We are reaching the fun part of the year; the time that card stores look forward to for oh, about 330 days or so. Having enjoyed a great Black Friday and with The Cup hockey due in a few days, it’s not a bad time to own a card store. Dak, Exekiel and the Cowboys have made 2016 a killer year for football cards, Connor is leading the league in points and Ben Simmons is one day closer to actually playing.
So, something must be selling, right?
Here the top five at the moment.
2016 Panini Black Friday Packs – Fine, we are not technically selling packs of Black Friday, but since Thanksgiving night at 10 MST, we have handed out 1500+ of the 1800+ that we brought in for this promotion. If you don’t know, these special packs are given away as incentives for collectors to buy certain types of current boxes.
Panini upped their game by offering both NFL and “Everything Else” packs (MLB, NBA, soccer and racing) for the first time ever. My collectors responded by busting everything associated with the program aside from 2016 Donruss MLB. I can’t tell you why Donruss was so poorly received, but something had to stand out as I sold case after case of 2016 Absolute NFL, 2016 Playbook NFL and even 2016 Immaculate MLB. Plain and simple, aside from not letting shops distribute packs until Best Buy and everyone else was competing for the same dollars, this is by far the best promotion out there, and it showed at my cash register past the first weekend.
2016 Panini Immaculate Football – For lack of a better term, Immaculate came in like a wrecking ball. I started with 12 boxes and sadly the only one that sucked was the one I held back for a case break. I saw autos from Dak, Favre and enough other collectible players to make the collector who bought the 11 boxes really grateful. Aside from the RPA cards, Panini did a killer job with the Eye Black signed cards, the beyond incredible looking Logos Cards and the Insignias cards were even better. Granted for around $400 per box, they should look incredible.
2016 Topps Tek MLB – This release made the list because it is selling well, not really because it is delivering happy faces at my store. We had one shredder who started a case, didn’t get anything to speak of, finished the case and only went after a second because he didn’t think it could be worse. As a shop owner, this isn’t really how I want to go about pushing product. The second case offered up a cool looking Bryce Harper Gold Rainbow autograph parallel /50. On the heels of the 2015 version, people have been looking for Tek, but sadly the hits seem to be few and far between.
2016/17 Upper Deck Series 1 NHL – Sure it is not rolling out like last year’s Series 1, but Auston Matthews is still a big enough prospect name to inspire box sales. Collectors are enjoying the Exclusives /100 and the High Gloss parallels /10.
I’m hoping I sell enough cases to finally see an autographed card to get excited about, but in spite of UD cutting back last year on one hit per box and sticking to the one autograph per case, we should end up moving more cases of this release than anything else this year.
2016/17 Panini Prizm NBA – Back with two autographs per box, Prizm is selling for WELL over cost and once again seems to be the bright spot in a challenging year for NBA sales.
You have to give credit to a set that is mostly sold because of parallels. The list includes Green, Silver, Starburst, Ruby Wave, Blue Wave #/99, Purple #/75, Orange #/49, Orange Wave #/25, Mojo #/25, Teal Wave #/25, Gold #/10, Fifth Anniversary #/5 and Black 1/1.
Of course the possible autographs include Kobe, KAT, Durant, Porzingas and a great mix of veterans and rookies.
I’m looking forward to the previously mentioned 15/16 The Cup hitting on 12/1. I know this is supposed to be about What’s Hot, but I like to share what it’s like to be a shop owner from time to time. So even with Upper Deck apparently raising the price of The Cup, I’m seeing presells for boxes, 3-ct cases and 6-ct cases at loco numbers.
Typically I would start off boxes of The Cup in the $500 range and go from there. This year, I’m seeing online retailers offering boxes/tins in the $700-$750 range and cases do not seem to be being offered with much of a discount. People have been asking if purchases of Upper Deck boxes would guarantee them boxes of The Cup since last October.
My best guess is to take care of my collectors in the $700 point, but offer them discounts if they helped take down some of my remaining 15/16 wax box inventory.
While so many of the releases from last season were gems, so many like Fleer Showcase, Contours, Black and Portfolio helped shops give back so much of the early season profits.
I figure to discount my Cup boxes by $25 for each box that collectors purchase of the other boxes with a maximum $100 discount. Hey, not many shops will be offering boxes in the $600 range since it will be taking $700+ to restock them.
Since my collectors spent so much this year on Upper Deck boxes, we went through a ton of cases. Fortunately that resulted in my store being allocated with over 60 boxes of The Cup so going back into the market is not something I should have to do for a while.
I might change my pricing plans for Cup before it releases on 12/1 and I am hoping that my store will deliver one of the Connor rookies /99. So there’s a little insight to what it is like to own a card store. It is never my goal to gouge my collectors since I try to look at those relationships from a long term perspective.
Either way, it’s not a stretch to say I expect 15/16 The Cup to be part of the next Hot List.
Mike Fruitman owns Mike’s Stadium Sportscards in Aurora, CO. His column focuses on what products are selling best in hobby shops. He’s got thousands of cards for sale on COMC.com under the ID cardmn5150. Enjoy new arrivals and big hits from Mike’s on Twitter. Mike’s is always looking for more friends on Facebook and you can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.