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Platinum Card Talk Member
Picture of Raven
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quote:
Originally posted by MvG:
Is it likely there will be more autos released in this format?


RA keeps coming back to multiple designs, so why not? The only thing is that the characters can't repeat and they have now covered just about all the older characters and would have to bring on only newer or future ones.

Which brings up something that I have been thinking about. Design carryover has been consistent with RA, but I think it has served to really bite them with the higher priced Star Trek Inflexions and for Game of Thrones both with Valyrian and Inflexions. Because they insert the autographs in any appropriately titled product, you have to consult checklists to even confirm which product a particular autograph card came from, since the card itself gives no indication of the set release.

Now for RA autograph cards, this has always been true, whether in Bond, GoT, or Star Trek. The difference was that all the box/case prices were the same, varying only as the average premium box went up. However once Valyrian and Inflexions was introduced, we went to basically twice that average SRP for a box, but the autograph cards coming out were from the same design pools as in prior products. In fact we all know some of those autographs were signed many years ago.

There is an argument that autograph cards from higher valued boxes should automatically carry a premium over the same signers in cheaper products. While I happen to believe a common signer is a common signer all over, I can still understand the point that being part of an ultra premium product should add a few bucks. However RA has taken that out of the equation by having autograph cards that aren't easily linked to those ultra premium products. The styles are no different than what came before and so aren't really seen as special or worthy of more money by relationship.

The low prices on most of the Star Trek Inflexions autographs and the obvious dumping is still going on. It really doesn't bode well for any future Inflexions titles and the mixing in of old autograph designs, which was not an issue when box cost was standard, is one of the contributing reasons to my mind.
 
Posts: 7660 | Location: New York | Registered: November 20, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Gold Card Talk Member
Picture of X
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quote:
Originally posted by MvG:
quote:
Originally posted by X:
The Bridge crew design is great and offers nearly all the main characters across all Trek series, in one uniform style for the first time.


I agree, I also like the Bridge crew design or is it the 50th Anniversary design? So if I am not mistaken there are now 31 autographs with the crew/50th anniversary design right? 5 captain autograph cards (in set the 50th anniversary) and 26 crew design autographs (in set inflexions). Is it likely there will be more autos released in this format?


There are still a couple main names missing, particularly Voyager, so I could see few more being released.
 
Posts: 3001 | Location: England | Registered: June 23, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Gold Card Talk Member
Picture of X
posted Hide Post
quote:
Originally posted by Raven:
quote:
Originally posted by MvG:
Is it likely there will be more autos released in this format?


RA keeps coming back to multiple designs, so why not? The only thing is that the characters can't repeat and they have now covered just about all the older characters and would have to bring on only newer or future ones.

Which brings up something that I have been thinking about. Design carryover has been consistent with RA, but I think it has served to really bite them with the higher priced Star Trek Inflexions and for Game of Thrones both with Valyrian and Inflexions. Because they insert the autographs in any appropriately titled product, you have to consult checklists to even confirm which product a particular autograph card came from, since the card itself gives no indication of the set release.

Now for RA autograph cards, this has always been true, whether in Bond, GoT, or Star Trek. The difference was that all the box/case prices were the same, varying only as the average premium box went up. However once Valyrian and Inflexions was introduced, we went to basically twice that average SRP for a box, but the autograph cards coming out were from the same design pools as in prior products. In fact we all know some of those autographs were signed many years ago.

There is an argument that autograph cards from higher valued boxes should automatically carry a premium over the same signers in cheaper products. While I happen to believe a common signer is a common signer all over, I can still understand the point that being part of an ultra premium product should add a few bucks. However RA has taken that out of the equation by having autograph cards that aren't easily linked to those ultra premium products. The styles are no different than what came before and so aren't really seen as special or worthy of more money by relationship.

The low prices on most of the Star Trek Inflexions autographs and the obvious dumping is still going on. It really doesn't bode well for any future Inflexions titles and the mixing in of old autograph designs, which was not an issue when box cost was standard, is one of the contributing reasons to my mind.


I am not Topps' biggest fan, but they know how to make autograph cards look and feel 'special'.
Their Star Wars Masterworks auto card stock definitely feels premium, and I am a big fan of their yearly Stellar sets. From the designs, to the presentation (in the stickered magnetic cases), they look better than your average autograph card.

