Before I get to some of the follies the sports card and collectible industry enjoyed in 2020, I want to share my hopes that you, your families and your friends all did as well as possible in all ways in the past year. It is rare to find someone who wasn’t directly affected either by COVID-19 or by the many implications from it. Sadly a few times this year, I heard of collectors having family members pass and it was my pleasure to drop off soup or other food for other members of my shop family who were battling it as well.
The sports card industry somehow thrived as never before thanks to the perfect combination of hype, ESPN’s Michael Jordan contribution, a desire to reconnect with previous collecting, boredom, some young adults named Ja, Zion, Luis, Kyle, Cale, Tua, Kyler a few others and more positive news than we ever could have hoped for. Many shops including mine experienced record years as we again showed our incredible abilities to react as necessary to limitations on collectors, being forced to shut down or how to embrace our inner internet superstars while going live in efforts to cover our bills and remain open for our local and not so local collectors.
A good majority of those changes came with signing in and going live more often than in previous years. My twice a week live after work schedule turned into 7 nights a week when my shop was closed as collectors were going through sports/entertainment with-drawl. It really hit me a few times when some of those who were watching shared how much it meant either as a distraction from their mundane days or suddenly free evenings
Most incredibly, as I’m writing this, I am not aware of a single sports card store that went out of business that did not want to. Late last March, that seemed inevitable. I mean I will readily admit that I did not see things happening the way they did which makes me wonder if I am ever worth listening to (man, I’m glad I’m not able to read your minds as you took in that last line).
So in a year filled with cardboard insanity, the rise of product pricing like we have never seen before, singles selling for prices reserved for incredibly high grade 1952 Topps Mickey Mantles and seemingly everything that used to be called “junk wax” now being busted like we were partying like it was 1992, there were many interesting and worth recognizing moments. I hope you enjoy all the ones that stood out to me.
With special thanks to my more than understanding editor for putting up with my delay in putting all these thoughts together for you, please enjoy my favorite article of the year, the Mikey Awards.
The I Think We’re Going To Be OK Award – 2020 Topps Inception MLB
When 2020 Topps Inception Baseball landed, the world was still watching those clips of Mark Cuban’s jaw dropping when he read the text on his cell phone during the Mavericks/Nuggets game that the NBA season was going on hiatus. While Inception had always been a strong seller for my shop, I did not expect the flock of interest it generated soon after release. Shop owners and collectors were coming to grips over two professional sports stopping mid-season and MLB halting Spring Training. At that time, being with your families and assessing how to live in all the uncertainty was more important than popping packs and boxes.
When things dropped as they did, I literally added up my shop’s monthly fixed costs, divided that into my bank balance and tried to assess how much longer I might be able to cover my bills.
I was elated when collectors who were watching my feeds and coming in before I was shut down wanted anything to do with sports cards. With Inception coming in at a factory cost of under $50, I was floored when it started to retail at $60, then $70, $80, $90, $100 and I think I sold out of my 10 or so cases at the $115 range.
Literally, the success of that single release with loads of mostly unproven 2020 rookies like Yordan Alvarez, Luis Robert, Gavin Lux, Bo Bichette, Aristides Aquino and others gave me the first hope that my shop and countless others might be able to not only make it through the scariest moments in our history, but possibly be a safe haven for collectors who were looking for entertainment when sports were taken away from them.
Additional bonus points to Topps for their 2020 Gypsy Queen offering since it enjoyed a similar level of interest and eventual bump in restocking pricing.
The Where Is Wuhan And Why Do I Care Award – Allen, TX
Until 2020, if I asked you to tell me much about Allen, Texas, you might respond with “isn’t that the place with the 60 million dollar high school football stadium?”
We all seemingly now know that it is also where most sports cards are printed, cut, packaged and basically born. Graphic Converting is to sports cards, what Golden, Colorado means to Coors beer. In early April, the COVID-19 numbers in the Allen, TX area rose to the point where Graphic Converting was shut down, putting the future of every single on deck circle release in question.
