It’s been a fun month or so, fellow cardboard maniacs. Topps Series 1 kicked off the MLB season with style. Luka Doncic has proven that 6′ 7″ Slovenians can salvage an entire NBA season rookie crop. Something insane has happened to seemingly every post season NFL release. Don’t forget the NHL and Elias Pettersson giving hope to a season that was anticipated to be as thrilling as Caddyshack 2.
I’ll get into the Hot List rather soon, but since Chris Carlin reached out to me about doing my annual happy piece about one of my favorite promotions (actually, I would have done it anyway) then who was I to say no?
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, 2019 National Hockey Card Day is right around the corner. This Saturday marks the day that everyone collects hockey, even if you live south of the northern border. Yup, whether you like it or not, you’re going to be a Puckhead on 2/23/19.
Upper Deck primed NHCD with the first ever Upper Deck Family Weekend. Your LCS might still have a few packs lying around featuring 8 “Sibling Sensations” cards and since each participating shop also received two autographed pucks to give out, props go to UD for stepping up and supporting all the shops that attended their Certified Diamond Dealer Conference in January. What? Your LCS didn’t attend the incredible event in Los Angeles highlighted by actor/director Kevin Smith and that other guy who some called The Great One? Sorry, they didn’t get to be part of Family Weekend. Perhaps they will head to Orlando in 2020 for the next CDD event so they can more properly take care of you.
So, if you are up in Canada you have some incredible singles waiting for you including the aforementioned Elias as part of the set. Also popping from your packs could be rookies Evan Bouchard and Kristian Vesalainen. Fear not, there are plenty of northies included with singles of Sittler, Iginla, Messier, Boesser, Tavares, the younger Domi and John Tavares gets the be the cool card you get with a $10+ purchase.
Should you be a little further south, your player options include youngsters like Casey Mittelstadt, Ryan Donato and Rasmus Dahlin. As for the vets and retired players, there are singles from Chelios, Modano, Barrasso, Voracek, Gibson and Kane with Alex Ovechkin hoisting the cup represents the bonus card for dropping $10.
I’m looking forward to hearing which players have signed in this set for that last little buzz as we approach NHCD 2019.
Here’s a video for NHCD that GTS put together to get you a better peek at what you might enjoy.
About 500 trading card shops through North America will be taking part in the program this season including shops stretching as high north as New Foundland and Alaska and as far south as Texas and Florida. You can get the full list here.
Personally I’m going all out with the first-ever autograph session I’ve hosted with a retired Avalanche player. John-Michael Liles will be signing autographs for free from 10-11:30. Thanks to Adam Larry and Scott McKay from the NHL Alumni Association for making that happen (simply purchase any five packs of UD1 or UD2 and you’re getting a free autograph at Colorado’s Best Card Shop).
I dusted off my acting skills and risked loss of limb to sharing a cool item I’m giving away courtesy of Southern Hobby.
There’s also a signed jersey from Ray Bourque and some other cool surprises I’ll be announcing on my social media pages. If your LCS is looking for some cool ideas to share, I’ll be glad to talk to anyone to improve what they have to offer you.
So, as I mentioned above, things are rocking at the shop. Here’s a peek behind the curtain about what is flying off the shelves including a few that I wish I had kept hidden for a week or two.
1) 2018 Panini One NFL – When I attended that Southern Hobby Expo in November, it was a chance for me to experience Nashville for the first time ever, hang with my hobby brothers and sisters AND get a sneak peek at 2018 Panini One football. I think I literally covered my entire trip by bumping my order of One. It didn’t hurt that 60 of my boxes were delayed until the Monday after release. Usually something like that infuriates me to no end, however this time we saw wholesale box pricing nearly reach double cost and the online guys bumped their pricing like the stock market used to do two or so years ago.
With one autograph per box and a look that worked well with Topps Dynasty and Upper Deck Splendor, it was time for NFL fans to get a taste of a single, encapsulated, low-numbered singles with a chance at autographs from Tom Brady (you can see some of the recent pulls on eBay here). Now I’m just left to wish that my shipment was a full week late and not just 3 days delayed.
2) 2019 Topps 1 MLB – There is something special about Topps Series 1 release day. Sure it comes before pitchers and catchers report, but to so many collectors, that day represents the beginning of the baseball season. With a different packaging for regular boxes, it took a little time to acclimate to 24 packs boxes instead of the decades long 36ct pack format.
The jumbo packs went on a few card per pack diet as well, but it has not stopped baseball fans from popping the cardboard corks on this season and in spite of no major carryover rookies from 2018 to push it, shops should be encouraged with how well it is being received and is it too early to start looking forward to #bowmanday as well?
3) 2018/19 Panini Donruss Optic NBA – In most years, Optic gets over ordered by shops who hope that it will finally be the year that it crushes since it has so many of the familiar facets of Panini Prizm. In most years, shops regret over ordering Optic since it is more like the weaker sister than the killer cousin of Prizm. Let’s record this year’s offering as the first year that might have flipped.
I’m not sure if it was lesser ordered/lesser produced, the design caught collectors in a way that it had not before, it wasn’t available in seemingly 32 different packaged styles like Prizm or perhaps it is just backward year and everything else will flip around as well. Either way, I’m glad that I ordered like I do every year and I still have some to offer my collectors before it like Dirk and Dwayne head off into the sunset.
4) 18/19 Upper Deck SP Game Used NHL – Back for another year with collectors well used to their single pack style, SPGU is crushing it at the card shop. Boxes offer 4 hits and 2 base cards. Shredders are digging the Signature Draft Day Marks with an autographed letter, Winter Classics and Day With The Cup Net Cord cards and numerous other autographed and relic cards.
One of my favorite parts are the authentic rookies numbered to the players jersey number. I’m having Ty Conklin flashbacks with possible Joe Hicketts and Zach Whitecloud rookies with only two made. Sure Ty only had one in Titanium so mane years back, but either of those will be beasts.
Sadly back again are the banner relic cards featuring swatches from banners that hung outside a stadium. God, if you’re listening, please don’t let these cards ever be made again. They look cool and all, but they feature pieces of banners, yes banners.
5) 2018 Panini Limited Football – Yes, there are 2 NFL releases on the What’s Hot list this month and yes, the only football being played is the Alliance Of American Football and we are all basking in the resurgence of Trent Richardson.
Limited offers three packs with one yielding a relic card, a second with an autograph and the third giving you an autographed relic card. Boxes haven’t quite skyrocketed like One or the more recently released Plated & Patches, but sales are nothing short of spectacular and with possible autos from all the big rookies and Tom Brady, Joe Montana, Peyton Manning, Joe Namath, Terrell Davis, Dan Marino and more; is no surprise that Limited is rolling off the shelves as they are.
Looking ahead to upcoming releases, don’t be surprised to see Select NFL, Impeccable NBA, Heritage MLB, National Treasures NFl and Leaf Best Of Basketball on the next What’s Hot list. You can see previews of some of them here.
Before then, please make it to your LCS to support Upper Deck National Hockey Card Day 2019. I’m not the only one who is stepping up to reward their collectors this Saturday, throw on your best sweater and drop some “ehs” on your LCS as you snag some free cards 2/23. And since I’ve just dated this piece, look for the next What’s Hot rundown to arrive in this space much sooner than usual.
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]