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Could We Start Again, Please?

Posted by houstoncollector on August 3, 2009

I’ve been very hopeful, so far. Now for the first time, I think we’re going wrong.
Hurry up and tell me, this is just a dream. Oh could we start again, please?
I think you’ve made your point now. You’ve even gone a bit too far to get the message home.
Before it gets too frightening, we ought to call a halt, so could we start again, please?
-“Could We Start Again”, Jesus Christ Superstar OST

I was going to write a preview for 2009 Topps Chrome football, but ….. I’m not. I went off on a huge tangent, and I felt that the tangent is much more important than promoting a product that is stepping deeper and deeper into what is wrong with our hobby as a whole, and no, I don’t mean Beckett, even though they’ve done their share. I only have one comment to say about 2009 Bowman Chrome Football: I won’t go into the design decision as far as the relic autos other than to say that whoever was in charge of design should be reprimanded or fired. This is ugly. It’s not visually appealing at all, and if they wanted to add auto-relics to the set, they should have been a specific insert that had an auto-relic combination, where the design is set up for the relic specifically. I will agree with him on this matter, and in general as far as relic placement on cards. I could do a better job designing a card, and I don’t have a graphics design degree, or any knowledge of graphics programs beyond the basics.

With that being said…I need to unload, and part of it touches on that particular product, but it extends pretty far.

Manuletters are getting stale, but they’re not as bad as they might be. However: They should not be considered a selling point of any product unless they are game-used letters. While they still hold some value on eBay, they don’t hold as much as some might hope and considering these a major value for the product is doing customers a disservice, in my mind. At least Topps has learned from sticker autos on these, thank goodness.

Admittedly, part of my issue here is that I’m so turned off by ‘auto-relic-parallel’ that it’s making me ill. When people are literally throwing away 80-90% of your product, something is wrong. It’s to the point where people don’t care about the photography or design of a card, it’s all about the hit. Is it an auto? Is it game-used? Is it #’d? Is it a #’d insert? No? Who cares? I’m not saying that there isn’t a place for people who want the best of the best, by any means, but I think we’ve gone so far on the auto/relic/parallel train that it’s become meaningless to a huge extent. Most of your relics are either of crap players, or un-numbered, or have single color swatches, and maintain little value. The large majority of your autographs across the board (and some sets get away from this, but not many) are of lower end players, admittedly because the players themselves have priced their signatures to the point where the card companies have no choice in the matter. I’d love for one of the companies to just s tand up and say ‘Screw it. Let’s make it about the cards’, and do away with 90% of the GU and Autographs, and make what GU and autos remain actually /mean/ something. Sure, you might take a wash for a year or two, but it’s gotten so bad with each company trying to out-do the other that it’s gotten insane. You have hair from someone? We have DNA! You have DNA? We have fossils! And butterflies! Well we have the invisible man’s signature! It’s taking a turn towards the absurd, and it’s honestly time to stop. Make pulling a game-used card mean something. Make pulling an autograph make me feel like when I pulled my Cal Ripken and Joe DiMaggio autographs.

Here’s a hint to all of the card manufacturers.  If someone opens a pack of your product and gets an autograph or game-used, and their immediate mental or verbal comment is 1)  Who’s that?  and/or 2) Meh, then you’ve done something wrong.  While on one level I fully understand the economic realities of the current market, and that the companies have to do what is necessary to drive sales, I have a feeling that they’ve gone too far towards the *cough* ‘mojo’ and made it to where 90% of their product is just filler.  I think this is why we’ve seen duplicated photos on products across product lines and years, because why waste the money making sure your photos work, when no one is looking at them anyway because they’re looking for the foil numbering, the patch of fabric, and the scrawled ink on either a card or sticker?  I don’t know what can be done to solve this issue, but I think until the card companies do, we’re just going to see more of what we’ve seen on eBay and at card shows:  The majority of the ‘hits’ they produce being sold for $2-3 dollars just to get rid of them, and base cards being sold for a nickel to a quarter, if that much.  We’re literally swimming in game used and autographs, and it’s impossible to even try to collect in any volume anymore without having very deep pockets.

I think you’ve made your point now.  You’ve even gone a bit too far to get the message home.  Before it gets too frightening, we ought to call a halt.   Could we start again please?

Note:  I’m throwing this one open to all of you.  If you have a blog, please point your readers here, and let’s get some comments.  Write on your own blog.  Write on message boards.  I’m also putting out an email to all of the card companies as well as Beckett, and I’ll post their responses here as well.  I think this is a very important issue facing the industry at this point, and it needs to be addressed.

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One Response to “Could We Start Again, Please?”

  1. […] Do We Go Now? So, after my last post involving the issues facing our card collecting today, and the industry in general, I put an email […]

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