Archive for football cards

Don’t be a dick to Dollar Tree if they don’t sell you packs for a penny

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

It’s been said on Twitter that Dollar Tree has been selling NFL trading cards this week for a penny per pack.

Some folks have walked out with dozens from each store, claiming victory against a hobby that often seems like it prices people out.

Meanwhile others have found such packs and store clerks have refused to sell them.

The latter is what happened to me Friday morning when I located 25 packs at a single store.

My experience went like this:

I walked in, grabbed the packs and went to the register. I asked them to check the price because they had been discontinued across the county. They checked, it rang up a penny and then they asked for a manager to check the situation.

At first the manager said they had to throw them away; then she clarified that they actually get sent back to the distributor.

I understood, thanked them and told them to have a good day.

Now, it’d be easy to come off angry and act like they owe it to us to sell the item. We could cause a scene and make threats to force the issue. But I know from working retail that price changes that drop to this price point usually mean that the item is supposed to be returned to the distributor. The process by which retailers signal this is different and with Dollar Tree it appears to be the $0.01 price point. Other places change the price to $0.00.

Bottom line, don’t be a dick to the Dollar Tree clerks or manager if they tell you they can’t sell them. They’re just doing their job and adhering to their company’s protocol. And threats to stop shopping at the discount retailer will ring hollow as they’ll happily tell you to walk out the door with your 50 cents instead of letting you walk out with 50 packs after you invoke the “customer is always right” mantra.

If you do see packs, take them to the register and see if they’ll sell them at the penny per pack. If they do, then you’ve won. But always be cautiously optimistic.

For the uninitiated, packs at Dollar Tree contain five cards, always four base cards and one parallel or exclusive card. There is NO CHANCE at autographs, relics or serial numbered items.

My brain has been trained to stop when I see the word …

Posted in Commentary with tags , , , on March 11, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

I was out running errands this morning after taking my kids to school when I decided to stop at Walgreens just in case the retailer got the Topps yellow exclusive packs early.

No such luck.

But I did take a glance at the 75-card repack boxes and I instantly stopped when I saw the word “Elite.”

Ever since I was a 11, the words “Elite Series” have been engrained in my head as being synonymous with the words “rare” and “valuable.”

Now, time has shown us that the original run of Elite Series baseball cards from 1991 through about 1995, and even a bit from 1996 through 1998, can still carry some clout.

But even though much of the newer stuff is technically “rarer,” it definitely does not carry the same weight In the hobby as the older ones.

But even the mere sight of this 2017 Donruss Elite (Rookie) Series Kenny Golladay makes me stop and reflect. I almost bought it … but I reminded myself that I don’t collect football.

But it did make me go look at my Complete Set of 1991-1993 Elite Series baseball inserts including the autographs.

I used to look forward to the Super Bowl

Posted in Commentary with tags , , , , , , , , on February 3, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

When I was a kid, the Super Bowl was a big deal. I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and the 49ers were dominant. And as I began to appreciate football for myself, I chose the Buffalo Bills as my favorite team. It’s hard to imagine why, right? Sure, they lost four straight Super Bowls but … they also MADE it to four straight Super Bowls.

Truth be told, much of what drew me there was eventual Hall of Famer Bruce Smith. I had a thing for defensive players. While everyone was fawning over QBs and RBs, defensive linemen and linebackers were my jam.

Bruce Smith, Derrick Thomas, Reggie White, Ken Norton Jr. … these were my guys. And in a different era of the hobby — maybe like today — I would have collected their Cards because there would have been gorgeous cards of theirs to own, maybe even with their signature (even a cut for those who have passed away). But at the time they most only had base cards, and I never collected their cards the way I do Roger Clemens. Why? Because I was always afraid of collecting items that didn’t seemingly have some shot at appreciating. Remember, this was early 1990s when so much was placed on book value, and we still saw cards as “investments.”

I digress, football to be has become such an afterthought. Not just hobby wise — the market is so ass-backward if you ask me — but also in real life. The game just isn’t the same — although I readily admit things might be different if the Niners returned to some semblance of success again. While the Bills were my squad when they were good, it’s hard to cheer for a team on the other side of the country when as it turns out you were really excited about the players themselves, not really Buffalo as a franchise.

While football as a whole isn’t as important in my life or among my forms of entertainment, Super Bowl Sunday still has some mystique since it’s really a single event the world is watching. But I’d be a liar if I told you I go out of my way to watch. Heck, three out of the last four years I’ve been working during the Super Bowl — today included

The actual victor isn’t important to me. But in case you’re wondering I am hoping Tom Brady wins another Super Bowl and rides off into the sunset. I know a lot of folks have soured on him, but the story and the level of dominance is one the sports world has not seen since the days of Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls; and those late 90s/early 00s New York Yankee club featuring a young Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera.

