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|Silver Card Talk Member
Let's talk about prices first. Unlike in the "old days", before Ebay allowed BINs, a scarce card's value was determined by the number of bids the item would receive. However, sites like Worthpoint and a search on eBay's sold auctions skew the results because so many sellers use the BIN feature to make a sale, regardless of a card's established scarcity or the seller's knowledge or lack thereof regarding information on the card or set. So, prices for desirable promo cards are still in flux and do not reflect their true scarcity.
In my opinion, it will take several more decades before certain promo cards' genuine scarcity and concomitant price is established. I will repeat it again! unlike Autograph, sketch or costume cards whose print runs are either published or easily determined mathematically, there is still very little published info on how scarce a promo card is or is not. Until the publication of PCE, there was almost no information on this subject.
However, as someone who follows promo cards on a daily basis both as a collector and sometimes seller, I have seen more and more topical collectors-be they science fiction;nostalgia;comics; movies;television shows;cars etc... increasingly purchase promo cards. presently, regardless of a card's alleged scarcity, if its genre is not popular it will not necessarily achieve a selling price commensurate with that scarcity. But, this "hobby" is still maturing and will continue to experience growing pains for many more years.
As an "expert" on promotional cards, I still find amazing deals on a regular basis, albeit less frequently than even 5 years ago, on cards that I believe have tremendous upside value based upon my knowledge and experience in researching promos for the last 25+ years. Today, people may not be willing to pay "x" dollars, as I was obstinately not willing to, 20 years ago for a promo, but if that someone has been searching for a certain card for decades regardless of whether he or she is a topical or strict promo card collector, and hasn't found it or has seen it for sale only once or twice in the last 10 years, then that person must either accept the fact that they will never own it or pay the going price. The days of scarce promo cards being found in the $1.00 bin are over!
The imponderable element is whether promo card collecting will continue to develop as a separate and distinct area of card collecting attracting a fringe element of the collective or whether it will merge into the general collecting category. This distinction is critical because if promo card collecting splinters off as a separate and distinct hobby, it will not thrive unless many more collectors than currently exist are brought within its fold. This will require not only greater interest in this genre by the collecting public but also an internet based repository of known and vetted data concerning the existence, provenance and relative scarcity of a given promo card based upon concrete evidence . There are many good people who have been contributing to this body of arcane knowledge but it is far from complete. To this day, very few people truly know how rare some promo cards are.
What we are currently seeing, is that as a promo card for a particular genre is being discovered by topical collectors, more of them are tapping into the existing supply. However, the lack of available information on scarcity and the wildly fluctuating prices on Ebay due to BIN versus traditional auctions is still scaring away many would be collectors of this fascinating non sport card collecting niche.
Conversely, if the mainstream trend continues to show that topical collectors are willing to pay top dollar to acquire that elusive last card, "the promo" to complete their master set, regardless of what genre that collector seeks, then these cards will become some of the most sought after in modern non sport card collecting.
Granted, there are certain promo cards that will never grow in popularity, but for many others and in my opinion, an expanding number of them, non promo card collectors are increasingly willing to pay more to acquire that last card.
What do you think? Will promo card collecting remain as a separate and distinct area of non sport card collecting or will it be integrated into the general card collecting hobby and how will that affect their prices in the future?This message has been edited. Last edited by: promoking,
|Diamond Card Talk Member
For me, separate and distinct. I marvel at the collective knowledge promo collectors have when I read this section of Card Talk. In that regard I have nothing to contribute because I have rarely looked to buy a promo and the ones I do have generally just fell into my lap. As with everything in this hobby, you either catch the hook or you don't and it makes little sense to anyone else.
Two things I would say about "rarity" and the "elusive last card" in relation to promos. I think they are not as good an argument for promo card collecting as they used to be.
For card rarity to matter, many people have to know its rare and more people than the number of copies have to want it badly. Demand is everything and obscure promo cards, no matter how rare, are not in demand. You can perhaps get into a bidding war between experts, but its my feeling that general non-sport card collectors will remain ignorant or unimpressed.
The elusive last card has also taken a hit in modern card collecting. There aren't a lot of people trying to complete master sets anymore. Certainly not of new releases, but they aren't going back to older releases either. The master set collector has thrown in the towel and not all of them ever agreed that promos were part of the set anyway.
I think that the pursuit of promo cards, just because they are promo cards, without any other subject relationship is a deviation from popular non-sport card collecting. Maybe I'm not hanging around in the right circles, but the only increased interest I see in promo cards is tied to specific newer titles like Outlander rather than a general surge in anything promo. I don't think the average collector even has the knowledge to discuss the promo card market without extensive research. I know I don't.
But there's nothing wrong with having a hobby within a hobby. I think it may even be preferable if the only thing popularity means is that, instead of not be able to find the cards you want, you won't be able to afford them when you do find them.
|Titanium Card Talk Member
I think the main problem for promo card collecting is the same as the main problem for the hobby in general in that fewer and fewer people are actually interested anymore.
