By Scott Kozlowski aka scottkoz20

On January 2, 2011, I was fortunate enough to purchase a 2009-10 tin of The Cup Hockey. I still do not know what made me thinking about or even why I decided to purchase this tin, but I am thankful that I listened to that voice. The 2nd to last card of the tin was a Matt Duchene Gold Auto Rookie Patch parallel numbered to 9!

This card is arguably the most coveted, if not one of the rarest rookie parallel cards one can find in this product. There is simply no better feeling to find a whale in a pack, especially when the cost of the tin is in excess of $400.

Since pulling that card, a number of people have approached me here on SCF, Hobby Insider and on other sites, including eBay (where I have not even listed the card) asking about its availability. The dilemma I face is trying to put a value on this card or any card that is similar. We all face this dilemma when a card like this is pulled out from a pack, a box or in this case, a tin.

Trying to put a value on any rare card can be very challenging. A number of factors can go into making a determination about the worth of a rare card. Some of the factors I tend to think about when trying to make this determination include:

1. The Player – If the rare card you pull is of a person that you have never heard of is going to be worth less than a player that is starting to or has made an impact on their sport. In this case, Matt Duchene was the #3 selection of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft and was the runner-up for the 2009-2010 Calder Memorial Trophy (NHL Rookie of the Year).

2. The Product – This really goes without saying it. A rare card from a high-end product, like The Cup or National Treasures will be worth more than a card pulled from a retail product, like Victory or Score.

3. The Card Type – A card that has an autograph and a multi-color patch will probably have more value than a card that just has an autograph or a patch. Additionally, a card that has a low print run, will potentially increase the value of the card.

4. The Marketplace – This is probably the hardest factor to determine. The marketplace has its own set of factors you need to think about:

4a. Sale Value – While eBay is not a traditional price guide, it can provide you with significant information about a card  similar to the one you pulled and/or a similar type of card.

For example, if you ever pull a 1 of 1 Dual Shield from The Cup, there will not be any information on Sale Value for that card, you have the only one in existence. However, looking for similar types of cards will give you an idea of how much the cards are currently priced at and/or how much a similar card sold for.

4b. Other Collectors Personal Collections – This is something that can be feast or famine for your card. If you pull a card like the one I did, you will probably find a few people that are interested in it. On the other side, when you happen to pull a rare card of someone you have never heard of or no one collects, the chances of moving that card for a premium is diminished.

5. Your Cost – Most people do not have $100 to light on fire for sport cards, let alone $400. Most people look at sport cards as a potential investment. When you do pull a whale, you may think about what your cost was for the pack, box or tin. You may think about if you can make a profit on it. However, this factor can lead you down a path of potentially overvaluing your card.

The first 3 factors merely help to identify your card. Obviously when you purchase a pack, box or tin, you probably have these factors in mind, but do not outwardly think about them. The fourth and fifth factors really make the determination on what you can expect to receive for that whale.

The marketplace is the single most important factor. It is not listed first because you do need to understand the card that you have in order to start to identify the marketplace. This factor simply is the concept of supply and demand. If you have a rare card, but only 1 or 2 people collect that player, then the demand for the whale you pulled simply is not there. Conversely, if many people that collect that player or looking for cards as they are building that set AND you have their whale, then the demand will be high, thus you can ask for more in a trade or sale.

The final factor is something that can cause you to overvalue your card. I list this as a factor because this is something that we all think about, especially when more and more money being spent. However, if you look at this factor first, you can severely overestimate the worth of your card. Just because you pull a rare card, it does not mean you have the market for it. Asking for the price of the tin in return for a rookie that has played a handful of games can be extremely dangerous and will probably leave you with a bad taste in your mouth.

All 5 of these factors can help you determine the potential value for that whale you pulled. If you take your time in evaluating the card, understand the card you pulled and take the time to understand the potential interest the card might generate; then there should be no reason you cannot maximize the value for your cards. Lastly, you might be wondering what type of value I have in mind for the Duchene. Well, let me say, I have more than $400 in mind for value!