Long time readers will know that my shop is located just outside of Denver and plain and simple, there is nothing more exciting than being in the hunt to win the Super Bowl. Ever since QB turned GM John Elway shocked the football world by signing Peyton Manning, collectors at altitude have had their sights set on another ring.
With #18 leading the Broncos to the NFL’s Promised Land, owning a card store about 20 minutes away from where Denver plays has been nothing short of awesome. For the past 5 months I have had to hustle harder than a Three Card Monte dealer just to keep my showcases stocked with the most popular players. I've hit COMC hard to bring in loads of rookies, autographs and relic cards of Denver’s finest.
In addition to individual player card sales, our wax sales have been nothing short of spectacular with each recent year offering chances at everyone on Colorado’s hot list.
2009 used to be led by Matthew Stafford and yes, for a while Mark Sanchez. More recently Knowshon Moreno has supplanted those two as the leader in the clubhouse. Whether you know him for his overactive tear ducts or his 1038 yards in 2013 you had to pay attention. After being taken 12th overall in 2009, his career was interesting to say the least. His 947 yard rookie season was followed by 779, 179 and 525 yard performances and more than once, Colorado collectors and the Bronco organization seemed close to giving up on him. When Montee Ball was drafted in 2013 the handwriting seemed to be on the wall only to change significantly with his grand plus rushing yard total and more importantly his lost case of fumbleitis.
Less than half of his 68 available autographed cards were available at less than Beckett price on COMC with many being priced above SRP. On eBay, many of his autographed cards are less than $25.
2010 is quite possibly the most popular product year for Broncomaniacs. Initially that year’s products were pushed by Tim Tebow, but 'hotness' can be fickle and it turns out that the wide receiver combination of Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker turned out to be the real gems from that season.
Demaryius was taken in the first round and his hobby awareness suffered from a college offense that wasn’t exactly receiver friendly. Many locals were hoping the Broncos would take Dez Bryant since he was still available and was the bigger name. Demaryius’ 1434 yards in 2012 and 1430 yards in 2013 weren’t hurt by the addition of Peyton and collectors have taken note. I sadly missed his career highlight catch against the Steelers in the playoffs in OT when my wife told me that if we were going out to dinner that night, that the end of regulation was go time.
Decker stayed on the board until the 3rd round and this past year garnered a whole new group of fans with his Eric & Jessie: Game On reality show. His 1064 receiving yard total from 2012 and 1288 yard effort in 2013 showed that he was not a one year wonder. When he went for 4 touchdowns in week 13 vs the Chiefs it immediately caused Deckermania to be a real condition in Colorado.
2011 had even more promise with the Broncos snagging standout Von Miller with the second overall pick. It is rare that a defensive player can move the collecting needle, but the Vonster was able to capture the interest of singles buyers with 11.5 sacks in 2011 and 18.5 in 2012. Sadly between a suspension and ACL injury he has lost some of that steam, but his cards have continued to garner interest.
2012 seems to be a work in progress with the two marquee names being QB Brock Osweiler and RB Ronnie Hillman. Most Bronco fans would be happy to see Brock get some clipboard holding done during the Super Bowl as well as the next two years of Peyton’s contract. His preseason play has been impressive enough to remain collectible, but with #18 in front of him on the depth chart, most Denverites would like him to take over the reins a bit further down the road. That hasn’t stopped many of his singles from clearing the $100 mark.
When the Broncos drafted Hillman in the 3rd round, I was hoping we would be seeing a Darren Sproles type RB. While speedy and elusive in college, he has apparently found the fumbleitus formerly possessed by Mr. Moreno. He got some early carries this year and got into the last game of the year during garbage time. If he was to somehow find the field this Sunday it would help many of his autographs go for more than a few dollars. At the time of writing this piece, 33 of his signed cards were available for under $10 on COMC.
The 2013 Bronco draft is led by a RB that came out of college with a solid following already in place. The 58th overall pick was actually handed the ball in college for a while by current Seattle QB Russell Wilson, and did quite a bit with the rock with 1923 yards in 2011 and 1830 yards in 2012. Losing three fumbles and the emergence of Knowshon cost Montee some carries, but he still finished with a respectable 559 yards and 4 rushing TDs. While I am hoping that all of the Broncos play well on Sunday, I can imagine that more than a few collectors are hoping he can clear the 100 yard mark and help the 2013 rookie class emerge some more from the shadows of the 2012 draft.
Clearly Seattle has some very hobby friendly players like Wilson and Marshawn Lynch--even Richard Sherman-- but since my shop is geared towards Broncomaniacs, I’m hoping that each of these different years of products enjoy a post-Super Bowl bump from Denver hoisting the Lombardi trophy. I hope you all enjoy the game and feel free to root for the Broncos (and good weather).
Mike Fruitman owns Mike’s Stadium Sportscards in Aurora, Colo. You can read his column here every week (or close to it), 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 [email protected]