Categories
NFT Sports

Topps Baseball Cards Enter The NFT Space

The Topps Company announced their foray into the NFT space, with the release of 2021 Topps Series 1 Baseball NFT collectibles set to launch on Tuesday, April 20th. The MLB-licensed digital collectibles are “digitally enhanced and creatively reimagined” from the physical cards, including themed animated backgrounds and 3D team cubes.

“The partnership between Major League Baseball, MLB Players, Inc. and Topps has delighted collectors and fans for generations, celebrating the legendary players and iconic moments that have defined America’s Pastime,” said Tobin Lent, VP & General Manager of Topps Digital Sports & Entertainment at The Topps Company. “Our MLB blockchain NFT series debut marks a historic moment in the modern evolution of collecting for both traditional and new collectors. We’re excited to bring almost a decade’s worth of digital collectibles innovations to 2021 Topps Series 1 and provide another fun avenue for fans to collect their favorite heroes and moments with secure digital ownership on the blockchain.”

In a special promotion, the first 10,000 people who signed up to receive alerts from Topps were eligible to receive a free Topps MLB Opening Day NFT pack. They successfully reached those 10,000 sign-ups within hours of the announcement. 

wallet.wax.io

For those who would like to purchase a pack, the first “Series 1” drop will take place on April 20th at 1pm EST, with 50,000 $5 “standard packs” (containing 6 cards) and 25,000 $100 “Premium Packs” (45 cards) being offered. Buyers will have a slightly better chance of scoring rare collectibles inside of the “Premium Packs”. 

wallet.wax.io

They’ll be available through the WAX Cloud Wallet, which also offers NFT collectibles for brands such as Street Fighter, Godzilla and Topps Garbage Pail Kids. For fans of NFT sports collectibles who are familiar with basketball’s wildly popular NBA Top Shot, the difference here is that Topps will not be minting digital highlights, but will focus instead on digitizing their printed cards. The borders and backgrounds will move, but the players will not. 

wallet.wax.io

This is not the first time that Topps has offered digital collectibles, as they have been in that space since 2012, including their flagship baseball app Topps Bunt. In 2018, Topps launched MLB Crypto Baseball, which were cartoon bobbleheads that were traded on the Ethereum blockchain and never really took off.

Topps also recently announced on April 6th that chairman and former Disney CEO Michael Eisner is taking the company public in a SPAC deal that valued Topps at $1.3 billion. 

Categories
Culture Trading Cards

Grading Your Sports Cards: The Game Has Changed

Gone are the days when you could take a raw card that might sell for $20, send it to PSA for $9 or $15, get it back in 60 days, and flip it for big returns if you are fortunate enough to receive a PSA 10 grade.

The game has changed.

On March 1st, PSA announced that they would be raising the price of their standard grading service from $50 to $100 and ‘express’ service form $75 to $150, with their backlog of cards numbered in the millions and their turnaround times well over six months. They hoped that the increase would slow down submissions while they worked their way through the backlog, giving them a chance to get caught up.

On March 30th, another announcement came that created shock waves throughout the entire card collecting hobby, with PSA suspending their value, regular and express service levels.

PSA President, Steve Sloan

“Given our growing backlog, it would be disingenuous for us to continue to accept submissions for cards that we will be unable to process in the foreseeable future. It’s an unpleasant conclusion, especially after the March 1 price increase, but it is necessary to properly serve the customers who have already submitted to PSA.”

As the hobby took a step back to digest the news, and with collectors scrambling to figure out where to grade their cards, there were aftershocks.

SGC, who had recently raised the price of their base card pricing from $15 to $25 shortly after PSA’s price increase, announced their second price hike in a month, raising it to $75/card. However, it was recently announced that they are working with a few of the large group submission accounts who will be offering 50% off savings on their published rates.

Beckett Grading Services (BGS) also raised their prices and is in the midst of a similar backlog of cards, with their $65 ‘standard’ service taking over six months to turn around, and their $165 ‘express’ service turning around cards in around 30+ days.

New companies such as HGA and CSG have popped up in recent months, with each attempting to become viable alternatives to the major grading companies.

HGA currently only accepts 5500 cards per week, with two chances (typically on a Thursday and Friday) to enter their waiting room for the chance to be able to submit a maximum of 5 cards. Reserving a spot has grown to be extremely difficult. That said, many collectors are excited about the look of their slabs, which are colorful and customizable. It only costs $20 to submit with HGA for their “best value” service with 60 day turnaround, but again, you can only submit up to 5 cards if you are “lucky enough” to reserve a spot.

CSG is a new sports card branch of the well-established CCG (Certified Collectibles Group) brand that includes CGC, which specializes in Pokemon cards, comic books and magazines, as well as NGC, which specializes in coins. Their reputation is impeccable, and for that reason, many in the sports card hobby are excited about their entry in to the space. Also interesting to note that CSG offers bulk submissions at $8/card if you are submitting 50+ cards whose raw value is under $100, with current turnaround times at around 80 days. Their 75 day economy is $15 and is for cards with less than $500 of raw value, and their standard $25 level ($1000 or less) will get you your cards back in just 32 days.

And then, of course, there is GMA.

Recently, we posted this question on the @cardtalkpod Instagram account and received a wide array of responses.

I came up with the idea for this article because I am in this predicament, trying to figure out what to do with my stack of over sixty raw cards that I want to grade, whose value all hover around $100 each. Considering what these cards would be worth if they came back graded a 10, for me, it makes no financial sense to spend $300 to super express them at PSA. When I was trying to decide what to do with them, I had so many more questions than answers.

  1. Should I just wait the three months until PSA comes back and pay their $75 rate, but then wait another 6-9 months (or longer) to get them back in hand?
  2. Should I consider waiting well over a year to use PSA’s lesser expensive economy or value services, and will they decide to even bring those levels back at all?
  3. Is it worth it to bother grading these cards at all, or should I just sell them raw?
  4. If I decide to grade them, which of the companies makes the most sense when factoring in turnaround time and price?

The only way to get answers was to break it down with facts and data based on a formula that includes the current raw value of the card, cost of grading with each service, and the most recent comps of the highest graded examples of those cards by each company.

It’s not easy to find data on cards that have been graded by all six of the grading services due to the fact that HGA and CSG are so new and seem to be grading mostly newer cards, while PSA and BGS’s turnaround times have made it so that most of those newer cards are still waiting to be graded. Further, I wanted to make sure that all of the sold prices I pulled from eBay took place within the last two weeks (ideally in the last few days) in order to make sure that market fluctuation skewed the results as little as possible.

I was able to get enough of a sample size to get a pretty good idea of how to proceed. The results might surprise you.

(*the cost of grading prices used in this article are based on advertised group submission rates. Prices may vary slightly depending on how you submit your cards.)

1. Zion Williamson 2019 Prizm Base
Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

(*the +/- numbers are based on the following formula:
value of the graded card – raw value – cost to grade = xxx)

RAW VALUE: $192.50

PSA: $75 (cost to grade) – 12+ months (time it would take to get the cards back in hand)

PSA 10: $728 (+$460.50*)

PSA 9:  $203.50 (-$64.50)

BGS: $65: 6+ months

BGS 10: $1854.28 (+$1596.78)

BGS 9.5: $354.99 (+$97.49)

BGS 9: $199.50 (-$58)

SGC: $37 – 25 days

SCG 10: $519.95 (+$290.45)

SGC 9.5: $275.00 (+45.50)

SGC 9: $215 (-$14.50)

HGA: $20 – 60 days

HGA 10: N/A

HGA 9.5: $510 (+297.50)

HGA 9: N/A

GMA: $15 – 60 days

GMA: N/A

CSG: $15 – 75 days

CSG 9.5: $325 (+$117.50)

CSG 9: $170 (-$37.50)

Summary: For this card, sending it to PSA for $75 is a major gamble, one that I am unwilling to take. The risk of it coming back graded a 9 and actually losing money after waiting an entire year to get it in hand is silly. BGS 10’s are the hardest grade to achieve in the hobby, and even if you get it back as a 9.5 after paying $65 and waiting 6+ months, you are only increasing the value of the card by $97.49. The HGA 9.5 comp is actually from mid-February but was the only one I could find. According to CardLadder, these Zion PSA 10’s were actually selling for less on that date than they are today. To see the HGA 9.5 selling for $150 more than the BGS 9.5 was eye opening, especially since you get the card back four months sooner and the cost to grade is only $20. The CSG 9.5 selling for around the same as the BGS 9.5 is also eye opening, with 75 day turnaround and only $15 cost of grading. SGC will cost you $37. You will do well if you get a 10, but if you get a 9.5, you only increase the value of the card by $45.50. Anything less, you will lose money.

