Archive for basketball cards

Embrace these times; things won’t always be this good

Posted in Commentary with tags , , , , , , on May 6, 2020 by Cardboard Icons

For about 20 years, we’ve been talking about the rise and fall of the hobby since the days of the Junk Wax Era. We have shared and embraced story after story discussing the great times we had during the 1980s and 1990s as this hobby rose to stardom.

We discussed the simplicity as well as the ingenuity of the time. We discussed chasing rising stars who eventually flamed out on the big stage, or never even got there. We discussed a time when base cards and simple parallels or inserts carried massive premiums only to be forgotten as interests shifted to relics and autos.

Then of course we discussed how that all attention had waned, and how seemingly almost everything from our youth became worthless. Simplicity was for the most part thought of as over-produced rubbish that many discarded at thrift stores, or even burned in their backyard bonfires.

But due to various influences (both people and circumstances) here in 2020 we have arrived at the summit of the collecting world again. Business is booming — it actually has been fairly healthy for the better part of a half decade or longer — and now our hobby has national eyes on it again. The folks who collected in their youth are returning to recapture the feelings they left behind when they discovered other interests, or because life took them in a different direction. And then of course there are folks who see dollar signs and view cards as an area for investment.

Like many collectors, I cringe when I hear that folks are treating these cards as investments. I don’t have an economics background, but I know from experience that the investment piece of this hobby/business is real, but also is an area that is ripe with scams, con-artists and really is something built on the notion that others believe in the idea that “he’ll only get better” and plays on the character flaw of FOMO, the acronym for “fear of missing out.”

Where things have changed recently for me is a shift in mindset about these so-called newcomers. It’s still frustrating and mind-boggling at times to see the big numbers thrown around at cards we considered to be forgotten or relatively worthless, but I’ve been trying to be more accepting of these folks. In reality, this isn’t all that different that the boom that many of us 30- or 40-somethings had a part in when we joined this world of baseball cards. I mean it’s not like folks were always spending hundreds, thousands, or hundreds of thousands of dollars on cards, let alone a singular card.

Instead of pushing back against this new type of hobbyist, we should to some degree be embracing the voracity with which folks are enjoying ANY aspect of this hobby. I don’t chase prospects anymore and can’t see the allure to spending hundreds of dollars on unproven players, but others do. And it is because of their dedication to breaking that stuff that small businesses (online breakers and even some brick and mortar stores) are enjoying success; it is also why other cards filter to different types of collectors at prices that don’t always make sense. Their “loss” is other persons “gain.”

At some point we can expect there will be some sort of regression, and with it a lot of finger pointing and laughing because that’s just how some folks are, but for now we should understand that this hobby/business/market is no longer just about the old school curmudgeons who love splitting hairs about hobby definitions and can’t see past the idea that folks with different mind sets might also enjoy cards, even if their type of enjoyment or their reasons for being involved is not the same as our personal reasons.

There isn’t just one way to sort a stack of cards; to organize your collection; or to protect your cardboard assets. Then it is wrong for us to assume there is only one way to participate in this world of sports cards.

Panini Points ARE Poop … but at least we got this basketball HOF Auto

Posted in Mail Day with tags , , , , , on February 7, 2020 by Cardboard Icons

Last year I ran into a deal of a lifetime when I came up on a stash of 2018-19 a Prizm basketball at a discounted price. The boxes yielded an epic Luka Link Ouksar rookie, a silver Trae Young and a slew of other good stuff.

But one of my favorite memories of that break was when my kids and nephew broke out into a “Points are Poop” chant.

We were set to get an auto or relic in each box, yet in three boxes we wound up with three 150 Point Panini Points cards.

I checked the site and didn’t see anything worth obtaining immediately so I let the points sit. I hadn’t really checked the stock on the site in a while but would up looking about two weeks ago when I logged in to enter a Kevin Durant redemption card that my son pulled from a 2019-20 Donruss blaster.

Among the cards we saw on the points site was that is Golden State Warriors Legend Chris Mullin. The card came from Immaculate, so in my mind there was already some build in value given that the price point for that product is pretty high.

So I snapped up the Mullin, paid the shipping — which is an asinine practice if you ask me — and yesterday the Mullin arrived.

Points are STILL poop, but at least it helped facilitate a deal that brought home a Warriors HOFer.

