Non-Sport Update's Card Talk
So I think I am done collecting for now.

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November 02, 2016, 01:31 PM
So I think I am done collecting for now.
after attending a large convention in FLorida last weekend - 1 non sports dealer - no call for any sets, boxes, inserts I have now proclaimed IN MY OPINION NON SPORTS IS DEAD - the companies are apathetic, non compliant, charge too much provide too little, are too DELAYED in their releases and customers and new potential customers are priced out of the market - it is a shame but once the day of the $5 or $6 set went away and people have to pay $85 for a box providing not even 1 set - you just LOST your customer base of moderate income - no replies necessary just wanted to vent
November 02, 2016, 05:15 PM
That's a bummer -- what show was it?

I personally think that $5 set really put the hurt on dealers. At $5 it's not worth it to deal with sets for most people. They take up a lot of table space, they take a lot of time to sort, they are heavy, etc. . .
November 02, 2016, 05:58 PM
I found some of the Star Trek ones at a flea market last month. I gave them to my nieces who are really getting into Star Trek. They thought they were great.

I noticed that after some comic book stores closed during the 2000's the ones that survived that time are still around (though maybe with a change in ownership) and at least doing okay. It's hard to find cards though one sports card shop I know has actually expanded its non-sports section. Another local store shifted from vintage action figures and related toys to Disney collectibles in one of their big display cases.

Originally posted by chesspieceface:
The FOTONOVEL has never really left us. It is only sleeping and will someday awaken with a vengeance.

November 02, 2016, 07:02 PM
Sort of restating what you said...In the 70's and 80's all you had to do was collect the set and some stickers and you were done unless some oddball error or variant became known and you got that too. In the 90's you collected the set and the one or two levels of chase cards plus the promos and maybe one or two rarities (Comic Images medallion and autograph card). Now, you have sets with over 15 autographs plus at least two other chase levels and at least two levels of parallels. And that doesn't count the autograph that you probably won't pull even if you bought a case.

The average collector wants to finish that huge set, but halfway through building that one, the next set you want is released with as many or more hits to track down. That collector feels frustration after 10-30 years of finishing a set within a year to realizing it may take a few years to finish it (waiting for good deals on the want list cards and waiting while saving the extra money for those cards). Most people aren't that patient and the cost of living never goes down so they simply give up the hunt.

It makes me wonder if manufacturers should consider a redemption card for the full set of autographs/costumes/relics. I think the average pack-buying and box-buying collector would like to have a chance to get a whole level in one shot even if it were a one per 2-3 case kind of card. The manufacturer could build some good will with a contest/drawing for that kind of card at a show. It would be like a lottery win for many people.

I used to collect several sets but I had to cut back on buying during the 2000's and also sold some stuff. There are some cards I'd like to get back but that doesn't keep me up at night. I kept what I liked. We have to realize the difference between what we need and what we'd like to have but can live without. At that point you aren't any less of a collector - maybe less avid but then you are also more tuned into what you really like.

I'd still like to get a box of that Empire Strikes Back Widevision 3D and maybe a couple of others but I can wait until I have more money. I can still pick up oddball 90's-2000's promos here and there and add to a couple of older sets. Cards are things I still enjoy but I don't need to finish a set of anything.

Originally posted by X:
I don't know what to make of the hobby these days.

I look at eBay and prices for lots of new cards are limper than I would thought they would be even though cards are better than they ever have been.
I come on this board and it is often depressingly quiet. Scoundrel Art Forum is near enough dead, and whilst not a place I visit very often at all, it seems sketch card collectors couldn't keep that afloat. Blowout can be very busy, especially for certain products, but all the product detail you get in threads there comes from ripper-flippers who only seem to care about making money from a set, making the conversation shallow and the interest fleeting.

This all makes me scratch my head because I LOVE collecting trading cards. This was true when I was a completest, and remains true now I only pick up bits and pieces. I feel sorry for those types who, if they cannot have every single card in a set, walk away. I understand that not having everything goes against the default collector mentality but I disagree with it. Why? It's not healthy. Very few people can have everything in life. Get your pleasure where you can I say. If a collector can't enjoy their binder full of great cards because they are missing that one item, maybe time to bin off your pleasant husband/wife because of a large mole, or sell that nice car because it has a small dent, maybe live in a shed because what's the point of having a house that may be a bit drafty?
If the cards themselves literally no longer give you any pleasure, fair enough, get rid. Get some money back and spend future money on far wiser things. But if not, why cut off your nose to spite your face?

