Is Upper Deck’s ePack killing card values?

Yep, it is. 

I don’t buy boxes to resell.  Most collectors admit that the ability to turn some of the inserts and other cards you don’t want into something you might like is always a nice bonus.  EPack has killed much ability to do that.

If you hit an Artemi Panarin, Jack Eichel, or any of the other top Young Guns, you absolutely can still turn them and “get back” some of your money.  What about the lower level inserts, base and canvas cards.  It’s not like they were “worth” much before.  It’s less now.

People can move some of their hits into their COMC accounts.  So, let’s check out the COMC Marketplace.  We shall start with the Canvas Cards.


A picture says a thousand words, but I still can use some words.  The Sidney Crosby Canvas card from 2015-16 Hockey can be had on COMC for 49 cents.  That’s 20% of the price of the lowest Crosby (only) canvas card from previous years.  Also, take a look at the quantity available.  It feels like “junk wax” all over again, and I don’t mean “junk wax” in the cute nostalgic way that many of us see it today.

If you bust an actual box of 2013-14 Upper Deck and happen to get a Sidney Crosby you don’t want, it might be worth shipping to COMC and making a couple of bucks on it.  However, if you pull it from a 2015-16 box (and I’m not talking ePack…I mean actually opening a box), what can you do with it?  You’re not sending it into COMC.  You’re going to pay a quarter to list, add in three cents or so shipping…and then IF you can sell it for 48 cents (which seems unlikely based on the quantity available), you’ve gotten back a whopping 20 cents.  Awesome.

You’re likely not going to sell it on eBay.  Why would someone buy it and pat $3 or more shipping when they can get it for less than 50 cents?  Are you going to trade it or maybe sell it on Twitter or in a Fecebook group?  Good luck.  Most collectors are only interested in autographs, game used, low numbered, etc.  If you’re reading this you know what I’m talking about.

Just to show that this isn’t an aberration, I pulled Carey Price as well.

carey price canvas

Different star, same result.  Well, other than the 2015-16 asking price being lower and more available.

The Shining Stars cards have had little secondary interest over the last few seasons, but I thought I’d take a look at them as well.  They weren’t “worth” much before and are worth even less now.  These are sorted by the lowest asking price.

shining stars 1415

shining stars 1516

Let’s ignore the ridiculous quantities available.  On the bottom screenshot there was 18 different 2015-16 cards available for less than the lowest asking price of a 2014-15 card.  You could head over to COMC yourself and see how many of the 2015-16 ones you can get for less than 40 cents.  You don’t need to.  It’s 50.

The thing that upsets me more than any of this is what it’s done to Young Guns.  If you collect hockey, I don’t have to tell you that these are some of the most desired rookies, even being unsigned and unnumbered.

As mentioned earlier, if you hit one of the big boys, you’re still doing fine.  But if all six of the ones you get in your hobby box are toward the bottom tier, that’s unfortunate for you.  I’ve seen collectors move Young Guns of players that will never again see the NHL still move them well at a buck or so.  That’s well below “book” value, but at least they were “worth” more than a common.

Yeah…about that…

young guns 1516

These are sorted lowest asking price to highest.

There are two ways that I am going with this.  Let’s compare that to Young Guns from the year prior.  Bear in mind, I couldn’t find out how to sort them by price point (using a “Young Guns” search), so I just pulled them in number order.

young guns 1415

There are a couple that are available for below a buck and a couple more that are just over a buck.  I get that.  However, it’s difficult to look and this and not see the difference.

The second Young Guns comparison is just a comparison to base cards.

1516 upper deck base

The number is 13.  That is the number of cards asking less than the lowest asking price on a Young Guns card.  That leaves hundreds of base cards “worth” more than a Young Guns card.  What kind of backwoods collecting world are we now living in?

Make of all this information what you will.  I’m sure I will be told that I’m being negative.  I’m simply passing along info that is right out there for anyone with access to the interwebz to see.

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  1. After spending several months immersed in the ePack world after never collecting or even watching Hockey I’ve noticed several things.

    There is Beckett Value, eBay value, COMC value and it’s trading value on the ePack site.

