As I write this, I’m getting ready for this weekend’s 2017 Panini Father’s Day promotion, the second most popular in-store event of the year next to Panini Black Friday. My collectors love this promotion so much that I stepped up and dropped almost what I paid for my 2016 Honda Crosstour to stock my store with Panini products. The deal, once again, is that collectors receive special free Father’s Day packs with exclusive cards in them based on which boxes they buy at their local shop. My spending spree resulted in over 1,000 Father’s Day packs ready and waiting for customers.
I kept my hopes up despite some doubts on the part of fellow shop owners regarding the products collectors would have to buy to get them.
What do I think? I think that it will be a raging success in spite of no photos of the best potential cardboard goodness having hit the internets as of 24 hours before the promotion is scheduled to start. I mean why would knowing what the autographed cards look like or how cool the relic cards be important? Why dare make sharing the newest version of this year’s Cracked Ice parallel be important? We did get a tease of some of the base cards late Thursday afternoon and you’re seeing some of them here.
Pictures or no pictures, I have tremendous faith in the designers at Panini to step up and offer the same incredible tasty two card bonus packs that will help me sell, say the amount of Chad Ochocinco’s fine when he grabbed a phone and tweeted during the Cincinnati Bengals’ preseason game against the Philadelphia Eagles several years ago. OK, it was $25,000. You’re welcome for not having to Google it.
So, be sure to check out the dealer locator page to find a hobby shop that’s got them. Wait a minute. I’m being told there is currently no participating dealer locator list as of this moment. I guess you’ll have to call first. And, if you’d like to see the cards as they’re pulled by collectors and listed on eBay, click here.
Enough of my frustration. Let’s get to what has been successfully delivered to hobby shops and is selling well. It just so happens that there’s a ton of stuff that is selling well. In talking to other hobby shop owners on matters that do not involve incredibly expensive promotions without manufacturer support, most agree that this might be among the best times ever seen in the hobby. It seems that since November that just about everything released has gone over pretty well. Well, everything not named 2016/17 NBA releases that is, but I can get past all that when MLB releases are flying like it is 2001 and Albert and Ichiro ruled the world.
NFL products are still moving with the speed of 2006 products before the world realized that it was the most overhyped rookie crop ever. 16/17 NHL boxes and cases are moving like they are…well…15/16 products. Face it, it’s a good time to own a hobby shop and I feel so confident that I will continue to talk about it at the risk of jinxing it all.
Here’s our current hot list:
1) 2017 Topps Finest MLB. I was realty tempted to just write “All 2017 Topps MLB releases” here, but I am sure that my editor would nail me for it. Just to be more specific, I will start with Finest. Like just about every 2017 release, I am literally warning my collectors to run—not walk—to the shop since my restocking prices are going through the roof. After being a Topps online exclusive last year, Finest is back with two autographed cards per box. The autograph list is nothing to sneeze at with Ken Griffey Jr, Derek Jeter, Bryce Harper, Barry Bonds, Mike Trout, Kris Bryant, Chipper Jones, Buster Posey, Hank Aaron, Ozzie Smith, Sandy Koufax, Cal Ripken Jr, David Ortiz and some guy named Aaron Judge.
2) 2017 Panini Prestige NFL – Prestige is back with four packs per box and the new tried and true idea of one autograph in every box. There are two different types of 1/1 parallels with black versions and printing plates. Each pack offers 10 rookies and hopefully soon we will all know much more about them. If any 4th round QBs would like to channel their inner Dak, you just go for it. In addition to oodles of rookie autographs, some sweet veterans like Andrew Luck, Derek Carr, J. J. Watt, Jerry Rice, Terrell Davis, Peyton Manning, Joe Namath, Terry Bradshaw, Deion Sanders and others make popping boxes so dawn attractive to my collectors. I went through my first case in a matter of days and if I did not have so many Father’s Day boxes to roll through, I would have made bringing in another case a bigger priority.
3) 2017 Topps Inception MLB – Here is how hot 2017 Topps MLB products are. The manufacturer from NYC can take a popular release that formerly had five autographed cards per box, cut it down to one and within a few weeks hobby shops would be paying $25 over the mid $30 cost just to have it once again. Do you ever get the feeling they could replicate 1991 Fleer this year and it would still have a line of collectors drooling at the mouths to ingest it? Admittedly the concept is cool and the response is overwhelming. This is another moment where I wish I had ordered twice as many cases as I did, but I am apparently better at gambling at blackjack tables than I am with ordering MLB releases some six months before they release.
4) 16/17 SP Authentic NHL – Upper Deck has clearly hit on a cool concept by lowering box prices and removing some content. Boxes now offer just two autographs instead of three, the autographed patches seem to be hitting at a rate of two per case instead of three… and dealers are offering more than $30 over cost just to stock it. It helps when no other manufacturer snags the top rookies as autograph exclusives. Good thing we will not see that happening anytime soon. Oh wait…
In addition to all the sweet 16/17 rookies, there are autographs from stars such as Evgeni Malkin, Jaromir Jagr, Connor McDavid, Wayne Gretzky, Alexander Ovechkin, Mark Messier, Bobby Orr, Mario Lemieux, Patrick Roy and more. Now on this one, I went relatively deep and still have a few cases. I’m not worried yet…
5) 2017 Topps Archives MLB – Topps is back with a tried and true release that offers a pair of autographs per box. There are Derek Jeter autographs and inserts, all sorts of new and retired players in 1960, 1982 and 1992 Topps style backgrounds and wouldn’t you know it, there are 1/1 parallels possible of both the base set as well as autographed cards. Sure it is usually cool to report the names of the superstars, but instead I want to have the rare joy of typing out some of the more obscure names from my collecting past. I mean who wouldn’t line up to hope for signed cards of Aaron Boone, Brian Jordan, Bobby Thigpen, Clean Jones, Dave Stieb, Joe McEwing, Kevin Maas, Lenny Randle, Rick Ankiel, Rusty Kuntz, Tim Teufel, Tim Wakefield, Turk Wendell and more. I’m sure some of these guys thought Topps had the wrong number when they got the call about signing.
So there you have it, some biting sarcasm, heaps of praise for a promotion that will succeed in spite of its contents being held more secret than the KFC recipe, some products that will help my son afford college and the price I paid for my car.
Next time we get together I am guessing that I will have sold loads of the upcoming 2017 Topps Museum MLB, 2017 Elite NFL, 2017 Topps Tier One MLB releases (and hopefully some others), but the beauty of the hobby is we never really know what’s hot until after the boxes are opened. On a slightly serious note, please take some time and find out which of your local card shops are part of the Panini Father’s Day promotion. It is really quite important…especially if you live in Colorado.
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].