Wow, the sports collectibles market seems to be really depressed.

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by KeithH, Nov 21, 2001.

  1. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Maybe this can be chalked up to the state of the economy at present, but the sports collectibles market seems to be really depressed. Prior to getting into home theater and audio, I collected sports memorabilia. Most of my stuff is baseball-related, with cards, autographs, and Starting Lineup figures. I also have some hockey, basketball, and hockey collectibles. Now, I don't have a Barry Halper-type collection, but I have some good stuff. Anyway, I've been perusing eBay off and on over the past few weeks to see what stuff is selling for. For many quality items, there have been low bids or no bids. It's sad.

    Over the last week, I ran an auction on eBay for a complete 1993 Kenner Starting Lineup hockey set in near mint-mint condition. All the figures are in the original packages with the trading cards. For those of you who aren't familiar with this set, it has rare Grant Fuhr, Ed Belfour, and Pat LaFontaine figures, along with figures of Mark Messier, Patrick Roy, Eric Lindros, Jaromir Jagr, Brett Hull, and Mario Lemieux. That's a pretty solid lineup as far as I am concerned. This set is valued at $600 in the current issue of Tuff Stuff, which has long been considered a standard guide for prices on Starting Lineups. In my week-long auction, I had the reserve price set well below $600 and started the bidding at $1.00. The auction just closed about twenty minutes ago, and the high bid was a mere $91.00! Some of the individual figures in this set are valued at more than that. Now I know, something is only worth what someone will pay for it, but this is ridiculous.

    Again, I am guessing that the economy is at least partially to blame on the state of the sports collectibles hobby. Part of the problem also could be how fans view professional sports these days. There are a lot of bad teams, bad athletes, and bad attitudes pervading professional sports these days, and that could have many backing away from the hobby. By the way, I realize that certain athletes and memorabilia are immune to all of this, at least somewhat. I can't imagine interest on a Babe Ruth-signed baseball waning, but unfortunately, I don't have one of those.
     
  2. Bill Balcziak

    Bill Balcziak Supporting Actor

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    Collecting sports memorabilia would seem to be a luxury (not something you buy when there's rent to pay), but I don't see any evidence of people cutting back in any significant manner. I am astonished at the number of brand new cars on the road. Some recession, huh?

    Maybe it's just the market for hockey collectables drying up. Ever since that fellow...Wayne-somebody...left the sport, it's all been heading downhill.
     
  3. Michael*K

    Michael*K Screenwriter

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    Tell me about it. I have a closet with hockey cards in boxes stacked to my waist. I've literally tried giving them away but had no takers.
     
  4. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Bill and Michael, you may be right about a waning interest in hockey collectibles. I remember back in the '80s that no one cared about football, hockey, or basketball cards. Then, in the early '90s, collectibles for these three sports became a booming industry. Maybe things have cooled off a bit.
    Pro sports seem to be starving for true star athletes that are also class acts and define their sports. Basketball had Magic Johnson and Larry Bird and then Michael Jordan. Jordan is back, but many fans wish he wasn't. Still, I don't think basketball fans are ready to put Allen Iverson, Vince Carter, Kobe Bryant, or Shaq on a pedestal with Magic, Larry Legend, or M.J.
    I don't know who the majority of pro football fans look to as a true superstar that defines the game these days. It used to be guys like Elway, Marino, Montana, and Barry Sanders, but they've all retired. Jerry Rice is still playing, but it isn't the same with him playing for the Raiders. Emmitt Smith's best years are behind him and Dallas is awful. Terrell Davis was looking like the man, but he can't stay healthy. Brett Favre may be the closest thing to a superstar to carry the torch for the NFL, but I'm not sure. Randy Moss? Yeah right. Ray Lewis? Please.
    As for baseball, there are too many problems with the quality of the game. Fans and the media generally discredit hitters' accomplishment due to weak pitching and smaller ballparks. Still, baseball has Ichiro, Derek Jeter, A-Rod, Randy Johnson, Kid Griffey, and a host of other fan favorites. Then you have Barry Bonds who just broke Mark McGwire's home run record, but people don't like Bonds.
    Anyway, I think sports overall has lost its heroes. [​IMG]
     
