I’m writing this around 9 AM the morning after 2018 Topps National Baseball Card Day and I’m feeling like I did when I first went to Las Vegas right when I turned 21. I’m half-dazed, way more tired than usual and sitting here with a “did that just happen” feel.
Thanks to Topps offering posters to hype NBCD with Series 2 cases, more promotional efforts from them including a video by David Ortiz to hype year three of this event, stadium giveaways, my usual marketing efforts and chances at autographs from loads of players including Shohei Ohtani, 2018 NBCD will go down as the most successful one yet in my shop and many others.
Usually when my store runs a promotion like NBCD, I like to snap a few pics of collectors having a blast in my shop to post them as quickly as possible so that other collectors can see how much fun we are having and also so the manufacturers can see what shops are doing on these special occasions. There was only one issue with that happening at my shop yesterday. My shop popped open at 10AM, and I did not have my first chance to sit down (or take a bathroom break) until 5:30 PM. Apparently if I was a Marvel Avenger, my superpowers would be the ability to sell cardboard as well as unparalleled bladder control.
Right from the moment the “Open” sign was illuminated, collectors were taking advantage of the free packs. A vast majority of them also took advantage of the $10 additional purchase required for a NBCD Aaron Judge single and only a very small percentage stopped in for their free pack without making a purchase. I know this will sound weird, but the sign of a good day for me isn’t always how well we did at the register, but it is how many new collectors we can add to our email list or who join us on our social media accounts. I have not checked our new friend total on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter yet, but we had as many new email addresses shared with us yesterday as we usually see in a three-week span.
Another fun part of yesterday was seeing how many of our guests were younger and getting their first pack of free cards. It always takes me back to my first pack of 1978 Topps baseball cards when I have a chance to introduce the next generation to the fun of collecting.
In addition to handing out the free packs and Judge singles, my shop also offered –
* A free Babe Ruth card to the collector who got the most likes through Sunday night on a social media post that tagged my shop and Topps.
* Free hot dogs! I mean you can’t have NBCD without hot dogs can you?
* Loads of prizes to give out to box buyers.
* 10 free cards from our quarter bin to any youngsters who wore their uniforms or apparel from any MLB teams.
* We went out and stocked Topps MLB blaster boxes to give collectors more affordable box options.
* Did I mention FREE HOT DOGS?
I am already looking forward to 8/25 when we offer up the second component of NBCD and can give out free singles of Phillies slugger Rhys Hoskins to collectors who snag $10 or more in Topps MLB products. Props to Topps for stepping up and investing as much as they did with NBCD and it makes me look forward to National Hockey Card Day as well as the Player Of The Day promotions offered up by Upper Deck and Panini during their respective seasons.
So, while NBCD would normally take spot 1 in the What’s Hot list, I’ll still go ahead and include five releases that have been flying at Colorado’s Best Card Shop.
1) 2018 Topps Chrome Regular & Jumbo MLB – Topps Chrome, like many of its recent predecessors has enjoyed the Ohtani hype and with so many of his autographed cards clearing the four digit range, it is no surprise that collectors are clamoring for boxes of this long running Topps favorite.
Throw in autographed cards from Ozzie Albes, Ronald Acuna, Mr. Hoskins, Gleyber Torres, Miguel Andujar and more, and it is no surprise that both Hobby and Jumbo versions are quickly leaving the shop.
Panini did a masterful job of not only signing the Round Mound Of Rebound, Charles Barkley to an autograph deal after well more than a dozen years without autographs from him in any releases, but their marketing team somehow kept the secret and built up some killer hype just before product release. While his autographs from this release are not selling for as much as those from Ohtani, they too are clearing the four digit mark and despite a $500+ price tag, I have only one box left.
3) 2018 Panini Certified NFL – Apparently the key to any successful product is to go find someone is incredibly popular and who hasn’t signed cards in a long time. Certified usually sells well enough on its own, but when it was announced just before it releases that a certain #12 from the Patriots had 22 autographs in the release, it turned into a Willy Wonkaesque chase.
On most releases if I can do five personal box breaks, I can take joy in that. When Certified hit, I was basically glued to my computer as I knocked out more than 40 PBBs for excited collectors who could not run over to the shop or who lived out of state. Hopefully I can keep that type of momentum going on future releases and hopefully Panini sprung for many more autographs from Tom Brady for other releases.
4) 2018Topps Allen & Ginter MLB – While some 2018 MLB releases have not had the splash that we had hoped for after the success of 2018 Bowman, A&G has been a welcome exception. As of Saturday night’s close, I was officially sold out of the nine cases I got between my direct order and what I was able to purchase from distributors.
Ginter is selling well mostly it seems because of collectors who enjoy its quirky player inclusion, interesting insert sets and of course the ever popular rip cards. I’m on the prowl for more cases if any of you happen to have some lying around.
5) 2018 Leaf Jersey Edition Football – I can say with pretty solid confidence that no jersey or mini-helmet styled release has made the Hot List (feel free to scroll back and prove me wrong), but when this product hit, I had a few collectors who wanted me to do PBBs for them. Between what they pulled and what was possible in this release, many of my other collectors wanted to get in on the action. It usually takes me a month or so roll through my eight boxes but this time, they were gone in mere days. Even though he was busy at The National, I was able to get Brian from Leaf to reserve the last two cases he had for me and I expect to move through them in a similar fashion.
So, there you have it. Now that my bowl of blueberries and this piece have both been digested, I’m ready for our weekly trip to Costco and a five-hour shift at the shop before the “Lost 80’s” concert I get to work tonight featuring A Flock of Seagulls, Wang Chung, Naked Eyes, Missing Persons, Animotion, Bow Wow Wow, Dramarama, Gene Loves Jezebel & Farrington and Mann, original vocalists of When in Rome UK. Yes, without being too specific, I will be Wang Chunging (is that a word?) tonight.
Personally, I would contact my LCS to see if they still have packs of NBCD lying around so you too can chase one of the remaining four Ohtani autographed singles and get enough funds for your own Las Vegas trip.
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].