Cleat Geeks

Card Collectors Clubhouse: The Most Expensive Baseball Card Ever

Some people know the story behind the “Most Expensive Baseball Card Ever.” Card collectors know the story of the Honus Wagner T-206 baseball card, but for those that don’t I will explain it.

Back before the days of wax packs and the packs of today, cards were inserted in cigarette packs, yes those things that some people smoke today. Because of cards being put in those packs, it yielded some of the rarest, most expensive cards to date. The most notable cigarette pack card is the T-206 Honus Wagner Piedmont card. Every card made (unless a 1 of 1) has multiple versions, The Wagner has multiple versions. One of them has a huge story behind it which includes many, many, many different owners. This specific Wagner (not the one pictured) was sold to Bill Mastro originally then was flipped for 4 times the price that Mastro paid, the next owner would be hockey superstar Wayne Gretzky. Who then (I know, a lot of who then’s in this story) sold the card to Wal-Mart which would be part of a contest ran through the store. After many different owners including the owner of the Arizona Diamondbacks Ken Kendrick, a big headline came out about one of the most expensive cards in history.

164085 honuswagner0415 4/9/10 - Arizona Diamondbacks' Managing General Partner Ken Kendrick (cq) is the latest owner of the Honus Wagner (cq) baseball card, which he purchased a few years ago for $2.7 million (cq). He poses at Chase Field with a replica of the card on Friday, April 9, 2010 (cq). The original Wagner card, along with 24 other valuable cards of Kendrick will be on display at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY. (cq). Photo by Charlie Leight/The Arizona Republic

Photo by Charlie Leight/The Arizona Republic

Flashback real quick to the beginning of this article when I mentioned that Bill Mastro was one of the first owners of this card, well after Kendrick bought the card Mastro admitted in federal court that he cut the card. Mastro was in federal court after being indicted on 1 count of mail fraud, which admitted the truth about the card. When Kendrick bought the card, he purchased it for 2.8 million dollars which he believes if he was to sell it today he would be able to make more.

It is estimated that only 50 Honus Wagner cards are left even thought 100-150 were produced by Piedmont but Honus Wagner did not want his face on cards that were packaged with cigarettes because of the negative connotation surrounding them. This Wagner is the most known Wagner due to who had the card (Wayne Gretzky, Wal-Mart and the criminal acts of Bill Mastro) and the fact that it has been changed from its original card.

The biggest question about this is when will we see another Wagner pop up? These cards come up once in a blue moon and sometimes are found in a grandparent’s basement or attic. Hopefully, we see another Wagner surface somewhere soon to see the mystique and interest surrounding this piece of Card Collecting history.

CCC: The Difference Between Hobby & Retail Boxes

For seasoned collectors such as myself the difference is rather huge, but for collectors who just started or only have a Wal-Mart/Target etc. around them the difference is unknown. Here’s the difference between Hobby and Retail.

 

Hobby

Hobby is a term to card collectors that describes a bigger chance at getting “hits” (autographs or memorabilia). Hobby Shops are places that sell sealed boxes (occasion single cards) that are usually guaranteed hits. Hobby also has a higher percentage for one of the most valuable cards anyone could own, which is the 1 of 1. The 1 of 1 is one of the most sought after card for any player because basically only one version of the certain card is made.

Photo Credits: blowoutcards.com

Superfractors are just one type of 1 of 1 you could pull. Most Chrome products produce Superfractor 1 of 1’s instead of nasty patch autos or a different color. Some products such as Bowman Sterling (Shown in above picture) include insane looking patches in the card, others just are an autograph. 1 of 1’s come in all different types of cards, different colors, different patches. Some 1 of 1’s are just parallels, which are different colors of the normal base cards. Hobby is geared towards older collectors because of the price point. Hobby Boxes can range from $19.95 (2013 Rookies and Stars Longevity Football) to $1,074.95 (2015 Flawless Football) which is the most pricey product in the hobby.

