As you probably know, I write frequently about COMC. I have been using their site for the past few years and the experience is basically positive. With my background, I was able to create a way to help COMC identify cards that their ace verifiers may not have been able to ID. As you have seen by way of our COMC Challenge, they receive some interesting items from their customers. Despite voluminous catalogs and price guides in the hobby, there are still tons of items never previously catalogued out there in the marketplace and I try—with your help—to identify them.
However, one part of this equation ended on December 31 as COMC announced, after nearly seven years, the end of their relationship with Beckett for checklists and pricing information. COMC will now build its own catalog from scratch.
It will be an interesting sea change for COMC as they adapt to a new reality about set nomenclature and pricing. To me, seeing how COMC reacts to this change and seeing how their users (including me) adjust will be very interesting. I suspect customers will have to put in more work on the front end of their submissions instead of just waiting for the Beckett prices to be provided online. Will this change affect how many cards are sent in on an overall basis? We’ll have to see what transpires going forward.
And I did see a comment about the possibility of getting the Standard Catalog (F&W) people involved in the process. Each year it seems I write a review about the Standard Catalog where I call the book a missed opportunity. The problem is in 2010, when F&W canceled Tuff Stuff Magazine, they fired their price guide staff.
I always write about how they could have competed with the Beckett Almanac by keeping someone on staff to catalog the new baseball releases and maintaining the book as all-inclusive rather than just vintage. Creating a larger book which would probably sell as many or more copies, offer a continual stream of new items, and with more sales, probably pay for the baseball analysts’ salaries. Pricing data is valuable information and I think they gave it up too easily.
Now, F&W by not keeping up, has also lost a golden chance to license their checklist data. if I were F&W, I'd sell permanent rights to this data to COMC and see if they could add the last few years of missing data. I know that is quite a task, but it might be worth it to F&W to do so. And that would not just be for baseball but for any sport from which they have a catalog of cards. As a business I would have done the same thing F&W did in 2010 but now there is another law of unexpected consequences coming to the fore.
Let's see what 2014 transpires for the hobby and for COMC. I'm sure just like every year there will be twists and turns and the year will not end in the way we expected at the beginning of the year.
Rich Klein can be reached at [email protected]