Monday, March 9, 2009

Super High End - A Rebuttle From A Collector Of It

Since there is so much hating on high end stuff, mainly the price tag for Exquisite and National Treasures, I wanted to add my opinion since I actually like them both. To me, offering your opinion on these things is acceptable when you understand that those products extend a little bit past the price tags. I know that 500 bucks seems like a lot of money for 7 cards, regardless, but for some people its not about busting it for money. A lot of the people I see bust NT and Exquisite have money to throw around regardless of the state of the economy. Its understood that you can get the big pull when busting high end stuff, but you can also end up with our box that we got a few days ago. Most people understand that. If they make unsound investments when they don’t have the money, it wouldn’t make a difference if exquisite was around or not. NT and Exquisite are two fucking products on a release calendar that has 45 products and more. Do you not think that they would find something else to buy and waste their money on? I doubt it.

As for the complaining, I think its more than acceptable in my opinion. If you spend 500+ on a box and you get crap, you have are buying the right to complain. Of course, its only acceptable if you understand that its just a venting process and nothing will come of it. You took a gamble and lost, you have every right to feel shitty about it. I gamble 50 bucks on chrome sometimes, get nothing, and I will not shut up until I have appeased my inner demons. It’s a way to let off steam and disappointment. It doesn’t mean the product is crap and bad for people.

However, busting these products is not the only reason that Exquisite and NT exists. I love the cards, they are the best designed of the year, and most of the time they also have the best cards of one's favorite player from the entire season. If these type of products didn’t exist, I wouldn’t be as happy in this hobby because there wouldn’t be anything to shoot for. The reason is this. I know that for at least one set each year, the best of the best will be on display. I know that if the rest of the year's products suck, these will make up for it. I know I will at least be able to find one or two cards to measure things by, and it brings the rest of things into perspective. You don’t just pay 500 bucks for the cards, you pay for the brand and the presitige. Trust me, that goes a long way in a lot of people's mind. Then, if the cards look amazing in addition (which they usually do) it only adds to the mystique. If I had the choice between spending 250 dollars on a topps heritage chrome refractor retro black 1/1 and an exquisite patch auto, I take the exquisite. It looks better on my shelf and I am more proud of it. When people come to my place and they see those cards, they ooooo and ahhh like fucking kids. Its because everyone can appreciate that kind of thing - its universally accepted that those pieces attract the attention from the buyer who gets it, as well as people who see it. Don’t think I am in the minority for pointing this out. You all have photobuckets and you all display shit on your blog. Its not a bad thing, its human nature, and I thrive on that rush.

Now, onto the sticker autos in NT. It seems to be a discrepency in certain people's mind that a product cant be good if it has stickers for autos. First, if the product isnt upper deck, it probably has stickers, it’s a standard of expectation. Secondly, not all the cards in the set are sticker autos. There are on card RC patch autos, and those are the focus of the product. Thirdly and more importantly, its nearly impossible to do what upper deck does without the resources. I don’t think its possible for DLP to get all on card sigs, and for what they do produce with what they have, its pretty good. I love the design, I love the ideas, I love NT cards. Its not Exquisite, but its worth what you pay if you buy it right. If you are an idiot about it, you will get what you pay for, just like any other product regardless of price. For the record, most of us don’t like the stickers, but when they are done right (unlike topps' effort) they look fine to the people who understand the process. NT is one of those products that is done right. Again, not exquisite, but still good enough to be considered among the best.

Lastly, to say that high end has ruined the hobby, is to look at things with blinders on. Its like saying the Rolls Royce ruined the car industry. Bullshit. People buy what they like, and if they like the hondas, they have a car to buy. If they like to throw their money around, they buy a bentley. Its that simple. Nothing has been ruined other than the idea that cards are more than just pictures on cardboard. Personally, if they were, id stop collecting. It would be fucking boring. I left cards originally because I realized that I was a sports collector and that autos were much cooler to have on the wall. When I came back and saw that cards have jerseys and autos in them, I almost jizzed in my pants because my love for sports memorabilia and autographs had come full circle. When I then found out that the best of the best had crazy looking patches and amazingly designed autos, I fell in love. Some times a Camry doesn’t do it for people. Those people bust exquisite and NT, and they complain when they don’t get shit, but deep down inside they wouldn’t have it any other way. There is always another box to bust, and another chance at greatness. Trust me, they are just as worthy of being called a collector as anyone else.

