For this week’s Shop Talk, I wanted to switch it up a bit and do something a little different by focusing on specific players and specific items in each sport that are (or have) become exceptionally popular and also make mention of those on the other end of the spectrum that have dropped off the radar in recent weeks and months.
Whether it be cards, action figures, autographs, memorabilia, posters or even stickers, there are certain players that are hot…and certain players that are not.
Now that baseball is back in full swing with no real hiccup in the actual season, we have been buying Luis Robert, Pete Alonso and lower end Fernando Tatis, Jr. PSA 10 and BGS 9.5 RC and rookie year gems dirt cheap and in bulk in recent months.
I believe that says as much about the production runs in recent years as it does about the quality of player. These guys are some of the better young stars in the game. We can only hope that once he returns, Tatis can stay healthy and stay on the field, amazing us each and every night.
Customers have been excited to see early 2022 Wander Franco cards in a few Topps products and they are speculating that he will live up to the hype and become the next great young player in the game. He definitely showed flashes of that during his time in the majors last season. I made a point to pull aside a few of his early cards for my own collection. As expected, he’s driving sales for early season baseball products in our shop.
Two former MVPs have fallen off the collectibles cliff over the past few seasons and its really showing in the hobby as we buy their stuff for next to nothing. Milwaukee Brewers star outfielder Christian Yelich and Los Angeles Dodgers young phenom Cody Bellinger both had rough, pandemic shortened seasons in 2020 and also battled through injuries as neither managed to piece together a solid season last year. That’s resulted in turning their stuff ice cold right now. I am a fan of both and hope to see them healthy and back to MVP form this season.
There are a number of stars from the 2019-20 NBA draft solidifying themselves in the league this season. Ja Morant is a bona fide superstar and his prices are starting to reflect that. Nearly every person looking for basketball looks through his stack of cards in our showcase. We’re gobbling up as many high-grade cards of him as we can and they’re moving.
It’s great to see RJ Barrett performing up to expectations this year for the New York Knicks. We get a good amount of interest in both of them. With the card production levels what they are, we’ve been able to buy their Prizm, Optic and lower end rookie cards in bulk to add to our showcases and our Gem Mint blind boxes.
First year All-Star Darius Garland was flying under the radar for a long time and still is to a degree, especially in our shop. He’s a 20 PPG and nearly 10 assist per game stud with an incredibly bright future. We buy his PSA 10 Prizm and Select rookies online all day long for what we see as steals in the long term.
As far as post office missing posters and milk cartons go, a number of players from that very 2019-2020 NBA draft class have been nearly invisible and it’s shown in sales, or lack thereof. We all know Zion Williamson’s story but whatever happened to Coby White and Rui Hachimura? These guys had some legit hype coming into the draft and even last season but nada. Don’t even get me started on Bol Bol and THT. If you “invest” in a guy’s cards because he has a nice windmill dunk in practice, I don’t even know what to tell you. I think/hope we are beyond that ridiculous degree of speculation in the hobby but of course, I could be wrong.
As far as current year basketball rookies, there really isn’t one that moves the needle for us in the store. Cade Cunningham has really picked it up late in the season but he’s playing in a lowly market with no hobby love in Detroit (See Karl-Anthony Towns and Anthony Edwards in Minnesota). Evan Mobley is still in the conversation for Rookie of the Year as the Cavs are surging but the interest in our shop has been limited.
Although football is not in season we all know that no sport really has an offseason. There has been football news every single day since the season ended with so many major free agent moves and transactions.
Like I’ve made mention of in past pieces, we got our newest wave of Imports Dragons figures in store well after the 2021 NFL season was over. The Tom Brady figures sold incredibly well early on as did the Patrick Mahomes versions. The Josh Allen piece has really picked up a lot of steam in the last few weeks and has outsold pretty much every other figure in the line.
It probably comes as no surprise to anyone that the Baker Mayfield figure is ice cold as I can barely give them away at this point. The D.K. Metcalf, Derrick Henry and T.J. Watt figures are also lagging in sales. The Lamar Jackson is a pretty slow seller as well.
We openly worry about the 2022 NFL rookie class and how it will translate to sales and interest, as there are seemingly no big stars in the group, especially at the quarterback position. When draft analysts are talking about linemen and defensive players as much as they are any offensive weapon in the draft, we get concerned. There is very little marquee power at the moment. Hopefully I am proven wrong and we’ll see some talented, engaging stars emerge this fall.
This is far from an all-encompassing list but I hope this helps give a little insight into what’s hot and not in the modern category at our little Central Pennsylvania shop. I’d love to hear what you all are buying and who’s hot and not in your collecting circles.