Fortunately a few releases that were completed were able to reach us, like 2020 Triple Threads MLB, the ever popular 2020 Topps XFL (that stayed above cost for a little bit) and 2019 Flawless NFL. Sadly, 2020 Bowman wasn’t able to beat the clock and that raised significant concerns from shops that could have benefitted from being able to offer that annual rite of spring to their rabid prospecting fan base.
It escapes me how long the closure endured, but what happened immediately upon the stoppage was that every single remaining box of cards from sports, non- sports, gaming and entertainment was suddenly more valuable than it was before. Breakers and shops were soon finding interest from collectors who were looking for a safe, (sometimes) affordable release with friends that could be offered online and in the convenience of their homes.
It got to the point where even before DeAndre Hopkins made 2013 NFL products actually fashionable last fall, that products from that year were selling to shredders instead of those simply looking for an affordable option thanks to the lack of careers from Eddie Lacy, EJ Manuel and Geno Smith. Suffice to say I will never use the term “junk wax” again since every single 1990 Donurss MLB, 1991 Pro Set NFL, 90/91 Fleer NBA and 91/92 Upper Deck NHL box that used to adorn the back wall of my shop found very eager homes. Collectors were either looking for a cheap rip or were going after any old rookie that could pay for many boxes should they get a 10 back from Beckett or PSA.
At the Industry Summit in 2018, the attendees were bussed over to Graphic Converting for a tour so we could see how the cards we sell were made, packaged and sent on their merry ways. Unfortunately, we were not able to bring in really big bags or use our cameras. While I did not fully appreciate it until I got there, seeing the many workers inserting relic swatches onto uncut sheets that would eventually turn into cards, the two guys inserting those sheets into the cutting machine with the ominous “Accident Free For ___ Days” sign just overhead and watching the cards drop onto the conveyor belt made me appreciate the hard work that goes into the cards we love so much. Bill Sutherland, it took me a couple of years to register, but thanks for taking us out of the meeting rooms and letting us appreciate the process.
The Moderna/Pfizer Award – Ja and Zion Returning
When sports suddenly went away, I remember leaving the MLB Network on in the shop since ESPN was playing a giant game of “We are going to talk about ‘what if’ for forever.” I was enjoying some classic games for which I knew the results and a few that I had long since forgotten. After a week or so of older baseball games, I was desperate for something (ANYTHING) else. I remember getting ticked daily with White House briefings interrupting my Price Is Right shows and since I was a family friendly shop, I wasn’t exactly able to have The Walking Dead playing in the background when people were calling.
The now infamous Marble Racing (You know this will be honored in a future Allen & Ginter set, right?) could only entertain us for so long until the end of July/beginning of August when the MLB, NBA and NHL all returned. The biggest part of this was both Ja and Zion getting back onto the court thanks to the NBA not starting up the playoffs right away. Leading up to that moment, since the stoppage in play, their Prizm and many other singles all enjoyed tremendous interest. In spite of there not being games played for 4+ months, many of their higher end graded singles were somehow trading at levels not seen during their initial season time.
Once the playoffs began I had the incredible luxury of enjoying four straight NBA or NHL games in the shop and when I was inevitably working late at home. At one point, I remember a collector asking if I could change the channel since he somehow thought I was watching too much sports in the shop. I resisted temptation to walk up with a thermometer to do a reading on his forehead.
The Dr. Fauci Award/ROY Award
Yes, Dr. Fauci has been the esteemed director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984, but until 2020 he was about as well-known to most of us as most NFL long snappers (Side note: my favorite long snapper of all time is former Broncos and current Giants Casey Kreiter who was until now at least, a discrete sports card collector who deserves a rookie card after being in the league since 2014).
I’m awarding the Dr. Fauci/ROY award to both Panini Mosaic NBA and NFL. Joining Optic, Prizm and Select with their beyond well received chrome styles, Mosaic at one point held the record (at least I believe it did) for highest first day offering percentage over cost for any product I had ever seen before. When Mosaic NBA landed, it was supposed to be in the $150 per box range, but at many shops, it was clearing low four figures and is now well above that figure after a short dip in price.