Photo Credits: Sports Card Plus

 

Retail

Retail is the “little brother” to Hobby, Retail is one of the best things for young collectors to start out with. The “hits” are few and far between but the parallels and some boxes that guarantee a hit are some of the reasons people chose retail. The main reason people chose retail is the price point, some blasters can contain hits which could be similar to  the product that comes out of hobby but might not be serial numbered (numbered by how many cards they made) to where most hobby hits are serial numbered. Retail has a few different ways of selling cards, you could get individual packs with usually 5-10 cards in them depending on product (Chance of getting a “hit”=10%) you could also get something called Rack-Packs that could have anywhere from 30-40 cards also depending on product (Chance of getting a “hit”=25%). The grand thing to buy at retail is called a blaster box, which mimics hobby. Blaster boxes could have anywhere from 20-100 cards which sometimes boxes guarantee hits but when they don’t the hits are few and far in between. (Chance of getting a “hit”=40%). 

 

In my opinion, if you are just starting to collect then you should go to your local Wal-Mart/Target and pick up a blaster box. But if you have been trying your luck at retail then the step to hobby boxes is the next best thing for you. IF you don’t have a hobby shop near you don’t fear. The Loot Locker has you covered (thelootlocker.com or @thelootlocker on Twitter) The Loot Locker delivers hobby packs to your front door along with supplies to keep your cards safe. You are not guaranteed a hit but personally, I think its better to spend $20 on a Loot Locker then to spend $20 on a blaster box and not get anything rather than possibly getting something.

Card Collectors Clubhouse: Grading

Grading

KevinDurantAutoWelcome to Card Collector’s Clubhouse! This week we will be covering the process of grading. Grading can significantly increase the value of sports cards. The service however can be a little pricey so it is very important to choose only the best and most valuable cards for grading.

There are many different companies that offer grading services. The biggest and most well known is Beckett. Beckett has been around for many years and is a good tool for collectors. Along with grading, Beckett offers price guides for collectors to look up prices for cards. Every year, Beckett comes out with a new pricing guide so it is important to stay up to date on the values of sports cards.

Grading can be a very tricky thing to do. First off, you need to make sure that your card is valuable enough to be graded. If the card is not worth at least $20-$30, it would not be wise to have it graded. Rookie cards are the most common cards that get graded. Base rookie cards are not recommended unless they are  big name stars.

The easiest card to get graded would be an autograph card. These cards are usually 35 PT and carry the most value because of the autograph. Most collectors prefer on card autographs because they are more likely to get a good grade.

MikeTroutAutograph10When having an autographed card graded, there are several things to consider. First, the quality of the card itself. Beckett breaks down grades into four different categories: centering, corners, edges, surface. Each one of these categories gets a separate grade out of 10. The scale goes on half point grades, for example: 9, 9.5. After the grades for the four categories are decided, the overall grade for the card can be calculated. Once the card grade is determined, the next step is to look at the autograph. Beckett usually gives a 10 for the auto unless it is badly smudged.

After all the grades for the card are measured, Beckett encases the card and puts a label on it. If the card graded is below a 9.5, it will get a sliver label. If it is a 9.5 or 10 it will get a gold label. If the card receives all 10’s on the four subgrades then it will receive a black label.  Of course all collectors dream of having their cards graded a perfect 10 but most of the time it doesn’t happen.

If this type of grading is to pricey for you, Beckett offers different levels of grading. Each one is priced different and varies with how in depth the grading is.

kyleschwarberrookiecertifiedautographFor a full list of grading services and prices, visit www.Beckett.com and go to the grading tab. There you can select the best grading service that fits your need.

Thicker cards are the hardest to grade because of the thickness. The thicker the card, the more likely it is to get damaged.

It is very important that before you submit a card for grading, that you double and triple check to make sure it is perfect or near perfect. This step will save you a lot of money in the long run.

Along with Beckett, PSA offers grading services. Their grading services are cheaper but they do not have subgrades and the grading scale is by whole points: 8, 9, 10.

There is nothing like the feeling of ripping to mail from Beckett knowing that your graded card has came back. By using the grading service, you can jack up the value of the cards that you hold most dear.

Card Collecting Clubhouse; How to Properly Store Your Cards

Storage

Welcome all card collectors! If you collect baseball cards, football cards, Stars Wars cards, all three, or maybe even something different then this article is for you. Every week, I will be doing an article addressing a different topic related to card collecting. I am a collector myself and I am excited to share my knowledge with you. If you have any questions, comments, or ideas for future topics please leave a comment at the bottom of the page. Enjoy!!

The first step that any sports card collector has to take is to make sure that your cards are property stored. There are many ways to make sure that your cards are safe and secure.

CardSleves2Step 1 proper storage is making sure that you have the right size soft sleeves and toploaders. A more common name for the soft sleeve is penny sleeve and is the sleeve that you put your card in because it goes into the toploader. Penny sleeves get their name because they are usually about a penny apiece.