I know that will come across as dismissive of the way some collectors view this hobby and how it 'should' work, but maybe some of the collectors who get upset at being 'priced out/not being able to complete master sets anymore' should ask themselves two questions:
1. Do they really want everything?
2. If they do, why?

I'm a Big Bond fan (shocking I know). Brosnan is my favourite Bond by a mile. His auto was always my Holy Grail and hoped but never thought that card would happen, but finally it did!
But do I need all four of his £100+ auto cards?
Do I even want them all?
Will not having all four detract from the one that I do have?
Certainly not.

I used to spend a lot more than I do these days trying to chase everything. 10 years ago I bought so much stuff it is scary looking back, and even then there was tonnes of stuff in my collecting area I still needed to one day chase down and I glossed over the collecting fatigue I was feeling. But I distinctly remember when my mentality towards collecting cards changed:
I was putting some of my Bond 40th Anniversary autos in new soft sleeves and moving one hand too quickly near the other, I hit the card I was holding with my hand, bending the corner quite severely. I sighed to myself: **** I need to replace that. The very next thought was "I don't want a damaged card but I don't want to buy it again". We're talking about a £10-£15 card here that could easily be replaced. I came to the simple realisation I did not really want that card and owned it simply for the sake of completion.

This led me to cull the things from my collection that I did not really want and I am so glad I did. Prior to this I was thinking of giving it all up. The things I have left, and the things I buy now, I really enjoy because I just like them for what they are, not because a checklist says I should have them.
It also means I feel more free to branch out and pick up the odd bits here and there from different licences because I don't need everything else in that set (for example I have only 3 Batman Begins cards, 1 LOTR auto, 12 X-Men cards, 1 Walking Dead card, a grand total of 3 Star Wars autos and 3 Star Trek autos to name but a few random things in my collection).
Besides increased enjoyment, my hobby now costs me less. The money I do spend is spread less thinly and it easier to justify spending money on that bigger card every now and again.

I do sympathise with those who find themselves in a rut, I've been there. But there is still A LOT to enjoy if you can think back and remember why you bought cards in the first place.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: catskilleagle,
November 02, 2016, 10:56 PM
Obi Wan Chrisobi
The redemption card for a full set seems like a solid idea. I would also like to see companies do what Rittenhouse used to do with their archive boxes. Rittenhouse used to randomly insert ten archive boxes into their product and you wouldn't know if you got one until you opened it. Now, they use them as dealer incentives for ordering X number of cases. The opportunity for a box basically being a random golden ticket added that little extra bit of fun to opening a box.

"These aren't the cards you're looking for...."
November 03, 2016, 12:02 PM
David R
In the "old days", the 1990s, before ebay, if I did not complete a master set within a few weeks, I felt as if I was in big trouble.

I'm talking about sets where there were 10 chrome cards and they only came 2 per box. What options did I have other than open more packs, or attend local shows, or seek out a card dealer ?

The killer was when you had harder to find sets with cards that came 1 per box, like box toppers, such as Valiant Era, or some of the Wildstorm sets that not many dealers broke. Those were hard to complete

Maybe I was OCD with all of that
November 04, 2016, 05:45 AM
the $5 set was a wonderful item - customers could spend $10 get 2 sets to enjoy and 4 sets for $20 they felt like they got a deal and they did - now for a person to spend $20 to $25 for 1 set is GARBAGE - and now the dealers are loosing $$$ as you have to spend $150 for 2 boxes in order to get 1 crummy set - before you spent $60 to get 3 to 4 sets - to me a great deal and until the companies realize they are killing this hobby - it is adios/sayonara to a hobby that is committing suicide
November 04, 2016, 09:05 AM
Originally posted by sherlock2:
the $5 set was a wonderful item - customers could spend $10 get 2 sets to enjoy and 4 sets for $20 they felt like they got a deal and they did - now for a person to spend $20 to $25 for 1 set is GARBAGE - and now the dealers are loosing $$$ as you have to spend $150 for 2 boxes in order to get 1 crummy set - before you spent $60 to get 3 to 4 sets - to me a great deal and until the companies realize they are killing this hobby - it is adios/sayonara to a hobby that is committing suicide

Maybe I'm not reading this right, but I think you are saying -- $5 sets were great for customers because they could get 4 sets for $20, and dealers could spend $60 to get 3-4 sets.

