Non-Sport Update's Card Talk
State of the Hobby 2015

This topic can be found at:

December 17, 2014, 12:33 AM
State of the Hobby 2015
So 2014 is wrapping up and we will all be busy with the holidays. Now is a good time to take a few minutes and contribute to our annual thread, what does our hobby look like in 2015?<BR><BR>Predictions, resolutions, hopes, fears, call it what you will, but write it down.<BR><BR>I have put in 3 pretty general questions just to get the conversation started. Please feel free to explain and expand on your answers to any of them.<BR><BR>Happy Holidays to you all and best wishes for the New Year.How much money do you expect to spend on non-sport cards in 2015?More than I spent in 2014.Less than I spent in 2014.About the same amount as I spent in 2014.I can't say now.What type of non-sport cards are you most likely to buy in 2015?Sets, including inserts and parallels.Base sets only.Autograph cardsSketches.Relic cards.Promos.All of the above.Do you think that the non-sport card hobby will grow and improve in 2015?Yes.No.Not sure.
December 17, 2014, 09:57 AM
Interesting question. . . for me 2014 was a very transformative year. The biggest change was that stopped buying sketch based premium packs cold turkey after having supported that aspect of the industry heavily for years. I wasn't sure how that would go, and I was very tempted to order some of the releases, but ultimately the delays and sub-par product released in 2013 left enough of a sour taste in my mouth that I was able to just stop buying sketch packs in 2014 -- and to be honest I haven't regretted it for a second. I do plan on buying Island Dreams in 2015, and if a sketch set looks good, and will be released in a few weeks after taking payment I may buy into others. . .

I plan on hitting a lot more shows in 2015. . . Due to other commitments I attended few shows in 2014. . . based on buying some sketch packs in 2015 and going to more shows I'll probably be spending more next year than I did this year.

Do I think the hobby will grow and improve. . . tough question, and frankly I'm not convinced that growing and improving go hand in hand.

I think with most major manufacturers it will be the status quo. . . The small press guys are a bit of a question mark, it seems that the number of small press sketch sets was way down last year. It seems like Cryptozoic is continuing to evolve, and I expect we'll continue to see the most change out of them. . . as we've seen from history they are running a pretty risky business model compared to the other manufacturers. . . I love that they take chances on licenses, and I hope they continue to do so. Sons of Anarchy was my favorite set in 2014. . . without a company taking risks we don't have an SOA set.

As always it will be interesting. . .
December 17, 2014, 11:14 AM
I will be spending less in 2015. My spending has been on the decline over the past few years. For one, I am watching less television. There is no reason for me to pick up a box of each release when I do not watch the show. Back in the Inkworks days, I watched, Buffy, Angel, X-files, Smallville, Charmed and Firefly. There was a new set on a show I watched every other month. My son was younger and I was picking up movie sets for Scooby Doo and more.
Worked on Downton Abbey with my wife and still have a ways to go on it and I will be picking up boxes of Season 3/4.
Rittenhouse produces some great sets but with the insert and autograph line ups being so large, I just pick and choose sets and autographs from that site instead of buying boxes.

As far as growth in the hobby, my son used to collect with me when he was younger. Now that he is a teenager, he loves Walking Dead cards and that is about it. So, I know one collector that will not be doing so in the future. My daughter loves looking at my old Disney binders so there is hope for the future there.
December 17, 2014, 06:52 PM
can you please add boxes to the buying choices

Trade list (mostly comics and scifi). Also lots of sketch cards.
December 17, 2014, 07:25 PM
Spending less and probably start selling off. Not much holds my interest and boxes cost way too much. Too many chase items have turned me off on collecting anything new.

Dazed and Confused
December 17, 2014, 08:44 PM
Originally posted by tangent:
can you please add boxes to the buying choices

You're right tangent, I should have included box, case, or individual cards as a buying choice. Unfortunately if I try to put those choices in now or add another question it will reset all poll numbers. That would be unfair to the sixteen members who have already responded.

Perhaps you could mention your buying preferences in your own comments. As a box buyer myself, I know that some recent products seem to be best designed for case buyers, and it did reflect on my 2014 choices. It will probably have an even greater effect on what I'm willing to buy in 2015. The poll questions were just to get the ball rolling.

Some very good comments have already been made and that's the stuff that I think card collectors like to read. Our buying and selling habits may be different, but as long as we love to collect non-sport cards we have something in common and something to talk about. Smile
December 18, 2014, 12:11 AM
It grieves me to say so but the greatest impact on my 2014 collecting is (as it was last year) Ebay. As much as I totally despise the entire company and absolutely abhor their buying/selling/postage rules, an inescapable truth is they they are virtually the only game in town. Sadly, this situation just gives them the mandate to say "Here's the rules, take it or leave it" 2015? I'll be back buying off their poxy site.

