We’re entering one of my favorite times of the year where the MLB is in full swing and is still fresh, the NBA and NHL are in playoff mode and the NFL is about to introduce us to the newest batch of rookies. Once again, getting and restocking new releases represents the biggest challenges to hobby shops, not finding buyers. Being direct with each of the manufacturers and having strong relationships with distributors means more than ever if you own a hobby shop or are a breaker.
One day from the time I am writing this, 2018 Bowman MLB regular and jumbo boxes will be landing at hobby shops, online retailers and other locales with the expected intensity of the storm from the movie The Day After Tomorrow. Right after that, 2017/18 National Treasures NBA comes down the pike and that ride will be well worth the wait.
Outside of that, I still need to share five products that are already in stock and kicking arse. So, here we go– and thanks to everyone who has made the last month so incredible at hobby shops like mine.
1) 2018 Panini Diamond Kings MLB – Since returning a few years back, Diamond Kings has enjoyed all the luxuries afforded by some incredible rookie classes. It didn’t hurt that the content was strong with some great veterans as part of the autograph series. This year was no exception with Mr. Ohtani going Johnny Blaze from the Fantastic 4 hot when he went perfect for 7 innings.
Panini planned well with loads of Ohtani base cards, parallels and some rather sweet autographed singles including some signed relic cards. I know it’s rare to be excited about inserts these days, but I award bonus points for the Aurora insert set. These happen to look incredible and takes perfect advantage of the artistic design. Seriously, I will be adding a set of these to my PC.
2) 2018 Panini Contenders Draft NFL – Sure, how can anything with one autographed card per pack not deliver? Last year, Contenders Draft did well, but didn’t fly all season long. So when the chance came around to order for 2018 I went a bit deeper, but left some of my allocations on the table. It hit on Friday, 4/20 and sure it’s an easy joke, but it has gone sky-high since. I have seen loads of boxes popped at the shop as well as in personal box breaks I have been doing for my collectors. Sure the top QBs and Barkley autos aren’t hitting in every box, but collectors can’t get enough of it.
Wholesale prices after a few days are remarkable and I don’t mind regretting not going deeper every once in a while. I see myself being out by the time the first picks get announced at the draft. I have seen some cool non draft pick autos like Bo Jackson, Ricky Williams and others to entice more box sales and if the rest of the 2018 NFL releases perform this well, then so be it.
3) 2018 Leaf Metal Draft NFL – Sure the rookies aren’t in their college uniforms, but that has not stopped collectors from going back and back into the well for the second Leaf NFL release of the season. Leaf goes with a shorter checklist and drops some incredible designs into their releases. Throw in loads of colorful individually numbered parallels, every card being autographed/sleeved/top loaded along with a monster rookie class and you have the perfect recipe for success. Thank goodness there aren’t exclusives because it’s nice to see all the popular rookies dropping into this and the other Leaf releases.
There are nine parallels and two of those are /1 and with players like Josh Rosen, Baker Mayfield leading the way, I might be in line to break my record for most Leaf boxes sold in a single season (not that I know exactly what that number even is).
4) 2018 Topps Heritage MLB – Sure it has been out a bit longer and prices have exceeded what we saw last year with Aaron Judge, but there has been no shortage of collectors lining up to go after the Red Ink autographed Ohtani card limited to just 69 made. Even Pat Neshek is probably regretting only getting $6,100 for the one he pulled. Recently some have hit the five-figure mark and in spite of there being no major players in the SP series, I’m glad that I did not flip all my cases at the attractive early money I could have.
I still have two cases left and they seem destined to pass the 2k mark before too long. That is unless every possible MLB dollar gets diverted to the before mentioned Bowman release.
5) 2017/18 Upper Deck O-Pee-Chee Platinum NHL – In a year in which NHL sales have been slightly underwhelming (and I might be a wee bit polite there) it was refreshing to see so many collectors embrace this release. I’m guessing it is the chrome style design that is drawing shredders back for another year and unlike Leaf, they “only” have eight parallels available. It probably doesn’t hurt that they dropped in autographs from Connor McDavid, Marc-Andre-Fleury, John Tavares, Steven Stamkos and others. I might be well on my way to selling out of the first NHL release of the year. At least I hope so.
So there you have it, somethings old, somethings new, somethings with pigskins and somethings with a nice vintage design to them. Now I just wish that I had more of them to offer.
Mike Fruitman owns Mike’s Stadium Sportscards in Aurora, CO. His column 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. Enjoy new arrivals and big hits from Mike’s on Twitter. Mike’s is always looking for more friends on Facebook and you can email him at [email protected].