As always it is an interesting time to own a card shop. In between either answering questions from collectors who are wondering what will eventually happen when Fanatics becomes more involved with the sports card community OR being “told” what will happen, it is still pretty insane at my shop these days.
Pretty much from when the door pops to when things shut down for the day, collectors are still clamoring for seemingly every new release and every player who is playing well as the football season progresses. Special thanks go out to Jameis Winston who (for a short amount of time) even made 2015 NFL products popular. Yes, 2015 NFL actually sold well enough to help reclaim some space on my shelf that I never thought would be free again.
Now to hope that Geno Smith throws for 400 yards at least once before Russell Wilson returns to give 2013 NFL the same short-term surge. Ok, that’s asking for a lot and I understand it, but stranger things have happened.
Adding fuel to the fire is the newest Pokemon release of Celebrations which has had new styles each of the past two weeks. While I wish there were booster boxes made for this wave, the sales of ETBs has been nothing short of spectacular. Literally the interest and sell through rate on every flavor has been amazing and perhaps more importantly, Pokemon collectors aren’t asking me of the implications of Fanatics on the collecting landscape.
Another area where we have seen a steady rise of interest is our pre-priced singles area that we have organized by team. What started out as a 4 row box of singles that weren’t worth putting into showcases has evolved into 32 feet of incredible interest. The first thing we now do when we buy collections is to break out the sub $10 singles and put them in boxes for the hungry collectors who devour loads of rookies, prospects, inserts, parallels and of course autographed and relic cards that we drop in.
Which brings us to the Top 5 from the past month. Please enjoy and if you clicked on a social media link to find this article, I’d like to see what you think the Top 5 sellers in your area are.
1) Pokemon Celebrations
I’m pretty sure in my years of writing these articles that no Pokemon release has ever been featured in the top spot. Since Celebrations commemorates the 25th anniversary of Pokemon, it should be no surprise that they would pull out all stops. My shop has helped collectors enjoy over 100 ETBs (Elite Trainer Box, for those who aren’t into it) in just over a week and if we could have only gotten more of the Ultra Premium Collection, it would not have had to say no to so many gaming enthusiasts.
We have carried every Pokemon release and yes, were around long ago to have carried Base 1st Edition. Yeah, the boxes that have cleared $300,000 actually once rolled for $99 or so at the shop. While many stores wish they could have back their 2017 NFL wax box decisions, I go back a bit further and have deeper, more painful regrets.
2) 2021 Leaf Ultimate Sports Multi-Sports
Leaf had some fun putting Ultimate Multi-Sport boxes together I’m sure as there are some off the wall autograph pairings and some spectacular relic combos that other companies wish they could have put together themselves if they didn’t have to deal with those pesky licenses.
While probably not the most expensive single from this release, I saw a collector bust a box and get a Muhammad Ali relic which was incredibly cool on its own, but it also featured a swatch from something that Bruce Lee once wore. Another beast we saw contained autos from Larry Bird/Kevin Garnett/Giannis Antetokounmpo and it wasn’t even the best card from the case. Look for three hits per box and after a small amount of time, I have no more to offer.
3) 2021 Panini National Treasures College Football
Finally, a “traditional” release we are used to seeing on this list! NT Collegiate offers seven hits per box and so far these $1,000+ boxes have offered up a great selection of RPAs, booklet cards and some patches that would make you even want a Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson or Justin Fields card. Sorry to pick on these three players, but my collectors haven’t seen enough to inspire top dollar buying.
Somewhere out there are the NFL Team Logo Shield 1/1 cards that I’d love to see some of my collectors pull. While usually this college uniform release doesn’t inspire lots of “wows”, this year seems to be the exception as box prices have soared in a relatively short amount of time.
4) 2021 Bowman Chrome MLB
Sure this product has been out for just over a month, but it doesn’t mean that it is showing signs of slowing down. My collectors usually prefer the hobby style with 12 packs and two autographs. This year, I’m seeing more interest than usual the HTA versions with three autograph per, but nothing else to show for it.
We do one case break a week and have done two cases of Bowman Chrome due to overwhelming interest with much faster than usual sell outs. Usually I stick a few cases of BC aside to see how they do over time, but this year don’t know if it will be as easy to do.
5) 2021 Topps Chrome Star Wars Legacy
Well, since we started things off with Pokemon on the Top 5, why not end it with another non-sports release? Continuing the trend of Star Wars releases being incredibly well received, why should this one be any different? Sports fans will be familiar with the packaging as it is packaged like the #4 product on this same list. Each box offers two mini boxes with six packs and one hit per mini. Possible hits include autographs, sketch cards and ship medallions.
While very few of us are fans of sticker autographs, one upside is the potential of having signatures from players or in this case, actresses who have passed. This allows Topps to offer signatures of Carrie Fisher and Peter Mayhew along with autos of Samuel Jackson, Ewan McGregor, Billy Dee Williams, Hayden Christenson and many others from the assorted movies and TV shows.
So there you have it: a little insight to the happenings at my shop along with what is selling best here. I hope you are all enjoying the last of the MLB season, the beginnings of both the NBA and NHL seasons and the heart of the NFL season. Thanks for giving this a read and I can’t wait to see what pops over the course of the next 30 days or so.
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]