Second round of discount Prizm NBA from 7-Eleven leads to “Points are poop” chant from kids

Posted in Box / Pack Break with tags , , , on May 9, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

A few weeks ago I scored big time when I stopped at 7-Eleven and located a ton of retail NBA Prizm prices at 99 cents a pack and nailed a Trae Young silver, Trae Young auto and a Luka Doncic Pink Pulsar, which has since been sent off to BGS. (See post here.)

Today, I went back to the 7–Eleven to pick up a case of water and much fo my surprise and delight, they found more Prizm in the back room. You know I had to buy it all. I again left the Hoops behind.

Well, I had my kids and my nephew with me, so I decided to turn this as an opportunity for a family #PrizmRipParty

I couldn’t pass on these at 99 cents a pack when that’s like a third or even a quarter of what these would cost online or even at the card shop.

We all took turns opening packs, one at a tome. I’m a collector, my son is new to collecting, my daughter (the oldest of these three kids) has been opening packs and and off with me for years and my nephew? Hello, he STILL has not opened the half box of 2018 Topps Big League I gave him for Christmas hoping that he and my son would start trading cards. Nonetheless, I included in this family break. I really didn’t care what I pulled from these proverbial lottery ticket packs, this break was all about the kids and their reactions.

And as it turned out, my nephew actually did really well. In terms of notables, he pulled a Malcom Brogdon auto pretty early (I believe it was his first hit ever) and ended up hitting a Luka Doncic Base Prizm Rookie.

My daughter participated for about half of the break and didn’t pull anything of real note other than this Trae Young insert silver.

My son was acting the whole time like a jaded collecting veteran, I really think he was expecting us to pull another Pink Pulsar Luka. His big hits were a green Derrick Favors (numbered 15/25 — his jersey number) and a Panini Points Card which actually has now become a priceless peace of Cardboard Icon’s collecting history. (See below)

As for me, I’ll hang my hat on a green Prizm Trae Young Rookie parallel, a Joel Embiid Pink Pulsar /42, and a Purvis Short autograph, which promoted a second classic reaction.

But that just PART of the story. Remember the Panin Points listed above?

I explained to the kids what the appoints program is and how instead of an actual autograph in a our, the company put this Points Card inside so that we could go choose a hit from the Web site. Their reaction?

“Points are poop!”

I had to break out the phone to record the second wave of chanting, but I had NOTHING to do with their reaction. They were very disgusted with the idea of points, so much so that when we were opening the last of the boxes I explained there should be one more autograph and they collectively said “Or more Points!” Then the chant continued again. And because of their reaction, ’tis card shall remain in my collection forever. Seriously.

Another giant take away from this break was my daughter’s reaction to my Purvis Short autograph.

Daughter: “Wait, does that mean the player actually held that card?!”

Me: “Well, no. This is a sticker autograph. They signed the sticker, and it was put on the card.”

Daughter: “That’s just dumb!”

Again, I did not prompt this response. I As a seasoned collector know why the sticker autographs exist, and can understand to some degree why the points could be appealing. But, it should not go unnoticed how innocent people who do not know the intricacies of the hobby react to things. As a friend of mine said: “Thats some great market research!”

So, overall how was this break? In a vacuum it was kind of rough. But you also have to realize this was probably the remainder of the case of blasters and retail packs from my break a few weeks ago, and THOSE packs yielded some great cards.

It sounds silly to call this a priceless experience, but in many ways it was. Now if only I can get my nephew to open the damn cards I bought him.

And lastly, don’t go hunting at all your 7-Elevens for these cards, almost every store will have. I idea what you’re talking about. Most don’t sell cards.

What The Luka?! Pink Pulsar Prizm /42 unwrapped from discount packs at 7-Eleven

Posted in Box / Pack Break with tags , , , , on April 21, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

Two and a half months ago I stopped at a 7-Eleven half way between my house and the home of my ex wife and was surprised to find the retail hotness that was 2018-19 Panini Prizm.

I had picked up my kids for their days with me and we stopped there for milk. I managed to fight off the urge to buy any packs — at the time the packs were $2.99 each and Blasters were $19.99 — so it wasn’t a tough decision.

I hadn’t returned to that particular store since that day. But on Easter Sunday I again found myself in a similar situation as I needed milk whilst taking kids to/from their moms house. I decided to stop at 7-Eleven as my brain began wondering if the Prizm packs ever sold; and if they had not had the store discounted them?