2. Justin Herbert 2020 Mosaic base
Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

RAW VALUE: $31 

PSA: $75 – 12+ months

PSA 10: $303 (+$197)

PSA 9: $120.50 (+$14)

BGS: $65 – 6+ months

BGS 10: N/A

BGS 9.5: $239 (+$143)

BGS 9: $99 (+$3)

SGC: $37 – 25 days

SCG 10: $130.39 (+$62.39)

SGC 9.5: $85 (+$17)

HGA: $20 – 60 days

HGA 10: N/A

HGA 9.5: $180 (+$129)

HGA 9: $132.50 (+$81.50)

GMA: $15 – 60 days

GMA 10: $57 (+$11)

CSG: $15 – 75 days

CSG 9.5: $265 (+$219)

CSG 9: $71 (+$25)

Summary: This is another example of PSA and BGS making no sense for a card of this raw value. HGA and CSG are absolutely the play here. How can you go wrong with HGA. With the $20 cost to grade, even if you only get a 9, you are still +$81.50, and you will have the card in hand in 60 days. You are also in good shape with CSG, turning a profit even if you only receive a 9. It will be interesting to see what the sale price is once either of these companies give this card a 10 and it goes up for auction. Again, at SGC even if you receive a 10, you are only +$62 and in the more likely scenario that you receive a 9.5, it only increases the value by $17. Also… take my advice and stay far away from GMA under any circumstance.

3. Kyler Murray 2019 Prizm Base
Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

RAW VALUE: $79

PSA: $75 – 12+ months

PSA 10: $475 (+$321)

PSA 9: $136 (-$18)

BGS: $65- 6+ months

BGS 10: N/A

BGS 9.5: $226 (+$82)

BGS 9: $140 (-$4)

SGC: $37 – 25 days

SCG 10: $175 (+$59)

SGC 9.5: $149 (+$33)

SGC 9: $76 (-$40)

HGA: $20 – 60 days

HGA 10: N/A

HGA 9.5: N/A

HGA 9: $180 (+$81)

GMA: $15 – 60 days

GMA 10: $83 (-$11)

CSG: $15 – 75 days

CSG 9.5: N/A

CSG 9: N/A

Summary: There isn’t that much data on this card for the newer grading companies, but I wanted to use it to further illustrate why BGS and PSA are extremely risky places to send this card. You need to feel extremely confident that you will get either a PSA 10 or BGS 9.5, or you are going to lose time and money. If you send this card to SGC, your upside on receiving a 10 is only $59, and just $33 on a 9.5.

4. Fernando Tatis Jr 2019 Topps Chrome
Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

RAW VALUE: $113.50

PSA: $75 – 12+ months

PSA 10: $349 (+$160.50)

PSA 9: $133.50 (-$55)

BGS: $65 – 6+ months

BGS 10: $1138 (+959.50)

BGS 9.5: $311.17 (+132.67)

BGS 9: $141.50 (-$37.50)

SGC: $37 – 25 days

SCG 10: $300 (+$149.50)

SGC 9.5: $175 (+$24.50)

HGA: $20 – 60 days

HGA 10: N/A

HGA 9.5: $280 (+$146.50)

HGA 9: N/A

GMA: $15 – 60 days

GMA: $142.50 (+$14)

CSG: $15 – 75 days

CSG 9.5: N/A

CSG 9: N/A

Summary: Sending this card to PSA makes no sense anymore, where again, you will wait a year and if you get a 9, you will lose $55. I actually don’t hate the BGS play here if you feel strongly that the card is flawless, because a 9.5 sells for almost as much as a PSA 10, and if you are lucky enough to get a BGS 10, you cash in. Sending it to SGC hoping for a 10 is a big gamble. But the winner here again is HGA, whose 9.5 is worth almost as much as the BGS, while the grading is cheaper and you will have it in hand four months sooner. We unfortunately have no CSG data to go on for this card.

5. Ja Morant 2019 Prizm base
Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

RAW VALUE: $74.71

PSA: $75 – 12+ months

PSA 10: $341 (+$191.29)

PSA 9: $94 (-$55.71)

BGS: $65 – 6+ months

BGS 10: N/A

BGS 9.5: $200 (+$60.29)

BGS 9: $109.99 (-$29.72)

SGC: $37 – 25 days

SCG 10: $222.50 (+$110.79)

SGC 9.5: $99.99 (-$11.72)

HGA: $20 – 60 days

HGA 10: N/A

HGA 9.5:  N/A

HGA 9: N/A

GMA:  N/A

CSG: $15 – 75 days

CSG 9.5: $237 (+$147.29)

CSG 9: $90 (+.29)

Summary: It would begin to get redundant if I said the same things about PSA and BGS as most of the previous cards, but it applies to this card again. An SGC 9.5 is worth half as much as a BGS 9.5 and will actually lose you money. But check out the CSG 9.5 doing numbers! It’s sold for more than the SGC 10 and BGS 9.5. There is no HGA data here.

6. Trae Young 2018 Prizm base
Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

RAW VALUE: $94.08

PSA: $75 – 12+ months

PSA 10: $425 (+$255.92)

PSA 9: $129 (-$40.08)

BGS: $65 – 6+ months

BGS 10: N/A

BGS 9.5: $299 (+$139.92)

BGS 9: $105 (-$54.08)

SGC: $37 – 25 days

SCG 10: $152 (+$20.92)

SGC 9.5: $142 (+$10.92)

HGA: $20 – 60 days

HGA 10: N/A

HGA 9.5:  N/A

HGA 9: N/A

GMA: $15 – 60 days

GMA 9:  $91

CSG: $15 – 75 days

CSG 9.5: N/A

CSG 9: N/A

Summary: If you pull this card out of a pack or a break and you are convinced it’s perfect, I suppose sending it to BGS isn’t the absolute worst play ever, but you better hope it doesn’t come back a 9 or you will lose money. Get a 9.5 and you will double your investment. The fact that an SGC 10 recently sold for half the value of a BGS 9.5 is very telling. Trying to squeeze maximum value and sending to PSA, praying it comes back a 10 in a year, that isn’t something I would suggest because seeing a 9 on that slab will lose you $40 at the end of the day.

7. Other Cards
Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

2020 Bowman Chrome Prospects Jasson Dominguez

Raw: $50

BGS 10: $635.01 (+$520.01)

CSG 10: $375 (+$310)

PSA 10: $325 (+$200)

HGA 9.5: $214.92 (+$144.92)

SGC 10: $202.50 (+$115.50)

CSG 9.5: $152 (+$87)

BGS 9.5: $169.08 (+$54.08)

PSA 9: $89 (-$36)

BGS 9: $50 (-$65)

2020 Topps Chrome Luis Robert

Raw: $19.50

BGS 10: $405 (+$320.50)

HGA 9.5: $161 (+$121.50)

PSA 10: $146 (+51.50)

SGC 10: $93 (+$36.50)

SGC 9.5: $76 (+$19.50)

BGS 9.5: $72 (-$20.50)

GMA 10: $33 (-$6.50)

PSA 9: $60.11 (-$34.50)

8. So… where should I grade my cards?
Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

I think that the answer to that question is pretty simple, given all the data presented. We know exactly what PSA is. They are a premium service for premium cards. You likely won’t be sending them your base cards like the ones I am trying to get graded anymore, but any card with significant value should absolutely be going to them. The market simply wants PSA cards and pays a premium for them. You will now have to pay a premium for the right to put your cards in their slabs. Before you call that unfair, just realize how long everybody took advantage of the massive returns on the $9 and $15 investments that the PSA brand provided for years. The playing field is now leveling out.

It gets a bit more complicated with Beckett. I’m not sure that once PSA opens up all service levels again, what cards I would send to BGS. If you are going to pay $165 to express a premium card through BGS, why not just do it through PSA? If you are going to pay $65 for 6 month turnaround, why not just do it through HGA or CSG for less money and get them back faster? I understand PSA’s target audience for premium cards. I understand HGA and CSG’s target audience for lower end cards. BGS seems to be in an uncomfortable middle ground at this point.

SGC is another complicated one. I know that their niche is vintage cards. I actually like the way their tuxedo slabs look. However, the data tells me that the numbers don’t add up. Even when you factor in that SGC is working with some of the large group submission accounts, you still aren’t getting me there on the value.

HGA is definitely in play, but getting a spot reserved is so difficult and even then, only being able to send them five cards means that for my sixty cards, I would have to go through the process twelve times. Who knows how long that will take? I like the look of their slabs and the data that proves the value is there, but until they can ramp up the number of cards they accept, it’s not the right play for me at this time.

I am going to give CSG a shot for my lower end cards and wait for PSA to come back for my premium cards. It’s especially intriguing that they are so well respected in the comic book and coin communities. That gives me confidence that they could be major players in the space for a long time. If speed is your main objective, you can upgrade from their $15 economy service–which is currently operating at 70 day turnaround–to approximately 30 days by paying $25 for their ‘standard’ service. If you want to add sub-grades, you can do that at all levels for a $10 upgrade. They also offer an $8 ‘bulk” level that is for 50 or more cards with a value of $100 or less each and turnaround times around 80 days.

