Saturday, July 17, 2010

Examining How Companies are Starting to Replace Jersey Cards

Over the last five years, single color jersey cards have gone from the cards you are excited to get, to the cards that end up in your common bin. Its rare that a jersey swatch is worth anything these days, and I already know that some of companies are trying to find solutions to the lack of value they provide. Some of the other companies, like Panini are still including them ad nauseum in their products, and many collectors are getting fed up with paying 100 dollars for a box that has three crap jersey cards and a crap auto.

In 2007, Upper Deck took the first step by re-introducing Manufactured patches to put in their products. These cards, like the originals from earlier versions of Sweet Spot baseball, were non-autographed, non game used patches that depicted any number of things about the subject on the card. The problem was that they introduced them in higher end products that left collectors feeling slighted upon receiving them instead of another hit. Upper Deck had already introduced the signed manufactured letter in 2006 with SP Authentic, cards that were a huge hit due to originality and availablity, and the Manupatches in products like Premier baseball and football were just an extension of that.

In the years after, Topps and Panini both bought into the craze, offering their own versions, and thus making the manupatch a hobby inevitability. However, like with many hobby innovations, you either love them or HATE them. Personally, I think that when done well they can easily be a cool card to have. However, that isnt the issue anymore, as there are some companies like Topps and Upper Deck that are using non-autographed manupatches as a replacement solution for the downfall of jersey cards. This includes the manuletters from Upper Deck Icons and Sweet spot classic, and the influx used by Topps in recent products. In most cases, because the unsigned manuletters sell well due to player collectors trying to spell names, I can see why the companies use them as replacements for the single color jersey cards.

Topps has taken it to a cool level this year in 2010 Topps Baseball and its follow up sets. Topps has been using manupatches designed from the player's sleeve and hat logo to add a cool element to their base set. Because they are case hits, collectors spend more money than normal to get them, something that cannot be said for the season highlight bat and jersey cards that usually infest the product. I actually just bought the Joe Mauer off eBay, because they used the sleeve patch that the Twins are using for the inagural Target Field campaign. I dont buy Mauer jersey cards, especially single color ones, but I wanted this one. I think that says something about what these cards bring to a product. In addition, they are cheap to make, and there is no limited supply of designs to use. If they made a commemorative one for him being MVP, I would buy that too. Here's hoping they do similar things in football this year too.

So, this begs the question of whether or not there even is a solution to the shrinking value of jersey cards in general. I mean, even Patch cards have become invaluable due to the huge amount of them available. It used to be that they sold at a huge premium no matter the player, now they can sell for as little as a dollar for even semistars.

Id be interested to hear what all of you think.


  1. I really don't like the whole manufactured jersey thing. I think you are spot on with your analysis with of the industry. I like how you call it how it is. What area are you located? I'd like to do a box bust video with you and give it away for your subscribers.

  2. You wrote,

    "I dont buy Mauer jersey cards, especially single color ones, but I wanted this one. I think that says something about what these cards bring to a product."

    Do you know how arrogant that sounds? It doesn't say anything about what these bring to a product. It says that you PERSONALLY like them. Your personal likes/dislikes do not represent all collectors feelings. You state your opinions as fact. It simply isn't true. I think that Mauer card is hilariously ugly. Not trying to b a jerk, but your posts are incredibly arrogant.

  3. I understand how it sounded, but I think you are misinterpreting what I am saying. What I meant is that if someone like me thinks that those cards are cool, there is probably something to it because of the particular buying habits of people like me. If you think it sucks, thats fine, but this blog has always been about my opinions.

  4. Obviously this is your blog and you are free to write about whatever/whenever. I like your site. I read it everyday. I'm just saying you try and pass off your opinions as fact. You say things like, "Collectors are sick of xyz". "The hobby wants abc". You would come off better if you spoke for Gellman, and not for all hobbyists. I think triple threads and peoples "omg mojoz" after pulling a David Ortiz 60 piece jersey card is stupid also. But I happen to know LOTS of people who love it. Also, congrats on the munchkin, just had two myself.

  5. How much do I believe topps and manufactured patches? when the A&G nameplate relics started showing up, I had to ask if they were manufactured nameplate patches!

    There needs to be some easy way for Topps to identify real vs manuf patches other than by reading the back of the card because not every ebay seller shows the back of the card or honestly says in the description if it's a manuf patch. Some things are obvious such as the size of your target field patch is smaller than the real thing. With the cap logos, they are about the same size as the real ones. One of these days there actually could be real hat logo patch cards.

  6. Lol, you are worse than beckett. At least beckett doesn't censor it's critics by not posting their views. Go fuck yourself you fat piece of shit. Your one sided bullshit is pathetic. Die in a grease fire.

  7. Whoa dude, I dont know what happened there. You went from discussion to asshole without even giving me a chance to get all your comments posted.

  8. Just so you know, I publish comments almost exclusively from my phone. If my phone cant connect to the internet right away, it doesnt always publish the comments. I dont know about it usually until the next post when it lets me know that the comments are waiting. Since its the weekend, I dont post as often. So, in other words, getting angry at this process is pointless.

  9. Mr. 13579,

    Wow, you are a complete dick, plain and simple. Not only do you post off based bullshit about the way Gellman talks about stuff, but you also get THAT pissed when he doesnt run to his computer to approve your ignorant comments. Then, you have the gall to compare him to Beckett when it comes to approving comments? Please. Have you even taken the time to read through some of the comments that Gellman posts? I would even touch some of the ones he approves, some are terrible. But, I will say that the last bit of diarrhea that you put on this site is ridiculous and unexcusable. You go fuck YOURself, man. And dont forget to turn it sideways when you do. Some people.

  10. I love your site man. I got in to collecting this year, and the first few boxes I broke I was estatic to get jersey cards, even one color...then I discovered online trading/buying.

    Boy oh boy, did that change my opinion. I was a little disheartened to learn that Gu cards are all but worthless, most destined to sell on ebay for $0.99 plus shipping. I still like a nice GU card of my Colts (IF the card itself is nice) but getting "4 hits" in a box no longer seems appealing when 3 of them are single colored, event worn cards.

    It changed my opinion a lot on what boxes were best to bust, and I'll now gladly bust a box of Topps Chrome for the 1 (nice) auto over a lot of other stuff...though I do still love rookie auto patches.

    Keep up the good work man! Nice to see that as much as you can be a hard ass with your opinions and not bowing down to industry forces you're also patient and not easily agitated by some of the douches who post inflammatory comments.

  11. I think real patches have a long way to go before they reach the unwanted status of plain, white GU cards.
    Manupatches can be more apealing than the little white piece of jersey card, but I prefer real patches over manu's anyday.