Collectors, whether full-time, part-time, professional or casual have many decisions to make regarding not only the sport but also the manufacturer and series of the cards they will be purchasing and/or collecting. As technology makes advances in photography, memorabilia insertion and printing the actual product, it seems there is a movement to create such marvelous products that they could be classified as “collectibles” as opposed to trading cards.
The new styles, designs, personalities and to some degree frequency of release is going to create a bubble of sorts for the industry, I’m afraid. Each major sport signs a licensing deal with the card makers to showcase their products. The perimeter companies are sidestepping the process by creating cards that lack the sports logo as well as team name.
The issues that concern me regarding the process is this: how can a 10 year decide what player to collect and worse yet, how to collect by position? With the new style of card how is the kid to know what position these players play if it is not listed on the card?
Baseball is not the only sport guilty of this either. I recently looked through some NBA cards from these upper end manufacturers and noticed the positions were missing there also. When you factor in the price for these pieces of art are you now beginning to price yourself right out of the market? Please don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love the look and feel of these cards. They are a wonderful addition for a secondary collection! The ##/## cards are to me the ones to watch for more so than an auto card simply due to the extremely limited and defined quantity of that card. The auto cards may be a dime a dozen but if you have a 1/15 you know there are only 15 cards with those exact markings.
The real genesis of this article is I was once a kid collecting cards. As I wrote earlier of the fun of collecting, that simply must remain the case for a child. With that being said, how can the card companies expect to continue to drive the hobby if they are gearing it towards the millennial with the disposable income? Now, as an adult who is able to understand the market and consequences of spending $50.00 for a box of cards only to “miss” that one card you are chasing who also very much appreciates and understands the free market concept, I get it. I understand what motivates and drives these companies.
As with anything it all boils down to revenue and profits. I don’t have a problem with that at all. The big three card companies have done a great job at keeping their base sets and single packs affordable and very much accessible to the beginning collector. I am just hoping the youngsters aren’t discouraged by seeing these art pieces and getting frustrated to the point of taking up another hobby.
To me, baseball cards much like music have created a timeline of my life. That probably explains why I have no problem maintaining and hanging onto all of the common cards in my collection. I enjoy looking back on them with a fondness as if listening to a song that was popular with an old girlfriend. I would feel such sadness if the younger generations didn’t have that opportunity. I enjoy to this day looking through my collection as I listen to the hits of the 70’s.