Hello fellow card maniacs. It’s been a month since we discussed matters of the hot. I mean, I did talk about some cool programs that hobby shops have been able to offer already like the free Topps Holiday packs, Upper Deck Winter packs as well as the Panini Black Friday packs. Still to come on 12/9 is National Hobby Shop Day and since I committed about the average amount of a Mark Cuban fine to this promotion, I hope it’s a raging success (that or I’ll have to appear on Shark Tank with some incredible idea to recoup).
So, as things cool down a bit, let’s wax poetic about well…wax products. Here’s What’s Hot:
1) Panini Black Friday — This year I was limited to two workable releases to share with my collectors; 16/17 Panini Grand Reserve NBA and 2017 Panini Unparalleled NFL. Grand Reserve worked because it offered 12 bonus packs per box and a collector buying Unparalleled received four free packs. When Grand Reserve initially hit, I sold somewhere in the neighborhood of zero boxes. Apparently all it took to ignite sales was for Ben Simmons to make us remember the skill set of Magic Johnson– and the aforementioned dozen packs.
Unparalleled sold much better initially and was enjoying creeping out the door status until turkey night. We opened our shop’s doors at 10 PM that night and for the next two hours, we went through multiple Unparalleled cases and at least one case of the Grand Reserve.
The Black Friday packs themselves seemed to offer more powerful autographs than in recent memory. The first night alone, I saw autographed cards from Aaron Rodgers, Peyton Manning, Lonzo Ball, Alex Bregman, a pair of Christian McCaffreys and much more. Props to Panini for restoring some of the oomph to a program that some said had slipped a bit.
2) 2017 Topps Dynasty MLB – The single card beast is back for another year of plucking close to $350 per box from collectors who hope that they can avoid finding the likes of Adam Jones, Adrian Beltre, Chris Sale, Dustin Pedroia, Freddie Freeman, Gary Sheffield, Jason Heyward and Joey Votto, all of whom mean probably leaving $200 or so on the table. Among the players you would much rather pull in Dynasty are Alex Bregman, Bryce Harper, Cal Ripken Jr, Derek Jeter, Kris Bryant, Mike Trout, Nolan Ryan or Ichiro.
The 99 card 1/1 Cut Signature set makes everyone who is not part of it feel left out. Imagine pulling the only autograph of Buck O’Neil, Babe Ruth, Christy Mathewson, Ernie Banks, Gil Hodges, Honus Wagner, Joe DiMaggio, Jimmie Foxx, Jackie Robinson, Jim Thorpe, Kirby Puckett, Lou Gehrig, Roberto Clemente, Roger Maris (if you think I’m just reciting more names to make it look like a longer piece, I learned this in college) Stan Musial, Satchel Paige, Ty Cobb, Ted Williams and more.
To top it off, there are dual relic 1/1 cut signature cards that will surely be wowing anyone who pulls them. I started off with three cases and at this point I’m down to three packs and there’s no way those will be around come 12/25.
3) 2017 Leaf Q Multisport – Leaf’s highest end original release of the year is back after a killer first run with five autographed or relic cards in each box and three boxes per case. Yes, I know don’t have a league license but the autograph selection is great. I mean, it’s not Topps Dynasty cut signature good, but it should have you at least giving it a look. Of course the Leaf regulars like Cal Ripken Jr, Floyd Mayweather Jr, Magic Johnson and Nolan Patrick.
Where Q gets really sexy is the Great 8 memorabilia cards. Without mentioning each of them, my personal favorite features relics of Jordan/Wilt/LeBron/Magic/Bird/Kobe/Shaq/Hakeem all on one card. Soccer fans should rejoice if they pull the dual autograph of Messi/Neymar or Ronaldo/Messi. There are literally no bad autographs in this set aside from Doug Flutie, who I still will not forgive for beating the University Of Miami so many years back.
4) 2017 Topps Star Wars Masterwork – We don’t usually see non-sport releases on the hot list, but I brought in more than a case of this product, sold it all, restocked it and sold it out again. I’d like to take a moment and thank Ken for devouring most of my allocation and while I know my customers well enough, he seemed incredibly happy with his pulls. Each box offers four packs with two autographs and two additional autos, relics, medallions or sketch cards. I do remember Ken snagging a dual autographed card of Forest Whitaker as Saw Gerrera / Riz Ahmed as Bodhi Rook. Also possible are autos of Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Peter Mayhew and who could forget the magical efforts of David Barclay, puppeteer for Jabba the Hutt.
5) 17/18 Upper Deck 1 NHL – While I haven’t rolled through 20 cases by this time like I had each of the past 2 years, collectors are slowly warming up to the carryover rookies as well as some of the new guys. In Colorado at least, we are still in the playoff hunt and it is almost December which is rare considering the past few years.
Back are the Young Guns at the established rate of 1:4 packs, the Exclusive /100, the High Gloss /10 parallels and the Day With The Cup cards that fall at a ratio of 1:2000 packs. Back for a second season are the Puck Drop inserts at the same ratio only to be topped by the autographed versions that replicate the odds of more than 438 people reading this effort. You’ll find them in one of every 16,000 packs.
If I had written this on Friday instead of Wednesday night, I’m sure that 2017/18 Panini Prizm NBA would have been popular enough to have taken over all five spots until I sold out of my allocation. That is until next week when more product would have magically appeared at my distributors warehouses at a slightly (cough cough) adjusted price.
Looking ahead, I’ll be focusing my efforts on the annual Mikey Awards. It’s my chance to praise as well as offer constructive criticism on all that happened in 2017 (you can read past editions here). I’d love your input, too. Here’s your chance to share what you thought worked, didn’t work or was a horrible effort in the card world this year. Let’s just say that the First Off The Line will make the Mikeys in some fashion. Will I like it? Will I despise it? Could it be found somewhere in the middle? You can reach me via the email below or comment when this gets posted on the Sports Collector’s Daily Facebook page.
Please stay tuned to see for yourself and make sure you support your Local Card Shop on December 9 as we celebrate National Hobby Shop Day. My store alone will have 16 autographed items to give away and I have already seen tremendous interest from my collectors as they try to improve their odds as walking away a winner.
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].