Hobby Musings: Garoppolo’s cards ride hobby roller coaster – I’ve written before about the hobby’s fickleness and sometimes insanity when it comes to prospecting. Despite being immersed in hobby trends for a little while now, I’ve never quite gotten over people shelling out hundreds and even thousands of dollars for cards of athletes who have achieved little or nothing in their professional careers.
2012 was particularly peculiar in seeing people pay significantly more for autographs of Mike Trout and Andrew Luck as opposed to legends like Hank Aaron or Joe Montana. Fast-forward six years and little has been done to erase that shock. Today, players like Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Ronald Acuna demand big dollars while their Hall of Fame counterparts stay relatively stagnant.
In football, one person aiming to claim the mantle of latest hobby darling is the San Francisco 49ers newly acquired quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. Playing the role of understudy to Tom Brady in New England, the 2014 second-round pick finally got his chance to shine with a mid-season trade to the Bay Area.
Building on the potential he showed, Garoppolo shined by going 5-0 in his starts after the trade. Combined with his record before the trade, he’s a perfect 7-0. He made more news this off-season by signing a big contract extension with his new team. That contract netted him nearly $90 million in guarantees for the first three seasons.
As his football fortunes have trended upwards, so too has Garoppolo’s stock in the hobby. Having a rookie card of of his in my personal collection, I decided to check out eBay to see what it was selling for. The result was a little shocking as a card that hadn’t been consistently selling when the season began was now moving for good money.
His Panini Contenders cards, especially the autographs, have been commanding big money. His ungraded rookie ticket autographs in particular have been easily pulling in well over $400 the last few weeks. Crazy as that sounds, it’s a softer mark than January when the same card was going for over $500.
If you go back to early or even mid-December, that same card was closer to the $150-$200 mark raw. One sold for as little as $122.50 on eBay on November 19th last year. That’s a significant swing over a few months for only five victories, none of which came in the playoffs. This example is extreme given Contenders’ status as a premier rookie brand compared to some of his more desirable cards. Nevertheless, it underscores just how much people are willing to pay top dollar for potential in the hobby.
We still have a long way to go until the football season gets underway. It will be interesting to see how the hobby prices for Garoppolo unfold in the coming months. Based on the recent trends, expect to see prices for his cards see a down tick during football’s off-season lull. That being said, a premium offensive free agent acquisition or big name draft pick by San Francisco might help kick that excitement back up. If Garoppolo can get the 49ers off to a hot start, there’s no telling how high his cards will go as collectors and sellers alike try to get in on him. If he has a rough start though, I’d wager there will be more than a few people kicking themselves over spending big dollars on him.
Editor’s Note: 2014 Panini NFL Football products are starting to dry-up. However, GTS Distribution has stock of the following products in which Garoppolo has rookie autographs: Playbook, Rookies & Stars, Totally Certified