It is rare for such a first year release to perform so well, but it is a tribute to not only Panini for establishing those other brands, but also the many popular parallels and NBA rookies like Ja and Zion, followed by Burrow, Herbert and Tagovailoa who had collectors salivating on release days.
What should have been a younger brother of Prizm is now kicking butt and taking names of other brands without any help necessary.
Mega special “I owe you a beer, vehicle and possibly more” bonus points to whomever at Panini thought to add the second base “Debut” cards of the key rookies. That value add without any autograph or jersey cost was an incredible bonus to collectors who were needing some strong singles in their boxes to help cover the increased costs of buying this release vs SRP.
The Lysol Used To Be Affordable Award – Soccer products
Even though Colorado is home to the Rapids, who used to have Tim Howard in goal, Marcelo Balboa for defense and at one point, the awesome hair of Carlos Valderrama, my soccer sales were not exactly the stuff of legend. Even winning the MLS championship in 2010 did not position the team or soccer as a whole to be a strong point of the shop.
That all changed in 2020 when the international soccer collecting community caught up with the rest of us going after the sports we love. Soccer products suddenly went from something we had to buy from Topps to maintain our direct status or something Panini included on the Black Friday package that we could eventually move to some of the hottest products out there.
It did not hurt that soccer was one of the first sports to return to action and enjoyed much of the visibility that should have gone to MLB if they could have gotten their act together in a more reasonable amount of time.
Releases like 2014 Panini Prizm World Cup Soccer went from that case you put on the bottom of your case pile in the event of a flood to the case that would put your child through college. Yes, as recently as early March, I found buy prices on Dealernet for $200 per box. Currently these babies will run you a cool $6499 on Blowout and there is many a shop owner regretting selling them at $500 or $1000 per.
Since then, 2020 Panini Select Soccer, 2020 Topps Museum and 2020 Topps Chrome soccer releases have all come out to thunderous applause and perhaps now those same cases have something else protecting them from possible high tides.
My personal story is that I bought a few cases of 2020 EPL boxes that didn’t move well at $119 and when I even dropped them to $99, it didn’t exactly cause much of a ripple. I remember a dealer turning down an offer from me in March at $1000 a case just to get out of them. Today, Blowout will let you buy one for a mere $8949!
Vernand Morency Award / Worst Autograph Of The Year – Bol Bol
Yes, I know I’m taking a gamble here as I kinda work for the Nuggets. While initially ignored by most collectors, the return of the NBA in the bubble and two weeks or so emergence of Bol Bol to most collectors had them scrambling for his rookie cards and especially those that were signed.
I remember selling one of his Prizm autos for close to $100 when initially moving them in the $10 range as collectors realized that Tacko wasn’t the only REALLY big man in the draft.
Now he did not have much choice with his name, thank his mom and NBA Legend Manute Bol for that, but I have never liked non cursive autographs on cards. Seeing his stacked name auto without any lines between them has me give this years Vernand Morency award to this incredibly nice, incredibly tall and incredibly fascinating rookie.
Beauty Is In The Eye Of The Beholder Award – Topps Project 2020
So when I heard that Topps was going to take 20 iconic cards, let 20 artists add their creativity and originality to them, I wanted to see what would be rendered.
What happened next was an explosion of originality and some WTH as these cards, that many consider to be art to begin with, were now actual works of art.
Monday through Friday for most of the year, Topps offered up two works per day so you could collect all the versions of say the 2011 Topps Traded Mike Trout, step up and order the offerings of your favorite artist or simply buy them all.
I forgot the Topps ordering rule, which is order as much as you can of the first few attempts when the print runs are based on orders, wait until the rest of the world catches on and get out of the way. Clearly others did not as some of the first ones cleared the four- figure mark and were chugging along well until collectors started using all their credit card limits and the orders came in higher…and higher…and higher until card 88, the Ken Griffey Jr 1989 Topps Traded reworked by artist Keith Shore nearly eclipsed the 100k mark.