The average age of a promo card collector is probably quite high and there is nobody coming in at the younger level.
I for see a time when there are just a few promo card collectors left armed with tons of cards loads of which are rare, scarce or whatever term they want to put on them but there is nobody who wants them or has any interest in them.
You can see all this happening right now and it is only going to get worse................or is it?
Come, it is time for you to keep your appointment with The Wicker Man.
|Silver Card Talk Member
And here I thought 28 was still young but I guess age is relative.
|Gold Card Talk Member
Yes, the Buy It Now option does affect how cards are sold. I have bought cards for $4-8 that I would've paid double for and a few for $15-20 that I thought could've gone $25-50. Maybe I was overestimating the market on those but I've been watching promos sell and not sell for years so I'm not surprised too often. It should be noted that it is also not unusual for a BIN to sell above the going-rate and give the impression a card is on the rise when it might just be an outlier.
I should add that even when an unusual promo goes up as an auction, it often goes for the starting price or not much more. You have to wonder if collectors in general aren't watching online auctions as much as they used to or maybe they see good deals but let them pass. If you already have the card, are you going to buy another one as a trade piece or do you have a lot of trade material already and are looking to lighten the load rather than stock up any further?
I think we are getting a good idea of scarcity among the 90's promos especially since they are all at least 20 years old. However, some cards that were rare back then such as Wings of Gold prototypes or any of the Wild West promos by Collectible Imagery don't seem to be coming up for sale at all anymore. How do you value a card with no known recent sales and with a ridiculously low book price? So yeah, for those we might need to wait at least another decade or longer to see one sell. Some rare 90's promos like the Superman SW1 have appeared in some numbers in recent years and it didn't appear to be someone hoarding them and waiting for the perfect time to sell. The perfect time was about 15 years ago.
These days, it does appear that more collectors are specializing in particular categories (the topical collectors) rather than trying to get one of everything. That might negatively affect the perceived value of some promos that remain legitimately rare but aren't tied to Star Wars nor Marvel nor whatever else has been in-demand in recent years.
I've noticed that several people are trying to collect all the Inkworks promos. Part of the attraction is that many of the sets were popular and collectors are nostalgic. The other part is that many of the promos, even for Buffy and Charmed, can be had for just a few bucks.
The values of some promos have decreased. Things that were in-demand 15-20 years ago started gathering dust in some collections and some people cashed out (even taking a loss) because they needed the money or they bought other kinds of cards with it. Some prominent and longtime collectors have passed away or otherwise moved on to other things in that time so we currently have a smaller pool of people who know the market - fewer people to talk about particular cards from experience. Meanwhile, most if not all their rare and uncommon cards went back into circulation with fewer potential buyers out there who knew the cards when they were new.
Other cards have increased in value. Even with fewer collectors overall, there are still enough of us along with some set completists and casual collectors that will play sniper for particular cards or particular sets.
Some collectors are tired of new sets getting more and more expensive while there is less and less value (fewer cards in a pack, fewer packs in a box, fewer boxes in a case - less stuff you really want overall). They have a nice Star Wars (or whatever) card collection from the 2000's and before but they didn't get into the sets of the last five years. They still like to collect so they started going after lesser-known sets from other countries and then they discovered a number of show exclusive promos and product premiums that were more reasonably-priced. When you get enough people buying something for $5, someone is going to try to get $7-8 next time.
Promo card collecting grew out of the larger hobby of trading cards. We were all already collecting cards when we started accumulating promos. I might be more into promo collecting now but I still look for deals on certain boxes and chase cards of sets. I see promo collecting as more of a subculture that will continue into the future rather than develop into a separate hobby of a lot of people who collect promos but not other cards. It could happen but it seems to me that card collectors like to keep keep several different pots of stuff cooking at the same time even if they pay more attention to one in particular.
|Gold Card Talk Member
First of all, Wolfie, I can assure you I am quite young. Uh yes, I remember the 70's and suddenly that was a long time ago but I still like pulling prizes out of my cereal and sword-fighting with pieces of cardboard (Hey, yesterday, my nephew challenged me).
Last year, I heard of a promo collector in his 30's but he might be the only one. I think the rest of us are at least in our 40's with more in our 50's and 60's.
|Silver Card Talk Member
If you remember the 70's, then you must be in your 40's at least. Guess what, you are MIDDLE AGED. Possibly an OLD PHART. Soon you will start leaving your TV on the HALLMARK CHANNEL, and wondering when the reruns of MURDER, SHE WROTE will come on. You will start admiring BUICKS. You will see nothing wrong with wearing BLACK SOCKS and SANDALS. You will pine for the days of IMPEL and PRO SET.
You are not young.
|Gold Card Talk Member
The Hallmark Channel is for losers. I watch MEtv and the History Channel and shows about dinosaurs. I still like jumping. I'm young!
I still think the 70's were better than the 80's. I didn't like "Murder She Wrote" when it was new and still don't. I still like "The Rockford Files."
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