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!



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.

Feeling 22, Saad and Nyquist

Saad&Nyquist3The Columbus Blue Jackets shocked the hockey world on June 30th trading for Chicago Blackhawk’s superstar, Brandon Saad. At 22, Saad is a two-time Stanley Cup champion and was due to become a restricted free agent on the 1st of July. The winger was eventually signed to a 6 year deal on July 3rd, solidifying the Jackets as a legitimate contender in the Metro division.

In the Atlantic, the Red Wings and their future star, Gustav Nyquist, were in the same situation until this past Friday. For the Wings, the Nyquist signing means that they will not have to attend an arbitration hearing at the end of this month, avoiding a potentially awkward situation. Both players have some comparable traits, let’s take a look at them.

Brandon Saad, 22, doesn’t know what golf in April is, playing in every playoff since he made his debut in 2011. He is coming on to a team that knows all too much about making tee times throughout the spring. The Blue Jackets have only made the playoffs twice in their 14 year existence, never making it out of the first round.brandon-saadonaKnee

Saad signed a 6 year 36 million dollar contract on July 3rd, dedicating possibly the most productive years of his career to the Jackets. Last year he scored 31 goals, 32 assists and was a +12 throughout the regular season and the playoffs. Looking at the CBJ roster, one would think that Saad would play LW on the 1st line with Nick Foligno and allstar, Ryan Johanson. Also a force on the power play and penalty kill, I think you will see him play plenty of specialty teams logging upwards of 20 minutes per night.

Brandon Saad is young but he does bring experience, which Jacket’s management hope creates a winning atmosphere. The leadership that can come with that experience cannot be measured by salary, it is only measured by what the player can do to make a team better.

Gustav Nyquist was signed to a 4 year 19 million dollar contract on Friday, and with came a deep sigh of relief from Red Wings fans. For the Red Wings, Nyquist is a cornerstone for the organization which is soon to lose some of it’s best assets. Players like Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk are getting old, and there seems to be a change in the guard on the horizon.

NyquistIn typical Red Wings fashion they have developed their players to become monsters in the NHL through the minors. Nyquist is a prime example of that development. Also making his debut in 2011, the ‘’Goose’’ hasn’t played much golf either becoming a valuable RW on a team that has not missed the playoffs in 22 years. Last year he recorded 28 goals, 28 assists, but was a -12.

Locking up Gustav was key for the Wings, and keeping the cast around him has to maintain a top priority. Surrounded by the superstars of past, they are well into their careers with a light at the end of a prestigious tunnel. It will be up to the players like Nyquist, Tomas Tatar, Danny Dekeyser, and Justin Abdelkader to continue their winning ways and to form a new era in Detroit hockey. Many changes are in the cards for Detroit in the coming months and years though. A stunning offseason saw Mike Babcock go to Toronto, and a new arena is in the works for the winged wheel. Jeff Blashill has stepped in as head coach, but it won’t be a huge change for the young guys, as he has coached the Grand Rapids Griffins just short of 4 years. Many believe that players like Nyquist will shine under Blashill as they did for him in Grand Rapids.

It will be interesting to see what each of these players do this season, both playing for young teams that are hungry and are favorites in their respective divisions. The Red Wings got quite the deal after holding out, driving Nyquist’s price down could have been attributed to his +/- as he will need to play both sides of ice in order to establish himself as a true elite player. Saad’s versatility drove his price up, but the Blue Jackets wanted him and were ready to match any offer put on the table.

Both of these players are young and there is a lot of hockey left to be played in their careers. Both of them are playing on rising teams that need them to become the cornerstones that will build a franchise, brick by brick. If Saad and Nyquist continue to become the players that they are getting paid to be, they will be in for quite the pay raise after these contracts expire. Only time will tell whom the true winners were, which could become quite the expensive price to pay.

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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