That was the problem. The loss had to be made up somewhere, or all the dealers would go out of business.
November 05, 2016, 05:32 PM
OMG so your saying spending $90 on a box and getting the same 1 crappy autograph and one lowly costume card and 0 sets of cards is better - PLEEEEEAASE - how many kids /new customers in the hobby can afford a $90 box and $20 for a crummy set - VERY VERY FEW - the hobby is in a downward slow death (in my opinion of course)
November 05, 2016, 07:20 PM
Heroes For Hire
Originally posted by webjon:

Maybe I'm not reading this right, but I think you are saying -- $5 sets were great for customers because they could get 4 sets for $20, and dealers could spend $60 to get 3-4 sets.

That was the problem. The loss had to be made up somewhere, or all the dealers would go out of business.

Yeah, those were the days. You could get spend $60 on a box and make 4 base sets and try to sell them for $5 each. You're only down $40 if you find 4 people to buy a set or one person to buy them all if they thought it was a deal. Nowadays you can spend $90 on a box and not even make one base set and get an auto card to sell for $5 and a costume for another $5. But these days, you're down $80. You're down double from the old days and don't even have a base set to show for it from your box. Makes it tough to be an average collector.

Conversely in these lottery days of box buying, you might get lucky and pull a hot auto card and/or costume card and actually break even or make some money on that $90 box. But how many times does that happen for the average collector? For me, very rarely. But for dealers who break multiple boxes or cases, it's probably better these days to have a chance to make some money on those autograph, costume, other insert cards, and making a fewer base sets than depending old model of boxes that produce multiple base sets and trying to sell them for $5 each.
November 05, 2016, 08:57 PM
So as long as we are coughing up the past, there were 36 packs to a box, 7 - 8 cards in a pack and I actually forget how many boxes to a case, but it sure wasn't 12. TOPPS boxes sold for $40 and under and premium product boxes were $50 - $60. You finished multiple base sets and, even though they were dirt cheap, it made up something. If you caught an autograph or sketch, not necessarily guaranteed in every box, it still gave you back something, even if just a common.

The thing with buying blind boxes is not how much you can make, it's how much you lose. A true card collector does not buy to sell, he/she is buying to keep. What has eroded this hobby is that the increases in box/case prices, coupled with the decreasing size of product volume and the more or less stagnant value of those hits that are now guaranteed to be there, but not guaranteed to be more than equally cheap commons, results in a big gap between what was paid and what was received.

A card collector has to expect that value gap. It was always there, even back in the good old days, but it was the price of the acceptable risk you took to pull a big hit that was worth more than what you paid.

The problem with the hobby now, and the thing that is driving long time pack busters crazy, is that the gap is no long acceptable for the risk. If you don't pull a big hit, and you probably won't, you are losing way too much money for the cards you have left in your hand. You might as well forego boxes and buy only individual cards and complete sets on the secondary market and you will get a lot more for the same money.

Now here's the further rub. That's fine for the changing card collector, it's even very smart, but how are we getting these cards on the secondary market. Someone, some bulk buyer, some dealer, some die hard collector, has to break the product. Somebody has to take the risk of opening the thing up. At one time hobby store owners used to do it, not anymore. Now even many large dealers are afraid to go in too deep with a title. It's all because they are more afraid of how much they can lose, than confident of how much they can make.

I'm not saying that the hobby is committing suicide, I know it will survive. Everything runs in cycles and this is one of them. It will reset because it can't sustain itself without the average collector and the average collector has already cut way back. The secondary market is flooded, if people can't go forward they will turn backwards. Card collectors will still collect, but they will find ways to do it that make sense. Card manufacturers will either figure out how to provide value to the average collector or they will go out of business trying to sell only to guys with money to burn.