Sports cards come in many different sizes. The common base card is 35 PT thick. PT or point is the term used to describe the thickness. Companies like UltaPro have gauge that helps collectors figure out what thickness their cards are. Once you find the correct size penny sleeve and toploader, you can start inserting your cards into the protective sleeves. Penny sleeves and toploaders are the most common form of card protection.

toploadersStep 2 to proper storage is deciding between penny sleeves and toploaders or One Touches. One Touches are a more fancy way to store your cards. They are made by UltraPro and provide a more permanent storage. One Touches are more like cases for your individual cards. They use a small magnet and fully in close the care to insure safety. Unlike toploaders, you do not need to put the card in a penny sleeve. A penny sleeve is recommended to place over the card if the card is a autograph just to insure that the autograph does not get rubbed off.

Step 3 to proper storage is deciding weather to store your cards with or without tape. What I mean by this is some collectors prefer to put a piece of blue painters tape over the opening of the toploader. This insures that the card will not slide out of the toploader. This problem happens more with thicker cards. This step is totally up to the collector but does help your cards to stay inside of the toploader. If you decide to use the magnetic One Touches, the blue tape is not needed.

Step 4 to proper storage is deciding what box or storage device to put your cards in. Weather you decide to use a toploader or One Touch, finding the proper box to place the cards in is important. UltraPro also makes storage boxes that you can put your cards in. Boxes make sure that dust does not get on the cases on your cards. For my personal collection, I use an index card box to put my cards in. It has a piece of paper on the front to write what types of cards are in the box.

If you follow these steps, your sports cards will stay safe and secure. Collectors spend a lot of money on their collections so it is important to have proper storage for those big hits!

 

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 majesticcardbreaks@gmail.com and tell us you read about it on Cleat Geeks.

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

 

 

Collector’s Clubhouse – Episode 5

If you are a new reader to this column I want to say “thank you.” Whether you are a seasoned collector or someone who’s just trying to figure out what it is I hope ths and all my articles are helpful. Second I want to encourage you to go back and read our first four installments (located hereherehere, and here) and read through them. Not just because I wrote them but because each one has built on the next. Today’s very much so builds on the last couple I wrote. So I hope you take the time to take a look at those before diving into this one.

Last week we talked about the trading card market from a singles standpoint. We talked about how cards can be thought of like the stock market with different players equating to different companies. Players’ performance as well as other factors cause their card values to rise or fall and if we can project this we can use it to our advantage when determining who to buy and who to sell. We are currently seeing a very good example of how this works in real time.

The MLB playoffs have already created some large swings in player pricing. Roberto Osuna (who most casual baseball fans outside of Toronto had never heard of) has become one of the hottest young names and prices for his collectibles have skyrocketed. The young Chicago Cubs’ studs Kyle Schwarber and Kris Bryant were already incredibly hot in the collecting community but their NLDS showing has taken them higher still. I guarantee you that when the dust settles on the championship series there will be at least one hero born and collecting prices will soar.

Last week we looked at the two main factors that drive collecting prices: talent and hype. These together combine to create public perception of a player which is really what drives prices. Talent is obvious, when a player is one of the best in the game and winning awards public perception is going to be favorable. Hype however, is almost as important as talent when it comes to public perception. Like in the MLB Playoff example above sometimes the talent takes a back seat to the publicity. David Freese has proven to be a marginal major league talent but if you had sold his collectibles back in November of 2011 you would’ve sold them for way more than his talent warrants. So we have to keep both of these things in mind not only regarding who to buy but also when to sell.

2014-Leaf-Trinity-Insciptions-Kyle-Schwarber-214x300With that as a basis it becomes a judgement call regarding when to buy and when to sell. Let’s look at Kyle Schwarber as an example. In Game 4 of the NLDS against the St. Louis Cardinals this week Schwarber hit a home run that will live in Cubs lore forever. At this point he is one of the hottest names in collecting. The question someone holding his collectibles has to ask is whether this is “the top”. What happens the rest of the playoffs? Schwarber is a rookie, what does his career hold? Will he one day be in the Hall of Fame? Will he suffer a career ending injury? These are all factors in determining whether this is the time to sell or hold. It’s a judgement call that each collector has to make for themselves.

