Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Is There A Solution To The Jersey Card Problem?

I have been talking about design a lot lately, mainly because of the sheer crap that is being churned out at record paces this year. However, this is not going to be one of those posts. An interesting thought crossed my mind, and it made me wonder if we should just do away with Jersey cards that don’t have autos on them. Keep it to patch cards and auto jersey cards, so that the staleness of the plain swatch cards starts to go away.

Here is the situation that led me to this, many of you are already clued in. When it comes to jersey cards, just the plain ones, they don’t sell for more than a buck or two, even if its Tom Brady or Albert Pujols. Most of the time they are just clumsily placed swatches on parallel cards that make my eyes burn, especially when done by Donini. Despite being practically worthless due to the numbers in which they are produced, these are still considered to be "hits" and count towards the normal allotment of the box. Personally, I am bored with these cards, and it seems as though the general buying public is too. Of course, that doesn’t stop Topps from releasing ass loads of "relics" from practice sessions and old timer games, slapping the name sterling or triple threads on it and trying to market it as a high end product.

What is the solution, especially if the companies continue to use the hits per box ratio as a way to draw in buyers? Well, UD has used the non-auto manupatch letters in the past, and that will continue with Icons this year. The letters go for about the same amount as the crap jerseys, so they thought it was a reasonable switch to sway from the monotony. I applaud the creativity, but the cards don’t live up to the status of THE solution to this overwhelming issue.

When you look back and see that 10 years ago, jersey cards were still going for $15-$20 each, you can tell that things have gone in the wrong direction when some don’t even get .10 these days. It used to be that getting a Jersey card meant you had a good box, now it means you have a bad one. I think that we need to address now that those plain swatches arent going to cut it anymore.

If this means that we get boxes with less guaranteed hits per box, I think that’s fine. Maybe guarantee one or two autos, and have the jerseys be an added bonus. Low number them, design them as stand alones, and make sure all of them are patches. I think that may be a start, see where it takes us.

The problem with implementing a solution in this respect is that you need to get all the companies to do it at once, which will never happen, especially in football with 3 competing companies. The minute that one company does away with plain swatch cards, the other will market that they are offering more for the money, no matter the fact that what they are doing is actually worse. Hell, Donini still thinks they have the most on card autos for the market, even though they are the sticker label capital of the industry. They even marketed a product with no redemptions, not mentioning the fact that BOTH competitors have on card autos as their offering.

Guys, its pretty simple. We have become complacent in our tastes. Companies continually exploit the fact that collectors are fucking sheep, and it grinds my gears to no end. I told UD yesterday that all you have to do is slap 38 "relics" onto a card and all of a sudden you have the product of the fucking year. That’s all it takes these days! Seriously! Design doesn’t matter, content doesn’t matter, all that matters is that people feel like they are moving away from the normal swatch card. What they don’t care about is that most of the products that try to do that, only accomplish it by piling more wood on the fire, not putting out the fire all together. That does not fly with me. The solution stays true to the idea "less is more" rather than "A FUCKLOAD MORE is more."


  1. Yeah, I agree with your point - there are too many worthless jersey cards now. The only problem is that the card companies need to come up with something decent to replace jersey cards. I don't know what that is, but the manufactured letters are not the answer. By the way, you should check out some completed auctions for Evan Longoria jersey cards - they sell for way more than a buck or two!

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  3. this plain white peterson sold for 30 w/ shipping (not even his rookie!) cant wait till my favorite product limited comes out make a preview|66:2|39:1|240:1318|301:0|293:1|294:50

  4. that was numbered to 10 and was a patch, from what I can tell. Just 1 color.

  5. can someone please tell me what the difference between a 1 color patch and a jersey is???

  6. Nothing, but people value it more because of the low numbering or the idea of a patch. Nothing more.

  7. Totally agree. I'd be in favor of a drastic price cut and no jersey cards. Then they'd lure me back. Packs cost WAY too much to bust open a few boxes and end up with jersey cards I can't trade or sell to complete the set.

  8. I have been lurking in the shadows for a few months reading these articles and laughing. Not so much because they are funny, but because these are all the things that I have been saying for years. Jersey's suck, the market is saturated with them, and even the ultra-premium ones aren't worth the cardboard they are printed on when it comes to asthetic appeal.

    You guys at SCU have it right, and you continue to "wow" me by extracting my own ideas out of my own head. Keep up the crusade for the good of humanity.

  9. If the card companies go the way of patches and jersey autos, the same thing will happen. There's already a crapload of autos of everyone's favorite player, and as a result, they are less valuable (as a whole, there are always exceptions).

    While I agree with you that pulling a gray jersey swatch of a scrub player and having that count as a box hit sucks, I don't think I'd be any happier with a patch or auto of a scrub player either.

    It's a viscious cycle, and we as collectors have been spoiled by guaranteed hits.

    Personally, I would prefer better designs, and you won't hear any arguemnet from me on that one. It's almost like they don't even try.

  10. beardy makes a good point. I too hate jersery cards anymore, but tf you get rid of them, we're just going to eventually start getting bored with patches or whatever else is next. It's always going to be something with us collectors.

    Just think back to the day when jersey cards first starting showing up in packs...they were the greatest thing ever. We're always going to want something better.

    I think that box prices have to be dractically lowered though if jersey cards are all we are likely to get out them. Shelling out $100+ and not being able to get $5 back if you flip your hits is ridiculous.