What’s Hot in the Shop: A Make or Make Week

by Mike Fruitman

While I know the phrase is technically “make or break”, this exciting week in the hobby allows for a little improv.

By that I mean, every few months, sports card stores get a week like the one that just ended and to put it simply, if you cannot make money and more importantly – make people who visit your store happy, it is time to think of getting out of this incredible business.

Last week, the hobby gods brought out 2011/12 Upper Deck Exquisite basketball, 2012 Bowman Chrome baseball and 2012 Panini Certified football.  Typically any of those products would make for a sweet week, but having them hit together is like Haley’s Comet visiting the earth the same week that the Cubs make it to the World Series.

Upper Deck Exquisite 2011-12This year Upper Deck ramped up Exquisite to the tune of one Michael Jordan autographed card in each three box case.  Not only does His Airness have single signed cards, but the fine folks at UD make 18 different 1/1 12-player signed cards with some of the best players to ever grace the court.  Seriously, unless you happen to have the last name McWilliam or Eisner, you would have to at least consider trading most if not all of your collection to own one of these gems.

In addition to these 18 Holy Grail singles, there are autographed cards that allow you an autograph AND the once in a lifetime chance to learn your favorite players dream car, food, musician and dream date.  By the way, when someone pulls the Rick Barry favorite musician autographed card, would you please email me at [email protected]?  The suspense of not knowing whether Rick rocked it out to Boston, Cheap Trick or The Grateful Dead is truly killing me.

Since 2012 is turning into the 2001 MLB card year revisited (Harper and Darvish vs Pujols and Ichiro), it only stands to reason that one of the most popular annual releases like Bowman Chrome would seemingly act like it was on steroids (too soon?).

Topps has upped the ante on one of the most anticipated products by not only offering one autographed card per box, but now each third box Yu Darvish auto 2012 Bowan Chromewill deliver a second autograph.  Personally, I am jazzed that in addition to all the usual rookie and prospect autographs, Topps also added established hobby heroes like Albert Pujols, Buster Posey, Miguel Cabrera, Justin Verlander, Prince Fielder, Ryan Braun and others.

Don’t get me wrong, I would still gladly find this Yu Darvish autograph priced at almost $2,000.

Rounding out the highlights are redemption cards which are good for hats worn by players in the All-Star Futures Game.  I am not a subscriber to Baseball America, but I have to believe that one of the 39 possible players will turn into more than Brien Taylor or Gary Scott.

The last, but not the least delivery of the week was 2012 Panini Certified football.  Each 10 pack box delivers 4 autographed or relic cards (at least one will be an autograph) just like normal.  Not to be outdone, Panini bumped up the autographed ante by including  six or more autographs from players like Aaron Rodgers, Adrian Peterson, Drew Brews, Peyton Manning, John Elway, Tony Romo, Emmitt Smith, Tom Brady, Bart Starr, Michael Vick, Philip Rivers, Dan Marino, Cam Newton, Jerry Rice, Joe Namath, Julio Jones, Barry Sanders, Brett Favre, Gale Sayers, Jim Brown, Joe Montana, Deion Sanders, Marshall Faulk, Arian Foster, DeMarco Murray, Julio Jones, Sam Bradford, Greg Jennings, Jason Witten, Jay Cutler, Matthew Stafford, Reggie Wayne, Victor Cruz, Tim Tebow, Ben Roethlisberger, Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, Trent Richardson, Ryan Tannehill, Justin Blackmon, Brandon Weeden, Michael Floyd, Kendall Wright, and Doug Martin.

Panini 2012 Certified football boxIn addition to the impressive autograph checklist above, Certified also offers the return of autographed parallels like Mirror Blues /49 (or less), Mirror Golds to 25 (or less again), Mirror Emeralds (or less again again) and Mirror Black 1/1 (can you get less than 1/1?).  There are also Rookie Combo NFL Shield cards possible and I am all for trading one of my singles showcases for the Andrew Luck/RG3 1/1 dual shield card.

So what is an article by me without an obligatory ebay auction featuring some sick Denver Bronco autographed card?  You do not have to be named Tracy Hackler to want to own this this Peyton Manning card.

Total sales so far in my shop put Certified #1, Exquisite #2 and Bowman Chrome #3. Long term, I would put Certified #1, Bowman Chrome #2 and Exquisite #3 mostly because once I am done with my direct allocation on Exquisite, it is hard to bring back in.

However, based upon early sales, each of these three products are moving like proverbial hotcakes and I will be able to keep writing fast paced, stimulating pieces like this for quite a while.

Mike Fruitman owns Mike’s Stadium Sportscards in Aurora, Colo. You can read his column here every week, focusing on what products are selling best in hobby shops. 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 [email protected]