In the meantime there are thousands of older cards to buy at discounted prices that are now affordable. This is way too long, I just feel strongly that card collectors should stand firm and not allow themselves to be forced out. If it doesn't work for you anymore, forget it and lay low. When it doesn't work for enough people it will change. It if does not change, just think of all the money you will save. Big Grin You will still always have your own cards and a way to get more. Smile
November 06, 2016, 12:20 AM
Originally posted by sherlock2:
OMG so your saying spending $90 on a box and getting the same 1 crappy autograph and one lowly costume card and 0 sets of cards is better - PLEEEEEAASE - how many kids /new customers in the hobby can afford a $90 box and $20 for a crummy set - VERY VERY FEW - the hobby is in a downward slow death (in my opinion of course)

I didn't say that at all. . . not even close.

Before everyone decided they would only pay $5 for a set they actually would sell for $10-15. There was a time when you could sell the base sets and cover the cost of the box, and have the chase cards for profit.

If you could still get $10-15 a set I'm sure a box would still have 3-4 base sets in it. . .

I just don't think the economics of a $5 set work.
November 07, 2016, 06:43 AM
I don't think the effort of a $5 set works Wink How did that happen anyway. It's frustrating. Alot of effort from the company goes into the base set. Alot of my effort goes into the base set. How did we get to where someone begrudges me even $3 for 80-100 cards.......!

Star Trek cards rule, everything else drools.
November 07, 2016, 06:59 PM
Originally posted by webjon:
.....Before everyone decided they would only pay $5 for a set they actually would sell for $10-15.....

I'm not sure the word 'decided' is the correct word, perhaps 'expect' is nearer the mark. The manufacturers put autographs/chase in packs to sustain a higher production run than what would otherwise be the case than if they just put base cards in packs. This has escalated so that there are far, far more base cards being produced than there is a market for, hence very low base set price, often below production cost.
November 14, 2016, 08:09 AM
I don't know about anyone else but Funko Pop are the new trading cards for me. They're a lot cheaper if you can get them when they're released (unless it's a super rare numbered one). They're sold in a lot of places locally, not just online, which is mainly the case for trading cards. They're easily displayed, where as cards are usually put in binders and only seen when you bring them out to have a look.

Still love the cards I have, but you do put a lot of money into a good collection. It's also very difficult to get the cards you need when you live out of the US and many people don't want to ship to you.
November 15, 2016, 12:04 PM
I couldn't agree more with all the complaints, ($5 packs, no complete sets in boxes, too many products released too soon, too many impossible to get chase, etc.) but the solutions-- to quit the hobby-- seem premature. There are several independent companies that are selling boxes at half that cost, with complete base sets, very reachable chase sets, and not all the crazy parallel sets, etc. They aren't the big corporate companies, but if anything, that should be ANOTHER reason to support them. And yes, most their products are not licensed: Yet another good thing (IMHO), because how many more Star Trek, Star Wars, and Buffy sets do we need (I mean, really!). During the Golden Age of non-sports, all the best sets were unlicensed. H.O.W, Mars Attacks, Battle, Dinosaurs, Scoops, Red Menace, LOOK & See, etc. etc. etc.

People complain about greedy Corp. card company practices, but when good alternatives come along, they don't support them. It's like women who complain about men who treat them like ****, but when the nice guys finally show up, they ignore them. (Coz the other women aren't chasing after them.)

Is $6.80 too much for new set? Okay, it's not $5, but it's close, and that's all RRParks charges for their Coke & Gag Midgee sets. And they're cool sets! (Plus they also do licensed sets like 3 Stooges.) If that doesn't turn your crank, what about Cryptozoic, Breygent, Cult-Stuff, just to name a few. There are lots of alternatives to greedy corp. giants. LOTS.

Yes, I'm bummed people have passed away and NSU has changed ownership. (Heck, I still miss Mark Macaluso and The Card Coach.) It's good to appreciate them but I don't think they wish for the hobby to close after they're gone or have retired.