Well, by now you know the answer.

They sold some of the stock that was there in February, which I documented in a post. (Here)

But there were three blasters, seven sealed retail boxes and some 20 loose packs sitting around. After confirming the price — 99 cents for each retail pack and $9.99 for the blasters, we were off to the races.

Beep. Beep. Beep.

After the clerks settled their confusion as to how to ring up the sealed boxes and stopped asking why I wanted all the Prizm, the transaction was done — they had their money and I scored a great price on a product that remains in demand from basketball fans.

Now before you go stopping at every 7-Eleven looking for the same deal, I am fairly certain this was an anomaly. The store manager told me that her son used to collect — “he was always buying cards looking for a Michael Jordan…”– and explained that these had been sitting here for months.

And as you may know, each 7-Eleven is franchised so there exists some opportunity to sell some site-specific merchandise. That’s why some stores carry knock-off hats and other kitsch items and others don’t.

I brought the Prism packs home, occasionally ripping into a pack at each red light. And when I pulled into my parking garage I decided to open a few more of the loose packs — that’s when Luka (/42) appeared, like the prize of an Easter Egg Hunt.

My son and I had bought a fair amount of Prizm blasters — he has really taken to basketball, almost the way I had baseball when I was his age. And to date we had not pulled a basic Luka Doncic Prizm, let alone any sort of color. So when the Pink Pulsar Prizm Luka showed from behind a common, I was completely taken aback.

I had thoughts of reselling the retail boxes and basically accepting the double profit before even contemplating what to do with the Pink Luka. But I decided we should just open it all — besides, my boy was still working on the Prizm set, the cost was relatively cheap and I figured we’d never had this opportunity again.

Luka was clearly the prize here, but there was more good stuff to be had. We picked off a pair of Luka base Prizms; a Trae Young auto, a Young silver Prizm, and more. I did laugh at the 150 Panini Points though — that was a first for me.

That one time we all bought shirts, underwear with our card money

Posted in Box / Pack Break with tags , , , , , , , on March 12, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

One day we’re all going to laugh at what has transpired over the last week — Us card collectors venturing past checkout lanes, where the cards are usually sold, and speed walking to the clothing department to hunt our wears.

I laughed last week when I saw people on Twitter filling shopping cards with new packages of Hanes underwear and shirts, most of which were solely purchased for the bonus item — a pack of five Fleer Michael Jordan cards with a 1 in a 100,000 chance at obtaining his autograph.

When I saw the cards were live and there was a frenzy, I immediately figured people would go into stores and find a way to rip the card packs off the packages or buy the item and then return the clothing without the cards. Sadly, I did not buy the notion that so many folks were actually going to donate any of the clothing to persons in need.

I digress, I managed to stay away from the stores this weekend, so I didn’t partake in the first rush that seemed to be taking place at the end of last week. But then Monday rolled around and there I was doing groceries at Target … and I decided “just to see” if any of the Jordan cards had made it to the store.

Sure enough there were a few mixed in among the standard Hanes merchandise. While I didn’t need any of the wears for myself — I did just buy new undergarments about a month ago — I was faced with a decision: Does my SON need any new underwear or shirts?

The answer, of course, was yes. On both. And truthfully, I would have just bought one package, but the wrapper said to buy a red pack and a blue pack to complete the set.

And the smirk on Mike’s face here says it all. Because little did I know that we’d need much more than just a red and a blue pack to complete this set …

I bought a pack of underwear and shirts for my son and then ripped the card packs open in the car. The very first card front I laid eye upon was this glorious screen grab from a commercial. The picture was apropos as it looks like Mike just got a whiff of some rancid milk — or in my case, a brilliant marketing scheme to sell more undergarments.

Because we all know that we needed cards of Michael Jordan palming a football helmet …

And palming a pumpkin …

And wearing a bright white Hanes t-shirt, probably tagless for comfort, under a black vest — all presented within a holofoil insert to make us feel like we got something special.

This whole Jordan-Hanes-Upper Deck campaign is magnificent. It got us talking about undergarments; it got us collectors who would rather spend money on cards than lunch to go buy clothes. It got us to again talk about a company without a basketball card license. And they seem to have done it without even showing the greatest basketball player in history doing anything basketball related. Hell, the closest I got in my packs was him carrying golf clubs.

Damn, I wanna be like Mike.