It will be interesting to see how the market changes in the coming months and years. Will the values of slabs from these newer companies continue to hold up over time? Are people simply excited about these newer grading companies and paying a premium until they are no longer new? I suppose that is possible. But the data is the data, and that’s all I have to go on for now.

Categories
Grind Money

Alternative Investments: The Fractional Ownership Apps To Look Out For

Fractional Ownership is a method in which people can invest in a percentage of an asset while sharing in the benefit. The cost is split between the individual investors. 

Alternative assets, such as trading cards, cars, comic books and wine are now viable investment opportunities. To give context on alternative investing, the S&P 500 Index has appreciated 160% from 2008 to December 2020. The PWCC100 Trading Card Index appreciated 392% and The Blue Chip Automotive Index appreciated 283% during the same time. Both alternative markets appreciated more than the traditional market. The innovation towards alternative investments is happening right now. Fractionalization of assets is a new avenue of investing that opens many doors. In this article, we will dive into a few companies at the forefront of this movement: RallyRd, Collectable, Dibbs and Otis

1. What is Rally Rd.?
Rally Rd.

Rally is a platform that turns alternative assets into stocks and allows people to invest in premium quality collectible assets through a simple platform. When creating a Rally account, it is similar to opening a brokerage account via Fidelity or Robinhood.

Rally sources the most notable blue-chip alternative assets in the world, such as trading cards, cars, comic books, watches and wine. They then turn each item into a “company” via SEC qualifications. After the paperwork is done, the “company” is split into equity shares. The shares are sold via Rally’s app.

Next, they host an IPO, where investors can purchase shares of the asset offered. Also known as the funding stage, the process is similar to buying shares in Apple or Microsoft. Ninety days after the IPO, shareholders have the chance to either sell or buy more shares. You have to wait approximately 90 days after the IPO ends to transact on your holdings. This is something you must take into consideration because it’s not the most liquid way of investing.

Rally provides the chance to invest in alternative assets in a way that is simple, understandable and efficient. Alternative investments are here to provide diversity to your investment portfolio, not replace your existing portfolio. Examples of Rally offerings include: 

1999 1st Edition Charizard PSA 10

1976 Apple 1 Computer

1776 Declaration of Independence

While these are a wide variety of items that you do not see every day, there is risk involved here. You must do your own due diligence. It will be interesting to see how the next 10 years plays out in the collectible space. Rally gives you the opportunity to be a part of the action! 

2. What is Collectable?
Collectable

Collectable is another fractional ownership company that hosts investment opportunities exclusively in the sports cards and memorabilia market. Similar to other fractional ownership companies, Collectable provides access to some of the most rare and significant collectibles in the sports world. When an asset is split up into shares, the entry point for most users is accessible compared to paying full price for the entire asset.

This solves the issue of accessibility for many sports collectors and investors. Every asset on the app is valued at over $20,000. To make this happen while having variety, they sometimes create “baskets” of similar assets. An example of a recent “basket” contained two 1959 Topps Willie Mays PSA 9 cards, valued at $24,000 ($12,000 per card).

Other examples of recent offerings on the Collectable app include a 1998 Tigers Woods tournament used putter, Emmitt Smith’s 1993 & 1994 Jim Thorpe Trophy NFL MVP Awards, and Mookie Betts’ 2018 MLB Gold Glove. 

Another one of the unique features that Collectable offers is the ability to share the stories of the items via their app, which keeps the items relevant. We recently had an opportunity to visit with the legendary Sports Immortals collection that is exclusively offered on this app, whose owner Joel Platt told us that he chose to go with Collectable specifically because of their emphasis on storytelling.

3. What is Dibbs?
Dibbs

Dibbs is an app where sports bettors and card collectors can coexist. This app is a 24/7 marketplace for buying and selling fractions of sports cards. So far, Dibbs has a limited number of investment vehicles, all of which are sports cards.

On Dibbs, users can purchase tokenized representations of physical sports cards called “Card Tokens”, who then can trade them within the app. The tokens exist and are transferable on the Ethereum blockchain. This process is similar to how NFT’s work, except Dibbs backs each “Card Token” with the physical card. The physical cards are held in PWCC’s vault, or by a third-party custodian.

Dibbs solves the issue of liquidity. Being able to buy and sell fractions of sports cards, at any time, gives you the opportunity to trade cards based on performance and news. The “Card Tokens” solve the issue of liquidity. I would relate Rally & Collectable to your long term traditional IRA, and Dibbs to your short term, risker, day trading brokerage account.  

4. What is Otis?
Otis

Otis is the stock market for cultural assets, turning sneakers, sports cards, comic books, video games and art into stocks. Each asset on the platform has been confirmed with the SEC and split into shares. You can buy and sell shares 24/7 similar to Dibbs, which gives users a lot of access.

Otis opens assets for trading approximately 3-4 weeks after they fill in pre-sale. At this time you are able to place asks and bids – buy or sell your shares. What’s unique to Otis is how diversified you can become within one app. They have a variety of alternative investments under solid categories.

There are two ways to buy shares via Otis: pre-sale which is an IPO of an asset, funding stage. This occurs throughout the week with different assets, at 12pm est. The second way to buy shares is through trading, this is the process of buying shares of the pre-fill.

Some examples of assets that are offered on the Otis app include:

Lionel Messi 2004 Panini Sports Mega Cracks Barcelona Campeon PSA 10

Nintendo World ChampionshipWata 8.5, Grey Cartridge, NES

3 Pairs of Original 1985 Air Jordan 1 Sneakers

Categories
Culture Trading Cards

The Top 10 MLB Prospects and Their Rookie Cards to Look Out For on eBay

Nothing gets baseball fans more fired up than when the next “can’t miss” prospect is ascending in their favorite team’s farm system. Typically, for years before the player makes their MLB debut there are countless articles hyping them up as a transcendent talent capable of carrying the organization on their back for the next decade.

In the sports card market, prospecting is the number one challenge, but can be the most rewarding. However, investing in players who have never seen a major league at-bat can be risky. The massive hype that builds around these supposed “future stars” sets prices that have real life stats and accomplishments already baked-in. If the prospect makes it to the big show and doesn’t live up to that hype, the losses can be dramatic. However, if they live up to–or exceed their expectations–investors can cash in.

As an example, imagine if you were a big believer in Mike Trout before he took his first professional at-bat. 

The list below breaks down my top 10 current prospects and young players whose cards you should be looking out for:

1. Wander Franco – Tampa Bay Rays, SS
2019 Bowman Chrome Prospects Auto – PSA 10
eBay

Current Price: $2512

Widely regarded as the top prospect in baseball, fans are going to have to wait a little bit longer before he steps foot onto a major league field. In what seems to be a small-market team manipulating the service time loophole that allows teams to keep a player under contract for an additional year, the Rays decided to send Franco back to the minor leagues to start the 2021 season.

That said, the extra time in the minors could do him some good, as the pandemic cancelled his entire 2020 season and he still has yet to have one at-bat in a regular season game above Class-A ball.

The hobby, however, is well aware of Wander Franco’s potential greatness, so prices are high. But if you are considering making an investment in him, doing so before he proves that the hype was warranted is probably a good play.

2. Jarred Kelenic – Seattle Mariners, OF
2018 Bowman Chrome Draft Auto – PSA 10
eBay

Current Price: $1453.97

As a die-hard New York Mets fan, this one is going to be tough to write. The fact that former Mets General Manager Brodie Van Wagenen traded Kelenic to the Mariners for Robinson Cano’s outlandish contract and a relief pitcher (Edwin Diaz) who can’t get anybody out literally haunts me every single day.

Kelenic opens the 2021 season with the second best odds to win the American League Rookie of the Year (+750) after Randy Arozarena (+400), which speaks volumes about what people think about his talent. However–like Wander Franco–he will start the 2021 season in the minor leagues.

I might have to buy one of his rookie autos and hold on to it, just so I can actually enjoy when he lights up the league instead of being angry at my father for passing his Mets fandom on to me!

3. Kyle Lewis – Seattle Mariners, OF
2016 Bowman Chrome Base Auto – PSA 10
eBay

Current Price: $799

The reigning American League Rookie of the Year is currently sidelined with a bone bruise in his right knee and he will miss the first couple weeks of the season.

Lewis put up some solid numbers in the pandemic shortened 2020 season, with 11 home runs, 28 RBIs and a .262 batting average in just 58 games.

When Lewis is back healthy–and Jarred Kelenic is eventually called up to the big leagues–Mariners fans will certainly have a lot of cause for optimism. And we haven’t even discussed the next player on this list yet!

Unlike many of the other players on this list, Lewis has already proven that he can play in the Majors. The only question is whether or not he can take the next step.

