Archive for Panini

“Are we selling cards or lottery tickets?”

Posted in Commentary with tags , , , , , , on September 6, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

I was listening to the MojoBreak podcast “The Hype” today and co-owners Dan and Doug were having a spirited conversation about Zion Williamson and the recent Panini Contenders Draft product.

During the conversation targeted mostly about Zion base autos topping $1,000, and a parallel that was at $99,000 on eBay, Dan said: “Are we selling cards or lottery tickets?”

There was a pause and then the talk continued. But in this one quote Dan really hit it on the head my thoughts on the current state of the industry.

There has always been an element of gambling in what we do. We buy an unopened pack of cards with a chance that we pull something we want, or something we think may be valuable to someone else. Sometimes we win, sometimes we lose. But the difference between now and 5-, 10-, 20-, 30- years ago is that the stakes have changed.

We’re not talking about lunch money being saved and then used for cards that we throw into boxes and place on our school binders. We’re talking about car, rent and mortgage payments being spent in stores and with online breakers everyday with a hope that the participant is the one who hits the jackpot card that can be resold for a handsome profit — very few are buying and/or keeping with the idea that they added a true PC (personal collection) item.

The issue of course is the industry has shifted more away from being what we’d known as our traditional hobby, and more toward being akin to gaming and an exercise in stocks or day trading, as Ben from “About the Cards” podcast like to call it.

Now, of course I am speaking in generalities. There are still plenty of people who buy and enjoy cards for what they are — the same as they had been since they were kids. But this industry is trending toward the risk takers, the ones who will put it all on the line to feel that high of watching a box be broken online (or in their own home) which is then followed up by figuring out how to either minimize their damage by immediately selling what they got (if anything) or trying to figure out when the profits are at their highest.

And this is where I struggle to reconcile how I feel about the future of this card world. Because I do feel in a sense that guys like MojoBreak, or your favorite breaker, or your local card shop, are really dealing in commodities that are essentially our version of lottery tickets. Because we all hope that one day we will pull the golden ticket — no pun intended — or pull something that turns out to be the second-chance lottery ticket if we hold onto it long enough.

And then the secondary market has become a game of high-stakes “hot potato” where we buy at a level and move items as quick as possible for a profit in hopes that we are not the ones who are stuck holding the card that is depreciating.

This is why for the life of me I cannot figure out if I like Gary Vee.

I’m not saying any of this is wrong per se. I’m saying this is a difficult world to navigate when as a longtime collector you’ve got to figure out if you’re too old school for this new style hobby and find yourself asking these questions: Am I failing to adapt? Am I doing this wrong? Or am I doing it right by staying the course? How do I teach and share this hobby to my children?

These questions, of course, are facetious because there is no one way to do this hobby. I suppose what drives me crazy is that there is so much focus on what’s new, and who hit the big card today, that much of the fun of the hobby sometimes feels like its sucked out — unless of course you’re one of the winners.

Revisiting the “Flashlight Trick”

Posted in Misc. with tags , , , , , , on January 4, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

Yesterday I wrote about a Clayton Kershaw game-used patch card I recently acquired. In that piece I mentioned a “Flashlight Trick,” and apparently it’s still not something a lot of people know about.

I’ve written about the trick here before, and on Twitter, but it’s probably worth revisiting again.

Basically you take your Panini brand (Or Donruss, Leaf or Playoff relic card from early 2000s) and then the card relic-side down toward the flashlight. Through the back of the card you generally can see an adhesive paper on which the relic is attached. That paper has a bunch of codes on it, as well as the name of the player and sometimes a description of the relic. This generally only works with single-layer swatches, or really thin patches. Sometimes if you get a patch swatch with a little of the base jersey material it’ll work as well as long as the material isn’t too thick.

In the case of this Kershaw patch card I can see the words “Clayton Kershaw Gray” and a bunch of numbers. This helps assure me that at the very least I am not looking at a fabric swatch from someone else.

The trick isn’t fool-proof, and by no means is it the end-all, be-all. But it offer some reassurance.

Personally, I’ve been using the trick since 1999 when I obtained a three-color Time Couch Leaf Certified relic. I was curiuous as hell what was on the other side of the swatch. I held the card over a lamp and could see there was some writing underneath. I also could see the name “Couch.”

The trick does not work on Topps, Upper Deck or other manufacturers. It’s pretty much a Panini (or early DLP) as best as I can tell. However, it doesn’t hurt to hold the relics over some light and see what’s going on inside. Sometimes you see pieces of thread, old stitching holes, pen marks or other things that made the relic a tad more interesting.

Another case of a missing Rookie Card Logo

Posted in Misc. with tags , , , , , , , , , on May 17, 2016 by Cardboard Icons

A decade ago, the official “rookie logo” was instilled into the baseball card world following a rule change that no longer allowed card companies to create cards of players who had yet to serve time in the Major Leagues.  Topps’ rules were slightly different as they were grandfathered into the hobby and via various Bowman branded products could produce “prospect” cards. This changed the definition of a “rookie card” for many people as some saw the prospect cards as nothing more than an insert, or pre-rookie card, akin to a minor league issue. The debate over what collectors really want continues to this day.