That said, what’s fun about the Super Bowl nowadays is that it marks the end of football and means we’re getting closer to the sport I love the most, baseball.

Twitter sale is reminder that “value” of cards varies from person to person

Posted in Misc. with tags , , , , , , , on January 23, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

For about a year I’ve had six 500-count boxes sitting on my card desk. The boxes contained partial baseball and football Topps sets from 1980-1985.

They were partial/starter sets I acquired with the intent to either 1) complete the sets, or 2) sell them to someone who needed them.

Well, they sat … and sat … and sat.

The mere sight of them often sent me into a tailspin as I could not muster the idea of spending an hour to determine what was there so I could post it on eBay with hopes that someone would take them off my hands. The resell value wasn’t nearly as good as I had hoped.

And then yesterday, after dropping off my kids at school, something clicked. Just get them out of the house, and reduce that stress.

So I spent 30 minutes counting the cards that we’re within and then offered the lots for sale on Twitter, which is sometimes hit and miss for sales on items that are not presently hot in our hobby.

For about 10 minutes the post sat. Then a follower of mine hit the DM and said he was interested.

This sale was confirmed and I was happy to hear the cards were going to a good home. What’s even better is the buyer advised they would essentially replace cards he lost in a flood some 30-plus years ago.

The economic value of the starter sets isn’t high — and the buyer understood that. The lots were void of the big star rookies and even the stars. But this also reset the notion of “value” for me a bit.

I had approached this the wrong way. I was looking at “value” based on what I saw on eBay, and the lack of “big payday” actually was hindering my process. Hell, at one point I was even regretting the purchase I made when I acquired these … because in some ways I had placed no value in the cards themselves because they no longer fit my collecting style.

But this transaction is a win-win for Scott (the buyer) and myself. Not only did I get the items out of my house and into a collector’s hands, but it was humbling and served a reminder that the value of our cards — while often tied to money — is often a personal experience.

One could look at these boxes as stacks of commons and donate them or toss them in the trash. Another could look at these partial sets and see potential, but then sit on then for years and gain stress from not moving them. And yet another person could look at the lot and see items representing a piece of their childhood.

The sale didn’t make me rich or even net me a profit; but it made me feel like I had made a giant sale as I had lightened my load and recouped a portion of what I spent on these cards and others.

Tom Brady: A constant reminder I quit football cards too early

Posted in Misc. with tags , , , , , , , on January 21, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

Tom Brady is headed back to the Super Bowl, and sadly I’ve still got nothing to show for it.

No rookie cards. No autographs. No relics.

Just some basic Brady cards that managed to find their way into my collection.

You see, I made a decision around 2002 to stop regularly buying football cards. Like many, there was a time I collected cards of the four major sports. But by the time I was nearing the legal drinking age I was in college and tried to focus on my passion of baseball cards and tinker less with football.  In my mind I had already reached the peak of that segment of the hobby with a very successful 1998 – I managed to pull both Randy Moss and Fred Taylor from the same box of SP Authentic, and then hit both Dan Marino and Joe Montana autographs from the same box of SPX Finite that year. That success then caused me to have feelings of doubling down in 1999 with that massive quarterback class, most of whom washed out of the league within a few seasons.  And by year 2000 I decided Peter Warrick was the second coming of Randy Moss and Jerry Rice, and Chad Pennington was definitely the new Joe Namath. I think you see I failed miserably.

Opening the 2001 season, Tom Brady was still just a backup to Drew Bledsoe. His rookie cards were mere commons. Hell, I owned one – 2000 Upper Deck Black Diamond – and I let it sit in a penny sleeve among a bunch of defensive player rookie cards.

Well, by 2001 I had become so jaded by miserable purchases of 1999 and 2000 that I pretty much decided I was done with the football segment of the hobby.  I purchased less football in 2001, and even less by 2002. And in 2003 I sold it all – save for the Brady Black Diamond rookie because I had already unloaded it for like $15 the moment its status as non-common changed. (side note, the Brady is like a $300-$600 Card now, the one shown about is a PSA 9 on COMC.) You see, while I was the only person in my college Sports Psychology class at San Jose State University to actually pick the Patriots over the Rams during that year’s Super Bowl, I still didn’t quite buy the notion of Bledsoe permanently being unseated as the Patriots signal caller.

Well, I was wrong.

Bledsoe was done in New England and Brady was just getting started, ushering in a whole new generation of Patriots fans, and creating new standards by which we measured quarterbacks.

Because of the way I collected cards, I know that if I had stayed with football cards, I likely would have obtained multiple Tom Brady rookies at some point. Maybe not the Holy Grail Rookie Contenders autograph, but I still would have had many, especially that 2000 Bowman Chrome card, which to me seems like a must-own for hobbyists.

Alas, here I am some 15-plus years later reminiscing about what could have been — the prices of his standard rookie cards are insane — and the only thing I have to show for it is a blog post about a card I used to own.