4. Julio Rodriguez – Seattle Mariners, OF
2019 Bowman Chrome Prospect Auto – PSA 10
eBay

Current Price: $1700

In what has become a bit of an embarrassment of riches on this list, the Mariners employ three of my top four prospects. In what is becoming a theme, Julio Rodriguez will also start the 2021 season in the minor leagues and will likely report to Triple-A Tacoma to kick-off the season.

In 17 Cactus League games this spring, he had 2 home runs, 4 RBIs and slashed .333/.444/.600. To think that the Mariners outfield will soon be Kelenic/Lewis/Rodriguez is scary for the rest of baseball. They could absolutely dominate for the next decade if all breaks right.

5. Bo Bichette – Toronto Blue Jays, SS
2016 Bowman Chrome Draft Picks Auto – PSA 10
eBay

Current Price: $1184

The Toronto Blue Jays have a loaded group of young players of their own, with Bo Bichette, Cavan Biggio and Vladimir Guerrero, Jr.

Bichette has now played in 75 major league games (319 at-bats) and boasts a .307 batting average with 16 home runs and 44 RBIs. He missed a month last season with an injured knee, but before the injury was hitting .361 with a 1.063 OPS, including five home runs and four stolen bases in just 14 games.

There is no question that Bichette has all the talent in the world. I am absolutely a buyer of all-things Bo Bichette.

6. MacKenzie Gore – San Diego Padres, P
2017 Bowman Chrome Draft Picks Auto – PSA 10
eBay

Current Price: $300

Gore entered the Spring in a competition to be the Padres 5th starter, but will likely begin the season in the minors as he struggled to locate his pitches over five Cactus League outings. In 11 innings, he gave up seven runs (six earned) on 12 hits and eight walks.

That said, Gore is still widely regarded as the best pitching prospect in baseball and was selected as the No. 6 overall prospect in this poll. Pitchers’ cards don’t historically sell for anywhere near what position players can fetch in an auction, but he is certainly somebody to keep an eye on, as it works both ways. The lower cost of entry on his cards compared to the other prospects on this list is what makes him such an interesting play, even if the upside is relatively limited.

7. Dylan Carlson – St Louis Cardinals, OF
2016 Bowman Chrome Draft Picks Auto – PSA 10
eBay

Current Price: $800

After a rough start to the spring, the Cardinals’ rookie outfielder heated up as Opening Day approached. Carlson is one of the favorites to win National League Rookie of the Year (+850) and has been the Cardinals top hitting prospect for years. It’s time for him to step up and prove it.

He very well could be batting second in the Cardinals lineup in front of Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado, so he will see plenty of good pitches to hit.

The Cardinals are almost always in the mix in the playoff race. I don’t have to tell you what winning the Rookie of the Year on a playoff team will do to the value of his cards, but be careful because this one feels like it could also very easily go in the other direction.

8. Jo Adell – Anaheim Angels, OF
2017 Bowman Chrome Draft Picks Auto – PSA 10
eBay

Current Price: $928

Jo Adell is another player with incredible upside who also scares me. At the top of my mind is his awful stat line during his short 2020 appearance in the Majors. He had 124 at-bats, only 20 hits (.161 BA) and 55 strikeouts. He also looked lost defensively.

He improved a bit this spring, batting .263 with two home runs and six RBIs in 15 games, but was optioned back to the minor leagues to start the season and continue his development.

Adell has a ton of power, but I see some troubling things in his game. When you combine that with the prices of his cards, I can think of much safer and better plays.

9. Spencer Torkelson – Detroit Tigers, 3rd Base
2020 Bowman Chrome Draft Picks Auto (Raw)
eBay

Current Price: $596 (raw)

I don’t know if I should blame the long PSA backlog, but I can’t find one single instance of a PSA 10 graded copy of this card being sold.

Or maybe it’s this… Torkelson was absolutely atrocious this spring. In 26 at-bats, he had only one hit (.038 BA) and 16 strikeouts. Predictably, he will start the season in the minors.

Despite his struggles this spring, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 MLB draft comes with a highly touted bat, but questions on defense, as he was recently switched from first to third base.

Is this just a case of being away from the field due to last year’s COVID-cancelled season, and having to get his timing back? I think so, and it presents an opportunity to buy up some raw cards while he hopefully gets his swing back.

10. Adley Rutschman – Baltimore Orioles, Catcher
Bowman Chrome Draft Picks Auto – PSA 10
eBay

Current Price: $821.55

Rutschman is possibly the most hyped catching prospect in the history of baseball and is widely considered the top prospect in the Orioles organization.

He currently has the sixth best odds of winning the American League Rookie of the Year (+1200) but nobody is even sure if he will get a single at-bat in the Majors this year. When you combine that with the fact that the Orioles are one of the worst teams in baseball, he likely won’t be shining on the big stage anytime soon.

If his prices drop a bit, I would be interested. As it sits right now, for similar money, I think you can make better plays.

Honorable Mentions:
11. Marco Luciano – San Francisco Giants, SS
2019 Bowman Chrome Prospect Auto – PSA 10
eBay

Current Price: $1006

The San Francisco Giants’ top prospect, the 19-year-old Luciano has drawn comparisons to Xander Bogarts. He is projected to hit the Majors somewhere around the end of 2022 or start of the 2023 season.

As we know, a lot can happen in that time. At his age, this is pure prospecting (although at least it’s prospecting at one-third the price of the next guy on the list). Luciano has incredible upside, and at his prices could absolutely be worth the gamble, but you will likely have to be patient.

12. Jasson Dominguez – New York Yankees, OF
2020 Bowman Chrome Prospect Auto – PSA 10
eBay

Current Price: $3100

The Yankees top prospect is on hype-overload. His prices are absolutely out of control. We recently ran this piece of content on @cardtalkpod:

I’m sorry. You can’t convince me that it makes sense to spend equal money on a Dominguez card that you could be spending on Wander Franco. I could be laughably wrong, but this Dominguez situation feels like there are going to be a lot of people left holding the bag. I won’t be one of them.

Categories
Art NFT

An Intro to VeVe, The NFT Collectible Platform Turning Heads

If you are up to speed on the emerging NFT market, you probably heard about the digital artist Beeple’s $69 million sale of his “Everydays: The First 5000 Days” collage.

For those who still don’t know what an NFT (Non-fungible token) is, they are pieces of digital content linked to the blockchain – a digital ledger guaranteeing the item is an original copy and is owned by a particular person. Just like cryptocurrencies are guaranteed by the backing of a blockchain, so is the authenticity of an NFT. For those who would like further details on the subject of NFT’s, check out this article we wrote. 

While many in the digital collectible space are familiar with the wildly popular NBA Top Shot–whose sales in February and March of 2021 alone exceeded $400 million–many are still trying to find the “next big thing”. It’s my opinion that the digital collectibles app VeVe is on the verge of a major breakout. 

1. What is VeVe?
VeVe

According to Veve’s parent company Ecomi’s website “VE-VE is an app-based marketplace for premium licensed digital collectibles. With VE-VE, users can obtain common, rare, or one-of-a-kind digital collectibles, customize and showcase them in the virtual showrooms, as well as buy, sell or trade collectibles with other VE-VE users – all from the palm of their hand.”

VeVe’s Augmented Reality makes it so that you can take a photo with your favorite collectibles. With their AR feature, you can scan your surroundings and tap on your phone to drop your digital collectible on any flat surface. You can then move, rotate and scale your collectibles and text them to your friends and family, or post them on your favorite social media channels. 

In VeVe’s secondary market, you can get an idea of the value of your collectibles, buy the ones that you may have missed out on, or sell the ones that you currently own. Sales on the VeVe marketplace do not exchange cash, but instead, trade-in “gems.” 1 gem is always equal to $1 USD. You can then swap gems for Veve’s native token OMI, which fluctuates based on market value.

2. VeVe Partnerships
VeVe

VeVe has already formed partnerships with some huge brands, including Warner Bros., Capcom, and DC Comics. Some of their most popular collectibles to date have come out of their Ghostbusters, Batman, Ultraman, and Harley Quinn drops. 

Veve’s parent company, Ecomi’s global head of licensing–Alfred R. Kahn–is one of the biggest reasons for optimism on this platform. Before VeVe, Kahn was the founder chairman, and CEO of 4Kids Entertainment from 1991-2011. He is recognized as an industry leader and is responsible for more than $25 billion in retail revenue on partnerships that included brands such as Pokemon, YuGiOh, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Cabbage Patch Kids, and Polly Pockets. He also assisted with branding and licensing of Nintendo, Mario Bros, Zelda, Donkey Kong, James Bond, and the World Wrestling Federation.

According to VeVe’s website, future partnerships include upcoming drops for the NFL, Adventure Time, Monster Hunter, Star Trek, Jurassic Park, Fast and the Furious, and Superman. There are rumors on VeVe discord channels and Facebook groups about a possible partnership with Pokemon in the works, but as of today, that can not be confirmed.