After more years of collecting just sets up to 2000 I finally relented and bought a couple of boxes of Downton Abbey. Trust me, that will be the last time I will ever walk over to the dark side again. Not being able to make a simple base set from two boxes was enough to put me off for life. Granted, I did discover for the very first time the (previously unaccountable) thrill of holding an autograph and a swatch card in my hands but even that was not enough to overcome my disappointment.

I started a thread last year called Future Of Our Hobby. 166 posted opinions later nothing will change my view that all the future holds for 2015 is that we will all get older, more curmudgeonly, more introspective and less and less being able to finance our hobby as our financial position worsens with old age. A depressive outlook? Not really, just a reality check. For comparison just look at the coin, stamps and cigarette collectors, all of which once ruled the collecting world. Today the are all just a shadow of their former state.

Still, to be honest, so long as I can still access the older stuff for reasonable rates I will die a happy little collector.

Happy collecting to you all and Merry Christmas everyone (said Tiny Tim).

My dog is a RotweillerXLabrador. He'll bite your leg off but he'll always bring it back to you.
December 18, 2014, 01:32 AM
The state of the hobby is in serious decline for me personally. I used to search for new cards everyday, but now find it very hard to find anything noteworthy to collect. Here are a few factors that have turned me off:

1) The lack of new product. The majority of my collection is based on comic book related movies. There were sets created for the most popular properties such as X-Men, Spiderman, Batman, & Superman. There are so many sequels to these movies, but yet, no sets created within the last few years. What happened? It can't be cost driven because even the lesser properties such as Fantastic Four, Green Lantern, & Ghost Rider failed to produce any sets. It seems that any movie, not related to Marvel's Avengers line, have dropped off the face of the Earth.

2) Ok, so at least we still have the Avengers lineup (Cap, IM, Thor, GOTG). But too bad they're all STICKER AUTOS! And to top it off, they're limited to 2-3 per case and super expensive, even for lesser name actors.

3) Sketch card recovery. When the sketch card bubble burst, I found myself frustrated with the hobby. A segment of the hobby that had been so hot had seemingly fizzled overnight. Cards that I had bought for $50-$75 a pop don't even fetch $20 anymore. Cards that were quick sells now take months and months to move.

4) No more master set collectors. I hardly see any members posting about their quest for a master set. It used to be a really special achievement, worthy of bragging rights, but has seemingly lost its luster. Maybe nobody is even attempting it anymore because of all the 1/1's and man-made scarcity.

Anyways, sorry for the long rant. I've just been frustrated with the hobby lately, and it doesn't seem like anything is going to change in 2015. About the only thing that is keeping me in this hobby are costume/relic/prop cards. They're relatively inexpensive and its just plain cool to own a piece of the movie/show/etc.
December 18, 2014, 03:50 AM
Juelle Lou
Originally posted by btlfannz:
It grieves me to say so but the greatest impact on my 2014 collecting is (as it was last year) Ebay. As much as I totally despise the entire company and absolutely abhor their buying/selling/postage rules, an inescapable truth is they they are virtually the only game in town. Sadly, this situation just gives them the mandate to say "Here's the rules, take it or leave it" 2015? I'll be back buying off their poxy site.

I'm in the same boat, ebay is the main place I look for cards.
But this year is the least I have spent on cards since I started the hobby for a few reasons.
1. Financially I can't afford them at the moment (Job problems)
2. Ebay's global shipping program, ugh I hate ebay!!! postage was a killer before, but now it is the nail in the coffin for me.
3. There hasn't been any new releases that really got me excited.
I did really want a Chris Pratt auto from GOTG but, I don't particularly like sticker autos so I can't justify the price they are going for. I am looking forward to the new Buffy set though.
December 18, 2014, 10:55 AM
Tommy C
Observations I have made for 2014:

Saw at least 3 major dealers pass on certain Breygent, Rittenhouse and Cryptozoic products. Never thought I'd see that happen. Some recent sets like the Kringle Cards are tough to find

Rittenhouse has started making its sets more difficult to complete (James Bond, Marvel) with much more chase than in the past, turning off a lot of people
December 18, 2014, 05:57 PM
I don't really collect now. Breaking Bad had me interested and that turned out to be a dud, so I didn't bother. Lost interest in Downton Abbey, so didn't bother with that either. Way behind with watching Game of Thrones, so didn't even start collecting any of season 2. Supernatural doesn't have either of the boys signing and Katie Cassidy's auto isn't even genuine.

Suffice to say, I lost a lot of interest in cards in the last 18 months. I even cringe to think of how much I have spent over the years on some cards and how little they would be worth today.

Even the Buffy set will now just be a collectors box, so probably not much fun to collect, but sure as hell cheaper than buying a case of the stuff.

Just thankful I didn't spend a fortune on TWD stuff now that the prices are dropping lol.
December 18, 2014, 06:03 PM
Tommy C
I know this is going back 2-3 years, but it seems related

Back in the day, I collected all of the Inkworks Smallville sets. I put together master sets, not too difficult to complete

Then Cryptozoic did their set, and it was nearly three times as costly to complete. All of the dealers wanted approximately $ 2,500 for a set. I had to pass.

