Hobby Musings: What Will 2020 Bring Us in the Hobby? – A few weeks ago, I recapped the good and bad of 2019 from a hobby perspective. We may be more than halfway through January already, but it’s not too late to wonder what 2020 will bring us. No matter what happens, it’ll have a heck of a time topping the good of the past few years.
Overall, I think 2020 will be another good year for the hobby, but I also think we’ll start to see a dip from the highs of the past few years. Not with sealed wax mind you, that will continue to get shredded in ridiculous quantities. However, the glut of singles and unwanted cards out on the secondary market will become a particular problem this year as sellers try to figure out how to move them to a collecting base that continually just wants to rip. While there doesn’t seem to be enough sealed product to go around these days, that is not true of the single cards once they’re out in the wild. While it can be great for collectors to land desired cards at more economical costs, it can be rough for sellers to get the prices they want for their items.
With that being said, football, and Panini for that matter, will be the big winners of 2020. A strong upcoming rookie class that includes Joe Burrow and Chase Young will push football to record levels this year. Quarterbacks always drive popularity and sales, and there’s nothing like a potential top pick coming off Heisman and national title victories to get collectors excited. The fact that there are other strong, name-brand QBs like Tua Tagovailoa and Justin Herbert doesn’t hurt either. This should also be a big year for wide receivers in the rookie class with players like Alabama’s Jerry Jeudy set to make their pro debuts.
As big as football will be, basketball will a strong number two this year thanks to Zion Williamson. If he ends up being everything hoped for and more, we’ll see at least a handful of his card sales top six figures in 2020. The demand for Zion has already been exceptional, and Panini hasn’t even released the heavy hitters of their products for this season. If he comes out strong, the sales for Flawless and National Treasures among other products will be unlike anything we’ve ever seen. Don’t sleep on Ja Morant either. He’s had a strong rookie season so far and in the long run, I think he’ll end up having a better card market than Zion.
Also on the basketball front, I believe 2020 is the year Panini lands Tim Duncan for autographs. They’ve scored a couple of nice surprise exclusives the past few years by getting Charles Barkley and Kevin Garnett for signatures. Duncan still remains an elusive and rare signer, but this is the year that all changes. Given his popularity with collectors, he could be an even bigger get for Panini than Barkley and Garnett.
In baseball, I’m expecting Bryce Harper to have an MVP-caliber season in year 2 with the Phillies. As such, his card market will rise again and have people scrambling to both sell and acquire his top cards. Season 1 may have been a dud for Harper in Philly, but that will only fuel him to play out his mind this year, which will be great news for anyone who wants to move his cards. I’m also looking for a stronger year for Shohei Ohtani’s as his return to the mound will spark more interest in his cards.
On the bad side, we’ll unfortunately see quite a bit of hobby ugliness come out in 2020 because of the trimming scandals that dominated the negative headlines of 2019. This is something that isn’t going away, and I don’t believe we’ve seen the worst news yet. While I don’t think the trimming scandals will entirely cripple the hobby, they have a chance to do some big damage depending on the extent of the bad news that comes out
One consequence of this is that we’ll see a boost for low and mid-grade vintage cards in popularity and sales as people get more wary of high-grade cards. Vintage, especially graded, continues to remain an immensely popular card category, and we won’t see that trend discontinue in 2020. Trimming and other complaints aside, people continue to submit cards in record numbers for grading. Business is clearly booming on that front, and it doesn’t seem inclined to slow down any time soon.
With the National returning to Atlantic City this year, I predict TRISTAR will pull out all the stops and have a top shelf autograph guest that has either not done a National or hasn’t done one in a while. Derek Jeter would be the obvious choice there, but with his responsibilities with the Marlins, I’m not sure how feasible it would be. The National has had some truly impressive guests like Alex Rodriguez and Albert Pujols over the past few years, but having Jeter doing a public signing at the show would be a different level entirely. Carl Yastrzemski would be another great guest as he doesn’t sign all that much anymore. It would be even better if TRISTAR could continue their recent trend in getting currently playing athletes to sign. Could you imagine if they got Aaron Judge or Gleyber Torres to sign at the NSCC?
All in all, 2020 should be an interesting year in the trading card and memorabilia world. With any luck, I’m wrong and this year will be just as good, if not better, than the previous few years. The hobby is still in a very strong place, and it would be nice for all parties if that continues. My personal hope for this year is to have a little more fun with the hobby and wrap up some projects I’ve been putting off. For all of you, I’m hoping you’ll have as much fun as possible and be able to add what your heart desires to your own collections.
For more Hobby Musings from Kelsey Schroyer, follow him on Twitter @KelSchroy75.
Kelsey’s ability to bring hobby coverage to the mainstream sports fan has been a true asset. GTS is happy to feature his thoughts on collecting in Hobby Musings. The opinions expressed are his and do not necessarily reflect those of GTS Distribution.
Hobby Musings: What Will 2020 Bring Us in the Hobby?
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