What’s Hot in the Shop: The Card Cup Overfloweth

by Mike Fruitman

For hobby shops, this week was one of those  that you can only dream about.  MLB is in full swing and Mike Trout is still healthy (this is just a test to see if there is a Mike Fruitman jinx), the NBA just had their rookie photo shoot, NFL rookies are starting to make names for themselves in the preseason and the NHL…well that’s a slightly different matter to let slide for a bit.

2012 Rookies-Stars Peyton Manning autographOn the cardboard front, this week is turning out to be equally exciting.

We’ve already seen releases like 2012 Topps Chrome MLB, 2012 Upper Deck Exquisite football, 2012 Topps Finest NFL and 2012 Panini Rookies & Stars NFL.  Wax crackers have been drooling over many of these releases and at my store.  In fact, the calls started weeks ago.

I seriously think that Topps knows when each of their MLB releases is about to sell out so they can stock stores with the next product.  2012 Topps Chrome baseball is picking up right where last years left off.  With a stronger rookie autograph class than what we have seen in years, Topps has another runaway hit on their hands.  Customers are flocking to these boxes that deliver two autographs in each box including chances at Yu Darvish and Bryce Harper rookie year ink.

Topps has added first-time ever buyback autographs to the mix and they are generating quite a lot of buzz.  This seller is hoping for $1,000.00 for his Josh Hamilton signed buyback gift from the cardboard gods.

Exquisite NFL.  I know that is not a full sentence, but those words have meant a ton to box breakers for which price is not an option.  Literally, the word should be changed to appear in all caps.  This year represents the second year that Upper Deck has produced this Goliath without a full NFL license, but it has not meant a slide in interest.

Last year, they floored the hobby by adding XRCs of 2011 NFL rookies and that has continued once again.  Pardon me as I show my Colorado love for this Brock Osweiler gem.

Even though it is well into 2012 (like past my August 15th birthday into 2012) we cannot forget that this is a 2011 release and it is seemingly all about the Cam Newton rookie year cards.  As usual, Upper Deck has saved the most incredible swatches for this release.  While this once in a collecting lifetime pull might not snag the ~EIGHT THOUSAND DOLLARS the seller is gunning for, I would gladly trade out a couple of the singles showcases from my store to get it.

While 2012 Topps Finest NFL isn’t exactly in Exquisite’s range, there was still a line of collectors chomping at the bit when it arrived.  Once again, Topps has a winner on its hands with the familiar 2 mini box packaging.  Each mini box delivers an autographed rookie jersey card, and the ~$120 price tag does not seem to be scaring people away.  Again showing my Bronco love, I sure wish my cool autographed rookie relic radar was functioning when this Ronnie Hillman auto closed.

Topps has added more than just autographed patches to Finest and the annual hunt for superfractors is in full swing.  Of course printing plates are great and all, but there are four of each of them.  Getting a chance to possess the only one of a card in existence kicks things up a notch or two.  Of course there is a certain quarterback in Indianapolis that people might prefer to have, but I would have been stoked to have found this 2012 Topps Finest Moments Superfractor Trent Richardson.

Someone had to go last and while it does not mean that 2012 Panini Rookies & Stars is a second rate release.  Each of the 24 packs offers a rookie card AND an autograph, relic, insert or parallel card – making it one of the best buys for the buck.

Once again, R&S delivers the four autographs or relic cards that Panini has delivered year after year and within two days of its release, over 1,000 auctions were up and running, including a card that not only features a sweet RG3 autograph and jersey, but also demonstrates how important it is to include the shadow from your head as part of the scan.

OK, last local reference, but can you tell me that you would not be jumping for joy to see this autographed card numbered to 10 from #18 emerge from your box.

Actually, it was so cool that I had to place a bid on it myself.  Please do not buck bump me too fast would ya?

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]