TBH I don't understand why Star Wars collectors would spend their money on auto cards from the usual run-of-the-mill SW sets which are usually super short-print sticker autos, when they could buy stellar instead.

Nice looking cards, the best names, signatures on-card, readily available in quantity. What's not to like?

That said, one of RA's best qualities IMO, is their consistent autograph designs that keep collectors engaged and eager to add to their collections.

RA could make yet another, flashier card design, but substance is just as important as style.
 
Posts: 3001 | Location: England | Registered: June 23, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Nice looking cards, the best names, signatures on-card, readily available in quantity. What's not to like?


Totally agree, I also only buy on-card signatures because I dislike stickers. But that's just me and another discussion. Anyway I checked some of the dates form the bridge crew signatures and it varies from 2013 through 2019. So some cards have been stored away in a RA safe for 7 years now. Makes you wonder what else they still have in store for us. So it makes sense there will be others in this format.

If they still hold the license for ST that means they will probably do a Picard set soon. In yet another other autograph format :-)
 
Posts: 791 | Location: Netherlands | Registered: April 25, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of MvG
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quote:
The low prices on most of the Star Trek Inflexions autographs and the obvious dumping is still going on.


I agree that is bad from a dealer/manufacturers point of view but as a first time ST autograph buyer I am quite pleased. Perhaps others will be inclined to start collecting ST now they are more affordable so in the long run more customers/higher demand... expanding your customer base is also important to stay afloat. I mean first time collectors eventually have there autographed series complete and stop buying so you have to create other formats. Hereby I assume you only buy one autograph from the actor/character to complete your set. For instance when there is a autograph series from a show with a full bleed or bordered version I choose which design I like most and buy those. I don't buy both versions. Perhaps that's just me!
 
Posts: 791 | Location: Netherlands | Registered: April 25, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by MvG:
quote:
The low prices on most of the Star Trek Inflexions autographs and the obvious dumping is still going on.


Perhaps others will be inclined to start collecting ST now they are more affordable so in the long run more customers/higher demand... expanding your customer base is also important to stay afloat.


It is, but, this hobby lives and dies by the hand-in-hand relationship between the collectors and the dealers. Nobody buys product directly from manufacturers because the direct-to-consumer prices are a joke. We need the dealers to buy cases in bulk, and then we buy from them. If dealers aren't making their money back because the prices on the hits like autographs are so low, they won't bother getting future product. If they don't get it, we don't get it. It's a fine balance. The other end of the spectrum is the recent CZX Outlander set, where no one can afford to collect any of it because it was such an overpriced product in the first place.

In the case of this set, I too am happy with the lower prices because there are only a handful of cards I need to get, but that dynamic can only last for so long.

What really needs to happen is the prices from the manufacturers need to start coming down. That's where the real problem lies.
 
Posts: 713 | Location: England | Registered: August 16, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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If the only value a dealer is providing you is to break a case of products in to boxes perhaps there is a problem with the distribution model. I think there is in fact as I recently reached out to Rittenhouse through their dealer locator and they don't have a dealer in my area -- and I live in a pretty big city.

If you are a dealer you are probably getting incentives, so the value of the hits from a box doesn't tell the whole story on your cost. . .

I think this is a great set, and I think it will do fine in the long run. If there isn't enough value in the boxes right now maybe it's because of the dumping, or maybe it's because Star Trek collectors have enjoyed years of comprehensive releases. . .

If the answer is always 'lower the price' eventually it's not going to be worth it for a manufacturer to produce a set.
 
Posts: 4495 | Location: Parts Unknown. | Registered: January 25, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Originally posted by webjon:
If the only value a dealer is providing you is to break a case of products in to boxes perhaps there is a problem with the distribution model.


It's not just the distribution. It's the content as well. The dealers breaking cases means I don't have to pay for, or dispose of, all the stuff I have no interest in from each product. So many of the latest products are full of filler to make up for the fact that they're lacking in real hits.

As for value in boxes - there hasn't been enough value in boxes from any manufacturer of any set for years, except when Breygent were doing those mini-boxes full of hits for stuff like Dexter and Bates Motel. That certainly reinforces your distribution model point.
 