We all need to remember Card Collecting was never meant to be a hobby where the people with the most money had the best collections. It was supposed to be about THE HUNT. Searching out and finding cool cards, even when they seem hidden, or are made by companies that don't have big advertising budgets to make their existence obvious. It's easier than ever, what with eBay and Google and all the other resources.

All I'm saying is with changes comes new opportunities. Instead of focussing on the bad, we should look for the good. Trust me, it's out there. You just need to search and find it. I'm collecting more oddball stuff than ever before, and much of it is pretty darn cheap. I hate the way international postal rates have gone through the roof, but we can't control everything. Domestic First Class is still a pretty good bargain. My biggest complaint is running out of space!

"Life is a sexually transmitted terminal disease." -Papa Prell
May 19, 2018, 09:17 AM
Despite bumping this older thread back up the list, I still agree with a lot of what's been said in relation to manufacturing gimmicks and (For me) the price of boxes and shipping.

Last box I bought was American Horror Story: Murder House which was £35 with free P&P a bargain but the first box I'd bought in about 3 years due to the rising costs.

It kicked off my set for sure but in terms of the box break down itself I was disappointed. In terms of cards value I didn't even 'break even'. Kind of made me wish I'd put down on select chase cards from online dealers.

Perhaps that kind of thinking and being able to get (some of) the chase cards you want directly is why people aren't buy as much new in the hobby these days?

My last convention was in 2016 and I hoped to pick up a few sealed boxes for fun to kick start new (Would be) master sets. But the boxes - which were literally small enough to hold in one hand due to some new manufacturing methods - were between £80 - 120 a box. Frown

I feel it's more about people not being able to afford the hobby so they don't engage with it on forums as much. How can you talk about 'hey this great set came out but the price of the item and shipping isn't in my budget'?

I do believe the Non Sport industry is trying to keep up with the returns of their sports counter part in 'future collectable value for money'. Which is a shame because originally being affordable and about a range of topics, shows and everything NON sport was what made it so special in the first place.

I think we need to go back to some basic sets like they had in the 90s where the entire collection was a base set, some low end chase and may a handful of (affordable) autographs.

These days the chase heirarchy is so high that most people start to read the lists of cards for a set and get half way and just 'write off' everything else which is due to quantity or cost or both is just unobtainable.

The fun used to be in being able to COLLECT the whole sets. That's what made Inkworks great because they didn't get too silly with 'super ultra mega stratosphere rare' cards. Everyone was in with a chance. Now only the rich (or super lucky) are.

What do you think the industry could do to revitalise the hobby and make it more accessible again? What went way ward with it in your opinion?
May 19, 2018, 12:11 PM
Spencer Quist
I think the main problem nowadays is that the manufacturers are aiming most of the content and the distribution of product towards the dealers, as opposed to the genuine collectors. See for example the massive increase of case incentive cards which the normal collector has no chance of getting lucky and pulling from their box purchase. Or the amount of cards generally box distributed that are packed 1 to 2 or even 3 cases at the cost of plenty of shelf filler nobody's that the case is overflowing with. Hence having to go to dealers and paying through the nose. This just plays up to the OCD nature of the 'gotta get em all' collector. So buying a box is no longer the pleasant little gamble it once was, and thereby rendering the exercise far less fun.

Nothings forgotten, nothings ever forgotten.
May 31, 2018, 08:28 AM
That's a really good point. I think the dealer incentives have gone haywire. Particularly when collectors are sold-short with package fillers like parallel base cards.

I'm still chasing some multi-case incentives for my master sets (OCD all or nothing collector here) and they've 'cheapest' if just under triple figures.

No sure what an ideal resolution would be?
May 31, 2018, 09:58 AM
Originally posted by TC00:
What do you think the industry could do to revitalise the hobby and make it more accessible again? What went way ward with it in your opinion?

I believe in order to revitalize the industry in the way that you are talking cards need to appeal to a wider audience in the same way that Funko Pops appeal to a wider audience. Most sets today -- at least the base and chase cards -- are stills from an existing source with text that rehashes what has happened -- this generally is all content that can be found easily online.

That said I don't think it's really profitable to manufacture, collate, ship or sell a base set for $4-5, and there is extreme resistance from many current collectors to pay a price that makes all that work profitable.