Klein’s Korner: Junk Wax 2.0? Nah! – First of all, I would like to thank everyone for their feedback and
general support of the “Winter is Coming” article. One of the reasons Jason Masherah of Upper Deck started the conference with the statement was some of the similarities to the 1990’s boom and then correction. For those of us who don’t remember just how hot the hobby was in the early 1990’s, there was a time where Beckett Baseball Card Monthly in 1993 was printing over one million magazines a month. And most of those were selling either at hobby stores or retail outlets.
In addition, there was a mini-stock market in base cards of rookies from what we now consider the overproduced era. I once saw a sales list in 1989 where I could buy 8,000 copies (aka 10 800 ct. boxes) of any Topps card. Now, if you had purchased Randy Johnson, you probably made good money over the years and also probably still have several thousand of those cards available for sale.
Today, that penny stock market has evolved into a real stock market with cards such as the Silver Prizm Luka or Giannis Rookie when graded being bought, sold and traded like pure commodities. I remember at Kyle Robertson’s 3-day show, back in November 2019, one dealer/investor purchased over 200 of the Silver Prizm Luka and at the time there was over 6,000 cards already with very high PSA grades. That’s step one of a comparison with the 1990’s, but now the BTE (Barrier to Entry) is at a much higher price point than in the halcyon hobby days.
Klein’s Korner: Junk Wax 2.0? Nah! – What changes, stays the same
Another comparison to the 1990’s popped up shortly after that Upper Deck conference when Topps announced that if you are a direct account you will be required to support the entire Topps product line with a minimum investment in other (mostly non-baseball) products.
Now I want to stress this is something completely legal for any business to do. As a show dealer and way back in the day a store owner/manager I can’t tell you how many times the only cards people want who come to your table or your show are the hottest newest shiniest items. That even goes back to the more individual component of, what do you keep while opening your packs? One of the conundrums of the Topps Million Card Rip was not every breaker shipped out the base cards. Although those breakers advised you would only be getting a more limited amount of cards, some observers still thought all those cards should be shipped.
But as for the forced ordering, that was certainly an issue going back to the 1990’s glory days. We read Sports Net just about every day as a good way of keeping up with what dealers were saying and thinking about the hobby. Now, not everyone was always happy with what was going on but I remember one year, Upper Deck, seemingly randomly, allowed dealers to order either 2 or 22 cases of their latest football release. You have to understand that since there was not then, and not now, any sort of dealer organization similar to ASDA or ANA (Stamp or Coin groups) that the over-riding concern of most every dealer was: Please allocate every order of your latest (HOT) product but my store is so important there is no need to allocate me in any way.
Well what Topps announced is a way to circumvent those dealers who only want the super duper high end product and not the normal day by day issue, I don’t think this will affect any breaker that much and am not sure as to what the affect on stores will be. Either way, we will all continue to adjust to this new reality of how Topps wants us to order going forward.
And, as for the 2 or 22 was the 1991 case issue, then those who got the 22 cases now have tons of Brett Favre Rookie Cards for people to still pull from pack.
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: Junk Wax 2.0? Nah!
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