by Rich Klein
In life there is always the beginning and end and for playing careers that is just as true. Recently the NBA co-rookies of the year for 1994-95 retired within a few days of each other. In addition to the similarities of their career arcs, my personal thoughts are a bit different. My first thought was both Grant Hill and Jason Kidd were really the last two “superstars” to make their debut in the overproduced era of the trading card industry. Their first cards were issued just as the effects of the 1994-95 MLB players strike was becoming apparent in the card market. The first stores were probably closing and the shows were beginning their process of reduction as well.
Interestingly enough, there are probably not any scarce rookie cards of these players because basketball was not as popular as baseball but also the 1994-95 season was going on without a hitch. Well, actually there was one major hitch but Michael Jordan would return before the end of that season. Many of the stores I was speaking to at that point would say their “kid” collectors were much more into basketball and thus many of those sets still appealed to our younger collectors. Now nearly 20 years later, can anyone really name the “key” Grant Hill or Jason Kidd rookie card?
There is also a “funny” Beckett story about Grant Hill as a rookie. That year, when he was at the absolute peak of his popularity, we actually lowered the value his Collectors Choice Rookie card. Now understand, on a pure pricing move, that was a correct adjustment, just as we lowered the 1993 Finest baseball set when the wax was absolutely exploding. In each case, the price adjustment was correct because a lot more cards were entering the marketplace. The common sense move, though, said to leave those cards alone. So, from that point, we always added the “common sense” rule to pricing. The common sense rule says if this is the month Justin Verlander pitches two no-hitters, we don’t lower his price even if the market says to do so. I’m not sure if this is still true in 2013, but it was true until I left in 2007.
Last week, we had our slowest slow by far at the Craig Ranch show in Dallas where I’ve been a regular. For whatever reason, there never was much of a crowd and while there are several possible reasons the show was just very slow this time. Fortunately I made some good sales so I had a nice day but I had one dealer tell me he had made 2.4 times his table at 3 PM and was happy with the dollars he took in based on what he had sold. I think there were a couple of reasons.
First, there was a major Tri-Star show in Houston that weekend and I suspect many of our regulars drove the 3-4 hours to enjoy the bigger atmosphere and autograph guests. When a show is the 1st Saturday of the month and that day is the 1st, I’m sure many people forget that the date of the show is in June and not in May.