I’m just chilling after the Nuggets dropped a game at home against the Warriors. It is a little more frustrating since they were favored by 15 or so points. I’m not angry, but it reminded me that there are no sure things in life. Well, perhaps no sure things other than the constant interest in any 2019-20 basketball releases thanks to Mr. Zion, Mr. Ja and a few other promising kids.
I guess I will wash away some of my frustrations when 2020 Donruss MLB, 19/20 Select NBA, 2019 Encased NFL and 2020 Leaf Ultimate Draft NFL all hit Thursday. Something tells me my Fed Ex and UPS guys will hate me a little more than normal on release day Wednesday.
You know what? I’m OK with that actually.
The sports card world is continuing a run I can only describe as bananas. Even after the world lost six trillion dollars last week in the markets, I still had a Saturday that cracked my 100 best sales days of all time. I’m not saying the market is bulletproof, but it seems to currently be wearing some impressive kevlar and looking at the current release calendar, the beat will hopefully just keep going on.
So yes, there are plenty of movers and shakers in the sports card market and here’s a chance to peek at what’s en fuego at what I like to call Colorado’s Best Card Shop.
1) 2019 Panini One NFL
After disrupting the market with its initial appearance in 2018, collectors were chomping at the bit to try the 2019 flavor. Boxes still offer 1 autograph card and the good majority have contained relic swatches as well. The 2019 rookie crop has a strong presence, but the veteran and retired autographed card selection is jaw dropping.
It is not too many products that can land you autographs from Tom Brady, John Elway, Barry Sanders, Drew Brees, Dan Marino, Aaron Rodgers, Patrick Mahomes, Lamar Jackson and so many more that I could just ignore spots 2-5 or quit typing here. Boxes were supposed to be $100 per, but that didn’t last long as the restock pricing was quite high from the initial response. Boxes are currently in the $140-$150 range and show no sign of slowing down.
2) 19/20 Panini Optic NBA
This release would technically be number 1… if I still had any left. Hobby boxes offer a single, high quality autographed card. They were initially supposed to be $100 per box. My distributors were over $300 per on the first or second day after release and when it comes to restocking, it’s going to hurt a bit…well, a lot.
I lost count on the total amount of parallels at 34 and Panini could drop the autograph per box without much concern (this is actually a horrible idea, Panini, and don’t listen to the late night ramblings from me). You are welcome to try to corner the market from internet sellers at their current $400+ pricing or perhaps be more practical and enjoy sniping singles.
3) 2020 Topps Series 1 MLB
Topps continues to amaze me with this release. Sure the Jjumbo boxes offer one auto, one relic and manufactured patch and the standard hobby boxes have one auto or jersey, but the parallels, inserts and variations are enough to keep this gem moving strongly close to after a month from initial release.
The Jumbo boxes lasted 2 to 3 days and collectors are either eager or willing to settle with my regular boxes. Topps 1 started off the season with some carry over rookies and the buzz has been strong. It is my hope that they score big this season so people will be chasing Bo Bichette, Aristides Aquino and Yordan Alvarez throughout the next 12 months.
Bonus points go to Topps for finally changing the way the box toppers were being rolled out. Just like 2019 Topps Update, you get 1 free box topper bonus pack with your standard release and two free topper bonus packs with your jumbo box commitments.
4) 19/20 Upper Deck Allure NHL
Clearly someone wanted to copy Select products for their collectors just like when Panini recreated Topps Inception, Upper Deck has added this first year release to the mix. Allure offers a more modest 11 different parallel versions and I’ll be more than honest with you; it might end up as my Mikey Award winner for Rookie Of The Year release.
Allure’s rookie checklist goes fairly deep with 35 first year players and I’ve enjoyed seeing Colorado Avalanche rookie Cale Makar finally get the cool RC card treatment he didn’t get in Upper Deck Series 1. I actually sold out of these this week and I’m not sure I will find any more to restock. Boxes typically average two hits, eight inserts and five parallels and have been in the $85 range.
5) 19/20 Crown Royale NBA
Yes, it’s still in the top 5. Crown Royale hit on the Friday before the Super Bowl and I’ll always remember that. I had a collector come into the shop while I was at home, getting packed to head to the airport for a trip to Las Vegas. My employee called and said that the back of the cards had some sort of dirt stain on them and that the collector who had committed to a case, no longer wanted it. I spent my next 20 minutes frantically looking for card back images to see whether this had affected the entire print run and also messaging friends at Panini to see if this was a printing design or a flaw.
I went online and saw some with and some that possibly did not have the stains in an effort to complete the transaction. Finally, I had my collector open a box from a new case and it had the same dirt style stain only to find the same issues. I had them open a box from ANOTHER case with the same results. Since it was Super Bowl weekend, the Panini folks were understandably busy and could not confirm the potential issues and I had a collector who was now fearful that they would have cards they could not sell (of course they didn’t pull a Zion in the boxes that I had to eat).
So come Monday or Tuesday after the Super Bowl, it was confirmed that the “dirt design” was intentional for some reason and there were some assurances that we would not see that in the future. The good thing is that Crown Royale is selling well by the box since I can’t sell busted cases and I was not able to complete the sale to the first collector. You can check out some of the cards, breaks and boxes here.
Looking ahead, I suspect some of the early March releases might be on the next What’s Hot list along with potential gems like Contenders Optic NBA, Impeccable NBA, National Treasures NFL, Inception MLB, SPX NHL, Noir NBA or Flawless NFL. Either way, March is setting up to be a beast.
Oh, if you do not feel like you are getting enough Mike in your life (and who but my wife is), feel free to listen to my podcast with my buddy Shawn. We are two episodes in and it is ad free, agenda free and more like a hang out session talking about the shop and interesting moments I have had along the way with a revitalized collector narrating the process. You can find episode 2 here.
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. 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].