Once those finally landed you could get one (or many) for well less than the original $20 SRP. In talking to my collectors, many unfortunately shared regular eBay returns on some of the ones made after #20 as they lost hype more quickly than expected. Topps made 2,466,861 of them and at least initially created a run on magnetic holders that cleaned out distributors from coast to coast at one point.
The Honey I’m Just Going To Target For Toothpaste, Socks And A Few Thousand Dollars Worth Of Cards Award – Seemingly Everyone In The World
Prior to 2020, I would hear from a few collectors on specific releases about how they would land Prizm and other releases at Target or Wal-Mart or see the occasional big hit that came out of retail instead of a hobby box. I would carry retail releases on occasion when they landed in my lap or from online retailers who would offer them up at too low a price to pass up on.
That all changed radically when COVID began and pricing on hobby boxes went through the roof. As collectors were scrambling for more affordable options, I started taking a different attitude to the “flippers” who were offering me boxes they scored from the big box retailers. I want to say beginning with 2020 Bowman, I made many a flipper wealthy as I helped them safely move their finds locally instead of online to potential scammers. My shop is now usually offering the latest blasters, hangers or megas thanks to these same flippers.
It has been interesting hearing their stories of their big finds, the occasional threats and screaming matches (I haven’t heard of any fisticuffs on the local level at least). Also interesting is seeing the shaming that goes out to those who post their filled shopping card photos of a healthy batch of the newest product fresh from the hunt. If you have the time, take a peek at the social media threads of those who are shaming those who found product. If you scroll back enough, you can usually see their same “look at my big haul” photo, but it is horrible when someone else beats them to the big catch.
FULL DISCLOSURE – I have NEVER staked out a big box retailer and have NEVER bought a single box at retail from them. My trips to those stores involve the occasional food run, shopping for or with my kids or when dragged there by my wife. I DID always look at the shelves and admire how close to the registers they were as perhaps the greatest visibility the hobby got outside of shops and breakers.
Zoom To The Rescue Award! The 2020 Beckett Industry Summit
Technically it was Streamyard.com, but Zoom reminds me of the TV show I used to watch as a kid and also seems to carry a little more brand recognition these days.
The Industry Summit, along with the Topps and Upper Deck events are some of my favorite days of the year. I get to travel and see so many hobby friends and also get to make new acquaintances along the way. It doesn’t hurt that the Beckett one is usually in Las Vegas and The Palazzo and I have a very fun relationship that involves my blackjack playing from time to time (more like sun up to sun up).
So when Ted Barker and his team at Beckett were unable to get us all to Sin City, they did what any other great planners would do, they got us together virtually.
Instead of convention center rooms, we all signed in from our homes or shops to room hop and take in breakout sessions, improve our businesses, commiserate over working too hard and get in some of the socializing that we all enjoy so much. While I love my wife, her interest in the day to day operations of my shop doesn’t quite rival that of my hobby brothers and sisters and they more than help me improve what I have going on.
Special guests included Mike Singletary, Isiah Thomas (who as much as you might dislike, won’t quit smiling as he always does) and industry heavy hitters like Dr. Jim Beckett, Ken Goldin, Brandon Steiner, a well behaved Brian Gray and many others got together for a few days of idea sharing. There was even a less formal Fruitman And Friends evening session that went a little beyond its scheduled time and might have included an adult beverage or two.
Ted and his entire team deserve considerable credit for making some incredible hobby lemonade out of what could have easily have been either a skip year or much less of an event and I’m already looking forward to ditching the laptop in 2021 and seeing so many more hobby friends in person.
