The past year of the sports card boom may be a somewhat similar take on the early 1990’s but this is no 2.0 version. We are approaching unprecedented 10X and appreciating more as every day, week and month passes.
The title of this article illustrates a rather new term being thrown around within the sports card industry, as many new words or phrases do in a boom, possibly with some dispute; this being the Rookie Card (RC) vs Rookie Year (RY) designations.
We all basically respect and understand the general definition of a rookie card; however, lets delve further into examining of the subset rookies or rookie year (RY) cards released within the same set and year.
Furthermore, what hierarchy does a subset rookie year card command in the set? And moreover, what’s it’s comparative peripheral value to that of its regular base rookie card?
Rookie cards are only considered (RC) if they are released within the base set. This designation tends to be more prevalent with pre-1990’s or vintage sets, compared to the newer era of trading cards
Although, if you really want to look into this further from an all-sports viewpoint, I would highly recommend Victor Roman Sr. of “All Time Greats Blog” (your rookie card resource) website. Plus, Victor also has some informative You Tube videos on this subject.
Albeit, there aren’t too many examples of the rookie year (RY) subset cards in the vintage hockey arena. It surely takes a great feat to be honored with two trading cards issued from your first year of play. However, some of those that did represent some of the biggest names in the sport.
The classification of the rookie card (RC) seems to have been established according to an assortment of loosely printed or published guidelines over the decades. The subset cards of rookies have been long overlooked, giving little credence to their existence or even being akin to their rookie year.
Ask yourself quickly; what percentage is the value of a standard rookie card is the same player’s card in a subset from the same issue? Currently, we’re floating around a 10 percent comparative market value of subset rookie. This trifling divergence in percentage seems inequitable, all things considered.
My soon to be released website and app on vintage hockey cards and collectibles will have the revision of rookie year (RY) subset boldly noted as (RC) had been in the past.
These card values are in need of a reevaluation regarding percentages between base set rookie and subset rookie.
Many may say that we should let the market decide. Fair enough. However, we have had over 30 years of freelance influence and dare say, indoctrination of past price guides. Old habits die hard.
The 1980-81 Ray Bourque RC #140, listed in a major price guide in NMMT raw is $180, whereas the subset Bourque Record Breaker card (#2 in the same set) is $20. That is just under 10 percent. The back of the Record Breaker card back states; “65 Points For Bourque” in his rookie year, as a defenseman.” It’s a rookie year (RY) card that recognizes one of the most important individual feats of his career so how can we ignore the shallow $20 value?
Realistically, the first five “Record Breaker” cards in the 1980-81 OPC or Topps sets, all have very wide pictures leaving little border for margin of error, so approximately 70-80% of these cards are off-center to miscut. These five cards are probably the toughest to find centered in all the 1980’s, let alone any other year issue and especially the Topps, having the additional shortcoming of the “Rub-Off” Quiz, rendering even less in potential high grade.
Generally, across the board, we believe the subset rookies or (RY) are too low. These cards are being marginalized at around ten percent but should command better respect as to their rookie year feats. At least this article is a starting point of further and future consideration.