I hope you all enjoyed a tremendous Thanksgiving and that it helped you forget about the one you might not have fully enjoyed in 2020. I hosted my wife’s family during the inevitable Lions loss and then went over to my brother’s house for Thanksgiving part deux. Suffice to say, I wish typing burned more calories than it does.
It has been an interesting time at the shop as usual. I have been welcoming many new releases, helping many new collectors understand what products might be right for them, trying to understand the new release schedule and sizable gaps between products (especially with NFL and NHL releases), letting collectors know that we will see rookie cards of the 21/22 NBA players before 2022 rolls in and enjoying the sudden uptick in supply stock (as well as lowering of prices which is more than appreciated).
So basically I have been enjoying another month as part of the 2021 collecting madness continues to roll on.
Not to pick on one manufacturer, but one of my collectors did point ask whether 2021 Prizm NFL was going to hit on 12/2. I asked him how he remembered the date and he responded that not only was it a product he and so many other collectors were anxiously awaiting last year, but how he remembered my having an off-duty police officer on site to assist in crowd management. Such was part of the madness of collecting in 2020. Sadly, I don’t have an officer lined up for early December, but hopefully Mac Jones will help propel it when it does finally release.
So, please enjoy the top 5 list of what I did have in stock to offer my collectors this month at Colorado’s Best Card Shop.
1) 2021 Topps Update MLB
Sure, Topps Update is living a little on the Trout hype of 2011 and some of the rookies who followed, but collectors know that there isn’t a factory set of Update like there is for Series1 and 2 and buying boxes is the only way to get in on the action. Update always starts well as shredders enjoy a nice late season release with rookies who have and have not appeared in the previously released base set options.
Regular boxes of 2021 Topps Update offer 1 hit and jumbo boxes offer 3 hits. Also heavily hunted are the box topper Silver Packs with chrome goodness, possible autographed cards and hopefully some numbered parallels. Part of the push on this release is one of my collectors who has taken down 10 cases on his own and is coming in the day after I type this to wreck some more.
In addition, Topps highlights the players who were part of the 2021 All-Star Game which happened to be played in Denver so we have that going for us as well.
2) Upper Deck Space Jam: A New Legacy
No, I’m not typing this after Buggs Bunny has hit me over the head with a mallet like he did to Pete The Puma. So far, my shop has enjoyed moving case after case of the blasters for this release even though they hit close to 4 months after the movie premiered. When I ordered these so many months ago, I had hopes that there would be Michael Jordan autos included. Even if there was just one, that would have been enough to have pushed it like crazy. Sadly there was no MJ sighting, but if you’re lucky enough to pull an auto of LeBron James (inserted at a kind ratio of either 1:234,160 or 1:229,640) feel free to take the rest of the month off.
Even though boxes do not offer an autograph per, one of my shredders was lucky enough to pull a signed card of Gabriel “Fluffy” Iglesias. A quick funny was my posting it, tagging Fluffy and having him RT it with his acknowledgment of having signed it. I’m hearing that boxes will be coming down the pike and perhaps MJ will feel badly and allow a few of his signatures to drop in.
3) 2021 Absolute NFL
Here I am writing this early on the morning of 11/30 and since Absolute hit on 10/27, there has not been a hobby NFL release with the players in their pro uniforms since that pre-Halloween drop. To be sure, I’m not blaming Panini for this delay, but it has taken some getting used to with the absence of weekly or semi-weekly product drops during the NFL season.
Fortunately Mac Jones is helping New England fans and collectors everywhere think they have the second coming of TB12. Throw in the KABOOM! inserts and I’m glad that I have a direct account and access to distributors so I can continue to offer this gem as affordably as possible. Hobby boxes offer 5 hits with 1 RPA per and the response has only grown stronger in the past few weeks.
4) 2021 Topps Stadium Club Chrome MLB
For some reason, Stadium Club Chrome is one of the quieter Chrome parallel products, but it still packs a strong presence at my shop. Boxes deliver 1 autograph per instead of the 2 you find in an original Stadium Club box and from what I’ve seen, pulling a numbered card isn’t the easiest thing to do either. In spite of that, we have gone through case after case already. In the current market, the price point is pretty hard to beat.
I’m guessing a strong autograph checklist highlighted by stars like Mike Trout, Ken Griffey Jr, Derek Jeter, Juan Soto, Ronald Acuna, Bryce Harper, Cal Ripken Jr and others has something to do with it, but when I do personal box breaks, collectors are shocked at the incredible photo quality. Long time collectors should know that Topps saves some of its coolest photos for this release, but we welcome the newer collectors as well.
5) 20/21 Panini Recon NBA
Continuing the trend from Panini of taking popular insert sets and turning them into standalone sets, Recon NBA is now a release by itself. Boxes offer 2 autographs and are hovering in the $250-$260 range. I like this product as it offer a good amount of packs to pop with 10 and each pack offering an insert as well as a parallel. Early on, we did a break with Recon and landed an Anthony Edwards autograph. I didn’t realize it at the moment, but that pull had a pretty strong impact on my shredders who then paid closer attention to it.
Other rookies like LaMelo, Toppin, Wiseman, Haliburton also signed as well as more established players like Luka, Iverson, Wade, Magic, Trae, Shaq, and one of my personal favorites, Calvin Natt, who played for the Denver Nuggets when I started working for them back in the late 80s. No, I don’t expect Calvin Natt’s autograph to sell for a ton, but for me at least, he’s a highlight. I’m probably going to do a case break with it this next week based on the interest on it.
So there you have it, the last “traditional” edition of What’s Hot for 2021. I’ll be spending parts of the next month coming up with my favorite contribution of the year; The Mikey Awards. As usual, there’s tons of moments to choose from and I always enjoy putting this offering together. I’m just hoping my streak of not losing my direct accounts with any of the manufacturers won’t be jeopardized. When this piece gets posted on Facebook, feel free to reply with your thoughts of what hobby happenings deserved to be properly recognized. Perhaps it will inspire me to make it part of what I get to immortalize in 2021.
If we don’t chat before, I hope you have a tremendous Christmas/Chanukah/Kwanza and be sure to share with your friends and family what you might like this year as well as where your local card shop can be found.
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. You can email him at [email protected]