Hobby Musings: Super Bowl, HOF responsible for hobby spikes – Baseball’s Hall of Fame announcement and the upcoming Super Bowl have been two of the biggest topics in the sports world. They’ve also helped fuel some of the bigger storylines in the hobby as well. The notoriety for the players involved has helped lead to increases in hobby values. For more on the athletes seeing a spike in the hobby, I had the chance to catch up with Sports Collectors Daily editor Rich Mueller. The following interview was conducted via email.
KS: Rich, we are mere days away from the Super Bowl. Especially with Carson Wentz not playing, it seems as if all the hobby onus in this game is on Tom Brady. What kind of hobby traction have you seen on him since the Patriots clinched another SB berth?
RM: The other day I posted on Twitter that our list shows the entire top 15 and 21 of the top 22 ‘most watched eBay football card auction listings were Brady cards. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen one player dominate it like that. There was a feeding frenzy after last year’s Super Bowl but the market is even hotter now. I think there’s an anticipation he’s going to win a sixth and prices will spike again but even if he doesn’t, there’s no reason to think he won’t be productive for a little while longer and might have a chance to win another Super Bowl.
KS: If the Pats do win another title, how do you think Brady’s autograph and rookie values will change?
RM: It’s hard to put a finite number on it because a couple of years ago, I don’t think anyone would have anticipated any Brady rookie card would be in the discussion of six figure trading cards, but here we are. I suspect if the Pats win, Sunday night and Monday will be very active days for buyers and sellers. He’s entering Michael Jordan territory in terms of the interest pushing past the hobby and enveloping mainstream buyers who aren’t necessarily avid collectors but want one of his better cards to pass down to their kids or keep for themselves.
KS: His QB counterpart, Nick Foles, has been kind of a forgotten man in the hobby. That being said, how has his recent performance affected his market?
RM: I think there’s been some interest, but the future is so uncertain for him I think it’s hard for anyone to think about buying with a long-term vision.
KS: Same question as with Brady, if Foles and the Eagles win, what kind of affect will it have on his card values?
RM: If he can lead the Eagles to an upset, I suspect there will be some interest, especially from Philly fans. Much depends on how big of a role he’d play in the victory.
KS: Outside of Brady and Foles, who’s one player you think could see a big hobby spike with a big performance in the Super Bowl?
RM: The Super Bowl hero has sometimes been a guy who no one is thinking about right now and if he’s a defensive player he might not even have much in the way of cards. That being said, I think a big day by Rob Gronkowski might push him to the next level. He’s such a big personality and has been such an important part of that team’s success I’m surprised the interest in him isn’t stronger than it already is. With another healthy, productive season or two, he’s definitely going into the Hall of Fame and probably won’t have to wait long.
KS: Switching sports, the rest of baseball’s Hall of Fame class was announced last week. Which player would you say has received the biggest hobby spike since the announcement?
RM: I’m seeing some pretty impressive sales for high-grade Chipper Jones cards, especially some of the non-common rookie cards like Tiffany and Desert Shield. As a whole, it’s a really appealing class in terms of fan popularity. All four guys are easy to like and have been very popular with fans throughout their careers. That does often translates into sales, but average rookie cards for all of these guys are really plentiful and generally cheap.
KS: Alan Trammell and Jack Morris were voted in by the Modern Era committee. They had been on the ballot for a long time and weren’t voted in for a long time. They’ve also been signing autographs for a while, but that being said, how have their hobby values reacted since their call for the hall?
RM: The price of autographs usually takes a jump when a player goes into the Hall of Fame, but more so with autograph appearance fees and signatures on new items like HOF baseballs and such. Both of those guys have been signing for a long time, too, so there’s not really a shortage. I was surprised to see some of their Topps NOW autographs take a while to sell last week. Prices were fairly reasonable. I do think we’ve seen an uptick in prices for both of their rookie cards, especially Trammell, who shares it with another Hall of Famer, Paul Molitor. The 1978 Morris is a double print so while high grade examples will be worth more than they were six months ago, it’ll be tempered a little.
KS: There are some intriguing names in 2019’s Hall of Fame class, including Mariano Rivera. Putting your prognostication hat on, which player who could get in do you think will get the biggest hobby bump?
RM: In terms of autographs, I think if Roy Halladay is voted in, his autographed memorabilia will become quite valuable. We haven’t had a situation where a new Hall of Famer who was active not long ago dies before induction. He’d done some signings and card shows but there is still a limited amount of material in the market. In terms of cards, any player’s high-grade cards that are scarcer than others would stand to see an increase.
KS: If you had to pick one athlete, who would you say is the most popular person in the trading card world right now?
RM: In terms of active athletes, I don’t think there’s any question it’s Brady. He’s dominating the auction market and I’m sure shops and show dealers, especially in New England are having a hard time keeping his stuff in stock. If I’m allowed a runner-up, Aaron Judge still seems to be very hot. One of the more intriguing hobby stories of this coming season will be whether he can continue to put up big numbers.
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