So I’m sitting here at 12:56 AM starting to put together my weekly (cough cough), fine…monthly What’s Hot piece wishing I could do it more regularly, but grateful that my editor only kicks me in my backside occasionally because plain and simple, time is not on my side. I wish I had more of it, but realize that if I could just buy more time, I would probably just use it to work more.
Fortunately, pretty much from 10 AM each day until I close at 8PM, I’ve been extremely busy helping my collectors enjoy the hobby, paying the shop’s bills, trying to order more product and trying to put it away while answering the phone and finding time to eat occasionally.
Busy is an understatement. As a card shop owner, I call this success only because fortunately, I have the bladder control of a teacher with a classroom full of 14 year olds.
Since my last column, I had an 11-year-old steal a Jerry Rice autograph /10 from me, return the card with his dad and then lie about not taking more cards until I told him about the other cameras I was going to use to look in on his visit.
I also attended the GTS and Panini Rookie Luncheon where I learned that asking Kyler Murray whether he was going to regret not playing baseball was about as funny as asking Lori Loughlin how her kids got into USC again. Side note, I was not the one who asked him that question. I did ask the six assembled rookies who they would like to jersey swap with, and it went over much better.
I also sold a few boxes of cards such as…
1) 18/19 Upper Deck Engrained NHL – Sadly the Avalanche were knocked out of the playoffs a few weeks ago due to a questionable offsides call (Hell no, I won’t let it go), but my NHL sales haven’t fallen off the map yet. When I saw Engrained previewed at the Upper Deck Certified Diamond Dealer convention in January, I was immediately fascinated by the existence of one particular card.
One of the most popular elements of this first year release was the inclusion of not just stick cards, but Dual Stick Nameplates featuring two players on one card with their name pieces applied to the same card. One of the couplings featured Wayne Gretzky and Connor McDavid on the same card.
Since I basically learned how to run a card shop from Alan Narz, Rob Veres and a side of P. T. Barnum, why not put an old west bounty on this “once in a lifetime” card? Right when the product dropped, I announced that if one lucky collector popped one of my boxes in my shop and snagged the Great One and McJesus dual that I would purchase it for $10,000.
My puckheads picked up on this offer and even a few non NHL fans went to ripping this wax with all the enthusiasm of an official helping the San Jose Sharks advancing well past where they should have (see above not letting it go comment). Other shops apparently benefitted from this bounty being out there since it generated additional interest for the product and once the dual stick card was pulled, any number of people tried to pair me up with the lucky shredder located in Canada. I’m still waiting for one of my box busters to pull a Dual Nameplates, but at least we had a sweet autographed jersey card of Elias Pettersson.
2) 2019 Panini Legacy NFL – What do you do when one of your staple releases like Classics performs well, but for some reason doesn’t capture the attention of collectors the way it should? You change the name, take out the jersey hit and replace it with a second autograph and presto, instant product upgrade. 2019 Panini Legacy averages two rookies per pack and speaking of autographs, how about most of this year’s name rookies coupled with one name vets like Elway, Aikman, Favre, Namath, Marino, Dickerson, Butkus, Montana and more? There are also autographed rookie relics and dual signed rookie cards out there somewhere. I haven’t seen any of the dual rookie autographed rookie cards, but I still have a few cases to roll through.
3) 2019 Topps Tier One MLB – Tier One has a smaller following than Bowman, but equally devoted collecting base that loves the chance at the incredibly hard to find Bat Barrel Knobs featuring some of the best to ever play with the best active players.
Players that you would like to pull, but realistically have no chance of no snagging include Albert Pujols, Cal Ripken Jr, Kris Bryant, Mike Trout, Ozzie Smith, Rickey (Loves Himself Some) Henderson. One of our collectors lucked out and snagged the Eddie Mathews 1/1 cut signature card. While cool, Eddie Mathews autographs in general aren’t exactly rare, but it still made that case break memorable.
4) 2019 Score NFL – A few months ago, when my distributors approached me about 2019 Score football, I heard a word that I could not remember previously associated with this release. That word was “allocated”. Yes, 2019 Score NFL was an allocated release along the lines of National Treasures, Flawless and Immaculate pigskin releases which ladies and gentlemen, means that every release for the foreseeable future will be allocated. I’m not against this, but it was an interesting word to hear for a “base end” release.
Boxes offer four autographs per which for a sub-$100 box filled with 396 additional singles isn’t a raw deal at all. Each box also celebrates the 30th anniversary of the 1989 Score set with buyback singles featuring an embossed stamp. There are also buyback cards featuring autographs as well with a roster that would make any GM jealous. Feel free to hunt for the rather limited versions that include Brady, Gronk, TD, AP, Deion, Bettis and loads of other All-Pros or HOFers.
5) 2019 Leaf Best Of Sports Mix – Leaf BOS is basically the Best Of product from Leaf but with all the sports represented. I used to have concerns how MLB fans would react to pulling a NHL single, but have learned that Leaf invests enough into this release that the name recognition is strong enough to placate shredders who snag singles I wouldn’t have expected them to groove on. I’m still holding out hope that Brian Gray from Leaf will one day call me up, arrange to send me 700k or so and I could spend the next few months (and that 700k) hunting down singles for a future Leaf buyback release. Brian, if you’re reading this, I’m your man and thanks again for shipping us the case that just happened to hold the National Treasures Peyton Manning National Treasures Emerald /5 PSA 10 autographed card.
So, I’m hoping the next four weeks offers much of the same the goodness I shared above and I also hope that nobody else tries stealing from me. I guess there’s some compliment in the younger generation being interested in cards, and would hope that other kids take advantage of my shop’s new Kid’s Club and doesn’t try pocketing more of my singles. I do have to give the little feller some props for at least trying to walk out with an auto of the GOAT.
Well, it is 2:25 AM and I’m all done sharing what my collectors savored the most over the past 30 or so days. Looking ahead to future potential members of the What’s Hot list, I am eagerly anticipating Fed Ex and UPS dropping off cases of Upper Deck SPA hockey, Topps Finest, Series 2 and Museum baseball, Panini Luminance and Elite NFL. Thanks for giving this a read and make sure you head to your LCS to check out these releases and many others that are keeping us a good kind of busy.
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]