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  1. #1







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    Traditional collecting/trading almost dead in BKB hobby?

    I think this is the only online community left where there is still some traditional collecting/trading in the basketball card hobby.

    The big things now on other online communities are group breaks/razzes, case breaks, fire sales (to move mid-end items in bulk), and selling anything high-end or rare (to move individual items). Everything gets compared to eBay, and I guess for all the lower end cards, the thing to do is to put them in larger eBay lots and sell them (this is actually an easy way to move inventory, incidentally).

    While I can understand the appeal of some of these things, and I occasionally participate myself (fire sales in particular are fun), the hobby is so impersonal, exclusivist, and ADHD now. I've been trading online for over 20 years, and I love the simplicity of trading stuff, even if it's just a few bucks of cards at a time. I also like putting together sets, which is a dying art. I'm a middle class housewife with a pink collar job, so I can't be getting in with the big bros and all their big-dollar breaks. I just have to take their scraps in fire sales, lol.

    I see why Panini doesn't have many mid-end products left. I guess Donruss and Hoops are kept around for the little people like me, and the kids, but almost everything else now is $100 or more per box, and usually for just a few cards per box (except products like Optic, Select, and Prizm, which hold the ever-popular prizm/refractor parallels of base cards).

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  3. #2




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    Agreed. I'm still a player collector, so I even enjoy the idea of trading for base cards of the players I collect. I honestly believe that breakers have ruined the hobby. Nobody wants to open their own stuff anymore; it's all about the high dollar, hot player right now. I honestly don't get it. I'd much rather open my own stuff and enjoy the thrill of pulling something nice, or of the hot player, so that I know I can sell it to buy my next box.

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  4. #3




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    What a shame. The problem is that people only look at it as investment. Most of what were collectors were younger people, which are now in to gaming and social media. Then there are those who have grown tired of cost of products that do not really hold their value. Another problem with trading is that most traders only want to trade up in value.
    My interest in trading has dropped considerably as I have gotten older, priorities have changed and no one makes an effort to trade.
    Example, Have not even been able to finish my 96 chrome set by trading.

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  5. #4







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    Each of the different trading card sports have a different vibe to them and for basketball you are correct. I don't really see how people buy and collect basketball cards since it is so heavy towards the international market now. I would imagine if you pulled a really good hit and had to sell it on eBay you would be forced to sell to almost every country out there otherwise you would get basically squat for your card. There just aren't enough US basketball buyers for some things.

    Plus you have the weird dynamic where Panini (who is garbage) is the only one allowed to make basketball cards and they don't even have the licenses to Jordan and Lebron. I would think if you suddenly replaced Upper Deck with Panini tomorrow the basketball card market would be way more appealing to a lot of collectors. Me included. I was just thinking the other day about how cool it would be for Upper Deck to be making all of these retro Fleer products the past couple of years with the 30th anniversary of them. All the buyback autographs and retro themed designs you could do with Jordan's rookie year and the following couple others. All lost because of the stupid Panini basketball exclusive.

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  6. #5




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    I miss Topps and Upperdeck. Majority of Panini are high end and more for collectors and box breakers to make a quick buck. The worse thing sports cards ever did was have exclusive contracts.

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  7. #6





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    I think it also depends on what forums you visit. There used to be a TON more traffic here, but I mostly see the same threads with no new responses every time I come over here. There's another forum I frequent that has a ton of traffic, but for every 1 thread of someone looking to trade there's 10 that are sales only. But, I get a lot more deals done.

    Honestly, the biggest issue with trading is that (and this is me generalizing), the bulk of folk looking to trade are always looking to trade low-end stuff in quantity for higher end stuff. I'm guilty of it as well, but more trying to trade my mid-range stuff (which is generally high end for ME but not for who I'm trying to trade with LOL) for higher end. I no longer see the point of trading a $2 card for a $2 card. If it's a card I want, I'll just buy it on eBay for $2. I can't justify trading dollar-bin stuff I don't want anymore for other dollar bin stuff I don't want in the first place.

    That, and in almost EVERY case, anyone looking to trade is doing it by book value, which is borderline obsolete.

    But I do agree that Panini having an exclusive is problematic on a few fronts, mainly that so much of the really cool stuff is just too expensive for the average guy like me to break.

