What is it about a certain baseball card product that makes collectors pull the trigger? Is it the design of the card? The history of an issue? The ease of completing a base set? The number of autographs?
On our Facebook page earlier this week, we asked collectors what went through their mind before opting to buy. Here’s what some of you said, including Nick Hohler, who won the random drawing for a fresh box of 2013 Topps Opening Day Baseball.
When I'm deciding what new product to buy I typically look for the following:
- · Good base card design. If I whiff on "hits" at least I'll have some good looking cards.
- · Good autograph checklist with rookies, vets and retired players.
- · Good patches.
- · Box must be less than $150, anything more expensive is not worth the risk
- · Decent retail value incase I hit something of a player I don't PC, I can turn around and flip it for something I like.
- · Must be MLB licensed. I do not like non-logo cards
I try to find a product with at least 4 of the above mentioned requirements, otherwise I'll stick to singles.
When buying a box, I look first at the design of the cards. If I'm going to be stuck with a whole box of cards I at least want to like the appearance of them. Secondly, I look at the inserts in the product. Some inserts are very trade-able or are short printed which make them more valuable. I also like to be guaranteed at least one auto or relic per box. It just makes it fun when you are opening all the packs in the box and not knowing when you are going to open that auto or relic pack. When you purchase a box of cards it's nice to know that all the hits are yours and you don't have to share with anyone. Makes it exciting to see what you got!
I purchased a box of 2012 Bowman Platinum last year and a box of 2013 Heritage this year. I enjoy the base design of both of these sets, they both have nice inserts and are desirable for trade, and they both guaranteed at least one relic or auto per box.
There are a variety of factors that go into consideration when I choose to purchase a particular product. Whether it be my primary purchase of Black Diamond Hockey or getting into new products such as Topps Baseball all these factors apply. I look at how many cards are included, how many parallels or memorabilia cards and of course can I pull an autograph?
There is a certain adrenaline rush that I get when pulling a big time hit from a hobby box and it really can't be explained to anybody who doesn’t collect sports cards. But for the people who do collect, and purchases boxes or packs frequently enough, they know the rush that hits when you see an autographed card coming out of that pack.
To answer the question of what brings me back to buying boxes all the time, it’s the anticipation that something big could come of it and the adrenaline that takes form when that big hit does come.
I am a huge minor league baseball fan. I am a huge fan of bowman because they have so many minor league prospect cards. I also enjoy getting the bowman prospect cards autographed because I live in such close proximity to four minor league ballparks in the Midwest league and I enjoy going to the Midwest League All-Star game every year. I also enjoy the new patch and jersey cards of the best minor league players who play in the Futures game every year. i look forward to seeing who makes the futures game and if i have their autograph, if i do, then i try my best to pursue a game worn card from that game.
I would have to say that what gets me to buy a pack of cards today is the chance of pulling a high priced card. Something sought after by others that you can either show off, sell for more money to go buy other packs or trade for high value cards of your favorite player.
I also look for brands that include cards of my favorite player Rickey Henderson so I can add to my collection. There is nothing better in card collecting than ripping into a pack and pulling a game used or autograph of your favorite player. It was as though you were meant to buy that pack.
When I buy new product, I look for a nice variety of insert cards and relic/jersey type cards. The number of different players per team matters too. As a Cubs fan, I always seem to get the same mix of Sandberg, Dawson, maybe Banks and the two or three current players like Castro or Rizzo. I'd be more apt to buy more of a new product if it included other players from Cubs teams past like Rick Monday or Mark Grace.
I would say the first thing is tradition, for example I have every Topps set since 1974 and am working on sets from 1973 and 1970 so there is no way I would not collect the Topps flagship set. After tradition, I would say design and price point come into play. I really enjoy retro products so I usually will go after a couple retro sets per year. I have completed 2-3 Allen and Ginter sets, 4-5 Topps Heritage sets and last year's Gypsy Queen. I also am working on the Panini Golden age set right now, it is a pretty small set (146 cards) but I haven't found too many people buying and trading base cards so I am not sure if it will ever get done.
Subject matter comes into play as well. I really like the Panini Cooperstown set. I am an amateur baseball historian (not really but I do read a lot of books about baseball) and a set full of Hall of Famers is awesome. I do wish Panini had a license to show logos as I do think that would help out. With regards to price point, I am not a high end collector. I have never bought a pack/box of Triple Threads, National Treasure or Exquisite or any of those high end cards. I did buy a few packs of Museum Collection a couple years back and pulled a really nice Griffey redemption which I was able to sell for more than all the packs put together so that was nice but I typically don't want to gamble.
Most of what I buy I buy for the base and the inserts. Autos, relics, patches, etc. are the bonus. I don't usually focus on the future potential value, I just like building sets to keep forever.
First, it has to have a good look and design. I am big on visual aspect, and many of my favorite sets have a certain look - usually a classic design or some futuristic/die cut/funky design, but not a 'retro design' because those never turn out right. Strange paradox there. Number two, the cost has to be reasonable. I need to get a decent bang for my buck. The 3-card/$5.99 packs are too high. I want something I can actually afford to collect. Last, I want solid and actually GET-ABLE inserts! Too many times the odds are insane, or the tiers are too complicated. See first sentence where I like classic design. Future cost? Features? Doesn't matter. It's all about the look.
I collect new baseball cards, and I have very little interest in anything other than the main base set cards. Very rarely is there an insert, parallel, or alternative sets. The only real exception are the Topps Heritage sets. I love those. Relics are cool, but only to a certain extent.
I am actually a big fan of the 2012 & 2013 Topps baseball base set designs. The clean and simple design is exactly what I want to see. The photographs on those sets are always vivid and feel like they are capturing good baseball action.
Future value does not matter to me. I don't collect cards as an investment to sell later.
What I look for in a new sports card product is do they have all the hot rookies and better known prospects. I love color and refractors but not if there are 12 different parallel versions of a card. Autos are a must. I really like the upper end products that have at least 2 autos a box. When buying new hobby boxes I always consider if the product's hit will sell decently if I decide I'd like to part ways with my pull. Something I look forward to in new products, but it feels unobtainable, are the BIG big hits like complete set redemptions, GU jerseys/bats/balls, uncut sheets, etc. I'd say my favorite fairly new products would be a tie between Topps Finest and Topps Triple Threads.