3. VeVe NFT’s Already Re-Selling for Big Money
VeVe / eBay

Early investors in VeVe digital art have already seen quite an uptick in the value of their collections. Some of the more rare and highly sought-after collectibles have popped up on eBay, such as two of the first edition Harley Quinn’s–designed by artists Terry Dodson and Steve Pugh–which have sold for $10,000/each on March 24th. The Steve Pugh design is an “ultra-rare” with just 500 minted and cost $79.99 to purchase. The Terry Dodson design is a “rare” with just 750 minted and also cost just $79.99 before it sold out. 

The rarest of the series of four Batman Black & White Series 1 collectibles–designed by Edurdo Risso–recently sold for $6500. The original purchase price was $69.99. The “common” Todd McFarlane design minted to 7500 recently sold for $1525 on an eBay auction and was available originally for $79.99 when it dropped on the VeVe app. 

The Big Barda collectible from DC Comics’ “Bombshells” recently sold for $2250. It is considered a “rare” and minted to 1044. The cost to purchase it was just $49.99 before selling out.

The Ghostbusters collectibles have also generated quite a bit of buzz, with one of the “rare” Ghostbusters logos (that cost just $16.99 when it was released) recently selling for $2950. There is a platinum “secret rare” Ghostbusters logo that was minted to 200 (cost $89) and a gold “secret rare” logo minted to 188 (cost $99) that are reported to also have sold for upwards of $10,000 each. 

4. Upcoming Releases
VeVe

Some huge releases are on the horizon for VeVe, as the first “Back to the Future” NFT is set to drop on Thursday, April 8th at 11 am in the form of the brand’s iconic DeLorean Time Machine. 

According to VeVe’s app “This premium digital format collectible is a highly detailed replica of the DeLorean Time Machine from the Back to the Future Movie, directed by Robert Zemeckis.”

There will be three versions of this collectible released, including an interactive one in which the doors open and close and the front wheels turn with the steering wheel. However, it is not drivable, a feature that will apparently be available in a later release. 

Also set to drop on Tuesday, April 6th, is Mermicorno – Series 1. This is the first appearance of the popular toys, from Japanese lifestyle brand Tokidoki, on the Veve platform. 

5. First Carbon-Neutral NFT Platform
VeVe

VeVe recently announced its plans to become the first carbon-neutral NFT platform, beginning with a commitment to offset 100% of the carbon footprint caused by the minting of NFTs, negating the environmental impact caused by distributed ledger technologies. Initially, VeVe will offset the carbon footprint by purchasing carbon credits equal to the amount of CO2 used in minting NFTs.

Co-Founder and COO, Dan Crothers said, “Being sustainable has always been a strong priority for VeVe and ECOMI since our founding. Our carbon neutrality pledge is a step toward making NFT digital collectibles and the digital AR metaverse part of a green, environmentally friendly future.”

For more information on VeVe, visit their website or check them out on twitter. To download their app, click here.

Categories
Culture Trading Cards

The Top 10 Golf Trading Cards To Look Out For on eBay

It has been quite a run for single person sport cards, as of late. Back in September, I wrote this article predicting the rise in value within this category, and many of the cards in that article have seen a substantial increase as the card market continues to break records almost weekly.

Golf has been especially hot, with a potential game-changer on the horizon. It has been seven years since the last official PGA card set but Upper Deck has three releases slated for 2021, including the much anticipated 2021 Upper Deck Artifacts Golf (5/12/21).

This set will mark the first made up of star players like Bryson DeChambeau, Justin Thomas and Matthew Wolff, and all of the rookies in this set will come with serial numbers.

Each hobby box will contain some exciting chase cards, including memorabilia cards and Aurum or Diamond Relics (three total per box) that could include autographs, ball markers, and/or dirt and sand from Ponte Vedra Beach’s Sawgrass Stadium Course.

It’s safe to say that these new Upper Deck releases will be wildly popular, and I predict that it will spark further interest into what is already a hot vintage golf market. 

This list below shows ten of the most rare and collectible cards currently on the market of some of the best golfers of all time:

10. Sam Snead 1951 Wheaties (SGC 98) – $1,495
eBay

PSA Population

PSA 10: 6

PSA 9: 12

PSA 8: 3

Snead won 82 PGA Tour events in his storied career including seven majors. Jack Nicklaus was just one of many golfers who called Snead’s swing “perfect”. 

This “card” is actually hand-cut from the back of a 1951 Wheaties box, which obviously–like the Sports Illustrated for Kids cards–creates grading issues. With such a low population, if the golf market does run up, these cards could see a big run up. The sky’s the limit with cards this rare.

9. Gary Player 1971 Barratt Famous Sportsmen BVG 9.5 – $1,600
eBay

PSA Population

PSA 10: 0

PSA 9: 4

PSA 8: 128

In 1971, Barratt & Co. Ltd. released a 50-card set of Goldflake Famous Sportsmen cards. These cards were “plagued with centering issues” according to PSA’s website, which is why there are no PSA 10s in the population. With only four PSA 9s, this BGS 9.5 would seem to be the highest graded on record.

Gary Player won nine majors, is well-known as a golf course architect, with over 400 courses throughout the world, and has written 36 golf books. 

The rarity of this card in such a high grade, combined with Player’s on-course accomplishments, as well as his off-the-course significance, makes this card very interesting. I would not be surprised to see this card sell for significantly higher the next time it goes up for auction. 

8. Rory McIlroy 2014 Exquisite Silver Auto Patch /25 BGS 9.5 – $3,500
eBay

PSA Population

PSA 10: 2

PSA 9: 4

PSA 8: 1

Rory McIlroy is one of only three golfers in history to win four majors before the age of 25. He has spent over 100 weeks in his career ranked as the number one player in the world, and is the youngest player to ever reach $10,000,000 in career earnings at the age of 22.  

In 2013, SportsPro rated him as the world’s third most-marketable athlete after Neymar and Lionel Messi, and has an EA Sports video game named after him “Rory McIlroy PGA Tour Golf”

This card is from the last year that there was an official PGA Tour card set, and it is extremely rare. The seller was asking for $10,000, but settled with the buyer for $3,500. 

7. Arnold Palmer 1965 Bancroft Tiddlers Giants Of Sport PSA 8 – $4,495
eBay

PSA Population

PSA 10: 0

PSA 9: 10

PSA 8: 15

I love the artwork on this card. With no PSA 10s and only ten PSA 9s in the population, this card is almost impossible to find in a high grade. However, since many consider this to be Arnold Palmer’s true rookie card and you can find some lower graded copies like this one, it makes for a very interesting play. Arnold Palmer is easily a top five golfer of all-time, and invented the greatest soft-drink of all-time (random note that had to be thrown in).  

6. Phil Mickelson 2002 SP Authentic Extra Limited Gold Auto BGS 9.5 – $4,500
eBay

PSA Population 

PSA 10: 1

PSA 9: 2

Phil Mickelson has won 44 PGA Tour events, including five majors. He is also one of only 12 players to win three out of the four majors, with the U.S. Open being the only he has not won yet. 


He is one of the most popular golfers of the modern era, and is nicknamed “Lefty” after his left handed swing–even though he is actually right handed. 

This gold auto is amongst the rarest on the market, with only three graded as a PSA 9 or higher (this particular sale was a BGS graded 9.5/10). The seller was originally asking for $25,000 but took a “best offer” of $4,500 for this card. My gut tells me that he might regret this sale as this market heats up. 

5. Jack Nicklaus 1981 Donruss Golf PSA 10 – $5,125
eBay

PSA Population

PSA 10: 168

PSA 9: 930

This card is considered Jack Nicklaus’ true rookie card, since the 1981 Donruss set was the first officially licensed PGA Tour cards. It is not as rare as the Panini Campioni Dello Sport sticker that I will discuss later in this list, but with only 168 PSA 10s in the population–about half as many as there are Michael Jordan 1986 Fleer PSA 10s–there seems to be plenty of meat on the bone here. I love this card and fully expect it to have a big run in the coming years. 

4. Dustin Johnson 2012 SP Authentic Auto /299 BGS 9.5 – $5,495
eBay

PSA Population 

PSA 10: 2

PSA 9: 4

PSA 8: 3

Dustin Johnson is one of only three golfers to win a PGA tour title in each of his first 13 seasons, joining Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus. Known for his longball, Johnson has been ranked in the top 10 in driving distance for the past 12 years. Off the course, Johnson is married to Paulina Gretzky, daughter of Wayne Gretzky. 

This card is numbered to /299, but there are only nine copies in the PSA population that are graded an 8 or better. This particular card was graded by BGS and got a 9.5/10. With Johnson’s popularity combined with the rarity of this card, this is another card that I expect to do significantly better the next time it comes up for auction. 

