Monday, April 13, 2009

Ghosts of Collecting Future

Sometimes you just know things are not going to turn out well. When the economy hit the fan, I knew that the card industry was in trouble. Some industries have the clout to power through it, like video games or porn, but card collecting doesn’t seem like enough of a money maker to continue at its pace before the drop. Im also not convinced it was all the fault of the economy, as it seems as though the industry was getting way too far ahead of itself with what it was delivering. Players are now wanting more money than ever for their participation, and I dont think many people thought about what that would do when the going got tough.

That isnt the only large problem in our midst, however, as the mindset of the consumer may have adjusted to prices TOO much to give back enough to get it where it was before. What I mean is this. As of now, singles are at their lowest prices ever, and there is much to be had for the collector that still has disposable income. I mean, I just got a Peterson auto for like 50 bucks, and it wasn’t a bad one. Considering that I had 50 bucks in ad revenue from the site, this was a freebie that I couldn’t pass up. The scary thing is, what happens when the economy comes back around? Do we go back to the before prices or will people think, "Man, I saw this card go for fifty bucks a few months ago, I am not going to pay 150 for it right now." Even though the pre-drop value may have been at 150 bucks, and would be able to sustain that with a now returned economy, the completed auction page may prevent it from going back to normal.

Of course, super high end cards should be back to normal, and I am not talking about cards that are $250-1000, I am talking higher. Mainly the ones that really never drop in value, but just fluctuate a little here and there. You know, the Jordan RCs, the Mantle cards and other vintage, and a lot of the cards that people will ALWAYS want. But, BUT, does a rise in super high end translate to a snap back for cards below that? Im not really sure, and I am beginning to think that if one of the big three dies out, Upper Deck being the front runner for some reason, they wont snap back. Then, when you have stocked up on cards that you knew to be WAY below their pre-drop values, where does it leave you? Not in a good place, right?

Now, I am not saying to avoid pulling the trigger on those deals out there, because some of them are just too good to pass up. However, before you go nuts, you might want to think about your own mindset once things go back to normal. Would you be willing to shell out twice what you are paying for the card at this moment once things change in your discretionary funds? Hell, for the first time in decades, Americans are saving money for fear of what is to come. Who's to say that they wont continue to do so? If this type of recession happened once, what's saying it wont happen again? All of these things will contribute to the value of your collection, so make sure to keep your head on a swivel while you are buying, IF you are buying.


  1. It's not going to go back to how it was before (the economy). There have been fundamental changes made to how the American economy works, and when we start suffering the consequences of what we're doing now, we're going to see a huge change in the monetary system.

    You're not going to be able to compare today's dollar to the dollar two, five, ten years from now. The government has TRIPLED the amount of currency in circulation over the past six months. You read that correctly. There are three times as many dollars out there now as there were six months ago. The economy has tanked, the stock market has halved, the GDP has dropped through the floor, half of America's wealth has been destroyed, but there are three times as many dollars out there.

    We're in a period of deflation right now. That's why things are cheaper. Eventually, we're going to bottom out, and then we're going to see rapid inflation.

    Our government approached the economic collapse the same way Germany did at the beginning of the Depression. Rapid deflation followed by insane inflation. There are famous pictures of people with baskets full of cash, headed to the grocery store to buy bread.

    The funny thing is that the vast majority of Americans haven't been affected by the economic collapse in any way. There's no reason for sales prices to drop - the people with the discretionary income to buy cards before the collapse are still working the same jobs the same hours for the same pay with the same bills, the same rent/mortgage and the same amount of money to blow on pictures of grown men in tight pants.

    Your best bet is just to ride the wave. Buy what you like. If you want to turn a profit, buy and flip now. Don't buy with the intention of selling when this shit's over with, because you have no idea what our currency is going to be worth when this whole thing settles down.

  2. I'm actually not buying right now, because for some reason, Dawson prices are through the roof! I have absolutely no idea why, but since the economy has tanked, there actually seem to be more people bidding on autos and patches of my guy, and prices have never been higher. It's kinda frustrating.