Added bonus info – it was revealed during the closing meeting that Mark Wahlberg had attended the Summit under an assumed name. And I just thought the guy commenting as Dirk Diggler just owned a shop that I had not yet visited or heard about. Who knew? 🙂
Card Of The Year – 2009 Mike Trout Bowman Draft Autographed Superfractor
Yes, I know you are wondering how an eleven year old card can be the 2020 COTY. As 2020 was rolling on in the sports card industry, the $3.9 million dollar sale of this previously purchased for $400k single helped legitimize to many the true investing potential of trading cards.
Dozens of articles were spawned from this sale that dwarfed the biggest sports card sale ever, the Honus Wagner back in 2016. You can love Vegas Dave, you can hate Vegas Dave or you can not know who he is, but his buying of this card initially and his subsequent sale of it has brought more eyeballs and serious investment to the hobby than just about anything else.
The Stanley Ipkiss Award For Best Mask Of The Year – Upper Deck
Some of you who are younger than me might be wondering who Stanley Ipkiss is. He was the character that Jim Carrey played in the movie The Mask when he wasn’t over the top with his alter ego.
OK, enough with the somewhat obscure movie history lesson…
Sports card store owners aren’t seemingly happy unless we are complaining. In spite of many of us enjoying record years, seeing historic (and appreciated) appreciation in box and case pricing and seeing the introduction of more collectors than LeBron, Connor, Mahomes and Judge combined to bring in, there is one thing that gets a little old after eight or so hours in our shops. I have to wear a mask pretty much from the moment I open at 10AM until I close the joint at 6PM. It doesn’t help that I wear often fogged up glasses and also have a beard that has been compared to that of either Bigfoot or Zach Galifianakis on a bender while shooting The Hangover.
This year, most card store owners received masks from both Panini and Upper Deck. I know rewarding one and not the other will set me back a bit with one since there is less than a full love affair between the two companies.
Full disclosure: both manufacturers sent free masks to shops. Panini deserves credit for being first, offering bottles of hand sanitizer, including floor signage for collectors to use in order to maintain a safe distance as well as front window displays to help advise collectors of rules prior to entry.
That being said the Upper Deck mask fit me better, listed many of the different releases that UD offered and also covered my face better. Essentially, Upper Deck won by a nose 🙂
Winter Is Coming…Eventually Award – Jason Masherah
For those of you who don’t deal with Upper Deck on a regular basis, Jason Masherah is the President of Upper Deck. Early in 2020, at the UD Diamond Dealer Convention in Orlando, FL, Jason delivered what was probably going to be an accurate representation of the sports card industry with the hobby coming off of the incredible highs we have been on since essentially 2013. The title of his speech was, Winter Is Coming.
Basically his thoughts were to prepare ourselves that the easy ride might soon to come to an end. Also mentioned (If I remember correctly) was to enjoy the current climate while getting ready to roll with the eventual punches with proper planning and by understanding our businesses better.
Jason runs a great company rather well and gets bonus points for bringing in Kevin Smith to interview Wayne Gretzky in 2019 and Bobby Orr in 2020.
That being said, his ability to predict a global pandemic the likes of which perhaps 1% of people still alive would remember, leaves a little be desired.
All things considered, I think he gets a pass on this one. I’m also mostly ready to forgive UD for not putting Cale Makar into series 1 19/20 as a Young Gun…mostly.
Additional fun side item, while it doesn’t appear on his Linked In page, Jason– who used to work at a sports card store– dropped by my shop with his incredibly awesome daughters as part of a road trip he was taking during the summer. Yes, I was properly wearing my Upper Deck mask and the UD throw pillows were perfectly placed on my shop couch. He can share what he bought that day if he wants since my collectors enjoy confidentially status at all times.
Hydroxychloroquine Award – Seth McFarlane AKA – The anti Giggity Giggity award
As a fan of seemingly everything Seth has created, including an incredible bit on the Graham Norton show. I was literally crushed when the Family Guy and American Dad creator did the hobby unthinkable thing.
In 2020, Rittenhouse released a set from his show The Orville that apparently had 150 cards signed by Seth. Sadly, he learned from a few prior athletes that auto-pen machines exist and Seth could not nail down the time to bang out ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY signed cards. Yup, he let the machine do the work for him instead of spending say an hour on them.
