Friday, December 12, 2008

The Modern Value Ceiling

People buy a product for the chase cards, whether its the Ruth cuts or the Mantle cuts, or even the Logo patches and the octographs, etc. But with all of these cards, we never really understand how much possible value there is in one single chase card. Lets say you pulled the quad cut auto of all the Presidents on Mt Rushmore, which I consider to be the craziest fucking card ever produced. Even if you find a SERIOUS collector, how much can you expect them to pay? What is the ceiling we can understand is the top value for any modern chase card?

So far, the craziest price I have seen is when the taints at Beckett sold the Ruth Cut WS ticket out of premier. It sold for close to 40 thousand, and I couldnt believe that A) someone had the money, and B) that they wouldnt buy a BMW instead. However, that was more a piece of Ruth memorabilia than anything, due to the rarity of the ticket, and the person that signed it. Those types of things sell for hundreds of thousands every time memory lane has an auction. So, I guess that is tops, but its not really what I am talking about.

I am talking about the other types of chases, the stuff created that contains cuts and jerseys, the 1/1s, the whatevers. Like the John Lennon cut auto, or the Hendrix cut auto, or the Pope cuts, stuff like that. In reality, I think the ceiling for these cards may be $10,000, because above that, you start getting into Mantle territory with the vintage graded stuff.

You know, I look at the high priced listings all the time, and you see tons upon tons of stuff, all over the place that falls into this category. The Jordan/Kobe dual logo man, the Peterson and company quad logo card, the Babe Ruth bat barrell card. Many are listed at 100K with Best offer, but they never sell because no one will pay more than 10 grand, and that is tough even to find.

This is all completely based on my own perception, but unless it is a pristine graded RC card of a top guy like LeBron, Jordan, Montana, or something like that, its not going to break 10K from what I have seen.

With this type of assumption, I think it puts a further limit on busting copious amounts of high end product. I see it all the time at one of my local stores, busting case after case of exquisite at 1200 a pop looking for logo cards. Yet, after spending close to 8K a visit, and coming away with nothing, its interesting to think that even if you ended up with a Montana, B Sanders, Emmitt Smith, and Jerry Rice quad logo auto, its still not going to get you your money back.

You may think I am pulling the above out of my large ass, but you would be shocked to learn how common of a practice this is nationwide, even with the largest recession in recorded history. People bust and bust, and then they actually bust... their wallets, thinking that the one chase card is going to be worth their own body weight in gold. What they fail to understand is that even if you pull THAT card, you still have to find a buyer, and that is the true challenge.


  1. i pulled a mantle jersey from a pack of century legends 8 years ago. i was pretty excited, and thought about selling it (would have been $300 or so based on ebay auctions at the time) but then i remembered this is why i collected so i kept it. you're in this for the wrong reason if you are busting wax to make money, i think.

  2. I totally agree with you. I used to think like that, maybe if I pull the Ruth cut, I'd be rich. I have spend over 100,000 in the last decade to try and pull the lifer. A card which you could retire on. No more. You have a better chance at buying 5 20.00 scratch lottery tickets and winning like 400.00 to getting that rare 1/1. Like you said you have to find a buyer and with products today good luck.

  3. My favorite was that stupid Topps A&G Wooly Mammoth card that sold for thousands despite people being able to get authentic wooly hair on eBay for like $10.

    Obviously, relics and autos are different. But they are also different because most people aren't willing to overpay for them like someone did for the wooly card.

  4. I think the wooly card was a moderately good example of thinking outside the box. Despite what the actual value is.

  5. The card companies have found out that a large enough segment of their target market aren't even actually collectors but the gamblers you mentioned above. These people, regardless, of whether they can legitametly sustain and afford a hobby/habit like that, in my opinion, are no different then the sports gamblers who always think they are one win away from that big payout. It's an actual addiction. That's why despite UD swearing that '03/'04 Exquisite basketball was a once in a lifetime product, continues to produce high end. That product launch served as real world market research and unearthed a whole other segment of "collector" that I call the "gambler".

    Topps, who I agree sucks at high-end, took it to a whole new level with Treasury basketball. Inserting actual cash into the cards.By the way has anybody pulled the $10,000 bill to date?

  6. I've see that before many times. Back in LeBron's rookie year some dude wandered the local card shop, busted one tin of this $200 a pop stuff, pulled a Lebron/Carmelo dual auto and proceeded to wipe out the store on those tins looking for a second huge hit. He kept going back to his truck for more and more cash and wouldn't stop. The owner finally had to lie and say he was out of tins to get him to stop. this guy wasn't even a collector, he came in looking for an autographed picture or something but the gambling bug hit and he went nuts.

  7. It's definitely the gambling addiction that keeps some of these people busting.

    Just the other week I witnessed over $1500 of SPx Basketball busted. Even if the busters had pulled a Rose or Beasley auto (they didn't), there's no way they would have come even close to getting their money back.