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But the Rookie Card Logo was also designed to make it easier for collectors, especially novice ones, to easily identify a real rookie card from a player’s second- or third-year card.For the most part Topps, the only company with a Major League Baseball Properties license, has done a good job using the logo when needed.  However, it has been abused in the sense that the logo has basically been slapped on ever rookie player’s non-rookie cards — like subsets, inserts and checklists bearing their photo and name.

But there have been instances where the company seemingly has flat out missed the opportunity to correctly use the Logo.

In 2015, Giants utility man/third baseman, and eventual runner up for National League Rookie of the Year, Matt Duffy was added to the Topps Update Series without a Rookie Card Logo. And to make that worse, they have added the Logo to his 2016 Gypsy Queen card.

It should be noted that Panini has a license to create baseball cards through the Majoe League Players Association and uses a variation of the Rookie Logo on their cards. The 2015 Duffy cards created by Panini in fact have the Panini version of the Rookie Logo.

The reason this comes to mind today is I pulled a 2016 Topps Gypsy Queen Byung-Ho Park rookie card this morning and guess what … it’s missing a logo.Park signed with the Twins in November and to date is his only Major League card.

What’s good for the Goose …

Posted in HOF Auto with tags , , , , , on August 21, 2015 by Cardboard Icons

I like autographs. Who doesn’t.  I also appreciate when autographs on well-designed cards show up in our hobby. 

Like many others I like to gather autographs of Hall of Famers.  I have many of the same guys you likely do too, none of the super rare guys who are deceased.  

Well, Goose Goossage was elected into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2008 yet his signature is one that was not in my collection. Shame on me.

But there is a positive to this.  If I had owned Gossage’s auto, I likely would have overlooked this sweet 2015 Panini Cooperstown autograph featuring HOFer Rich Gossage posing with a goose.  What’s also pretty near about this is that Rich signed this on-card, so he knew he was signing a card with a goofy picture. Love it.

On a side note, I like what Panini did with the Cooperstown brand this year. 

Five-Pack 2014 Donruss Baseball break + Box Topper

Posted in Box / Pack Break with tags , , , , , , , on March 7, 2014 by Cardboard Icons

Hit one of the local shops yesterday and was lucky enough to be there right when they opened a fresh box of 2014 Donruss Baseball.  I actually intended to buy a box last week, but changed my mind this week after I essentially spent my Donruss box money on a pack of 2012 Panini Signature Series that wound up yielding a Mike Trout auto /25.

I digress. The employee agreed to sell me the box topper, and so I picked five packs to go along with it.  With each box containing two autographs and a game-used relic card, I’d say I did fairly well in my packs.  Here’s the loot:

Box Topper:

IMG_6935Stephen Strasburg Jumbo Diamond Kings.

Pack :1

IMG_6941Colby Rasmus, Roberto Alomar, Adam Dunn, Jason Kipnis auto, Travis d’Arnaud Rated Rookie, Ryan Zimmerman, Kiroki Kiroda, and Matt Harvey.

 

Pack 2:

IMG_6940Gerardo Parra, Curtis Granderson, Aroldis Chapman, Don Mattingly Press Proof /99, Andrew McCutchen, Ichiro, Yan Gomes RC, Josh Dolandson.

Pack 3:

IMG_6939Jean Segura, Chris Sale, Stephen Strasburg, Mike Trout Breakout Hitters insert, Buster Posey, Hisashi Iwakuma, Felix Hernandez, Zack Wheeler

Pack 4:

IMG_6938Jay Bruce, Wei-Yin Chen, Adrian Gonzalez, James Paxton Rated Rookie, Tim Lincecum, Alfonso Soriano, Chase Headley, Hiroki Kuroda

Pack 5:

IMG_6937Ian Kinsler, Josh Hamilton, Jose Fernandez, Edwin Encarnacion Game Gear Relic, Roy Halladay Hall Worthy, Robinson Cano, Hyun-Jin Ryu RC, Carl Crawford, Zack Greinke

Video Break: 2012 Panini Signature Series Baseball — Big Pull

Posted in Box / Pack Break with tags , , , , , on March 6, 2014 by Cardboard Icons

I don’t do this very often.  I don’t buy a lot of “high-end” products to begin with, and my history of recording box/pack breaks hasn’t exactly been all that successful. BUT this time was different.  This one comes from Stevens Creek Sports Cards, in San Jose, California. Good times. Enjoy.

Thrift Treasures XLVI: Giants Giveaway Cards In Custody

Posted in Thrift Treasures with tags , , , , , , , on May 15, 2012 by Cardboard Icons

Greetings.  I am back with an all new Thrift Treasures post, only this time there are no scans … just this video.

Let me know what you guys think of seeing these on video.  Certainly makes it easier on my mind not having to scan everything.

Enjoy.