I hope this gives a good picture of the factors that determine a player’s collectibles value. We probably all understand this intrinsically but in order to apply it in a way that is beneficial it has to be clearly stated. Ultimately, if we were to put together a process through which to go about this process it would be something like this. Start with talent, trying to predict the “hero” (David Freese type) that gains notoriety very quickly is very improbably. It is much more consistently possible to predict breakout players based on talent. Once you have identified talents players with breakout potential pay attention to the chances they will take advantage of the hype machine. Players in big markets (New York, Los Angeles, Chicago) will gain much more hype than small market players with the same talent and production. Finally, deciding when to sell becomes a judgement call. There are a number of factors that determine when is the best time. Use how much exposure to risk you are willing to take as a barometer for when to pull the trigger on selling.

I’m breaking out what to buy and writing a whole article next week on that. So stay tuned as we continue to explore this idea. Another reminder about our Cleat Geek only group break with free 15pnsignatureserHKstuff! We’ve pulled a box of 2015 Leaf Ultimate Draft 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 whichh 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. Stay tuned as we have some fun stuff planned to commemorate the MLB playoffs. If you want in on the 2015 Leaf Ultimate Draft break or the 2015-16 Leaf Signature break you must email us at majesticcardbreaks@gmail.com and tell us you read about it on Cleat Geeks.

Finally, we have the NFL Week 6 Thursday Night Football collector picks. This week, Atlanta Falcons vs. New Orleans Saints. One of the most interesting developments of the young season was the injury to Tevin Coleman and the breakout of Devonta Freeman. There’s no doubt despite the tear Freeman is on that Coleman is the better prospect. Long term I like Tevin Coleman as a buy and I would  see this Freeman resurgence as a chance to get a better deal on Coleman. For the Saints there’s a lack of real young exciting talent. Mark Ingram is probably valued properly currently and I don’t see a lot of upside. Ultimately, I still like Brandin Cooks despite his struggles early this year. The talent is there but part of the problem is his current utilization. Regardless I still think he’s a buy going forward.

That’s all I’ve got this week. Happy Collecting!

The Collector’s Clubhouse – Episode 4

AP_Madison_Bumgarner_bc_141030_4x3_992The baseball playoffs are back! The Wild Card games are in the books and the Houston Astros and Chicago Cubs are moving on to the Division Series for their respective leagues. Last year it was one of the Wild Card winners who ended up hoisting the Commissioner’s Trophy after the World Series. Along the way a bonafide ace and World Series hero was made.  Madison Bumgarner became a household name, an icon in San Francisco, and a collecting star. A year ago you could’ve bought a Bumgarner autograph for a fraction of the price you would pay today. Today’s prices are also a fraction of the price you would’ve paid last November as Bumgarner was named World Series MVP. It is these types of market fluctuations that make or break after market single card sales. If you can buy low and sell high you’ll be in good shape. In order to do this you have to know what to look for. What are the signs it is time to buy? What about signs for when it is time to sell? This is what today’s episode will be focused on.

I mentioned in a previous episode about how the single card market can be viewed like the stock market. One stock market analyst that I admire greatly has an indicator he uses to gauge a stocks value versus price. He calls it “The Mother Indicator”. Basic premise being that when his mother knows about a stock, thinks that stock is a buy, he knows that stock has reached a point when it is no longer a bargain. He knows his mother doesn’t research stocks, isn’t reading through company financials, isn’t locked into the pulse of the market. So, she is a good barometer of what the outsiders, the general population, knows. The same is true for sports and collecting. We know this inherently already. You know you aren’t going to get sleeper picks for your fantasy football team from your mom. She’s going to tell you “that Aaron Rodgers is pretty good”. We can take that idea and use it when it comes to collecting too.

In collecting there are two main factors that drive price: Talent and Media Coverage. When it comes to talent that’s pretty obvious, most people don’t have any interest in collectibles from players who aren’t any good. No one’s really interested in an autographed rookie card of a guy who got cut in training camp his rookie year. So talent matters, it matters a lot, but it isn’t all that matters. Ultimately unless the general population, the “moms” so to speak, is aware that a player is great prices will stay low. Obviously moms also aren’t buying sports collectibles typically but that’s not the point. Ultimately, only about 25 percent of the American population plays fantasy football. Of that group many are casual players who are huge football fans. In other sports (baseball, basketball, hockey) the percentage of fans who play the fantasy version of that sport is even lower. The point being, there are a lot of sports fans out there who aren’t plugged into who is talented, they are plugged into who they see.

