Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Double Edge Sword

*takes a sip, instead of showing off some cards today or breaking a box to show off, I want to take a minute out and get a little deeper on a subject I don't believe has been talked about yet. Or at least that I have seen talked about. Takes another sip and gets ready to ramble on*

The definition of a double edge sword represents something that could either help or hurt you.

I feel the hobby of sport card collecting has arrived to this point.

With an influx of new hobbyists, not sure I would call them collectors at this point, have put the hobby back in the spotlight. Celebrities, News Reporters and other media outlets have begun to take notice of the hobby since the pandemic like no other time I can remember being apart of it.

The only problem with this is, well, it's being put in the spotlight as an investment and not so much collecting anymore.

What has this meant so far? Well, inflated hobby box prices, retail outlets selling out to vultures who wait and prey on the poor vendors putting up the products, and prices on single cards of top end players are going through the roof.

For some, especially the newbies who have just come into the hobby for those purposes this has been great news. They are making tons of money by buying and flipping sport cards. It has also led to a lot of hatred, despise, scammers and greed like never before. That's why I like to keep in mind that money is the root of all evil and the more money that has been flowing into this hobby the darker it has become.

Despite how exciting it is to see the hobby back on top again, it has also come at a price as I said above which is what makes it the double-edge sword.

Many mention the "Hobby Bubble." You could compare it to blowing a bubble with bubble gum where you keep exhaling air into the gum and it continues to grow and grow. At some point, that bubble doesn't stay and it pops. That's what is expected with collecting. The theory of the hobby bubble is that all of this publicity with investing exhaling its air into the hobby will at some point pop.

I am not personally concerned with my collecting when that time comes, I am more concerned what will happen if that point comes. I worry how many actual collectors will be left to pick up the gum remnants so we can establish what we had before. Nobody has ever once mentioned those guys as they are long forgotten. It's all talk about the big money now.

With the rising costs, the lack of retail product for basic non-rich collectors like myself to open, shortage of supplies is leading to a lot leaving or considering leaving the hobby. These collectors are the people that nobody ever talks about because they don't represent the hobby in the "now". The truly deep passionate collectors who have been around forever are feeling like they cannot hang around any longer. It's a truly sad sight to see.

I wouldn't be honest with you if it hadn't crossed my mind before. Sell out while the prices are hot and start a new hobby. Or buy a beach house because of 1991 Upper Deck Michael Jordan cards.

But, many of you who know that I wouldn't make such a move. I am too passionate and too deep into collecting to do so. So instead I am here to give you some tips on how I am surviving the hobby during this time and how you can do the same!

*takes a sip, mind is in full gear now to put the words on here* 

I was born in 1983 so I survived the 80's and 90's on toughness.
  • What bike helmet? I flipped over my handlebars, walked home one mile all scratched and probably even a concussion just for my grandmother to say put a Band-Aid on it.
  • I had a lawn dart thrown at me and it went all the way into my leg. What did I do? I just pulled it out and carried on with my day. 
  • I took a hard frozen football being thrown super fast to the nose while playing with friends and had a bloody nose. Got up off the ground once the blood stopped and played some more.
  • You wanna know toughness? I said no to my mom who knew how to use a belt and blackberry brush sticks like a Ninja Sensei.
  • And I also ate brownie and cookie batter before it was considered un-edible.
I could certainly survive a hobby.

While the craziness has ensued, I have found new and old avenues to enjoy collecting.
  1. I have gone back through my entire collection and have just sat down and looked through the cards connecting a memory with some and thinking back on them.
  2. I started up this blog and fixed my Big Blue Cardboard NY Giants card blog to give me more outlets to discuss my hobby and collecting.
  3. I have used TCDB (Trading Card Data Base) to host a couple of my collections and let me tell you what, that takes some time and dedication to do. It's mainly fun to see where you rank among many other collectors for certain player collections.
  4. Remember that Walt Weiss PC you were going to start up but never did...well do it! Flippers aren't looking at obscure players to buy up. Go have fun. Collect a player you always wanted to and spend that money you normally would have on boxes and high end singles and put it into that. I have had fun starting a PC of Eli Manning and watching that grow.
  5. Wanna break a blaster/pack of new product? There are some collectors out there willing to help you out and will trade you some. I have had more than my fair share of trades for wax when I was really itching.
  6. Trading in general. I can't afford anything at all in the hobby, so to me there is nothing better than trading. Trading is the center point of my collecting. Without it, my hobby wouldn't exist. So small PWE trades to bigger bubbler trades the power of trading can land you some of those new cards you crave and keep you motivated to collect.
  7. Sorting. Does sorting ever really end? I created myself new projects the past year and am still working hard on them. Whether it was pulling out good rookies to set aside and box the rest to putting some cards by player and others by team I have found plenty to do and still have a long ways to go.
  8. Artwork. Do you know how many collectors I have seen take plain '91 Fleer baseball and turn that into something spectacular? Many. A lot of collectors have taken their passion of the hobby and turned that into doing custom/art cards and it has given them a new phase of the hobby and a new way to bring in funds.
These are just a few examples. The fun thing with the hobby is that there are so many outlets and creative places you can go, you to can survive "the now" in the hobby I promise you that.

So instead of walking away, I challenge you to try one of the 8 suggestions I gave above. We will get through this and if not, enjoy the hobby just by its basic simplicity. There is still a lot of FUN to be had.

Also, I will need you here to help clean up the gum when it pops. It will be almost as bad as glitter.

*takes a sip of his now cooled off coffee, goes to make breakfast and a much warmer cup of brew. Coffee blogger out*


  1. I can't help but think back to when I was a kid, and people were buying up rookie cards of phenoms like Wally Joyner and Bo Jackson. I think this bubble will burst eventually, especially with Topps the only real game in town and churning out way too much product.

    It's great the hobby is in the spotlight, but nothing going on today is going to create a new generation of collectors.

    1. Not at all. If anything it's going to push away a new generation of collectors but the flippers don't see that. It's all about the green.

  2. Great post. I miss standing around my mom in the kitchen waiting for her to finish using the mixer, so I could eat the leftover cookie dough. As for the belt... she didn't use that on me. She'd let my father handle the "ninja" stuff. She would just utter the words "wait til dad gets home" and regret and remorse would instantly enter my body.

    1. My father is like me in a way with easy going. My mom for sure was the disciplinary one.

  3. It's like in the movies when you see a nice house with a small party and some uninvited guests show up and destroy the house...after destroying the house they all leave and the people that live there are left to clean up the mess.

  4. Ouch on the lawn dart! I've never been impaled by one of those, but I did take a discus to the shin during track practice one day.

    I don't know how the hobby will be when this over. The bubble could just spring a leak and fizzle out. I hope so. I don't feel much like picking up everybody else's gum mess. I do that enough at work.

    1. I hope so as well. I wouldn't want it leaving all of us devastated afterwards. It's a hobby, a supposed safe place to have fun

  5. There is no double edge sword. Its all bad for collectors. I just want to collect some damn cards. Panini can get lost. They have killed football cards & their baseball cards are ugly as sin. I will not pay $50 for a 7 pack blaster from a flipper. The sooner they kill the "investment" angle, the better.

    1. Absolutely. Don't buy from flippers. The more that happens the more this continues.

  6. Great post today, Matt! I really wish more people would start collecting players that they are actually fans of, or grew up rooting for, instead of just whoever's the hot person to collect at the moment. This is partly why I don't spend a lot of time interacting with card people on Twitter, because everyone just collects the same five players.

    1. Some card people are like us on Twitter but of course there are those I need Bo Bichette, