First of all, I wanted to thank all the manufacturers for not canceling my accounts after the 2021 Mikey Awards. I don’t really have such concerns, but one never knows how good of a sense of humor people have these days. Fortunately, my annual piece seems to have gone over well and I’m taking notes to be ready for the 2022 edition.
In just a few days, I’ll be heading to Arizona with my hobby brothers and sisters for the Topps Industry Conference. The last time we got together with Topps was in 2020 and the biggest issue many shops had was being strongly encouraged to support product lines like Bundesliga, Star Wars, WWE, F1, Garbage Pail Kids, UFC and others in order to remain able to purchase other popular Topps cards directly. Let’s just say every single product I purchased at the time is no longer in my shop and we should all be giving props to Topps for what wasn’t a supremely popular idea at the time.
I’m not sure they were predicting back then how the next two years would go, but I’m not saying that they weren’t. Fine, I’m saying they weren’t, but man oh man, it sure worked out well when the market for all trading cards—not just the old sports standbys–exploded.
Suffice it to say, going into this year’s conference, there are some different issues on the doorstep of the hobby. Topps no longer has WWE or UFC, but more important are the ramifications of Fanatics now owning Topps. Gone are our concerns of purchasing additional products that are outside of what we traditionally carried. They have been replaced with our thoughts regarding Fanatics’ plans for direct accounts, distributors and breakers.
While I don’t expect to hear a complete roll out of how things will go, it would be nice to have a peek behind the future curtain.
As always, at events like this, as information becomes available from Topps that I’m able to share, I’ll be tossing convention tidbits out on my Twitter feed.
So, now to get to the products we have been rolling out to eager collectors since we last met. Here’s the current top five sellers at my shop.
1) 2022 Topps Series 1
Since I apparently wasn’t watching every game that the Tampa Bay Rays played last year, I was unaware that Wander Franco hit 77 home runs, drove in 321 players, developed the cure for COVID, revived Stevie Ray Vaughan and Jimi Hendrix from the dead and found a way for the Super Bowl to be replayed with this time, the Bengals winning with Joe Burrow throwing for 689 yards and the game winning TD with the clock showing :00.
Dang, it sure seems like he did to my collectors. When it released, it took me only 5 days to roll through 15+ cases each of hobby and jumbo boxes. I chose to ignore the market level pricing I saw from most online retailers and offered my collectors hobby boxes at $94 per and jumbo boxes for $194.
With the next major MLB release being 2022 Topps Heritage in mid-March, I should probably start a count of how many collectors come in looking for T1. I’m not sure I should do so as prices are rocketing up already and I was told we had 20 inquiries for it today alone.
2) 2021 Pro Set Power Football
Leaf’s latest under the old Pro Set brand hit last week and apparently my shredders knew it was about to land. They jumped on it. Boxes offer no less than seven autographs per box for a price in the $120 range. What makes this release stand out is that it has the first in- pack cards of the NIL players we will be seeing in the 2022 draft, along with many of the 2021 rookies we have grown to love (or at least tolerate).
We did some online box breaks this week as moved through our first case. The top hits I saw included a Trevor Lawrence autograph and a Bryce Young autograph redemption card. After seeing collectors enjoying their results, we could have moved another 10 boxes or so based on initial interest.
3) 2022 Panini Rookies & Stars NFL
When Rookies & Stars hit, I expected a decent response. Clearly I underestimated the interest by collectors in products that were previously well received. Boxes offer 2 autographs, 2 relics, 12 rookies, 12 inserts and 5 numbered parallels. Throw in the shortages of NFL products coupled with shops getting very little of this release and you have a recipe for success. Boxes which I first offered at $319 are now trading in the $475+ range online.
A few years ago, this would have freaked me out. Now it’s seemingly just another release that ran. I won’t get into whether this is good or bad and don’t have to since I didn’t keep my boxes hidden and none of my collectors paid $500 or more at my shop.
4) 2022 Topps Star Wars Signature Series
I always have good success with Topps Star Wars releases and recently we have seen an uptick in interest. When Signature Series hit, there were collectors looking for it. What sent it over the top is when they got to see us breaking it live during one of our You Call It online shows we offer our (typically) on Monday nights. One of our shredders wanted some opened for them and when others saw how cool some of the autographs looked, it took things to the next level.
With one encapsulated autographed card in each box, and seemingly every single version of the franchise represented, we are now on our last case. It didn’t hurt that we came out with boxes at $55 per instead of the $74 I saw them rolling for online. It is still crazy to see Carrie Fisher on a checklist, but for those of you who hate autographs on stickers, without them, this wouldn’t be possible.
Other possible signers include Harrison Ford, Adam Driver, Hayden Christensen, Daisy Ridley, Carl Weathers, Freddie Prinze Jr, Nick Nolte, Billy Dee Williams and then there’s the long list of those I’m less familiar with. If you do open these, May The….naw that’s too easy.
5) 21/22 Donruss Elite NBA
On February 18, the hoop heads at my shop were able to get their hands on the 2nd NBA release of the year with the rookies in their pro uniforms. As I’ve brought up in previous Hot Lists, collectors and shop owners have been contending with different schedules than we have worked with in the past. It’s a slow roll of ’21-22 basketball products, that’s for sure.
Boxes of Elite offer 2 autographs, 8 inserts and 8 inserts per box. Unlike Hoops with 1 rookie per pack, Elite offers 2 rookies per box. Back again are possible autographs from Sir Charles and since it is an Elite release, count on Aspirations and Status parallels.
I started off boxes at $349 and so far they seem to be holding their pricing. Let’s see if they are still there by Friday when the next release, Donruss, hits our shelves.
I’m about to get out of town to enjoy some hobby friend time and since I can’t check out any Spring Training games, I’ll have to settle for a night with the Foo Fighters at the Innings Festival before the Topps conference gets going.
I’ll do my best not to take as much time between this and my next post and hope that you all make a visit to your local card shop for 2022 Upper Deck National Hockey Card Day on Saturday. Let’s just hope your LCS has some hockey in stock since the standard UD1 won’t be hitting until 3/2 (I hope).
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].