Jacob DeGrom was a 9th round pick out of Stetson University. Only the most hard core of Mets fans new who he was before his breakout 2014 MLB campaign. Fact is, he wasn’t c1458a0631a9691f97382fef47015860a hyped draft pick, wasn’t a top prospect, but is now one of the best pitchers in baseball. Depending on how the Mets fare during the playoffs he could be this year’s Bumgarner. His collectibles’ prices have already increased in value based on his current body of work. The talent was there but it took a breakout in front of a national audience (playing for a New York team takes that profile even higher) for the masses to realize that talent.

The point I hope I have communicated is there is an opportunity to take what many of us already do with fantasy sports and apply it to collectibles. You’re here reading this article right now so I’m pretty sure you are the kind of sports fan who knows those talents, those “next big thing” types. I hope you take that and use it to your advantage. Treat it like your fantasy football/baseball/basketball/hockey team, that young dynasty stash whose blocked by the aging veteran go ahead and buy up some of his cards. Find those market opportunities that present minimum downside with a lot of upside. I want to help you do that and I plan to in this column (like I do with the Thursday Night Football feature).

Next time we will take this idea even deeper as we look at more specifics about what to buy, when to buy and when to sell. Now, let’s go ahead and look at tonight’s TNF game. Tonight we have an AFC South showdown between the Indianapolis Colts and the Houston Texans. The Colts will be without Andrew Luck who was wounded by a cannon explosion that threw him from his horse as he directed his men along the front lines at Chancellorsville. This is not completely true but isn’t that far fetched. Between that and the Texans ability to play the pass I’m not very  bullish on their aerial attack tonight. Who I am bullish about going forward from a collecting standpoint is Donte Moncrief. Andre Johnson looks like a player who is just hanging on. T.Y. Hilton is not the prototypical WR1 body type. Moncrief is. He is already getting as many targets as Hilton and it is only a matter of time before he is Luck’s favorite target. The hype hasn’t reached peak levels yet so Moncrief is very much a buy.

For Houston they have a young WR star in the making as well. DeAndre Hopkins got a whopping 22 targets last week against the Falcons. With Houston’s other options in the passing game being Nate Washington and Cecil Shorts (both of whom are dealing with injuries) Hopkins will continue to get all the targets he can handle. Hopkins should make his first Pro Bowl this season and will be in the conversation regarding the top WRs in the game for the foreseeable future. His collectible prices aren’t as juicy as they were going into last year (when I targeted him heavily) but they are still low enough to warrant buy status,

Another reminder about our Cleat Geek only group break with free stuff! We’ve pulled a box of 2015 Leaf Ultimate Draft 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. 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. Stay tuned as we have some fun stuff planned to commemorate the start of the MLB playoffs and the upcoming NHL season. If you want in on the 2015 Leaf Ultimate Draft break you must email us at majesticcardbreaks@gmail.com and tell us you read about it on Cleat Geeks.

In addition to this we are commemorating the MLB playoffs AND the start of the NHL season (!!) with two new Cleat Geeks only offers. Stay tuned next week as we reveal more about those opportunities. Until next time have some fun and happy collecting!

Which Sports Cards to Buy?

If you are a sports card collector, you know there are plenty of company’s out there who produce cards. Like anything else in life, there are some things that are better than others, and the world of sports cards is no different. Here are a few of the top card companies to purchase.

1. Topps2014-Topps-Finest-Football-Rookie-Refractor-Autographed-Patch-Red-Sammy-Watkins
Probably the most recognizable name in the business, Topps has been providing sports cards for quite some time. In covering the major sports Football, Basketball, Baseball), Topps appeals to the novice, as well as the seasoned collector. I personally collect Topps mostly, but have also collected many other cards from other products. Without a doubt, Topps is at the “Topp” of my list of cards to buy.

Silhouettes_Griffin_Panini2. Panini
Panini has emerged as a great product lately, at least in my opinion. This company creates real crisp, clean, beautiful looking cards that typically hold decent value.bowmanBlack

3. Bowman
Bowman is a product that has a strong emphasis on rookie players. Known for their “Bowman Chrome” cards, they create real bright and shiny refactors that really appeal to us collectors. If you are looking to collect the newest rookies, Bowman is the way to go.

