It’s been an interesting last few weeks (but aren’t they all). I left the shop in capable hands last month and attended The Mint Collective in Las Vegas. Sure it was an excuse to visit my second favorite city, but it was also an opportunity to catch the vibe of the industry as it experiences some incredible changes.
What I heard from many is that seemingly anyone who is working on an app or new concept is seemingly having the world fawning over them. Money is being tossed at just about anything hobby related. Sadly, my programming was honed on a TRS80 back in the day and I guess I’ll have to stick to retailing singles and wax boxes. Not that there’s anything wrong with selling boxes these days.
The event was very positive and had a more upscale feel than some of the others many of us attend. It didn’t hurt that Peyton Manning, Emmitt Smith, Jerry Rice and, as someone else put it, 95 of the most influential 100 people in the industry seemed to be all together on one floor.
Overall it was incredibly positive with the breakout sessions suggesting all is good as well as ideas as to how to make things better. A buddy of mine, Robert Wilson from 716 Sports Cards And Collectibles, had a table that I kept walking by and it certainly seemed like buyers were making a massive dent in it all three days.
No, I didn’t spend the whole month in Las Vegas and here’s what you came for: the top five list of what’s been moving at the card shop.
1) 2022 Topps Inception MLB
Inception will always hold a soft spot in my heart as it was the first product released during COVID that gave us an inkling of what might be ahead. The 2021 version was no exception and even though direct cost has increased significantly, there are still loads of collectors who are hunting for it.
I had a case break of the ’22 product last weekend and sold it out so quickly that I brought in a second case if my collectors wanted another shot at it and we were able to fill it with no trouble. It didn’t hurt that each of the two cases delivered Wander Franco autographs. Boxes started off in the $180 range and seem to be holding their own on eBay.
2) 2022 Leaf Vibrance
It’s safe to say that Leaf is no longer a micro print manufacturer with as many releases as they deliver each year. They fill a niche that collectors enjoy and their ability to be creative without any league licenses is not lost on my box breakers.
Vibrance offers two autographs per box and the mix of possible autos made this an incredibly well received product. Where else can you find autos of Griffey, Montana, Giannis, Khabib, Favre, Bo, Ohtani and more in one box? They’re currently a sliver under $400 and are flying each time we put them on the shelf.
3) 20/21 Upper Deck Premier NHL
Yes, we are still seeing 20/21 releases and still have SP, Ultimate Collection and The Cup to still land. Kinda ironic since I just sent in my order form for 22/23 Upper Deck MVP. Oh well, 2020-2022 is just that crazy.
Boxes of Premier feature four hits and to remind you, since it is from last season, you’re shooting for Kirill and Stutzle. Boxes started off at just over $500 at the online retailers, but if you walk in, say something nice you might get one for $474 while supplies last.
4) 2022 Topps Heritage MLB
Heritage is back this year repping the 1973 Topps Baseball design. It’s hard to believe it’s been around as long as it has. It seems not that long ago when boxes were full of cards honoring the 1952 design. Back again with its tried and tested one auto or relic and 8 SPs per box design, boxes are flying at $99 at my shop and this is one of those releases where collectors load up by the case in an effort to make their own sets. It’s one product that most collectors can afford and as long as you understand it’s about nostalgia more than hits, a good time is usually had.
If you get lucky, you might land a Real One autograph and possible signatures include Mike Trout, Aaron Judge, Shohei Ohtani, Johnny Bench, Rod Carew, Bryce Harper, Nolan Ryan, Cal Ripken and oodles more that hopefully make busting your box worth it.
5) Panini Prizm WWE
OK, this is among the weirdest things out there. Panini secured the rights to make WWE cards from Topps and before they could make their first offering, Prizm, it was announced that Topps had landed the next license. That didn’t stop Prizm from hitting north of $1,000 per box and even though it only landed just one day before I sat down to write this, the impact was enough to still help it body slam the other product I had eyed for spot #5.
Hobby boxes offer two autographs and 20 parallels and it still surprises me to see this and Prizm UFC rewrite the card values from what Topps had done with their Chrome release. As a bit of a booger eating, monobrow wrestling fan, I’m blown away at some of the autograph pairings – Lesnar/Rollins, Goldberg/Hogan, Austin/Michaels, Michaels/Triple H, Reigns/Undertaker and more. With wrestling being all about matchups, it’s no surprise that autographed cards like this would do so well. With it being a Prizm release, you can also enjoy the Color Blast inserts and how much they are getting at auction.
Now if that isn’t a diverse list, I don’t know what is. Thanks for giving this a read and feel free to share your own thoughts on the Top 5 on social media as a reply.
Mike Fruitman owns Mike’s Stadium Sportscards in Aurora, CO. His column normally 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. You can email him at [email protected].