EDIT: I have noticed that on every post that talks about high end as the worst thing to happen to the hobby, it is always comparing the high end football products like NT and Exquisite to low end baseball products. I have said numerous times that baseball and football are vastly different and it isnt a good idea to apply baseball rules to the football market. Its completely different, if not only because it is the only sport with 3 competing brands. Add in a profitable RC class EVERY YEAR, in addition to the high priced current stars like Peterson, Favre, Roethlisberger, the Mannings, Tomlinson, Reggie Bush, and Tom Brady, and you have a product all by itself. Then you factor in that all the recent HOFers like Barry, Emmitt, Montana, Rice, and others like Franco Harris and Starr are still living and signing, and you have the ability to put out a high end product and have it be worth it.

You dont have that in baseball because its Pujols, Jeter, Grif, and A-Rod, and thats it. You cant make the retired players the focus per the MLBPA, so Ripken and the other recent retired guys who sign cant out number the current guys who arent worth anything. Add in that Aaron and Mays are DLP exclusive, and you dont have a very large pool of guys to work with. See, in the NFL, exclusive contracts dont exist yet. Its a much different situation.


  1. Amen! You hit the nail on the head here. You know that I agree with you about people insinuating that high-end collectors are not "real" collectors.

    Your best point is this:
    "NT and Exquisite are two fucking products on a release calendar that has 45 products and more."

    People who don't like high-end products should simply ignore them and focus on the low-end products that they do like. The overwhelming majority of products coming out are not high-end.

  2. I can sort of understand the people who criticize the $400-600 price tag on high end boxes, because I personally would never drop that much on a box.

    But would I personally pay $100 for a card of "my guy" from one of these products? If I like the card, you bet your ass I would. I watch people on YouTube bust high-end product all the time, and I love it. Because if people didn't spend $275 on boxes of 2005 Absolute, I'd never be able to pick up the Dawson patches and autos on eBay for $20-30 bucks a pop.

    There's a place for every type of collector/investor/gambler in this hobby, and without the gamblers, there'd be nothing for me to collect.

  3. I like the car analogy. That's an interesting way of looking at it.

  4. It just seemed that on every high end bashing post, Football is compared to Baseball products and people are encouraged to not consider high end cards as worthy. Thats where things differ - I would advise people to stay away from expensive stuff in baseball because there arent enough expensive players to carry a product like that. Pujols, Jeter, Grif? Who else? MLBPA says that retired people cant be the majority of the set, so you are handcuffed. When there isnt a yearly draft class that comes in, its tough to market a "40 man" high end product as worth it.

    In football its completely different, same with basketball, because there are QUITE A FEW players that can carry those products. Peterson, Manning, Tomlinson, Favre, all carry that tag plus the 10 RCs that can. Plus the retired HOFers are usually still alive like Montana, Rice, Emmitt, Barry, etc.

    Thats why it sucks to compare the experience of busting exquisite and national treasures with low end baseball products.

  5. "You don’t just pay 500 bucks for the cards, you pay for the brand and the prestige. Trust me, that goes a long way in a lot of people's mind."

    No offense, but this says alot to me.

  6. Why? It is prevalent in every single type of market, regardless of what the product is. Cars, Computers, hell even digital music. What would make cards any different? You could put out the Exquisite RC Patch Autos in UD Draft, but they wouldnt be worth as much because it doesnt say Exquisite and only cost 60 bucks a box. When you pay 500 per pack, you pay for the name and for the concept. Its shouldnt be surprising at all.

  7. Not surprising at all, but I feel the same thing about those other products. Whether it's someone wearing True Religion jeans, driving a Bentley, or carrying a Coach purse (including my wife who has several), I think the same thing.

    In some cases, the person is paying for a higher quality product. In many cases, it's not. While quality is mentioned, I also read "When people come to my place and they see those cards, they ooooo and ahhh like fucking kids."

    It just makes me think that many people buy these things for appearances, not all, but some. More power to them so I'm not complaining about the products existing. But when I read someone complain about not getting their money's worth AND I think they may be buying a product for appearances or investment/gambling, it doesn't bother me one bit when they don't get their "money's worth."