Along with the top of the line products, there are also products that do not hold the same value. The following are card companies that do not hold as much value as the companies above.Sage-Autographed_DeMarco-Murray

1. Sage
If you are just looking to add as many rookie autographed cards to your collection, this is the product for you. You get plenty of signatures per box, but the rookie autographs that are inside are not the marquee players. Yes, Sage does have the big names, but it is difficult to get them. On top of that, the cards you get are not seen as “premier,” or not as popular as Topps or Bowman. I’m not saying Sage is a bad product, I am just saying they are not as popular or as valuable as the three companies listed above.

2. LeafleafTyson
Leaf covers a variety of rookie and veteran players. Like Sage, I have come to notice that Leaf products do not hold great value as compared to Topps or Panini. Leaf provides very nice cards, but they just do not hold their value.

Obviously, not every pack, blaster box, or hobby box is going to be a home run. The hits will not always make you jump out of your seat. Be patient, somewhere down the road you will most likely pull a nice card that you will never forget about.

The Collector’s Clubhouse – Episode One

The first pack of baseball cards I can remember opening I was four. I distinctly remember it being a retail hanger pack my parents got me for Christmas. I have no idea what year or brand and I’m pretty sure there wasn’t anything of note in it. It didn’t matter, I was hooked. I remember a few years later pulling a Ken Griffey Jr. rookie out of an old pack of 1987 Fleer. I was probably eight or so. It was the first card I knew I needed to take care of. Of course, “take care of” means something completely different at that age. I still have that card. I’m actually pretty proud of its current condition all things considered.

The first card I ever owned that I was aware was worth something.

The first card I ever owned that I was aware was special.

My love of sports naturaly led me toward a love for sports collectibles. The one thing I always wanted growing up was to catch a foul ball or a home run ball at a Texas Rangers game. When I was twelve, Mark Teixeira tossed one to me coming off the field, I was elated. To own something that has literally been a part of the game I love so much is special.

That’s the thing about sports that keeps us tuned in game after game, month after month, year after year. That’s why a diehard sports fan’s calendar revolves around the sports calendar. That’s why a loss by your NFL team on Sunday can ruin your Monday. That’s why a big win on Monday Night Football helps you soar through Tuesday. Whether you’re a collector or not if you’re a sports fan (and I can’t imagine why you’d be reading this if you weren’t) you know what I’m talking about.

Sports is emotional, so much of our emotional stability lives and dies with the fortunes of our teams. You can argue whether this is healthy (it’s probably not, let’s be honest) but it’s still the truth. It’s one of the main reasons that I collect. I love sports, I love my teams even more. When I crack open a box of Topps Gypsy Queen (one of my favorite products because of how it blends the new and the old) it’s exciting to pull an Ernie Banks (I remember some of my first baseball stories from my dad were about watching Banks at Wrigley while he was growing up) and read over the profile on the back. Nostalgia, it’s a powerful emotion. It’s fun to crack a box of Leaf Trinity hoping beyond hope to pull a Johnny Football autographed card (yes, I’m an aggie. Don’t start with the jokes, I’ve heard them all).

2014 Topps Gypsy Queen Ernie Banks Auto

2014 Topps Gypsy Queen Ernie Banks Auto

Some of you are probably reading this and don’t collect. Maybe it isn’t something you grew up with. Or maybe you did once but lost interest for one reason or another. I’m convinced though that inside all sports fans is a collector. That’s why I am excited about the opportunity to join Cleat Geeks. I’m excited to share my passion with fellow sports fans. I hope that through my writing I help you see the collector inside you. I hope for that because I think it makes sports even more enjoyable.

It’s why I do what I do. It’s why I began Majestic Breaks. If you aren’t a collector (or even if you are) you may not know what exactly a “break” is. To be honest, we have gotten confusion from some individuals after they have purchased a slot. It’s a relatively new concept but one that is a real boon for collectors. A quick summary of the concept is that a collector, instead of having to pony up a large amount of cash for a high end box or case of cards, will purchase a “slot” which gives them the rights to certain cards in a break. There are many different types of breaks. Some are broken up by team, some by division, some by “hit” (in some higher end product there are a limited number of cards but they are all either autographed or memorabilia). It’s basically the equivalent of heading down to the card shop as a kid and splitting a box of something with your friend. Except now you have friends all over the country. Also, someone (hopefully me if you partner in a break with us) takes care of all the other stuff. We break, organize, protect, ship, etc. so you don’t have to.

