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|New Card Talk Member|
Copied from another thread
"I think it is more like where did the hobby go out to in the UK, it was doing quite nicely a certain number of years ago, that sadly is not the case anymore."
So what happened;
New dealers who only wanted to deal in high end cards
Lack of dealers at comic fairs
Im looking to get back into our hobby, is it worth it, is it fun.
|Silver Card Talk Member|
I quit (except for the occasional sketch card purchase on E-Bay) for the following reasons:
1. Too expensive
2. Annoying parallel sets
3. One of a kind cards (mostly autographs)
4. Expensive boxes with disappointing contents
5. Hard to get triple, double, auto/costume cards
6. Too many promo cards
7. Too many sets released at the same time I was interested in so could not get them all.
8. Cut-signature cards (again, impossible to find)
9. Stores and trading centers in my area that sold cards all gone.
10. I ran out of money (that's the main reason and bounces me back to 1 again)
Living in Belgium I buy less boxes than I would if boxes would be readily available in local stores. Or so I assume. There's an online belgian retailer who could get me boxes, but I refuse to pay over €130 for a single box.
There's a relatively low amount of comic book stores and roleplaying/fantasy stores on the European mainland and none of them have decided that there's a viable market for trading cards. Every once in a while I'll scour the internet to find a German or a French seller, but with no success.
There's a UK-dealer who is present at most of the Cons in Belgium and the Netherlands. (Hi, Derek!). There's a Belgian seller of base sets on some of the conventions. However, that's about it. I tend to keep my eyes open for old boxes on tables of private sellers.
A more strict import tax policy ever since 9/11 and even stricter since the crash of 2008 have strongly disturbed my self-evident buying habits.
The result, however, was that I welcomed publishers like Unstoppable with open arms. Cards with interesting licenses from within the EU. We'll see what Brexit does in the years to come.
Panini does offer trading cards in Europe, but those have a base set and then perhaps a single parallel set. It never gets any more fancy. No auto's or sketches. Those clearly remain in the publishing practices of US producers.
I did place an order fora case of the upcoming Twin Peaks cards, but that's a rare exception for me nowadays.
|Silver Card Talk Member|
Inserting my halfpence worth:-
For the UK I believe the decline started when the main importers for the UK and Europe ceased and were not replaced. This meant that collectors and dealers had to import the product themselves as most manufacturers were and still are based in the US. That fact has affected everything else as outlined in most of Cardaddict's comments.
I don't collect Comics so did not go to comic fairs however I did have a comic dealer who would send me comics that had a promo card inside but after several years they called it a day, I did go to card fairs every month but again the main dealer for those retired and he sold his business, in addition most of the card collectors I used to meet were of the older generation and many of them have passed on. My local comic shop who also had cards ceased to trade when he kept on spending more than he was getting in takings.
This all led to internet purchases that have dwindled due to the ever rising shipping costs and to the ever growing disenchantment with card manufacturers who overpopulate their sets. When I started collecting cards more often than not you never ever managed to collect the set without swapping with your schoolmates and these were sets that only consisted of a base set.
When I started collecting it was pretty easy to make a complete set. A base set a chase set or 2 and a few autos and costumes. You could pick up a lot of full sets for £100.
For me it just finally reached the point where there is no longer any point collecting something that I will never be able to finish. Every set now has several base sets loads of chase sets and tons of autos and costumes and will cost you thousands of pounds to finish.
|Diamond Card Talk Member|
In terms of dealers - most are on ebay only and half of them (based on unstoppable dealers promo's) I've never heard of. None of the dealers appear to go out of their way to attract UK collectors. I'm only aware of a couple of dealers selling boxes and they usually have all the big hits on ebay before I get my boxes! Even the big shows only have 1 or 2 dealers there and the general box price, plus shipping plus exchange rate make boxes expensive. I don't know what the answer is but we are struggling.
Most trading card licenses aren't actually for worldwide sales. At least, when I browse through the Previews catalog (the main source for dealers to acquire comic books and related merchandise) it generally says that offered trading cards are for Canada and US only. Not sure how that would affect the prospect of a dedicated UK of European distributor setting up.
|Silver Card Talk Member|
There was a boom around 2000, where good sets based on 'X-Files', 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' and 'Lord of the Rings' drew in a lot of new collectors. However, things have declined hugely in the UK.
Kids have moved on to collect different stuff, and the remaining collectors have largely been priced out of the market due to new boxes almost doubling in price.