3. Tiger Woods 1996 S.I. for Kids PSA 10 – $35,000
eBay

PSA Population 

PSA 10: 26

PSA 9: 189

PSA 8: 598

Sports Illustrated For Kids is historically a sneaky play in the card collecting community. This card came on uncut sheets with eight other cards for free inside of the magazine, and they were perforated so that kids could tear them apart. This is why there are only 26 PSA 10s in existence, and the value of this card is so great. 

It breaks my heart that I had a subscription to SI for Kids when I was growing up and used to stick the cards on my wall with thumbtacks. Tiger Woods isn’t the only card worth thousands of dollars that came out of the magazine. Andre Agassi, Mia Hamm, Tony Hawk and Serena Williams are some other examples. 

2. Jack Nicklaus 1973 Panini Campioni Dello Sport #375 PSA 10 – $39,999
eBay

PSA Population

PSA 10: 4

PSA 9: 6

Widely considered to be the greatest golfer of all-time, the “Golden Bear” actually has two rookie cards. This one, and a 1981 Donruss card that was previously mentioned. 

This Campioni Dello Sport card is actually a sticker, and it is extremely rare–as illustrated by the PSA population report numbers above. Some might be shocked that a sticker sold for $39,999, but with only 4 PSA 10s in existence of this GOAT, I actually think that the buyer got a relative bargain. I expect this card to skyrocket in value in the coming years. 

1. Tiger Woods 2001 SP Authentic Golf Auto /900 – $85,101
eBay

PSA Population 

PSA 10: 144

PSA 9: 105

This card is the standard Tiger Woods 2001 SP Authentic Rookie Auto /900. There is also a gold version that is numbered to /100 with a PSA 10 population of 16. While there are a couple of the gold autos currently listed for sale on eBay, the $85,101 price of the most recently sold standard auto shows what a grail card that this Tiger Woods rookie has become. 

Categories
Culture Trading Cards

Top 10 Cards for the Best NFL Free Agent Signings of 2021

NFL free agency is a great way to plug holes in a team’s roster and reinvigorate a fanbase. Seconds after ESPN reporter, Adam Schefter announces any trade, fans of all 32 teams can be seen on Twitter saying things like: “My team signed (insert name here)?! He was so underrated on his old team. Our coaching staff will turn him in to a Pro Bowler!“ Or on the flip-side, “Not a big loss. The (insert team’s name) WAY overpaid for him. He wasn’t even that good!“

As we have learned, relevancy is probably the number one factor when flipping cards. When a player is acquired via free agency or a trade, they immediately become a relevant talking point through local and national media.

As an example, earlier this offseason we saw that scenario play out in the Matthew Stafford card market almost immediately after he was traded from Detroit to Los Angeles. On January 23rd, his 2009 Topps Chrome PSA 10 was selling for around $300. He was traded on January 31st, and within two weeks, the same card was moving at around $1250.

The energy that sends fans to Twitter, excited to welcome their “free agent steal” (or so they are convinced), will also send folks to eBay to purchase their rookie cards. After all, if fans are convinced that the player was under-utilized and under-appreciated in his former city, investing in that card makes all the sense in the world, right?

Here is a list of my top 10 players that were available during this free agency period and why their cards might be a good buy:

10. Hunter Henry, TE
Signed with New England Patriots for 3 years, $37.5 million
Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

Hunter Henry is very much in play as the #1 tight end in a Bill Belichick offense. The Pats also signed tight end Johnnu Smith, as they historically like to run two tight end sets. Both are certain to see a lot of balls thrown their way, but I see Henry as the one with higher upside and I wouldn’t be shocked to see him end up in the Pro Bowl this year.

There are two reasons why he isn’t higher on this list:

  1. He is a tight end, and tight ends don’t typically sell all that well in the card market (outside of Travis Kelce and Gronk).
  2. Who is throwing him the ball? Cam Newton? After the way he looked last season, that alone gives plenty of reason for skepticism.

There aren’t too many graded Hunter Henry rookie cards, but you can scoop up some of his—even numbered rookie autos—for well under $100.

9. Will Fuller, WR
Signed with Miami Dolphins for 1 year, $10.625 million
Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

Will Fuller is a former first round draft pick (2016) who played in a high-powered offense (featuring Deshaun Watson) and had some big moments. His biggest problem was his ability to stay on the field, missing a total of 27 games in his first five seasons and never once playing in more than 11 games in any season outside of his rookie campaign.

That said, last year, Fuller had 53 catches for 879 yards and 8 touchdowns. He appeared to be on the verge of a HUGE season before being suspended for six games for violating the leagues policy on PED’s—a suspension that will carry over through week one of the 2021 season.

He signed a one-year deal in Miami, where Tua Tagovailoa is currently slotted to start the season as their number one quarterback. I don’t love Tua, and that could certainly be an issue, but on a one-year deal and with plenty to prove, Fuller has me intrigued. He is obviously going to be motivated to prove that he can be a number one guy and earn a big pay-day next offseason. His current low numbered rookie card auto prices are VERY cheap. I love low risk plays like this, but don’t go too crazy.

8. Aaron Jones, RB
Re-signed with Packers for 4 years, $48 million
Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

I just want to start off by saying that I am very surprised that Aaron Jones wound up back in Green Bay after they spent a second round pick last season on AJ Dillon.

Bringing Jones back on a four year deal does two things: 1) It solidifies him as the number one running back in a high powered offense and 2) it simultaneously crushes the hopes of anyone who was sitting around collecting AJ Dillon cards.

With all of that said, Aaron Jones is a very good player who made his first Pro Bowl in 2020. He was tied for first in the NFL in rushing TD’s in 2019, and has run for a combined 2188 yards over the past two seasons.

Green Bay could very well make another deep run this year, possibly all the way to the Super Bowl, and you can still find rookie autos like this Prizm Cracked Ice /75 for $89. His PSA 10 2017 Prizm rookies currently sell for about $135.

7. Curtis Samuel, WR
Signed with Washington for 3 years, $34.5 million
Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

Curtis Samuel is a very good, extremely versatile player, who will have plenty of opportunities in Washington after signing a three-year deal. The Ohio State alumni will be paired up with fellow Buckeye alum Terry McLaurin in a “scary” 1-2 combination.

Will the quarterback be newly signed journeyman Ryan Fitzpatrick? Or will Taylor Heinicke prove that his fantastic surprise playoff start last season was no fluke? Whichever direction Washington goes with the quarterback, they will certainly have some nice weapons down field.

To show how my “relevancy is the number one factor” theory works, I found this Curtis Samuel National Treasures rookie patch auto /99 in a $5 bin at the Dallas Card Show. I listed it on eBay for $50 or best offer the night that he signed with Washington. It sold within days for $35. Not my biggest play, but I will take those returns all day. You would be surprised if you saw the Samuel rookie autos that are available for under $25. Again, low-risk plays are some of my favorites. Don’t expect to make a fortune, but there is plenty of room to double, or even triple, your money at those prices if he has a big year.

6. JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR
Re-signed with Pittsburgh Steelers for 1 year, $8 million
Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

Here’s what I don’t like about Juju, the player: Loves attention. Always on TikTok. Controversial and flashy. Here’s what I like about investing in Juju: Loves attention. Always on TikTok. Controversial and flashy.

If Juju scores a touchdown, you are going to hear about it. In the relevancy market, Juju is almost always relevant. With that said, his Prizm rookie auto recently sold for just $68 and much like Will Fuller, Juju is on a one-year deal in an effort to cash in next offseason if he puts up big numbers.

I like investing in low risk buys of players that I know will be motivated, especially ones who command a ton of media attention. Juju checks all the boxes.

5. Andy Dalton, QB
Signed with Chicago Bears for 1 year, $10 million
Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

I am not in any way a believer in Andy Dalton, the quarterback. He was objectively awful in Dallas this past season after Dak Prescott went down, so there is really only one reason to have him so high on this list.

Starting quarterbacks are always relevant and in-play. The Bears have a fantastic defense and one of the most underrated wide receivers in the NFL (Allen Robinson) back on a franchise tag. The Bears went 8-8 this year with Mitch Trubisky and Nick Foles, so if Andy Dalton can just be a little bit better than that, it’s not crazy to think the Bears could go 10-6 and sneak in to the playoffs.

You can find his Topps Chrome rookie autos for under $50. I promise that if he can somehow take this team to the playoffs, the entire city of Chicago will love him and the prices of his rookie cards will have a nice run. I will definitely enter this season owning a few as yet another low-risk play that could accrue big dividends.

4. Corey Davis, WR
Signed with New York Jets for 3 years, $37.5 million
Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

(Full disclosure: I am a die-hard Jets fan.)

Corey Davis was the fifth pick in the 2017 NFL Draft and never quite lived up to the hype. However, with 945 yards and five touchdowns in 2020, he had his most productive season and seems to be coming in to his own.

Davis enters the bright lights of the New York City media market, and is positioned to get the lion’s share of the receptions with just Jamison Crowder, Denzel Mims and newly signed Keelan Cole filling out the rest of the wide receiver room.