Now I understand his time has a bit (more than a bit) more value than mine does, but for Peter’s sake, why couldn’t you “whip” out 150 of these for your collectors to enjoy?
I Need TP For My…Sports Cards Award – Sports Card Supplies
Remember when the news and social media was fascinated with TP shortages so many months (and apparently more recently for good measure)? Photos of empty shelves and signs stating rationing rules were commonplace. Well, the sports card industry endured a similar shortage run with seemingly everything designed to protect cards. At different points during 2020 my store and countless others had difficulties with basic supplies like sleeves, top loaders, Card Savers and would you believe the hardest of them all for me still, card stands?
As seemingly everyone got either into the hobby or back into the hobby, those staples of sports card stores became harder to find than well centered 1984 Donruss Joe Carter rookies. For the first time in my 28 years of operations, I had a few days when I had no packs of sleeves for my collectors. Since every Bowman, Chrome, Metal, Prizm, Young Guns and more singles were being sent into Beckett, PSA or SCG to be turned into the next 4-digit gem, those graded Card Savers were literally made of gold. I remember hearing cries for those companies to resell holders that were used to submit cards to them and fortunately I was able to find some before I resorted to raiding the back room for anything left in one for protection.
2020 was the first year I ever ordered supplies by the pallet and my favorite moment was a poorly timed arrival of such a delivery while my wife and I were enjoying a few hours alone on our anniversary. My son Sam was minding the shop and I thought they were going to arrive a day or so later. I can only imagine his surprised look when the semi parked in front of the store, the delivery guy approached the door and surely said, “where do you want it?” to my 17 year old at the time. When I got back a few hours later, he had either brought in the order bit by bit or the neighborhood kids had stolen it all.
Lastly, props to my collectors who never took a whole or partial roll while visiting the official throne room at Colorado’s Best Card Shop.
Breaker Of The Year – Dakota Gaming Supply
I know, I didn’t exactly choose one of the big boys for this years Mikey Award, but perhaps it is a good idea to shine some light on someone you should be following instead. Owned by Kelly Wrangham, Dakota usually offers up multiple breaks per day and isn’t afraid to venture into non-traditional breaks like UFC or WWE on top of all the standard ones.
One of the things that separates Kelly from so many others is that every single break is mailed by the next day, regardless of how many breaks he has done that day. What really separates Kelly is that he is the one breaking, sorting and shipping every single card. I know this because most nights between my 11 and 2 I’m on the phone with him winding down from each of our days, commiserating, celebrating and sharing what interesting moments we each enjoyed that day. In spite of traveling for softball and other obligations, Mr. Wrangham as a streak going of a year straight without missing a day of breaking and I’m quite sure he accounts for a good percentage of the daily mailing activity in scenic Bismarck.
If you care to check out Kelly’s breaks and cool singles while supporting one of the most prompt independent breakers in the industry (who happens to be in the North Dakota softball Hall Of Fame), you can check out what he offers here.
Card Shop Of The Year – The Bullpen in Los Angeles, CA
About 4 years ago, one of the owners of The Bullpen was part of a late night party at The Flamingo hotel in Las Vegas during the Beckett Industry Summit. A young, upstart breaker joined the party and back when the shop owner/breaker relationship was a bit more frigid, the breaker almost found out whether he could fly the hard way. I might have had a few cocktails myself and wanted to join in as we were being told that we had no chance to survive the changes that the industry was about to encounter. At that time, the owner Mitch, new partner Tai and their team were not doing breaks at their diverse shop that excelled at offering sports cards and gaming under the same roof.
Fast forward to today where they have moved the gaming across the street into a new location, embraced breaking to the point where when Rob Kardashian is looking for a place to pull 1/1 Tom Brady Panini Mosaic parallels he knows where to go and have a wall of wax that is about as inclusive as one can hope for at their LCS. It has been incredible to see their growth both physically and in other ways with their fun fan base. Please turn in using the link below as you never know whether an internet or reality TV superstar will be gracing them with their presence.