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  8. #7




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    To answer the original question posed, is traditional trading almost dead in BKB hobby, the answer is a 100% flatline YES. Not because the other things mentioned (online box breaks/fire sales etc) are taking over but in this day and age it really is all about perceived value.

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    When I say traditional trading what is the first thing that comes to mind?
    I see 2 kids ripping 1979 Topps baseball packs and one says to the other "I will trade my Pete Rose for your Molitor" And the second kid agrees--done deal.

    Now let's translate this into adulthood in 2019
    Random adult PC Kings collector says to other adult collector who PC's Celtics "I like your Bagley auto, I have a Bird GU let's trade"
    he says "well according to the Internet, Beckett, my horoscope, and what my dog thinks, the Bagley is valued at $12.75 and the Bird is valued at $5.33 so I demand to get something worth $7.42 to make this fair".

    Now to be fair I was not an adult in the 70's so it would be interesting to find someone who remembers trading then and ask if value was part of the negotiations. I know it wasn't for kids because I was 10 in 1979.

    Just my 2 cents

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  9. #8







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    Thanks everyone for the input.

    I grew up in the 1990s, started collecting in the early part of the decade, and I've been trading online since the late 1990s. I've seen everything from the memorabilia card boom (remember when there was no such thing as memorabilia cards? now it's not all that exciting to pull a jersey piece of a superstar player unless it's a three or four color patch), to the resurrection of refractors (Panini's "prizms"), and everything in between.

    However, I always thought there would remain a solid low-end trading audience in spite of all the high-end flash and bling. For awhile, we hung on. I have gotten tons of trades done on this site since joining in 2005. But this year, I notice almost all of Panini's low-end sets are gone (save Donruss and Hoops, and maybe sort of Certified, which I'm surprised they didn't can completely). There's no Prestige, no Threads, stuff like Aficionado and Status bombed the last couple of years -- and there are no other sites/forums left out there like this one. Not many people left who collect sets, everything of a player/team (including base), and stuff that normal middle class people can afford. That demographic -- I mean, we've almost completely disappeared now. We're almost extinct.

    Sure it's easier to just buy the stuff you want to PC, but that makes the hobby quite selfish and impersonal. I'd rather trade someone something they really want, while they trade me something I really want.

    This has become what used to be a hobby geared toward middle class kids who liked to share, to a hobby for upper class adults who just want to buy expensive things for themselves.

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    Last edited by WilyWestbrook0; 03-24-2019 at 06:55 AM.

  10. #9
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    I fine myself in agreement with so many points made here. It is dying? yes. Does trading exist? barely. I fine myself getting a little more interested in player/team breaks right now because the cards I am really interested in are not in that many products. I even try to hold off on buying the base or easy insert cards in hopes to trade anything in the 30,000 cards I have for trade for them. I am also not particular to making sure the BV matches if I am getting something that I want. At the same time, I am not trying to give someone the best trade they ever made. I would love to have my kids get into tradding as well, but the price is still too high. How am I supposed to show them that these base cards are cool and have great pictures, stats, and information, when this other card has a 1 x 1 piece of cloth on it.

    I have even found myself trying to trick myself into making the hobby more fun, by setting collecting goals each year. I make most of them, and change them around. However, it is hard to get excited about 36 prizm cards that are essentially the same thing, but with different borders and serial numbers. I just keep hoping that something will turn things around and I will be here to see and enjoy it.

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  11. #10







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    This has become what used to be a hobby geared toward middle class kids who liked to share, to a hobby for upper class adults who just want to buy expensive things for themselves.

    To be fair that's what the basketball market is now. Rich US guys buying cards to try and sell them to rich foreign guys. The basketball high end market blows away the baseball, football, and hockey market but I would suspect that basketball has the lowest amount of collectors out of the 4. Hockey is weirder because the Canadian market makes up a huge chunk of it so if you include them or not it would switch around the ranking with basketball but there is a reason why they had much lower print runs and rarer and harder to find #D, autographs, and game used cards versus the other sports. Once Lebron James came along Upper Deck made basketball a cash cow by increasingly upping the high end market. While baseball collectors were scuffing at $100 a pack prices Upper Deck was selling out of $1000 packs in basketball. So I think while Panini has accelerated this trend it would still be happening even if Upper Deck only had a license in basketball.

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