Klein’s Korner: A New Height for the Hobby – Sometimes when I write, I have a theme in mind, sometimes when I pen these columns it comes as I go and sometimes I end up going totally differently from where I started.
This column is one of those where I have an idea and think I know where I want to go, but I’m not truly sure how to get there.
So let’s begin with this assumption: that 2020 has been for the hobby just as unique of a year as it has been for the world.
At the beginning of the year, the President of Upper Deck said “Winter is Coming” and presented plenty of evidence to buttress his claim. Then in March, we basically shut down this country for six weeks and there was a hypothesis the hobby would collapse. Because no one was working, people would need to sell their cards so they could pay rent and eat. Cards it was believed, were not a true asset.
Boy, has everyone been wrong so far in 2020.
Instead we are in a boom time probably not seen since the over-produced era of 1986-94.
Who knew? Not me for sure.
But look around you and the hobby is doing so well there is bursting at the seams. In an article I read this week, PSA has now fallen 1.5 million cards behind and is actively looking to hire 100 people in all sorts of roles. My line when I saw the research position available was I sure wish I was 20 years younger because that one would be a fun challenge. Personally I’d have more fun at that job than grading. My employer. COMC, is posting on the front page of their web site that positions both in-house and remote are open.
Without looking at other places I would wager lots of people need extra manpower as I type this. Heck, a fourth grading company which has lots of experience with grading other collectibles is joining the fray: The Certified Collectibles Group which has money and a grading background in other fields. Checking the Topps web site showed 21 positions available. GTS, whilst a smaller company, has a few positions currently advertised (Editor’s Note: Check out our career listings right here!). If you ever wanted to work in this hobby, this may be the best time in 30 years to look for employment. If there is a specific place you want to work, I’d recommend looking while the time is good.
And recently I chatted with the nice man at Signature Collectibles when the manager needs a day off. He usually comes to my shows and we chatted about a few things. They had a really good framer; they now have two excellent framers, and their hobby framing department is so busy they fell three months behind. And this person, at Kyle Robertson‘s big show, purchased three Patrick Mahomes Rookie Cards for $300 and has already sold the two he liked the least for $450. He also mentioned that 2007-08 Topps Basketball sets which sat for him at a show for $15 are now broken as he was getting $55 each for the Kevin Durant Rookie Cards. He says after he finishes either his full-time job or the part-time work he posts items for sale every day to take advantage of the business uptick he is having.
And yet, there are some troubling signs, because frankly sports cards are too hot and popular. I know of at least two 30+ year hobbyists who are either trying to get Panini direct dealer accounts or re-establish one. And I feel sorry for all concerned at this point, because as store owners, they want to be able to sell packs to their customers.
I also get Panini’s issue is having such hot releases and so many people wanting them they have no way to sort out all the details of everyone who wants to sell their goods. I also listened to Brent Williams of Brent and Becca doing an interview with the About the Cards people recently, and to me, the most important thing he mentioned during the conversation was the difficulty in adapting to the market changes. Once upon a time the adapt and thrive had to do with how to deal with a down time. Right now, however, adapt and thrive has to do with the wild and positive ride we’re currently on.
We all need to think about what changes we need to make in this rapidly evolving market. Topps sent out an email apologizing for the delay in getting their uber-popular Project 2020 cards out the door.
And with all this we have not even touched the exploding world of vintage cards.
So where is this ride gong to end? I’m not sure but as long as we continue to enjoy the ride then we will all see where this leads.
For more from Rich Klein, follow him on Twitter @sabrgeek.
Rich’s vast experience and knowledge of the hobby has been well documented through the years. GTS is happy to feature his thoughts on collecting in Klein’s Korner. The opinions expressed are his and do not necessarily reflect those of GTS Distribution.
Klein’s Korner: A New Height for the Hobby
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