by Mike Fruitman
A few times each year, card stores are blessed with a run of products that if you cannot do well with, then it is time to find a new gig. This week, much to my store’s delight, 2013 Topps 1 MLB, 2012 SP Authentic NFL, 2012 Panini Prizm NFL and 2012 Leaf Best Of Sport all arrived. Throw in a new Magic The Gathering release, and none of us should have to use the Dollar Menu unless it is how you want to roll.
There might not be a single release that more closely reminds me of the swallows returning to Capistrano than when Topps 1 MLB hits. With hobby stores now offering the first 2013 MLB singles in both regular (1 auto or relic/box) and jumbo (3 autos or relics/box) pack fashion, all once again seems right in the world.
The list of inserts, parallels, relics and autos could easily take up the entire mass of not only this piece, but might be long enough to go from Spring Training venues in Arizona to Florida. Of course there are 1/1 printing plates, 1/1 Platinum base set parallels, silk collection parallels /50, base set SP variations (including possible autographed versions), 1972 Topps style mini autographs and relics, a wrapper redemption program and more, it is no surprise that my store has gone through numerous cases of this product in the days after hitting.
Even though it is a base level Topps release, it does not mean that some A-listers autographs did not make it onto the checklist. Possible super signers include Cal Ripken Jr, Sandy Koufax, Hank Aaron, Stan Musial, Don Mattingly, Mike Trout, Mike Schmidt and Nolan Ryan. Throw in cut signature cards of Casey Stengel, Duke Snider, Jackie Robinson, Roy Campenella, Ted Williams and many more and this has the makings of a high-end release from Topps instead of a $2.00 pack product.
It is hard to not get a little sentimental when you come across a 2013 Topps 1 Stan Musial autographed card like this one.
Another annual product that is highly sought after is SP Authentic football and the 2012 release seems to be no exception. Boxes offer three autographs, with one of them being an autographed rookie patch card. I was by no means surprised that we have moved multiple cases in just a few days.
Even though Andrew Luck cards did not get the Upper Deck treatment this year, collectors seem to be more than willing to drop some coin just to get a chance to pull rookie autographed patches of Russell Wilson, Robert Griffin III, LaMichael James, Doug Martin and more.
I am not sure if post-injury Robert Griffin III will pull the $1,500.00 this seller is looking for, but it still must have been a huge rush to have pulled it from a pack.
Interested in players who have had a slightly longer career? That is no problem if you enjoy pulling autographs of such players like Roger Staubach, Steve Young, Troy Aikman, John Elway, Dan Marino and more.
Back are randomly inserted box topper packs with possible autographed relics of SP Legendary Threads players.
Please do not think Panini wanted to miss all the fun this week. Their eagerly anticipated Prizm NFL release was as well received as I hoped it would have been. With the same 20 packs and two autographs per box as the earlier NBA release, collectors at my store have taken to Prizm, like Ray Lewis enjoys meeting a RB at full speed.
While Prizm features autographs from all the quality rookies this year has to offer, it seems like most of the buzz is reserved for the incredibly low numbered parallels. The Prizm refractors, Gold Prizms /10 and Finite Prizms /1 are generating Superfractor interest and dollars.
Yes, this gem of John Elway might be numbered like his jersey and limited to 10, but you might have to be the Duke Of Denver to afford the nearly 5K the seller is hoping for.
In addition to the rookies autographs there are some vets that should have player collectors drooling like a Champ Bailey /3, Jared Allen /3, Cam Newton /3, Greg Jennings /3, Darren Sproles /3, Andy Dalton /3 and more. Between the rookie autographs, incredible parallels and low numbered veteran autographs, Prizm might take home the imaginary card ROY award.
Rounding out the week was Leaf’s Best Of Sport box with 3 autographed cards in each box. Leaf put together an impressive list of 175 different athlete autographs with some of the biggest and most collectible names in the industry.
Imagine pulling autographs of Yogi Berra, Larry Bird, Ric Flair, Robert Griffin III, Hulk Hogan, Gordie Howe, Lolo Jones, Roy Jones Jr., Damian Lillard, Greg Maddux, Karl Malone, Doug Martin, Joe Montana, Jack Nicklaus, Scottie Pippen, Albert Pujols, Cal Ripken Jr., Bill Russell, Nolan Ryan, Barry Sanders, Deion Sanders, Hope Solo, Ichiro Suzuki and Mike Tyson J
One of my customers was lucky enough to pull this gem of Jack Nicklaus from my store at my Saturday, February 2 Trade Night.
In addition to single signed cards of the above listed players, you can also pull a historic 16 player signed card featuring players from the 1980 USA Olympic team. Another possible monster pull would be the dual autographed card featuring Albert Pujols and Ichiro together for the first time.
Once again, in spite of not having a full license from any of the major leagues, Leaf has offered a compelling and rewarding set that collectors of any sport should take a closer look at. After just a few days, we are almost through our first case and will surely be bringing in more for our shelves.
With 2012 Contenders NFL on the horizon for next week and recent releases like SP Game Used hockey and Elite Extra Edition baseball still riding high on the hype machine, it is one of those truly great times of the year to own a card store. Thanks to the many friends of my store, it appears I will be able to avoid having to apply for any new jobs 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. See his eBay listings here. 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.