Tony Reid chronicles the happenings inside Sports Zone, the Central Pennsylvania store where he works.
Throw this into the “we should have done this ten years ago” file but we were excited to receive our first PSA return from our newly established dealer account. Yes, it is hard to believe that we didn’t have a dealer account for the past few years but that was not my call and it is what it is, as the kids say.
Although we only sent 40 or so cards, we got a great rate, a seemingly fast return by card grading standards and, as an added bonus, many of the cards graded as high or higher than we expected. I guess our extensive examination of every card in the submission paid off and just about everything we submitted was of the modern era so our odds were respectable going in.
For starters, we received a really nice 1996-97 Collector’s Choice Kobe Bryant rookie card back that graded out a Gem Mint 10.
We sent a number of 2004 football rookies including a few Ben Roethlisberger and Eli Manning rookie year cards. It was great to see a few of the Big Bens come back as tens. An Eli or two also came back gemmy. We also saw a few Matthew Stafford 10s come out of the order as well. We have already sent four more orders in over the past few weeks, so we are very much looking forward to seeing those come back.
I was literally on the edge of my seat as the championship game for the World Baseball Classic came to a thrilling end last week. Watching Los Angeles Angels teammates Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout, quite possibly the two best players in all the game, face off mano y mano for all the marbles was a great sight to see and such a positive showcase for the sport as a whole worldwide. As you can imagine, Ohtani’s stuff has been white hot in store and online for us.
One of the biggest problems in the hobby and one of my biggest pet peeves is the price of boxes and the lack of quality content found within. We had a very unique example this week. While I was in the back room preparing some online orders for shipment, shop owner Jason called me out as a customer decided to open a box of 2020 Panini Contenders Football (Hobby).
With a box price of about $900, this was not a cheap break. It’s a big lottery ticket scratch and as we all know Contenders is very hit-or-miss. With that amazing 2020 NFL Draft class featuring some of the best young quarterbacks in the league including Joe Burrow, Justin Herbert, Jalen Hurts and Tua Tagovailoa coupled with guys like Justin Jefferson and Jonathan Taylor, you have an all time great draft class. That’s the attraction, anyway.
Jason let me know what was happening because he knows I enjoy watching stuff like this being opened in front of us but when it was over I wish he hadn’t. The young man stood there with his significant other and young child in tow and went through the box pack by pack by pack until it came to an excruciating close. Yes, he had four live autographs and a redemption card (now expired) but the combined value today was less than 20 bucks.
You feel bad for a person with a situation like that who literally just blew close to $1,000 that could have been spent on so many other things if he had the urge to buy something. In a situation I had never seen before, the customer actually left all but one of the cards behind, taking just a single Patrick Mahomes parallel with him. He stated that he wasn’t mad at us but clearly he was beyond frustrated with the result of his dice roll. Like I mentioned, there are some great rookies who have emerged since that box was new in the fall of 2020, but a lot of others have not.
Sales at the store have dipped a bit but then again it just depends on the day as some days can be pretty wild while others we can actually breathe. There are moments where we look at each other like wondering what is going on. We’re never actually slow, mind you, just not as frantic as we generally are. The newer card releases have been slow sellers for us in the last week, namely the 2022 Obsidian Football product which we’ve already marked down from over $400 to $370 in store.
2022-23 Elite Basketball is finally selling for us online as we only have three or four boxes left in inventory. The 2022-23 Donruss Basketball value pack boxes are at the end of the bench as we literally haven’t sold one yet. Offering 30 cards per pack and 12 packs per box, we can’t even move them for $70 a box.
After a full week in the shop, I actually had the weekend off, which I enjoyed greatly with my family.
Seven months of baseball are dead ahead and the shop is ready to see who the hobby will be talking about in the days to come.