On Thursday, we asked collectors a simple question on Facebook: What can the card manufacturers improve on?
In about two hours, we had about 50 responses from passionate collectors, casual collectors, dealers and those who say they used to be collectors gave up the hobby or one reason or another. That's the interesting thing about Facebook and other social media. It's not always the hard core enthusiasts who might be your fans--or in the case of the card companies--have the potential to be your customers.
We were buyers of current products but opted to stay on the sidelines after being disillusioned with the hobby they once knew. A familiar theme seemed to be the avalanche of products.
The question wasn't meant to trash the manufacturers, whose business it is to understand the current market and their customer base and who've tried to adapt to a world where trading cards became passe' to many. It was simply meant as a platform for our fan base to express their feelings and offer suggestions. The question definitely brought out the passions many have--or had--for the hobby.
Here's just a sampling:
Steve Douglas (Collector): Less inserts. I'm trying to complete a set of 2012 Topps inserts and different borders and it is almost impossible. Topps Bowman is the same way with orange, purple, brown borders (I'm sure I've left a few3 colors out). It would also be nicer if all of the inserts had real numbers to help collecting instead of RN-BF (for Bob Feller). Very confusing!!
Billy Kingsley (collector): They need to work more on documenting the sport and not on the "gimmick of the month" which started to take hold around a decade ago. Back in the mid-90s and before the cards were about documenting the sports that they covered...and I wish it was still that way. I personally wouldn't mind if the dropped the so-called "hits", in fact I preferred the hobby, before the concept of "hits" was invented. Collector, for 25 of my 28 years of life.
Tim Burnell (Collector): I would like to see far less gimicky stuff. Waaaay too many inserts, waaaaaaay too much product. I started collecting as a kid in '76, obviously things were pretty basic ... one company, one set. But, y'know what, the sets made sense. League leaders, record breakers, playoff / World Series cards (sometimes game-by-game, which, was awesome). How about one good, basic "set builder" set, one throwback and one premium. Simple(r).
Brandon Spears (Collector): No more "relic" cards or "event worn" cards. Less of the garbage autos (busted a case of platinum football, only decent auto was kendall write auto patch...some of the guys aren't even in the NFL!). Less border variations. I would like to see an Allen & Ginter type card for football.
Triple A Vintage Sportscards (Dealer/collector): I think the companies need to stop short printing everything because set building has died because of SPs. Dealer since 1991, collector since age 5 (1978).
Mike Range (Collector): Too many redemptions. It dilutes the product and my kids get less of kick when they pull one knowing they may never see the hit or it will take a long time.
John Collins (Collector): I can look at any Topps card from any set 1952 up to about 1991 and tell you what year it was from. Same with all of the Bowman sets and much pre-war stuff. Anything after the early 90's and I have no clue - it's beyond the saturation point. I would rather collect mid-grade stuff of players I'm interested in from sets issued before I was born and pay less for it than attempt to keep up with what today's card scene looks like. Cutting up jerseys and bats was the start for me. I would imagine things are ridiculously beyond that now...
Ryan Eric Booker (Collector): They have to stop mass production of so many different sets! We need to get back to the one rookie card days! The base cards have no value! Even the limited cards are tough to profit from because because there as so many different limited cards! JUST TOO MUCH STUFF!
Gary Alan Juhasz: I’m one of the unfortunate souls who still puts sets together from packs. I've got card condos filled with singles that I have no idea what to do with or how to unload because it took me five hobby boxes to find a John Doe. I don't know how they pack these things, but if they are short printing commons they need to stop. The insert sets are annoying on top of it. And I'm tired of finding two of the same card in a pack of some brands...
Jason Obrzut: In product that is very high end there should be only high end players. No commons or b- list stars for product that is over $200 a box/pack. How many rookies can a player have and in how many different years? Bryce Harper for example...
Adam J. Moraine (Collector): There should be LESS game used memorabilia and cut signature cards. You can buy a PSA/DNA slabbed 3x5 index card of (insert name of deceased baseball HOF'er here) a lot cheaper than a serial numbered cut signature card. Also, cutting up a Babe Ruth game used bat or a Lou Gehrig game worn jersey and affixing the "swatches" to cards is absolutely disgusting to me.”
To see more responses and join the conversation, visit our Facebook page here.