Hello fellow card maniacs,
I literally just gone done watching the MLB All-Star game and couldn’t help but think how many of them start as pitching duels only to end up finishing like the Home Run Derby from the night before. Just so you know, it’s not only chicks who dig the long ball, but sports card store owners happen to enjoy it as well. Wait, is long ball singular or plural when referenced like that? Good thing I have an awesome editor who will help me figure that out.
It has been an interesting month for me. I was able to visit New York for the U2 concert at Madison Square Garden and then had a chance to visit to the Topps offices. Clearly it helps to be a long-time sports card store owner and offering to bring pizza. I hope I do not disappoint you all too badly when I share that there are not daily box opening orgies there during lunch. Well, perhaps not on Mondays at least. We did have a good hobby chat, though, and while I don’t expect every suggestion I offered to be taken to heart, we did enjoy some pretty good NY-style pie.
I followed up that trip with one to Seattle for my annual Rockies road trip with my son and a buddy. The Rockies took 2 of 3 in the series and I could not just go out of town without something card related. I lucked out and got an invite to COMC since it was owner Tim Getsch’s birthday (well, it was the day before).
Sadly, much like the Topps offices, there were no major card happenings and my tour went about 15 feet inside the door. I can tell you this…they have some of the best stocked vending machines out there and all of their card storage secrets remained safe from me. It wasn’t a total loss, as Tim is more than just a hobby friend, he is a renaissance man when it comes to grilling a pizza. Sorry I can’t share more, but it is probably better that way.
Since that is the end of my travel exploits, it is time to give you what you came for—the five top-selling releases at my shop over the last month:
1) 2018 Panini Gold Standard NFL – Gold Standard returns for the second straight year with five autographs or relic cards per box. It doesn’t hurt that this year’s rookies are being so well received. We recently did a case break at the shop and landed a Saquon Barkley autographed rookie relic. The same break had an Andrew Luck auto relic, too, so the veteran content is solid as well.
I started with six cases and wish that I could have gone deeper as I am down to a mere four or so boxes and restocking them is getting less affordable seemingly by the day. It’s apparent from eBay listings that a lot of this product has been opened.
2) 2018 Topps Museum MLB – Topps, if you are reading this and have cleaned up from our lunch, feel free to change the name of Museum to Old Faithful. Plain and simple, Museum has a track record that just about every other release in any other sport would be jealous of. While it doesn’t have the rush to purchase that say Bowman has, there are fortunately a great number of collectors willing to shell out a smidge over $200 to give a box a go.
We definitely beat the odds when our case break produced a Mike Trout metal framed autographed card /15. Just like Gold Standard, I am about out of my direct order and restocking it by the case (the only smart way to do it) is getting tougher and pricier as well.
3) 2018 Panini Luminance NFL – It looks like Panini took Prestige, added a fun font, darkened the background of most of the singles, removed one autograph and replaced it with a usually colorful relic swatch and dropped in some soled veteran autographed cards for good measure.
I did this case break before my trip to see Bono sing and Tim cook so pardon my memory issues, but good thing I took pictures so I know we pulled a Russell Wilson autographed relic, Bradley Chubb rookie autograph as well as a Josh Rosen rookie autograph /75. I still have one case left and unlike the last two, it is a bit easier and less costly to restock Luminance. I see this as a product that will still have legs throughout the season in part due to a relatively affordable price and good look.
4) 2018 Topps Stadium Club MLB – Stadium Club baseball has always been one of my favorite brands since I remember when it first released back in 1991. Back then pulling a Scott Erickson and Jeff Bagwell base card made everyone’s day and pulling an autograph from any product involved busting as many 1990 Upper Deck cases as it took to pull the Reggie. These days it is clearly easier as there are two autographed cards in every box of Stadium Club.
There are loads of parallels, oodles of retro style inserts like Beam Teams and while it is not flying as quickly as it would have if Mr. Ohtani was still starting, boxes are selling well and they seem to be holding their values and if nothing else, it is nice not to have to raise the cost on every MLB box each time I sell through them.
While collectors have enjoyed all the potential pulls from the past few years, with so many MLB boxes going up in price, it can’t go on forever, much as some shop owners would like it to. Oh, I did a box break recently and pulled a Mark McGwire autograph numbered 2/5 and I will be giving it away as part of my 2018 Topps National Baseball Card Day promotion. Yup, each box you purchase at my shop that day means you will be able to snag one of the give Big Mac autographs from that set.
5) Cryptozoic Rick And Morty Season 1. Man I wish that was actually true, but sadly I haven’t been flying through boxes as quickly as I hoped I would have so instead #5 is actually 17/18 SP Authentic NHL. Sure, SPA has been out for well over a month, but collectors are still going for it and well, there hasn’t been another NHL release since it popped. Ultimate Collection is out as of Wednesday and since I am doing some breaks, hopefully, I will have some fresh cardboard stories to share about how tasty it was.
Looking ahead, I expect to have some of these products on the Hot List the next go around. Perhaps it will include a mix of Ultimate NHL, Allen & Ginter MLB, Spectra NBA, Certified NFL, Clearly Authentic MLB, Splendor NFL (which I WISH had come out months ago), Elements NFL or who knows, some other releases might surprise me and crush the competition.
As always, please head to your local card shop and support the guy or gal who is set up in your town. Also, as I mentioned above, make sure you have Saturday, 8/11 on your calendars for National Baseball Card Day at your LCS.
Check out past editions of What’s Hot here.
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]