The Jets franchise is starved for a 1,000 yard receiver (something that hasn’t happened since 2015) and will likely be selecting quarterback Zach Wilson with the number two pick. If he truly is the franchise quarterback that they say he is, he will need a number one receiver. Davis would seem to be that guy.

The reason I have him so high on this list is because you can get a Corey Davis 2017 Silver Prizm rookie auto for under $20. I absolutely love the low cost of entry on a guy who could absolutely become a star in New York.

3. JJ Watt, DE
Signed with Arizona Cardinals for 2 years, $28 million
Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

J.J. Watt is already a legend who is playing out the stretch run of his storied career in Arizona where he will be reunited with DeAndre Hopkins in the “get me the hell out of Houston” tour.

The Cards have a ton of weapons and could be a sleeper team to this year after underachieving in 2020. If J.J. Watt gets to the playoffs, the stories of his greatness will be all over the media— much like Tom Brady this past season.

Historically, defensive players don’t typically sell that well. But J.J. Watt is not your typical player. The fact that his Topps Chrome rookie cards are selling raw for around $20 is wild to me. Buying clean copies and grading them could turn out to be a fantastic play if the Cardinals and Watt make some noise. Watt’s cards have already seen a nice relevancy run with his prices up about 50% since signing his new deal in the desert (as illustrated in the photo above).

2. Kenny Golladay, WR
Signed with New York Giants for 4 years, $72 million
Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

We might be a little late on this player. You could have gotten his PSA 10 Prizm rookies back in January for just $71, but they are currently selling for just over $200—a 3x relevancy return in just two months.

Golladay is a very talented receiver, who (like Matthew Stafford) managed to get out of the Detroit abyss this offseason. He landed in a fantastic spot with the Giants where he will be the top receiving weapon for Daniel Jones on an offense that also features a returning Saquon Barkley and the emerging Sterling Shepard.

Golladay was a 1,000 yard receiver in 2018 and 2019, with 16 TD’s in those two campaigns. I would not be surprised if he topped 1200 yards this year. The cost of entry is a bit higher than some of the other guys on this list, but there is still plenty of upside, especially if you are patient and find a great buy like this one.

1. Dak Prescott, QB
Re-signed with Dallas Cowboys for 4 years, $160 million
https://www.cardladder.com/card?id=7QzkrKhB1hrFjtTqofgl
CardLadder

It finally happened. The Cowboys finally committed to Dak Prescott and gave him the long term contract he has been asking for… but now what? Can he live up to the contract?

The smart money says yes.

Dak is positioned better than any quarterback in football outside of Patrick Mahomes, with a supporting cast that is out of this world. He has a top-notch offensive line, Zeke Elliot, Amari Cooper, Ceedee Lamb and Michael Gallup. That offense should be absolutely elite.

His 2016 Prizm rookie PSA 10 has seen a nice run since the end of the season, where it was selling for just $560 on 12/31 and is currently going for around $860. There is still plenty of room for it to go up, especially since he plays for the most valuable franchise in professional sports, with a rabid fanbase. Watch what happens to his prices if he takes the Cowboys to the playoffs.

For comparison, the other quarterback in Texas—Deshaun Watson—has a market cap on his 2017 Prizm rookie PSA 10 that is more than twice what Dak’s is, according to CardLadder.

I expect the Cowboys to make the playoffs this year, and fully expect Dak’s cards to run up accordingly.

Categories
Culture Trading Cards

A Look Back At ‘Card Talk Live’

On Wednesday, March 24th, Card Talk Pod (@cardtalkpod) powered by eBay, hosted a live virtual event named ‘Card Talk Live’ on YouTube, Twitch and Facebook, celebrating the sports and trading card hobby.

The event lasted for almost four hours, as famous athletes, celebrities and personalities such as Gary Vaynerchuk, NBA on TNT’s Adam Lefkoe, ESPN’s Kevin Neghandi, New York Knicks rookie guard Immanuel Quickley and Chicago Bears wide receiver Allen Robinson, talked about their experiences collecting cards.

The night was kicked off with former Indianapolis Colts punter and current sports analyst/podcast legend Pat McAfee, as the hosts cycled in guest after guest at a dizzying pace.

Hobby insiders Jesse Craig of PWCC Marketplace, Chris Kwan from CoreTCG and Rick Probstein of Probstein123 also stopped by to give some fascinating insight and takes on the current state of the market.

Here are some more highlights:

1. Pack Wars.. Lou Goes 2-0!
Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

Later in the evening, two of the hosts, Lou Geneux and Tyler Schmitt, ran two separate “pack wars,” a contest in which the hosts partner with a guest and each open a pack of cards. The one with the lowest serial numbered card inside of it wins both packs.

Tyler and Lou first teamed up with NFL prospects, former Oklahoma State running back Chuba Hubbard and wide receiver Tylan Wallace, later partnering with Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Cassius Marsh and media personality Buster Scher. In both “pack wars,” Lou Geneux pulled the lower serial number to complete the sweep and sent his partners, Tylan Wallace and Buster Scher, home with some amazing cards, courtesy of Panini America.

2. Adam Lefkoe Hosts a 1986 Fleer Panel
Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

One of the highlights of the evening was when NBA on TNT host Adam Lefkoe took over the hosting duties and brought on a pair of NBA legends; former Atlanta Hawks guards Spud Webb and Dominique Wilkins, as well as former San Antonio Spurs guard Johnny Moore on for a discussion about the iconic 1986 Fleer trading card set.

This set is where you can find the rookie cards of NBA icons, Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley, Patrick Ewing, Clyde Drexler, Hakeem Olajuwon, Chris Mullin, Karl Malone, and of course, Spud Webb and Dominique Wilkins. Johnny Moore’s rookie card is not in this set, but his card is one of the most collectible because of how rare PSA 10 examples of his cards are due to being typically mis-cut because of its spot at the end of the uncut sheets.

One of the most fun and memorable moments of the entire night was when Wilkins and Webb reminisced about their iconic 1986 Slam Dunk Contest battle, with Wilkins saying that despite he and Webb being teammates, he had never seen Webb dunk like that before that night.

3. eBay Announces Newest Innovation
Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

About halfway through the event, Gary Vaynerchuk took over the hosting duties and introduced Nicole Colombo, the General Manager of eBay, to discuss her takes on the market and give some insight into what they have planned going forward.

Nicole Colombo, General Manager of eBay

“Last year, we sold 45 million cards on eBay. That’s 90 cards per minute.”

While Colombo had quite a few exciting things to say, including upcoming changes to the eBay return policies for trading cards, the most exciting moment of the interview was her announcement of a new feature that will cut down the listing times for trading cards in half.

Beginning in late April, sellers will be able to scan their cards using eBay’s mobile app. At first, it will only support Magic the Gathering cards but will expand to other TCG cards such as Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh about a month later. There is no date yet for when it will support sports cards, but Colombo said that she expects it to be sometime later this year.

4. The Afterparty
Jason Koeppel

After the marathon 4+ hour event, the party headed over to Instagram Live, where host Tyler Schmitt did an @eBay takeover on their account and was joined by fellow hosts Lou Geneux on the @cardtalkpod handle and Ryan Johnson on his @cardcollector2.

Viewers headed over to ask questions, talk some more sports cards, and try to win the following giveaways, courtesy of eBay:

• (1) 2019-20 Panini Prizm NBA Hobby Box

• (1) 2020 Panini Prizm FOTL Football Hobby Box

and the grand prize…

• (1) 2019-20 Panini NBA Flawless Hobby Box

The night was capped off by the after-after-party on the social media app, Clubhouse, which was hosted again by Tyler, Lou, Ryan, and Gary Vaynerchuk, and attended by over 1600 people that were firing away even more trading card related questions.

It was a fantastic night for the hobby, which has exploded in the past year and has been seeing no signs of declining anytime soon.

Categories
Culture Trading Cards

‘Card Talk Live’ is TODAY!

Tune in today, Wednesday, March 24th, for a ‘Card Talk Live’ powered by eBay—a virtual event celebrating the sports/trading card hobby!

The 3+ hour live stream and after-party will feature special guests, massive giveaways, fan engagement, open Q&A, and more! 

What time?

4:37pm EST | 1:37pm PST

How can I watch?

YouTube

Facebook

Twitch

1. Who Will Be Joining Us?
Jason Koeppel & Steve Hatala // ONE37pm

Special Guests Include:

• Gary Vaynerchuk

• Adam Lefkoe

• Pat McAfee

• Dominique Wilkins

• Spud Webb

• Richard Jefferson

• Channing Frye

• Immanuel Quickley

• Jaxson Hayes

• Kendrick Perkins

• Darius Miles

• Quentin Richardson

• Justin Turner

• Allen Robinson

• Cassius Marsh

• Javonte Williams

• Tylan Wallace

• Chuba Hubbard

• Buster Scher

• Jeremy Padawer

• Leonhart

• Kyle Brandt

and MORE!