Posts: 713 | Location: England | Registered: August 16, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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And you're right, it is going to eventually fail, because what's happening now, with the content of the vast majority of boxes not being worth anywhere close to the box price, dealers aren't bothering to break them as much anymore, because they can get closer to recouping their case outlay by selling boxes than they can by selling what's in the boxes. Again, because everything is too expensive.
 
Posts: 713 | Location: England | Registered: August 16, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by ravenheart:

As for value in boxes - there hasn't been enough value in boxes from any manufacturer of any set for years, except when Breygent were doing those mini-boxes full of hits for stuff like Dexter and Bates Motel. That certainly reinforces your distribution model point.


Sorry, it seems like my point about distribution was unclear. . . I was really referencing the fact that I can't even buy product locally.
 
Posts: 4495 | Location: Parts Unknown. | Registered: January 25, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by ravenheart:

Again, because everything is too expensive.



Ok, so what do you think a fair price would be for a box of Star Trek Inflexions.

Keep in mind that in that box price there needs to be money to pay for:

The design of the set.
Printing, Cutting, Packaging costs.
Shipping.
Payment to 3 actors for autographs.
Other costs for this set like sketch artists, costumes, stamps, etc.
Licensing.
Profit for Rittenhouse.
Profit for the distributor.
Profit for the dealer.
and lots of other costs like credit card transaction fees, etc.
I'm sure I'm missing stuff too.
 
Posts: 4495 | Location: Parts Unknown. | Registered: January 25, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post



Platinum Card Talk Member
Picture of Raven
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Card manufacturers need only to cover the cost of the license, the card set production and packaging, which includes whatever the cost incurred in obtaining hits like autographs or relics. One set probably won't cover it all, especially not the license, which is why the license is good for a specific term and they will make a number of sets for that title over that term.

The food chain does not enter into the equation except at the first point of distribution. The maker has to ensure that someone will buy the cards in bulk, be it through hobby distributors/dealers or retail stores. After that you can have as many middlemen as you want, no one is responsible for anyone else making profits or losing their shirts. The cost of making a product and the estimated profit for the manufacturer should have nothing to do with what some amateur flippers think they can get on eBay.

If card products can't be made at prices where collectors can reasonably risk breaking sealed boxes, then they should not be made. That is the bottom line. There is no specific amount because it very much depends on the perceived worth of the cards you pull, which is generally going to be found in the hits. However the $100 a box barrier has stood as a general signpost for many collectors just because it's such a round number. You really have to think that something is worth it to go into 3 digits. Big Grin

We are really beating a dead horse here. It's not a special dollar amount, it's an all encompassing situation. When card collectors decide to stop buying sealed boxes because they refuse to take the risk on the value gap, the inventory will either languish with the distributor/dealer/flipper or they will have to take the chance and break it themselves. The dealer incentives will not be enough to cover when the cases were so high priced and sealed boxes are not moving to card collectors.

I think a number of posters have already said this about as many ways as you can, but it is no longer a hypothetical. The evidence is plain to see in the ultra premium Outlander, DC Heroes and Villains, Got and Star Trek Inflexions. Boxes are still available and at discounted rates. Hits are selling way cheaper than anyone imagined. In the short term it is actually good for the collector who does not have these cards or signers already. In the long term it is depressing future products and hurting the market value of current, past and future card values. No, its not good for the hobby.
 
Posts: 7660 | Location: New York | Registered: November 20, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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So regardless of contents it seems like you are saying that all boxes should be below $100.

Would you be happier with this release if it were $45 a box and contained 1/3 of what a full box costs? So $45 for 1 autograph, etc?
 
Posts: 4495 | Location: Parts Unknown. | Registered: January 25, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of Kennywood
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quote:
Originally posted by webjon:

Would you be happier with this release if it were $45 a box and contained 1/3 of what a full box costs? So $45 for 1 autograph, etc?


If I knew what a $45 box would contain, I definitely would. I'd then be able to decide if I wanted to get additional boxes. The lower price might also bring in new, sorely needed collectors who are put off by the high prices we have now.

____________________
Lucy Van Pelt: How can you say someone is great who's never had his picture on bubblegum cards?
 
Posts: 7236 | Location: the wonderful state of Denial | Registered: January 14, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of Raven
posted Hide Post
quote:
Originally posted by webjon:
So regardless of contents it seems like you are saying that all boxes should be below $100.