    What I enjoy about ePack is that it has inserted the 4th element of trading value. Every other traditional release, it can actually be difficult to get value back. Listing cards on eBay or sending a box to COMC isn’t the most exciting thing in the world. Being able to combine a few cards and try and trade up to a bigger card, while doing it all online, has been an amazing experience.

    You’re dead on that COMC has been flooded with ePack cards, and that will continue this week actually with S2 being released. The price may actually be more depressed but I’ve personally bought close to 4,000 cards myself waiting for a rebound. I know several other COMC sellers doing the same thing.

    One aspect that the trading element has brought is that when S2 comes out tomorrow. I have to buy at least a box or two. I could care less what I pull. If I get something good, that’s great. If not, people are going to be making stupid trades trying to get the “new” cards. I’ll gladly rip a few boxes, and I’m confident I’ll be able to trade those cards for better S1 or MVP cards in my favor.

    It’s definitely frustrating trying to rip and sell right now. Play around with the trading, definitely become familiar with the achievement bonuses, and see if you like the trading part. For me, it’s unlocked a whole new enjoyment for cards. In a sport that I never watched before, which is crazy.

  2. I totally agree it has tanked values in the short term. Certainly anyone who bought this set prior to it being released via ePack is really the one group that gets burned the most. However, ePack did invigorate sales of a set that had been off most collectors radar for the most part. That’s good for Upper Deck … which I was told was on thin ice if 15/16 Hockey didn’t sell well.

    So it sucks for anyone that bought pre-ePack … but that’s kind of backward looking. Looking forward – can prices of these cards appreciate 10 – 20% over the next 12 months? How about 24 months from now? I remember vividly buying 2003/04 Basketball boxes for below cost when LeBron James was a rookie. Finding any of that product for less than several hundred dollars per box is almost impossible today. I had an entire closet full of it & the distributor was dying to sell me more between 2003 – 2005. Just because people are dumping a product shortly after release doesn’t mean that will be the case in the future. In fact, the bigger star McDavid becomes, the more valuable all these cards will become.

    I know the scope of your piece was to illustrate that prices are in the tank compared to years past. And you did so quite nicely. However, I see tremendous opportunity – especially for anyone with a long term perspective. Lots of people are picking up nickels and dropping dollars here. That will become apparent in a few years.

    1. So cards that are selling for 30 cents now might go up to 33 or 36 cents in a year from now? Sorry if it is hard to get excited about that.

      Really, the only card 98% of the people want is the Connor McDavid Young Guns. The surge in Series 1 packs (via e-Pack) has flooded the market with Upper Deck Series One inserts, as well as those foil parallels, which are selling for less than the base cards themselves.

      Personally, as a collector — and not an investor — I am enjoying this. I’ve completed my UD Portraits insert set for about $25. Those cards at a show might be $1 each if I find them. Same with the Young Guns. 50 cents each is a treat.

  3. Hi I am from Canada and I collect hockey cards.I think it’s a scam.For example I buy upper deck boxes.They are over $100.00 a box.When I crack them sure I might be lucky and get a good rc card.But that’s rare. If I get a really big hit like $200.00 the dealers offer you squat maybe 1/10 the value.I say look at Beckett the price guide.Dealers say it’s just a guide.Right you will almost never realize those prices.I don’t sell on eBay because they too you off with fees and more PayPal and PayPal sucks another 5% above the legitimate exchange rate.They are computers sucking out the most from the consumer.Im not grumpy just realistic. The eBay computer data crunches and spys on all communication.Dealers are blackmailed if they try to talk to you. How draconian is that.
    Really it’s almost not a hobby any more.
    One local dealer has such devalued the common card that he sells a monster box for $50.00.Man toilet paper is worth more.
    Please get back to me with your comments.
    I need a website for collectors to trade and but and sell with common sense and honesty.
    No I don’t do social media.There computers data mine all your personal info and use it against you.
    crazy collector

  4. Here ! I don´t sell cards because a boom period is over. But for trading is great like it has always been. I could trade 80bucks for 80bucks card. Fair. Therefore I look only what I want to buy or trade but I never sell cards since trading is much more . Epacks is all right idea because like I said before the boom period is over. However card shows is must! Epacks makes trading easier but it´s not $$ business. Trading is best option to make each other pleased.

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