2. What Will We Be Giving Away?
Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

We will be giving away some HUGE prizes throughout the evening including:

• 1 box of 2019-20 Panini Flawless Basketball Hobby

• 1 box of 2019-20 Panini NBA Prizm Hobby

• 1 box of 2020 Panini NFL Prizm FOTL

(all above courtesy of eBay)

• 2 boxes of 2020-21 Panini Prizm EPL

(courtesy of Panini)

3. Does The Fun End After The Live Stream?! (nope)
Jason Koeppel and Steve Hatala // ONE37pm

At 8pm EST, the show will switch over to Instagram live on @ebay, @cardtalkpod, and @cardcollector2 where the hosts will be joined by Gary Vaynerchuk and other friends-of-the-pod. There will be epic giveaways and prizes. You will NOT want to miss it!

Following immediately afterward at 9pm EST, the show will travel over to Clubhouse with Gary Vaynerchuk, more special guests, AND eBay for a discussion on the current state of collectibles.

We hope to see you all there!

Categories
Culture Trading Cards

The 10 Entertainment, Pop Culture And Movie Card Sets To Keep An Eye On

This past year has been a wild, transformative one in the trading card hobby. It seems as if there is a new record set almost daily for the price of single sports cards, and that has generated an enormous buzz in the mainstream media.

However, behind the scenes there has been a significant rise in activity in the non-sports related trading card space, specifically in the entertainment, movie and pop-culture category.

I recently had an opportunity to attend the Dallas Card Show, which was attended by thousands of the hobby’s most die-hard collectors, and my eyes were opened to just how big these entertainment cards were becoming. Almost every single table displayed PSA slabs with 1990 Impel Marvel Universe and/or 1977 Topps Star Wars cards, and attendees could be heard all weekend talking about how hot those sets were.

The fun part about writing this article is that I actually owned some of these cards as a kid. While I was putting my Mark McGwire and Jose Canseco cards in top loaders and protecting them, my Impel Marvel Universe cards were never looked at as any sort of investment. I just thought they were cool and stuck them in my locker and taped them to my school book covers.

As it turns out, maybe I should have been top loading them and playing with my Canseco cards instead… but the good news is that it’s never too late to jump in the game and there are plenty of these cards out there to be purchased.

If you are thinking about making a play, this list below illustrates ten of the most interesting sets of iconic media franchises to keep an eye on.

1. 1977 Topps Star Wars
Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

The 1977 Topps Star Wars Series 1 set was the first of five series released between 1977-1978 and has 66 total cards. The fronts feature captions that explain the action on the card, and the backs are a puzzle that when completed, makes up the original movie poster art.

Each pack also contains one of 11 different stickers, which are amongst the most collectable cards in the set.

Sealed boxes are very hard to find, and they will set you back a pretty penny if you can locate one. The most recent one to sell on eBay closed for $35,900.

2. 1990 Impel Marvel Universe
Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

The 1990 Marvel Universe set by Impel features the artwork of all of your favorite Marvel characters with write-ups on the backs that included all different kinds of stats and information.

Each box contained one special holographic insert featuring either Cosmic Spider-Man, Magneto, Silver Surfer, Wolverine, or Spider-Man vs. Green Goblin.

Sealed boxes of these cards have had quite a run, with one selling on eBay for as much as $6,000 in early February, while you could have scooped one up in mid-December for around $320.

3. 2001 Panini Harry Potter The Philosopher’s Stone Stickers
Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

Since the release of British author J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone book in the U.K. (June 1997) was a full year before it was released in the United States under the title Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, most collectors recognize these stickers as the true Harry Potter “rookie cards”. There is a “Wizards of the Coast” TCG, but it never really took off and was just an add-on to the Harry Potter movies, rather than a core part of the original IP.

The images on the stickers are from the first movie. Because this set has the “Philosopher’s Stone” name on them, if you want to purchase a box, they typically come from outside of the country, mostly in the U.K.

To further illustrate how much juice there is in the Harry Potter collectible market, in late January, legendary Pokemon collector Jeremy Padawer purchased a rare first-edition copy of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone for a record-breaking $193,000. Harry Potter ranks as the 10th highest grossing media franchise on the planet, with total revenue north of $32.2 billion dollars, well ahead of Spider-Man, Batman, and Barbie.

Sealed boxes of these stickers that contain 50 packs are currently selling on eBay for around $170 US, but they are hard to find, especially in the United States, so be prepared to pay a few extra dollars (and wait a few weeks) for shipping.

4. 2019 Panini Fortnite Series 1
Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

These cards, based on the wildly popular video game from Epic Games, has been heating up of late. Sealed hobby boxes of the Series 1 cards can be purchased on eBay for around $150-$175 but the sealed Mega-Boxes sell for around $2500 because they are the only boxes in which you can find the super-rare Black Knight Crystal Shard parallel. One raw (ungraded) example recently sold on eBay for over $5,000 and is rumored to be a $100,000 card if graded as a PSA 10.

5. 1991 Impel Disney Collector Cards
Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

Another one of the four 1991 Impel sets on this list, the Disney Collector Cards feature all of the iconic Disney characters in beautiful full-color portraits. Let’s keep in mind just how big of a franchise that “Mickey Mouse and Friends” are, currently ranking the 4th highest-grossing media franchise on the planet, one spot above Star Wars with total revenue of around $80.3 billion.

You can purchase a sealed box of these cards on eBay for around $150 and with wildly low PSA populations, there would seem to be some opportunity here.

The Mickey Mouse Family Portrait #100 PSA 10 population is 2, meaning there are only TWO of them currently on the planet, and one is currently up as a “buy it now” for $1500 with the option to “make an offer”. It will be interesting to see what it winds up selling for. If it’s anywhere close to the asking price, the price of these sealed boxes could see a big run.

6. 1991 Impel GI Joe “A Real American Hero”
Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

With the new film Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins set to release in October, fans of the legendary cartoon and action figures could get nostalgic and look to purchase all things Joe.

This movie has been long-awaited as its release has been delayed multiple times due to the pandemic, but that might work out well for collectors who still have time to buy in before the movie hype REALLY begins.

With a low cost of entry on these boxes—a sealed box recently sold on eBay for $63—this could very well be a sneaky, low-risk play. YO JOE!

7. 1991 Impel Star Trek
Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

The final Impel set on our list, Star Trek cards might seem to be a strange play on the surface, but hear me out. This is one of the top highest-grossing media franchises on the planet, with total revenue of over $10 billion.

The upcoming new streaming TV show Star Trek: Strange New Worlds (starring Christopher Pike and Rebecca Romijn) kicks off in May and will be followed by a new animated series called Star Trek: Prodigy on Nickelodeon and Paramount+.

Full sealed boxes can be found on eBay for less than $20. At that price point, with the hype of two new shows, there seems to be very little downside to picking up a few of these boxes and seeing where it goes.

8. 1995 Skybox Toy Story
Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

When researching how big of a media franchise that Toy Story is, I was shocked to see just how high it ranked. With over $22 billion dollars in revenue, Toy Story is actually a more valuable franchise than the Simpsons, Looney Tunes, and Peanuts.

These Skybox cards came out in 1995, making them 26 years old and right in the wheelhouse of the age of consumers that seem to be driving the value of cards associated with these nostalgic brands way up.

You can purchase a box of these cards on eBay for right around $90-120. There is a lot of chatter about a potential Toy Story 5 movie, with rumors that it could be coming in 2023, making this a long-term play if you want to get in the mix. However, stashing a few boxes in your closet until that time could take that $100 investment “to infinity and beyond!”.

9. 2001 Topps Monsters, Inc
Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

This Monsters Inc. set is the first set that Topps did for any Pixar animated feature. There are a ton of fun inserts in every pack, including puzzles, pop-ups and glow-in-the-dark cards. Since the base set is only 50 cards, even though there are a lot of inserts, it is possible to put together an entire set from just one 24 pack box.

Skybox did come out with their own Monsters, Inc set a few years earlier, but this is the set that collectors seem to be after. You can purchase a box on eBay for just $46 and while the upside may not be as great as some of the other sets on this list, the price is right for a safe, low-risk play.

10. 1994 Skybox Disney’s The Lion King
Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

The 1994 Skybox The Lion King set is one of the biggest entertainment trading card sets of all time. These cards were so popular that they were actually also given out in Burger King Kid’s Meals, similar to this year’s Pokemon Happy Meal promotion.

There are two series, and series one is much more collectable, with the chase card being lenticular inserts that came in 1:180 packs.

You can find boxes on eBay for around $15 but don’t go too crazy… they were mass-produced so even those rare lenticular cards can be purchased for about $20. The Lion King is a $15 billion dollar franchise, one of the top on the planet, so to be able to score a box of these cards for $15 and stash them away could pay long-term dividends… but this wouldn’t seem to be a quick flip candidate.