Prior to COVID, they were organizing and hosting Trade Fests that were getting the attention of hundreds of collectors as well as manufacturers (Here’s to hoping they can get those going again perhaps in 2021). In addition, their proximity to PSA allows them to receive your singles and literally drive them over for affordable and prompt grading. They have the same always open approach as Kelly since they literally go 365 on Instagram.
You can find out more about their store, how to have them submit your singles for you and enjoy barefoot pictures of Mitch at www.bullpenla.com.
So there you have it. I hope you enjoyed my thoughts and different industry likes from what the year 2020 brought us. Do I expect you to agree with each of my award winners? Of course not, but I hope you could at least appreciate why I focused on all the ones I included.
Since I probably won’t find another opportunity to sit still for the next month, please also enjoy what I have found to be Hot At The Shop:
1) 2020 Bowman’s Best MLB – Bowman’s Best usually starts of out of the gate well and then fades off for a bit until Spring Training gets going about 2 months later. Offering the usual 4 autographs in each box, this year’s offering has yet to fade off at my shop at least. I really like this release as well since it offers a perfect compliment of current year rookies along with the next “can’t miss” (Yes, many do miss) players. Throw in countless refractors in each box with some being numbered, it is the perfect recipe for the lead spot for this month’s What Hot list. I started off boxes in the $189 range and they are currently at $249 per.
2) 19/20 Panini Hoops Premium Stock NBA – I cannot remember the last time that I had a retail only release in the top 5 of one of my lists, but I am quickly falling in love with this chrome version of Hoops. As you read above, I am spending loads with collectors who are bringing me retail releases and this is one that seems to be currently plentiful for very short times on the shelves of the big box stores.
So far I have been carrying mostly blasters and hangers with the occasional mega box being brought in as well. I just checked and one larger online retailer in Buffalo is offering 19/20 Prizm blasters at $499 per. When you compare that to the relatively affordable price of $79 on the Hoops Premium Stock blasters at my shop and $49 hangers, it is no surprise that I am happy when one of my Target or Wal-Mart flippers walk up to the door.
3) 20/21 Upper Deck 1 NHL – Even though UD1 has been on the floor at my shop since it released 11/18/2020, collectors are still dropping packs and boxes like crazy. I am well into my 3rd restock on it in spite of starting with double figure cases. Like many other products, I am looking to offer retail boxes and when you compare the hobby with 6 Young Guns at $129 and the retail version with the same amount of cards and YGs at $84, many of my puckheads are repping retail boxes when they are walking out.
4) 2020 Panini Prizm NFL – The second straight spot on this list goes to a release that has inhabited my shop for over a month. When 2020 Prizm NFL hit on Friday, December 4th, we hired an off duty police officer to help control the masses and spent the day serving up the hottest cardboard we had seen in some time. By the end of the day, I was ready for a nap, carbonated beverage and a cigarette (No, I don’t even smoke).
While hobby box sales have been curtailed a bit, we have seen some OMG growth in our hanger, retail and mega box sales. I’m currently offering hangers at $49 or $59 depending on which location the came from, retail is at $79 and the mega boxes with 1 autograph are in the lead at $149 per. Also flying are cello boxes in the $400 range for those collectors who want to give themselves the most affordable (close to) standard box configuration. Online, sales have continued to do well.
5) 2020 Topps Star Wars Masterwork – Masterwork is essentially the Star Wars equivalent of Topps Museum Collection with 4 packs per box each offering 1 hit including autos, relics, manufactured relics, autographs with pieces of the pen used to sign the cards, sketch cards from seemingly every Star Wars institution. Topps earns bonus points for being able to still include autographs from Carrie Fisher (For all of you who hate stickers, there are some upsides).
Mike Fruitman owns Mike’s Stadium Sportscards in Aurora, CO. His column normally 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. You can email him at [email protected].
Check out past editions of What’s Hot here.