Would you be happier with this release if it were $45 a box and contained 1/3 of what a full box costs? So $45 for 1 autograph, etc?


No, you were the one who was looking for a specific amount. I said $100 per box is a signpost, not that it was unbreakable ceiling. If the content of an AVERAGE box gives you a decent value for what you paid for it, whatever you paid for it, collectors will be content. So you lose money on the deal. That's the gamble you take for trying to pull a big hit and it was fun. But they can't lose too much money because that's not fun. It's just stupid.

What is your idea of too much? For me a bad box is when I lose more than 30% of what the box cost. When I lose more than 50%, I want to kick myself. In non-percentage terms, losing $40 a box hurts. Lose $80 and I won't ever be back.

Yes I would love $40 - $60 boxes on subjects I liked with 1 or 2 hits, a base set or most of the base set and maybe an insert set. Not only would I buy multiple boxes that would total more than that one ultra premium box, I would be able to try additional titles that I won't buy now because experimentation is too costly.

By overpricing card products and discouraging card collectors from busting sealed boxes, card makers are not just losing money on that product, they are losing money on their entire catalog of titles.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: Raven,
 
Posts: 7660 | Location: New York | Registered: November 20, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by MvG:
quote:
Nice looking cards, the best names, signatures on-card, readily available in quantity. What's not to like?


Totally agree, I also only buy on-card signatures because I dislike stickers. But that's just me and another discussion. Anyway I checked some of the dates form the bridge crew signatures and it varies from 2013 through 2019. So some cards have been stored away in a RA safe for 7 years now. Makes you wonder what else they still have in store for us. So it makes sense there will be others in this format.

If they still hold the license for ST that means they will probably do a Picard set soon. In yet another other autograph format :-)


I don't hate sticker autos like I used to, and do have a couple of them where there are few/no other options.
When it comes to talk of dealers dumping RA cards, and 'value', I think many take it for granted that RA still go to greater lengths than any other card manufacturer to ensure all of their autos are on-card.

I think its great that they have just released maybe the best looking Nimoy on-card auto nearly 5 years after he passed.
 
Posts: 3001 | Location: England | Registered: June 23, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of Raven
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quote:
Originally posted by X:
When it comes to talk of dealers dumping RA cards, and 'value', I think many take it for granted that RA still go to greater lengths than any other card manufacturer to ensure all of their autos are on-card.

I think its great that they have just released maybe the best looking Nimoy on-card auto nearly 5 years after he passed.


I have more RA autographs cards in my binders than certified autograph cards from any other manufacturer. I don't believe card collectors are taking anything for granted. If their products weren't of such good quality, no one would care that the high price points of ultra premium boxes and the low card sales prices on eBay for everything except the most limited high-demand hits in their products and others, makes it financially irresponsible for card collectors to buy sealed boxes.

This is not meant as criticism of a product, it is criticism of a trend that isn't working and is creating a domino effect on the secondary market that is depressing value, which just reinforces the idea that card collectors can't risk buying sealed product.

The end user here was always supposed to be a card collector eventually. Makers - Distributors - Dealers - Flippers - ?

If you discourage the collector from buying, than that just becomes a game of Hot Potato and the last one stuck with it dumps it and takes the loss. Prices racing to the bottom isn't good for anyone in the long term and when there is no demand for something and no buyer competition that's exactly what's going to happen. No, that's exactly what IS happening and it's on good products too.
 
Posts: 7660 | Location: New York | Registered: November 20, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by X:

When it comes to talk of dealers dumping RA cards, and 'value', I think many take it for granted that RA still go to greater lengths than any other card manufacturer to ensure all of their autos are on-card.


3 on card autographs per box with a guaranteed bridge crew autograph in each box, and some really impressive signers. . . I agree.
 
Posts: 4495 | Location: Parts Unknown. | Registered: January 25, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I've read this thread as it went along and then I just read it again all the way through. I wonder what would a $40-60 box in 2020 look like? I look at Monsterwax's current pre-order offering, "Lost in Space: The Art of Ron Gross," as an example. This is how the set breaks down with the prices.