We take that term I used earlier very seriously. We don’t see anyone who breaks with us as a “customer” or “client”. We see them as partners. In the end the only reason we do what we do is for the collectors out there. So we want collectors to partner with us. We want collectors to tell us what they want to break, what they get excited about. That’s why I am here writing this. Because I want to be able to interact with and discuss with collectors from across the country (even across the world). I want to help spread the joy of collecting with those who may not realize just how great it is. I want to make wives/girlfriends across the country angry because of all the new collectibles there husband/boyfriend has taking up space (just kidding, or am I…). I want to spread the joy of collecting to new collectors and energize and excite current collectors.

Hits from our latest break including an autographed baseball.

Hits from our latest break including an autographed baseball.

In order to do this I need your help. I need everyone who reads this to respond in the comments section below. Let me know why you collect and what your best sports moment is, collecting related or not. If you don’t currently collect let us know why you don’t collect and if there is something that would get you into collecting. In honor of our partnership with Cleat Geeks we’ve decided that one of the comments on this article I mentioned above will be our giveaway winner! So send those comments, pull out those old boxes of cards you have in a closet. Go through them, feel the nostalgia of all the memories and I guarantee you it’ll help your day. To be registered for the giveaway you must also follow both @cleatgeeks and @majesticbreaks on Twitter.

Thanks for reading, next time we will explore some of the other reasons to collect (here’s a hint, $$$$$$). Until next time.

Rules of Sports Cards/Memorabilia on Ebay

Ebay is a site that can present incredible deals on memorabilia and cards, but also present deception and fraud. More often than not, if the price of an item is “too good to be true,” it usually is too good to be true. Thousands of individuals annually obtain fraudulent items via Ebay. Often the biggest names in sports like Aaron Rodgers, Mike Trout, Lebron James, and many more are imitated by individuals looking to make a pretty large payday. How to ensure authenticity? The following tips can help you ensure the item is real:
1. Certificate of Authenticity
This is any paperwork that comes with the item. Make sure the certificate seems legitimate. If it is just a sheet that says “SoAndSo authenticates SuchAndSuch item,” avoid item. Typically legitimate authentication such as JSA (James Spence Authentication), Steiner, and a few others which I will speak upon in a later article. In the event that an item comes with a authentication sticker, make sure the authentication number on the sticker matches the certificate of authenticity, or if the item is registered online, make sure it matches up there.
2. Authentication Stickers
Some items, typically out of main view of the main focal point of the memorabilia item, have a sticker with a serial number on it. As I said about the certificate of authenticity, make the the item and the sticker match. There are many frauds out there. Don’t buy fake autographs!
3. Make sure Sports Cards come in the original manufacture seal
When purchasing a retail box or hobby box of cards, make sure the box has the original plastic seal around it, and no rips and tears on it. Always look at the photos and images the seller has listed. If it is a stock photo of a product, don’t hesitate to ask for a picture of the actual item you will be receiving.
4. Don’t be afraid to report a seller who doesn’t sell the item you intended to pay for and receive
It happens fairly often. The seller says you will be getting the exact product in the image and description, and upon arrival, you receive something that doesn’t match the quality of the item promised by the seller. Do not hesitate to report the seller to notify Ebay of their wrongdoing. Also, don’t hesitate to open a case with a seller who sold you an item that didn’t match the photo or description. This is one of the best ways to get your full refund, and also get Ebay’s attention of a questionable seller.
5. Seller’s Reputation
If the seller has many positive reviews, you should feel comfortable purchasing items from that seller. If the seller has multiple negative reviews, you may want to avoid the seller. A personal rule of mine is “anything below 99% positive reviews is not worth my time.”
To be an effective Ebay buyer, use common sense. If an item is trending at around $200, and the seller has it “On Sale” for $40, don’t take the risk. Odds are it is fake. Double check certificate of authentication prior to purchasing an item. If the item comes with paperwork that seems illegitimate, don’t take the risk. Make sure all authentication stickers match the item you are purchasing. If they don’t match up, the item should be left alone. Make sure the sports cards boxes come in original seal from manufacturer. This is huge. It ensures the product truly has not been opened and is straight from the manufacturer. Always double check the seller’s reputation, and if need be, don’t be afraid to report the seller to Ebay or open a case against a bad seller. Keep these tips in mind while purchasing your sports cards/sports memorabilia on Ebay!

 

 

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