same (1 base, 1 RC patch auto, 1 scrub rookie auto, 1 maximum jersey, 1 patch and 1 wild card). I think this would make sure you really get some nice players in your box and you wouldn’t have to worry about pulling 15 bucks worth of cards from a 500 dollar box as often.

Personally, I think ideas like this will become ESSENTIAL as the NBA and NFL continue to make the RC premieres bigger and badder. This year, for the NFL RC premiere, there were more scrubs than I could count on my fingers and toes. Those guys will be your box hits for Exquisite, National Treasures, Triple Threads and other high end products. Due to this horrible trend, wax busting has gone from bad to worse in football. Products like Classics, Threads, Limited, CoSigners, SPA, and Absolute will all suffer because the RC hits are pretty much the meat of the product. Unlike the NBA where there are only 2 rounds for the draft, the NFL has 7 PLUS unsigned free agents. At most, 5 of these guys will go on to have collection worthy careers. A lot will play in the league for a while, but will not be worth collecting for the long term (Homer collectors aside).

Please, I know this about as primitive as you can get when trying to revolutionize box busting, but its an idea. Ideas like this can be turned into something much better, and could transform the wax busting industry into a venture worth pursuing. As it stands now, forget it, ill stick to singles off eBay where I know I can get the cards I want for less than the box price, AND DEFINITELY less than the case price.


  1. I think about these kinds of things when I'm pulling my 9th Joe Koshansky rookie auto of the year. I have enough of him and Steve Pearce to start a friggin hobby shop in either Denver or Pittsburgh.

    There are lot of problems with trying to fix this though, and I don't think it's ever going to happen.

    People want value when they buy a product. The problem is that your average, know nothing, never heard of eBay collector, doesn't know the difference between secondary market value, and "perceived value". The latter is what Topps and UD thrive on. As long as they throw 3 jerseys and 2 autos into a $150 box, most people think they got something for their money. That's why I have a box full of jerseys, bats, and autos that I couldn't pay somebody to take.

    The easiest way I've been able to think of to fix the whole thing, is to go back to the days of 1 jersey or auto per box, and leave the rookie autos in the rookie sets. I can hear the booing now. But honestly, if I paid $65-$75 for a hobby box, and got 1 REALLY nice "hit" of a veteran player, I'd be happy. Of course then the big 2 would actually have to put some thought, and some design work into their cards, god forbid.

    Of course, everything I just said can be sumed up in 5 words.

    Bring DLP back to baseball!!

  2. After my interview with DLP, I dont think they are coming back any time soon other than EEE. But yes, you have my support there.

  3. I don't bust a lot of wax, and definitely not any high end product. So I'm not an authority, but why can't they price this stuff according to the exact contents of the box. Add up the value (easier after the first year of an issue) of an average base card + an average single jersey + an average triple jersey auto or whatever comes in a high end package. The way it seems now, the retail price is based on every card being the ultra superstar hit and then double it. There's no way they're not making 300% on the cost of making this stuff.

  4. Why would their goal be anything other than making as much profit as possible? Thats why it costs what it does - its not like the cards are printed on better stock or the autos are written in gold or something. They cost 500 bucks because the manufacturer says so, collectors then establish the true market value and then Beckett pulls a number out of a hat to assign book value.

  5. UD and Topps are in the business of making money. That's it. End of story. How many people at the Topps plant in Duryea, PA do you really think give a rat's hairy asshole about baseball or football cards. They are there for a paycheck, and so are all the movers and shakers in NY. There are going to price products at whatever shop owners and distributors will pay for them. And then the middle-men price them at what you and I will pay when a product first comes out.

    That's why 99% of the time, it doesn't pay to buy brand new wax. Maybe once or twice a year, a product with an insane chase card will come out, and the box price will go up, i.e. 2007 Bowman Chrome.

    If you are an eBay prospector, pay the price, roll the dice, and see what you get.

    If you're a collector, and you like opening wax, as I do, wait till the product has been out for a while, and the price will inevitably go down. You can already get jumbos of 2008 Topps 2 for $65. They were $95 last week. You just have to bide your time, and choose wisely what products to bust.

    And I've seen the hat that Hack-ler uses to assign book values.

  6. Products like Topps Series 2 go down on the wax prices because people start to realize that paying sticker price for a set builder's set is pretty dumb.

  7. I'm in favor of having all cards priced back down to exactly one penny. No matter who is on it, that card is worth a penny and get rid of these ridiculous jersey/patch/autograph/numbered cards.

    Stop being so f***ing greedy for a change.