For a guy who hasn’t had a soda in seven years, never drank coffee and stays away from other stimulants aside from running into mosh pits to break up fights at concerts, I’m actually making it through the holiday season like a trained professional. Since the last time we talked, my shop celebrated its 26th birthday, Panini Black Friday was a raging success and was only beaten by National Hobby Shop Day (a promotion of my own doing thank you very much) and my son started work as a ball boy for the Denver Nuggets. I just do security (really) and he gets to play shoot around, fold towels and mop the court after free throws. We are still discussing who has the better job, but since he met Giannis recently, I’ll give him a slight advantage.
Suffice to say, it has been a crazy time at Colorado’s Best Card Shop and I mean that in a good way. Apparently my collectors were all good boys and girls since their significant others are snatching up boxes and singles at a very healthy pace and getting ready to place them under the tree. Approaching December, I was a bit concerned with the Broncos’ recent play, but the NFL rookies are playing well enough to make up for it. Fortunately, the Avalanche, Nuggets and Rockies all had/are having good enough years where those sports are crushing it.
Even though the weather outside has been moderately frightful, the inside of the shop has been pure fire for many a month. Here’s what’s been hot:
1) 2018 Panini Playbook NFL – After taking a year off, I wasn’t sure how to order Playbook. It was always a monster seller upon release and apparently absence does make the card collector’s heart grow fonder. My first three cases were gone by the second afternoon and since then it has been a simple process of order whatever I can find, tell people I have it back in stock and watch it get shredded like crazy.
So far the biggest hit was a Tom Brady autographed multi relic booklet (# to 3) and I’m not sure I should expect anything to top that (you can see other cards that have been pulled on eBay here).
Panini had close to two years to reconsider this release and apparently they didn’t hold back on the creativity. Now to find more, bring it in, sell it out and take pictures of happy collectors.
2) 2018 Topps Dynasty MLB – Now there’s a chance this might have been higher on the list were I able to have acquired more. Full disclosure, I had three five-box cases to work with and they similarly were not long for the shop.
Dynasty is one of those annual Topps releases that collectors hunger for along the lines of Triple Threads with seemingly hourly calls inquiring as to whether the UPS truck had made a stop at the store. With all cards numbered to 10 or less, a checklist of players that drops jaws and wallets only topped by a list of cut signatures that could stop traffic on the Autobahn, I am on the hunt again with no expectations of landing any soon.
3) 2018 Panini Obsidian NFL – When an order form comes out for a first year release, especially one that is so interestingly named, it is a little tough to figure out how much to order. Order too little and you’re chasing it with everyone else. Order too much of it and more often than not, you are pairing it with other releases in a case mixer or hoping it is on everyone’s wish list come Christmas.
Obsidian offers up four very well received autographed or relic cards per box along with one base card and two parallels but I am guessing your LCS is out or close to out. On the local level, it offered the first cards of undrafted Denver rookie Phillip Lindsay in a Broncos uniform. With the prices of his autograph matching his regular three-figure rushing total, it is fun to think about what might have been if he was in products well before Thanksgiving (aside from Contenders Draft). Now to look forward to Contenders and every other release that will have Lindsay autographs and yes, I’m talking to you National Treasures…
4) 2018 Bowman Draft Jumbos & Super Jumbos MLB – If there is a bigger no brainer in sports than maxing out on both versions of Bowman Draft, it might be regular Bowman, Prizm NBA or perhaps Upper Deck Series 1 NHL. Each year I have the fun job of watching boxes being broken by prospect-savvy collectors who are rattling off names of young players I won’t really know for perhaps a year or two and smiling in glee like I know what they are talking about. I fully admit I’m not always fully versed in Baseball America’s ratings or know each prospect’s BA, OBP, WAR or GF. Tricked ya, the last one stood for girlfriend!
One thing about the Super Jumbos is that I really wish they offered them for not only regular Bowman, but wouldn’t it be fun to pop some Super Jumbo Stadium Club or Bowman Chrome? Or maybe just imagine Topps Museum Super Jumbos for a second.
Draft is one of those releases that I chase to replace the moment it lands. Every case I roll is one I’m trying to replace for that inevitable moment when I too learn who all those prospects are…in a year or so.
5) 2018 Leaf Memorabilia Vault – A little over a month ago, I brought in a case of Leaf Mem and offered it up as a spot draft break thinking it might be fun to see what came out of it and whether I might inspire my collectors to take a chance on a different type of break. Each box has ten different memorabilia items inside.
I had seen these broken in the past and was looking forward to trying something new. I knew there was a sports and entertainment element to it and since I like both, I figured why not? So after I got done, I had about ten collectors asking me to break another case. Only one issue: I did not have a second one. I changed that the next weekend by bringing in two of these coffin sized cases. They quickly enjoyed the same result and before I knew it, I was begging Brian Gray at Leaf for more please. Fast forward to right now and me awaiting five cases that Brian put together for my collectors. One is sold and the other was scheduled to roll out in snake drafts.
In case you were wondering, I have seen signed items from sports standards like Montana, Marino, Ichiro, Deshaun, Orr and The Big Hurt. Some of the eternal autographs have included Willie Mays and Ted Williams. The entertainment side has been nothing short of crazy. I have had autographs from diametrically opposed actors Clint Eastwood and Susan Sarandon in the same case, signed albums from Kenny Rogers, Bruce, Bono and Elvis (Costello). I can only imagine how much fun it is to walk around the Leaf offices and putting these together.
So that’s what’s been hot in these parts. If you have a minute, drop me a note here or on the Sports Collectors Daily Facebook page and let me know what’s smoking where you are.
Now to power through Christmas Eve, enjoy my one actual day off per year–and then deliver the annual Mikey Awards as we run down the hobby’s Rookie Product of the Year, Card of the Year, the MVP and which funky manufacturer moments were of special note. It is also my favorite piece to pen, so I hope you enjoy it since I do kinda sometimes risk my relationships with manufacturers at the same time. Look for it next week!
Mike Fruitman owns Mike’s Stadium Sportscards in Aurora, CO. His column 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. 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]