Very sad, as I was such a fan of the show !
December 18, 2014, 07:26 PM
We are buying a house in spring 2016, so I am spending next to nothing in 2015. I bought a case of Game of Thrones this year because that is my collecting focus, but in 2015 I am only buying three boxes and a binder. Other than that, I only have a couple of (already paid for) boxes of Arrow on order.

I will buy more of any new Adventure Time product from Crypto, and I will buy some boxes of Episode VII if they guarantee one autograph per box, but that's about it.

"For a universe that's supposed to be half Chinese, Firefly sure doesn't have any Asians." -- The Uncomfortable Truths Well
December 18, 2014, 07:31 PM
Juelle Lou
Another thing that changed drastically for me is I have given up on collecting master sets on new licenses. With Rittenhouse have too many parallels and the pricing on Cryptozoics sets, I'm just picking up the few autos I want.
December 20, 2014, 02:25 PM
I'll pipe in here, in response to each question

1) It pains me to say that for the last few years, I've been forced to deal with debt, so have had very little left over for anything for myself. Therefore, what little I can get, I have to be very particular in what I spend my dollars on. I've never been one for spending much anyway, but it is a long history and I am still dedicated to this hobby Smile

2) What kind of cards do I buy? Mostly base sets, promo cards, and common inserts that interest me and add to the theme of the base set. And the promos for the set, of course. Always the promos Wink

3) Now, this gets a little tricky to answer. My opinion of past and current product affects how I respond- it's actually quite relative, anyway. I don't have any long term facts to compare, but it seems to me that this past year saw some producers expand the number of titles they offer, as well as more smaller producers, especially 'projects', putting out product. The variety of titles is quite impressive, really. The biggest concern is the interest factor.

My biggest pet peeve is atrocious number of insert levels in some sets. It truly makes me shake my head and wonder why some simply MUST attempt to acquire them all. However, we all have the capacity to make a choice, don't we Smile

Which brings me to my next pet peeve, and that is how more basic productions are regarded. Some seem to think that a set is not worthy of their investment simply because it comes from a fringe producer, or does not offer any more than a basic set of cards. I started my collecting in the '70's, when wax packs were still coated in wax, and some sticker inserts were downright weird lol. I guess maybe I don't have such a high standard as some :P

In summary (finally!) I think that it's high time to re-assess the state of the hobby as a whole. A lot of us have been collecting for many years, and new product holds little interest; some collectors are pruning off or even liquidating their collections. Manufacturers are producing stuff that has a very limited target audience at times. The hobby of card collecting itself really cannot be defined the same way that it was in the past. It has evolved, and will continue to evolve, as long as the interest is there, like anything else.

Communication needs to be a two way street, or eventually, one side gets shut out.

I think that we will probably see the same amount produced as last year, but greater diversity as well as reduced subsets should the theme as far as improvement is concerned.

Collecting since 1977!
December 20, 2014, 09:45 PM
So I'll add my comments now.

1. I expect to spend less in 2015 than I did in 2014, just as I spent less in 2014 than I did in 2013. I am trying to eliminate my random sampling of titles and will concentrate on only 1 big and 2 smaller releases, with individual card buys making up the rest.

2. My focus remains on certified autographs. I have no real need to complete anything.

3. I believe that non-sport cards and card sets will continue to improve, but I don't think that the non-sport card hobby will grow. In fact I think that the hobby may noticably decline next year.

So I am not trying to be Chicken Little here. I love card collecting, have been doing it on and off for close to 30 years and I'm not packing it in any time soon. Non-sport cards are manufactured today with better quality, more variety of titles, terrific hand drawn art and more autographs and memorabilia than any time before. Older collectors can feel nostalgic about the sets of the 80's and early 90's, I know I do, but they pale in comparison to the modern standard for premium cards. That's the good news folks, here comes the bad.

This hobby is not growing and it will not grow in my opinion, at least not next year. The new card sets are fragmented with too many marginal titles that, even though the printruns are highly limited, don't have enough collector interest. The old reliable popular titles are being milked, with too many releases of limited product that cost too much. In fact, everything costs too much because the secondary market is saturated and supply exceeds demand on most average releases. Sketch products, both mainstream and limited, have turned a small niche market into an endless parade of wonderful and awful 1/1 cards. There is an upside to all this surplus, because bargains are plentiful for single card buyers.

The non-sport card hobby is not growing because kids don't have the money or the interest to get into it and some of the best products are for adults only. And also because the new blood of adult collectors entering the hobby is not enough to replace the number of current adult collectors who are slacking off, either for financial reasons or because the glut of product just has them feeling overwhelmed and losing satisfaction with their long time collections.

I'm not sure how any of this gets solved, it's always easier to point fingers, but before you can solve a problem you have to admit you have one. To me 2015 is going to be a crossroad, simply because non-sports cards are doing great and the average non-sport card collector is not. One thing can not succeed without the other and something is going to give. As always, just from my point of view and thoughts to ponder. Smile