  5. Brian Lawrence

    Brian Lawrence Producer

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    I think part of the problem was the in the early to mid 90's there was such a flood of the stuff and most all of it was way over mass produced, Expensive to buy and had unrealistic market values. Hell I remember an Eric Lindros SCORE rookie card being listed in Beckett as having a worth of $15.00 before he played a single game in the NHL. Now the entire set for that year can be had for $15.00

    Another problem being that many people where buying cards and figures and whatever else and hording them away in storage for a percieved future value. Yes their have always been those kind of collecters but in the early 90's It seemed like every 10 year old and their grandmother was buying sports collectibles for the sole purpose of selling them off 5 years later at a much higher price than what they paid. But by the late 90's reallity set in and nobody was interested in paying big dollars for a piece of foil stamped cardboard that has a pressing of about a million.

    My view is that sports collectibles that pre-date 1985 will continue to slowly increase in value. But with most of the stuff after that, their seems to be the problem of more people wanting to sell it off than their are of those who want to purchase it, thus the value plumets.
     
  6. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Brian, I agree with you. The other problem is that during the boom in the '90s, there were not only too many common cards, there were too many limited ones. The insert craze got totally out of hand. Back in the '90s, a number of truly limited Ken Griffey, Jr. inserts were produced, and there was no way anyone could keep up with all of them. Even though each one is rare, no one insert card has real significance since there are so many different ones. No insert cards stand out. I quickly stopped chasing after inserts (they were sometimes referred to as chase cards) because I knew that there were so many to collect from a given year and the next year would bring a flood of others. Also, some of the insert cards are just plain stupid in my opinion, such as Upper Deck's inserts with a piece of a game-worn uniform or a player's bat. How about an insert card you can redeem for the entire jersey or bat? They probably did that too. Why would anyone really care about a card with a 1" x 1" swatch of a Ken Griffey, Jr. jersey when the real collectible is the entire jersey. Some of these insert cards were valued at several hundred dollars. I don't know if they still are. [​IMG]
    Given that the companies flooded the market with far, far too many cards, some collectibles are legitimately hard to find. Some Starting Lineup figures through 1996 (when I stopped pursuing them actively) were very difficult to find. I remember back in 1996 that there were three different assortment cases for Starting Lineup National League baseball figures. Each case had 24 figures. If you had one of each case yielding 72 figures (with some duplicates), you would only get one Chipper Jones figure (his first Starting Lineup). Finding a Chipper Jones figure on a store shelf in 1996 was impossible. I had to buy one at a show. In fact, I had to buy many of my rare figures from dealers because I could never find them in the stores. After awhile, I started buying more Starting Lineups than cards because of their relative rarity of the former. Now Starting Lineups do not seem to be in demand at all. Hopefully they will rebound in time. These things usually do. The funny thing is I don't see the price guides reflecting what I am observing on eBay (i.e., price drops).
     
  7. RicP

    RicP Screenwriter

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  8. PatrickM

    PatrickM Screenwriter

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    Keith,

    Sports collectibles seemed to have been in a slump for quite a while now. I guess its good for me as a minor collector since it brings the price down on some rarer collectibles.

    Actually, I'm heading down to Vegas next week. Does anybody remember the name of that big collectibles place down there? I think its Smokie something or other.

    Patrick
     
  9. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Patrick, there is or was a large dealer in Las Vegas called Smokey's. I remember their huge ads in Tuff Stuff when I was an avid reader a few years back.
     
  10. PatrickM

    PatrickM Screenwriter

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    Keith,

    Thanks, I just looked it up and your right its just Smokey's Sportscards. Unfortunately their website is down. Wonder if they're still in business. I'll have to check it out when I'm down there.

    On another note, since you collect Starting Lineups, (I only have one which is the jumping Michael Jordan from 91 or 92 I believe) have you taken a look at the ones from Todd McFarlane? The quality of these figures are unreal. I picked up a Daunte Culpepper and Randy Moss. The detail is unreal. I think I'm going to pick up some hockey too. The goalie ones are incredible.

    Patrick
     
  11. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Patrick, I haven't seen the Todd McFarlane figures. I'll have to check them out somewhere. I'm not collecting anymore, but I would like to see them.

    Maybe Smokey's is out of business. Check some of the major trade magazines to see if they are still advertising.
     

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