  8. Im not saying appearances are all they mean to me, but it also instills a sense of pride, like you own the best when you have them. Like you have reached the top of the mountain. I was showing that its a universal appreciation because the design matches the reaction. To me, the cards are worth more because they cost more to have the chance to obtain, they are from a brand that carries distinction, and they look the best.

    I see what you mean though, for some people, its just as feasible to get a kia and spend money on other things, rather than buy a mercedes and live large.

    Then again, if you arent going to display accomplishments for people to oooo and ahhh over, then why do it? So they can sit in a box? No, its on display just as much for them as it is to me. Humans love vanity, and I am a human. I love the cards and they make me happy, but it also makes me feel good when others are envious.

  9. You're right about the 2 types of people. I'm the Kia type guy. My wife is the Coach purse person. We're both happy with that and as long as we can afford both, we'll continue to be happy.

    As far as displaying them for vanity, again as the Kia type person, I don't do that. I'll look at them and enjoy them. That's why I do it, for my personal pleasure. Yes I have a card blog, but I have it to promote my university first and card collecting second.

    And as a University of Houston collector, having the best or most expensive isn't important to me. It's having the memories of the players that I watched or heard about if they were in school before me. I guess there is more pride in my school than pride in my cards.

  10. Dont get me wrong, I do like all the things you mentioned. The cards bring me lots of personal pleasure, but its also the other aspects of it too. Would I care if a Peterson Auto that I have isnt Exquisite? no. But I wouldnt like it more than the Exquisite I do have. I would value both, but the Exquisite would continue to be more of a centerpiece. That, and other people could identify with its prestige too. Its both things simultaneously.

  11. I'm back into the hobby after a 10+ year hiatus and one thing that I've noticed is the downfall of the "base card". With the emergence of auto/jersey cards, collecting a complete set of base cards has taken a back seat to chasing the "hits". I personally target higher-end products to get just the hits and avoid being left with a bunch of worthless base(at least monetarily).

    The fact that Exquisite includes "base cards" bothers me. With the given price point I think the consumer deserves one or two extra hits instead of one or two base cards. I think 08 Exquisite Football is heading in the right direction with one lower #ed base and the bonus pack.

    Does anyone still collect base? Seems like the companies only keep them alive because they generate the most profit. I say leave the base cards to the lower-end products.

  12. I agree that it would be great if companies switched to tin format for everything above 80 bucks, i mean, i trade my base for supplies at the shop. I dont need them, i dont care. The thing is, there are quite a few people that do care. I dont really support that, as its boring to me, but not everyone has the resources for it. Funny enough, a lot of the Exquisite Base cards can break 60 bucks on eBay, try getting that from any baseball product. See? its a completely different market.

  13. Wow, many great points on here. I don't love Exquisite but NT is my favorite product out there. For anyone that collects high end it's for the same reasons people collect other stuff. You see plenty lottery ticket types breaking all sorts of stuff, not just high end. I just don't get why certain types of collectors hate on what they don't get. Maybe I dont get it because I buy baseball heritage, football sp authentic and NT so I buy different stuff, but I think it's a great thing so many different products are offered. I could make fun of all those chrome loving, minor league collecting, lettermen worshiping folks that throw their money away, but hey, you do you.

  14. I think it's a great thing so many different products are offered.

    Dude, I totally agree. Having more products is commonly demonized here because of what happened 15-20 years ago. I mean, where would the fun be if everything was just a cookie cutter and there was no variety? I wouldnt have stuck around, thats for sure. Having variety is what makes me strive for a better collection. I have that many more chances that the company will create a great card, rather than having to wait a quarter of the year in between products for a let down.

    Great point.

  15. For me the issue that people are spending $500 to buy a box of artificially scarce modern cards when they could have a gorgeous Mantle, Mays, or Aaron card instead.

    Which do you think is going to hold its value better over time?

  16. Again, you are comparing apples to oranges. There are quite a few things that you could have for 500, but some people dont like those things.

  17. i really like NT cards there my favorite every year ... i tend to just buy singles of the players i like because i cannot afford to buy a box at 400.00 - 500.00 a pop ... i recently did open a box of 07 that i was able to buy for 235.00 and was it ever a blast to open what a rush ... cant wait to open another !!!
    the way i see it if you can afford it then why the hell not you only live once