45 story (base) cards
9 cast cards
9 Models & Cover Art cards
9 Other Fantasy Worlds of Irwin Allen
(Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Land of the Giants, Time Tunnel)
9 (Monster) stickers
6 Monster Metal Cards (with yet more monsters! 1 per box, but sets also sold separately)
2 checklists
1 artist bio card (50% of which are signed)
1 actual printing plate (1:48 packs)

plus a promo

Boxes (24 count) $55
Or base sets ($19.95)
or base w/ inserts $45
Metal sets $25
800 total boxes

This set is Monsterwax's first release with a licensed property so it is a good indicator of what can be done with the added cost of a license and yet still retail in that $40-60 target being discussed. There is just one autograph card which is a signed version of the Artist/Bio card but it's a 1 per 4 boxes kind of card. The artist, Ron Gross, seems to be a "finished piece" type artist rather than a specialist in sketches. He might not be well-known among card collectors but his work is fantastic. It would be interesting to hear from Kurt Kuersteiner on how he originally imagined the set and then how he weighed cost against chase card types and came to the final breakdown and retail price. He wanted to hit that $40-60 retail box price range, but even if Gross was a sketcher, sketch cards on top of paying for a license of established entertainment property and the other costs might've pushed beyond that. He might've thought about adding a Billy Mumy autograph card or something else attention-getting but the going-rate for that kind of thing was also a budget-buster.

This set is more the old school Comic Images kind of art set which should still have a lot of appeal with today's collectors who also collected in the 90's. I don't see Rittenhouse Archives doing a set like this because it's focused on a 60's show that ran only three seasons with no added movies or reimaginings until rather recently. You'd have to have a lot of cut signatures to get 20-30 different autographs.

Costs go up for big card companies too. I wonder if RA has considered putting together an old school collector "Star Trek" (or "Game of Thrones") box at something like $60 retail, selling it as "retro-style." What kinds of desirable chase cards could a company end up making a profit with if $60 is the retail number? You wouldn't get a bridge crew autograph in every box. What if there was a 45 card base set with most of a base set in a box plus some stickers and one sketch or autograph per box with the other chase set being some kind of silver foil or chromium/refractor Enterprise/other ship cards that were inserted 2-3 per box? Would something like that still appeal to anybody these days?

I've seen people say they would buy $50 boxes as long as it's something they like, well they better like and buy this "Lost in Space" or some of the other smaller manufacturer sets. If they don't, they are saying there isn't a market for $50-60 boxes in 2020.

Jess


quote:
Originally posted by Kennywood:
quote:
Originally posted by webjon:

Would you be happier with this release if it were $45 a box and contained 1/3 of what a full box costs? So $45 for 1 autograph, etc?


If I knew what a $45 box would contain, I definitely would. I'd then be able to decide if I wanted to get additional boxes. The lower price might also bring in new, sorely needed collectors who are put off by the high prices we have now.
 
Posts: 1222 | Location: San Jose, CA, USA | Registered: December 23, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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After reading this thread, and as a collector who started in the 70's, I don't like that it has a 100 card base set but you get only 9 of them in a $160 box. I see that as RA saving a lot of money not printing as many base cards. I also don't see the base set as having a big value in the future (but it might become a $70-95 item after everyone gets the autographs they want and then think it might be fun to piece together a base set). RA read the room as being a lot less interested in putting together a base set and more interested in scoring at least one big name autograph in every box and it appears they weren't wrong.

I see Raven's point that many box buyers aren't liking the online prices right now and this set has the potential to feel like a loser for a lot of collectors but we are early in the game on this one. It's like gauging the value of a card based on the one or two bidders during the first day of a 7-day auction. If boxes sell out in the next month, you might have a lot of people wishing they had gotten in on the action because the box breakdowns so far don't look bad. Also, as has been stated before, there is some added value to that thrill of opening packs of something like this. It's not just the money, it's the action.

I see X's point too. If you're a Star Trek fan to full-blast Trekkie and the cards look great to you and you're guaranteed a bridge crew autograph, you might be happy with whomever you get even at the inflated price point. If you don't get the pull you wanted, it sounds like you're assured of getting a good enough autograph that you might be able to trade straight across for the one you want. If you're okay with what you're getting for the money, maybe you care less about the dollar value to other people.

Jess
 
Posts: 1222 | Location: San Jose, CA, USA | Registered: December 23, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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