It has been an interesting month at my store. Usually Christmas sales are about as good as it gets for the year, but thanks to two particular rookies in Dallas, our 2016 NFL sales have been so good, that even getting knocked out of the playoffs has not put the kibosh on what has been a monster year for football. That did not mean that I was not rooting for them against Green Bay.
So it is no big surprise that we start off the list with something involving pigskin.
1) Panini Contenders Football – Contenders is always one of the most anticipated releases of the year. For reasons beyond my control, I did not get my cases on release date. I take pride in keeping my collectors aware of release dates so when something is late, it can be annoying. When something like Contenders is late, it means double digits in calls and cursing the UPS gods. Fortunately it did not take the frequent plunge that new releases can sometimes do.
My cases eventually arrived and shredders are grooving on the chance to snag Dak or Ezekiel autographed rookies and more recently, do not mind paying $20+ over SRP.
I am into double digits in case sales and it REALLY makes me wish that Aaron Rodgers had fumbled the ball when hit behind late in the game. I even was rooting for University Of Colorado K Mason Crosby to miss a kick which I hate doing.
2) 2016 Panini Limited Football – Usually when a manufacturer tampers with an established release, it ends up going along the lines of the “success” of New Coke. In this instance, it has gone 180 degrees and my box buyers could not be happier. Gone is the one pack format with seven cards. Instead boxes contain three packs with one hit per and some commons thrown in for good measure. The Rookie Premier autograph singles have been especially sweet as most of them contain multi-colored swatches and while it did not contain a patch, one of our breakers snagged a 1/1 autographed card of Ben Roethlisberger.
In a “typical year” whatever that is, my store will roll through two or so cases of Limited out of the gate and then snatch up more when it becomes more affordable. This year, right about the time it landed, Panini announced that Limited had sold out and I snagged a second and third case before prices potentially ran on it. At this point, I am into my fifth case and do not see that slowing down anytime soon. Props to Panini for taking a somewhat tired release and injecting some fresh life into it.
3) 2016 Bowman’s Best Baseball – I was a little concerned about Bowman’s Best when it hit since there was no Kris Bryant style rookie in 2016. It literally arrives during the quietest part of the year for MLB products and my worries continued as sales started off sluggishly. More recently, it has caught fire and I think I am going to regret flipping my last three cases since other stores and distributors have not exactly rushed to fill my buys on Dealernet since I posted my requests.
Topps did not make their autograph selection only about rookies and prospects as established players like Carlos Correa, Mark McGwire, Mike Trout, Hank Aaron, Icniro, David Ortiz and many more are included this year. We’ve plowed through over six cases and while I have not seen too many of these and the other veterans, knowing they are out there has surely helped excite customers.
4) 2016/17 SP Game Used Hockey – For the second time, I have to say nice things about a manufacturer who tinkered with a popular product. Last year, boxes of Upper Deck Game Used offered singles, and this year there are six. Now it is not all a bed of roses as two of those are either a base card or a rookie instead of possibly having five hits like last season. The bonus is that I can offer boxes for $94 or less instead of the $129 or so we saw when last year’s product was released.
Many collectors have asked me if my prices were real and or if I had taken too many pucks to the head. It has helped move more boxes in spite of not exactly having a monster rookie like we all enjoyed last season. Not to reveal too much, but after attending the Upper Deck Certified Diamond Dealer Conference in Arizona, we should be seeing this trend continue with a number of other 16/17 Upper Deck releases.
5) 2013/14 NBA Products – If you told me before this season began that my biggest regret was not going deep into 13/14 NBA restocks, I would have asked you if you had taken some of those pucks I alluded to earlier without wearing a mask. Anthony Bennett’s career (or lack thereof) should be enough reason to avoid this year like a walker without a gun in The Walking Dead.
I mean Victor Oladipo and Steven Adams have been functional on the court, but it took Giannis Antetokounmpo stepping up like he has to help 13/14 NBA products to avoid being like 2013 NFL offerings. Now some people still have not mastered his last name and I get a fair amount of “Greek Freak” asked of me since it is a wee bit easier on the tongue, but my 13/14 section on my wall has more holes in it than the list of Browns Pro Bowlers outside of Joe Thomas.
I have not raised my prices and have enjoyed seeing so many dusty releases finally take off. Hey, you hear that Eddie Lacy? Let’s make 2017 something to remember so that I can get back some of my store that is still filled with 2013 releases.
Looking ahead to this week, 2017 Topps 1 MLB is expected to be a monster and I am hoping that 2016 Panini Black Gold NFL will continue the run of recent football releases. I have similar optimism for 16/17 SPX hockey as well as the return of Panini Plates & Patches football. Now to just have 2016 Panini Encased football to avoid the massive failure known as 15/16 Panini Replay NBA and I will have a wide grin.
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]