PDA

View Full Version : Cardboard Economics



NYGiants72
02-12-2012, 04:39 PM
After spending a few minutes staring in dismay at my Greg Salas SP Authentic Patch Auto, attempting to will it into something that would have more resale value than the Sony Discman that I still have somewhere in my attic, I began to reflect upon the last two years of my collecting and how I can improve my fortunes in 2012 and beyond. I vowed to make wiser decisions, buck industry trends in demand and severely limit my busting of wax in the future. My name is Tom, and I am a recovering box breaker...

My new approach to collecting quickly took shape on the back of a discarded envelope. Utilizing my prior training in the field of economics and my experience in negotiating for a living, I sketched down 10 rules/concepts that I would live by for the next year to ensure that my collecting would become more fruitful. Certainly, I will add to these tenants and refine over time, but as a way to keep myself honest and perhaps even give something back to the cardboard community (if for entertainment value only) I would write an informal column of sorts, documenting my theories and results.

So how did I get to the point where I was idling in my car, trying to reconcile blowing $120 for a box that netted me a Greg Salas collectible by telling myself that the lower left corner of the "H" in Hawaii has some intrinsic collectible value? Well, I have only been collecting for about 2 years. I am an enthusiastic football fan who had compiled a nice collection of Giants memorabilia. I saw cards as a cheaper way to get player autographs.

However, that view changed radically after I busted a few boxes and recognized that this was a much more accessible alternative to my pre-marriage Atlantic City and Las Vegas junkets and much more compatible with my increasingly bland suburban living. It didn't help that I had some incredible pulls at the onset of my collecting and had been chasing the high of an Emmitt Smith Logo-Shield auto for the last 18 months. I had become a full-blown gambler and the house's odds were stacked well against me.

Don't get me wrong, gamblers are great for the industry. The entire business model that allows us to hop onto the secondary market to purchase AJ Green and Mark Ingram autographs for $30 bucks is solely because of the gamblers. Without having people shell out $100-$200 for boxes chock full of Mike Kafkas, Jason Smiths, Greg Salas' and others, the entire business model of Panini and Topps would be different. If the card companies could not sell hobby boxes at a premium, they would be pushing individual cards at the same markup. This is why you can buy a card with Player X's autograph on eBay for $35, but would need to shell out $150 for the autograph of the same player on a 16 x 20 photo.

Over the past two years, I feel I have performed my civic duty to the profession, but busting more wax than I wish to admit. So I would say I have earned by ability to be a free-rider of the secondary market for some time. I look forward to sharing my strategies, failures and successes through this forum and will certainly ensure that future articles are less stream-of-consciousness. I also look forward to hearing from others with their thoughts and experiences.

Next Posting: Defining Objectives - Setting a Strategic Plan for your Collection

stewart20rulz
02-14-2012, 07:53 PM
I think the same way every time I spend even $20-$40 on retail or hobby packs and end up with a bunch of cards it may take me years to trade. I always think what could I have done better with my $20-$40...like buy that one illusive mid 90's Arod parallel or insert card I've yet to add to my PC or maybe get a decent STL Cardinals autographed card or two at the same cost by buying in the secondary market. Great point of view and article!

GiantsSB42Champs
02-14-2012, 08:10 PM
secondary market way to go brotha.. amen... every time i've bought boxes in the last 2 years... 0 have netted me more than they cost... that's why i stay away from it..

NYGiants72
02-14-2012, 10:43 PM
secondary market way to go brotha.. amen... every time i've bought boxes in the last 2 years... 0 have netted me more than they cost... that's why i stay away from it..

Love the name. I just spent $100 bucks on two nice secondary market cards today instead of buying a box...so much more satisfying. I just need to start buying my card supplies over the net too so I don't get the 'kid in a candy store' syndrome that tends to happen when I am at the LCS.

Thanks for the read!

NYGiants72
02-14-2012, 10:46 PM
I think the same way every time I spend even $20-$40 on retail or hobby packs and end up with a bunch of cards it may take me years to trade. I always think what could I have done better with my $20-$40...like buy that one illusive mid 90's Arod parallel or insert card I've yet to add to my PC or maybe get a decent STL Cardinals autographed card or two at the same cost by buying in the secondary market. Great point of view and article!

I appreciate the read and kind words. The one other item I left out was that all those cards that take years to trade take up significant real estate too...I definitely have boxes of cards that haven't seen the light of day in some time.

Welker83
02-23-2012, 11:59 AM
I used to love buying packa dn boxes. then i did that same as you. I looked what i had vs what i spent and wasnt happy.
I turned my collection to what i wanted in just buying singles on the 2seconday market.
I love getting packs and whatnot from time to time but singles is the way to go.

hawk2618
02-23-2012, 08:00 PM
Tom...its always nice to see someone admit they have a problem..even if its card collecting.Good news is...you aren't alone.I have yet to buy a single pack in the last 10 years or longer.The card industry has gotten out of control with game used
and signatures.Its to the point where a reg issue rookie is peanuts compared to the inserts.I've been collecting vintage the past 5 or 6 yrs,mostly rookies and low pop cards and you can't go wrong with the prices. Being 50 yrs old with 3 kids,packs and boxes these days are just too expensive.

SFGiants
03-01-2012, 04:04 AM
Great read. Made me laugh a few times. You are right though, breaking boxes is just another form of gambling.

Jerad

wavescrashing
03-02-2012, 04:06 AM
Interesting read.

I fall of the wagon occasionally, but the epiphany has struck me multiple times as well. Oddly, when I do buy a box of cardboard reality, I look down at a pile of foil, and make an economic comparison to something I needed much more than said pile of foil and cardboard. Even a few weeks ago, I got lucky and pulled a card I actually needed for my personal collection, but still looked down and thought "Crud, the new running shoes I need carry the same value as this box". Ultimately, most boxes yield a value that can't afford me a pair of L.A. Lights, much less the running shoes I actually use.