Cleat Geeks

Collector’s Clubhouse – Episode 6

We’ve covered a lot of ground here in the Collector’s Clubhouse in our first five installments. I hope that together they have provided a good overview of the hobby from a strategy perspective at least. We have most recently been discussing the single card market and how to determine who to target. This discussion has by default been focused on ROI, buying low and selling high. Since we’ve mainly focused on the “who” so far I’ll be covering the “what” in this article as we put a bow on the topic.

If you haven’t read our first five articles (and I would encourage you to go back and read them) we looked at how for sports collectibles (and specifically sports trading cards) the two most important factors are player and hype. We have seen how finding market inefficiencies can allow you to buy low and sell high. Once you’ve taken these into account you then have to decide what to buy. Let’s take a look at what are the best types of collectibles to target.

  • Autographs

Still at the top of the collecting hierarchy, autographs are usually the most highly sought after type of collectible. Whether that’s a card, ball, bat, helmet, puck an authenticated signature item is going to be something worth targeting. Autographed cards have become a staple in sports trading card releases from all major manufacturers. In 1990, Upper Deck inserted Reggie Jackson autographed Baseball Heroes inserts into their Hi Series release. The card was hand numbered to 2,500 and became highly sought after. The rest is history. These autographed inserts are a great way to get exposure to a player you believe will become highly valuable. Autographed memorabilia like jerseys usually have a higher cost but carry huge upside.

  • Once the Holy Grail of late 80s Rookie Cards.

    Once the Holy Grail of late 80s Rookie Cards.

    Rookie Cards

Once upon a time rookie card were the most highly sought after singles in a card set. Anyone who was around for their heyday remembers the hottest ones. 1984 Fleer Update Roger Clemens, 1985 Topps Mark McGwire, 1993 SP Derek Jeter, and of course 1989 Upper Deck Ken Griffey Jr. Today, rookie cards have lost some of their luster because of the emergence of autographed and game used cards. In addition, the market has become saturated with multiple variant sets per release many of which are low count serial numbered. All in all, this means that the base, non auto, not serial numbered rookie isn’t the hot item it once was. However, with the expansion of types of rookie cards available there are still a number that are highly sought after. Football, basketball and hockey make defining and recognizing rookie cards easy. The official definition of “Rookie Card” with respect to baseball causes many problems and confusions. A good overview is located here.

  • Low Print Runs

While the number of parallels that sets include has become somewhat overwhelming, it does offer us another opportunity to grab valuable cards. Cards serial numbered /10, /5, and of course the 1/1 can bring big cash. While the number of different low print releases overall keeps serial numbered cards as a whole from being huge value anything under /100 tends to hold good value. Do your research but these can be very much worth your while.

Hopefully if you’ve read through these first six articles they’ve been helpful. One of the best things about collecting is the chance to interact with fellow collectors. Hit us up if you have questions. We’d love to talk collecting.

Since I’m really behind writing this Thursday Night Football has already happened. So I’m calling an audible this week and previewing the Monday Night Football game between the Chicago Bears and the San Diego Chargers. For the Bears it looks like the changing of the guard has begun. Prior to his injury Matt Forte was being shopped around and it seems the versatile back may be out in Chicago. Queue up Jeremy Langford. He doesn’t profile as a great prospect but the opportunities will be there. I don’t love putting a lot of stock into him but we know what a marginal prospect can do with a load of opportunities (see Devonta Freeman). I like him as a BUY but in small quantity. Conversely, I think its probably time to SELL on Matt Forte. There’s no telling what’s next for the perennial pro bowler.

For the Chargers, Keenan Allen was a great value before the 2014 season. He’s taking off and I think the value will continue to climb. Overall I’m playing a unique angle with the Chargers. As most football fans know the chances look pretty good that the Chargers will be playing in Los Angeles next season. I cannot overstate the impact that will have from a collecting standpoint. I love the idea of investing in some of the Chargers’ stars now. Rivers, Allen, Gordon, all will see a lift if the move takes place.

Another reminder about our Cleat Geek only group break with free 15pnsignatureserHKstuff! We’ve pulled a box of 2015 Leaf Ultimate Draft Football out of our store and are offering spots to Cleat Geeks readers only. That’s 5 cards, all autographed, one card per slot. AND each slot will get a bonus grab bag courtesy of Cleat Geeks. Also, Hockey is back!!!! So we’re doing a special Cleak Geeks only break of 2015-16 Leaf Signature Hobby Box. 8 autographs and only for Cleat Geeks readers. Plus, we will do this DRAFT style which is so much fun! Don’t miss it. We will continue to do these kinds of special Cleat Geeks reader only opportunities as a thank you for being a part of the Cleat Geeks readership. If you want in on the 2015 Leaf Ultimate Draft break or the 2015-16 Leaf Signature break you must email us at and tell us you read about it on Cleat Geeks.

That’s all I’ve got today. Happy Collecting!



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