Of course there is still fun to be had, for instance if you like 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' most of the Inkworks cards can be picked up relatively cheaply now, although you'll have to use the internet to get them.
|Bronze Card Talk Member|
The core of what made collecting fun for generations, from 1930-1980's, is gone. Single packs, completing a base set and trading with friends. I don't collect autographs and never did. Card collecting now is just glorified auto collecting. The only thing people care about is who's signing. So it's that along with buying a box when a set comes out with an instant full base set. Parallels are totally pointless which is why I never include them in my sets. The internet and the direct market that started in the 1970-80's sterilised the hobby. It took non sports out of gas stations and into specialty shops, like comics most kids point of entry to the hobby was the gas station / convenience / drug store. There are still sports cards at my local gas station, but 0 non sports sets. Like comics, fewer kids entered the hobby after the mid 1990s, and the collectors are now all older.
|Platinum Card Talk Member|
Sadly, I agree with you, but there is an obvious reason why the hobby has evolved into this culture. I would also include quality sketch cards as a strong second place finisher.
I always collected autograph cards back before any manufacturer thought of the pack inserted certified autograph card. My signed cards were from in-persons and do you know what the wisdom of card collectors was about my autographs? Maybe you do know if you collected prior to the early 90's. It meant that the card had zero value. It meant that the card was essentially damaged and the only market value was the decreased price of the autograph. I say decreased because the autograph belonged on an 8x10 and value was deducted for being on a card. There was even an accepted rule that you never got a rookie card signed because it would likely be the highest priced card and the autograph would nullify its worth.
I always felt that the autograph added its inherit value to the value of the card, but this was not how the hobby experts saw it at all back then. Now it is just the opposite and the certified card has become the preferred premium hit of choice, while the lowly in-person signed card has sunk even lower where certified cards exist.
So the obvious reason, money plain and simple. Box/pack prices didn't go up because of the premium hits. Rather guaranteed premium hits were created to support the raising of the box/pack prices. In sport cards you get some bang for your buck out of short printed rookie cards, as well as the autographs. In non-sport the concept of rookie cards doesn't exist. At best you get a bump for a First Season card, but subsequent repeat signings do tend to dilute first appearance auto prices for all but the biggest names.
Manufacturers are the ones who got regular card collectors fixated on autographs when they went on the nothing but up scale of $50, $60, $70, $80, over $100 a box. There has got to be some cards in that box that make the risk worthwhile. The base set won't do it. The inserts and parallels won't do it. So it must come from the autographs and maybe a one per case sketch.
And this has jaded card collectors now to the point that if a nice card product does come out at $40 or less a per box, but it doesn't have any premium hits, no one does care about it. So if you try to go back it fails. Yet the ever increasing prices of premium hobby boxes, even with autographs and sketches, is unsustainable. Catch 22.
|Bronze Card Talk Member|
Good question and welcome to Card Talk Swaggy!
As most have said #1 is import costs. Last double boxes I bought were Topps American Pie 2011 which was around £60 for 2 boxes (combined). About £20 to ship it here and a delightful £30 onto for import fees. That was the last time I ordered a box outside the UK!
Second is lack of packs or boxes in my local comic store which stopped packing anything except CCGs around 10 years ago now.
Online buying means I can get 2 costume cards I really, really want for less than £10 inc. shipping.
Which leads me to box breakdown and general set checklists. Why bother splurging a ton of money for subpar boxes (Of course the great cards are multi case incentives) when you can just buy cards you actually want and need online.
Summary: Online sale bargains and expensive boxes with ridiculous shipping and import fees.
The other side to it was I generally lost interest in my early 20's. The sets I bought were not always of the same quality and never broke even for the money I put down. I just had better things to spend cash on. The passion for it just went the same with most of my childhood and teenage interests and hobbies. Guess I got older and poorer. I couldn't justify it anyone.
Plus there's more of a stigma in social circles if you're a female collector of anything. It can been seen as 'odd'. Where as for men it's just a 'thing' some guys do and no one really questions it. Unless he become a hoarder or goes broke chasing rare items.
If possible please link the thread you took the quote from in your original question for reference (so we can read it). Thanks.
|Platinum Card Talk Member|
Had a good chuckle with that one.
I get that interests change over time, but please don't let social circles hold you back. With what passes for normal in some places, being odd can have its advantages.
I've always collected things that used to be seen as 'strange' for a female, be it swords or militaria, but I couldn't care less what people think. However, it is a great ice-breaker to be different, and many an interesting conversation has been had.
Sheep are great, but mountain goats have more fun.
I've never had a local store to buy cards, so I've always had to source elsewhere and often outside the UK. I wouldn't say there's anywhere in a 20 mile radius of where I live that sells even comic books, not in an actual store, at least.
If big high street businesses are struggling and having to close stores then it's even harder for a more niche market type of place.
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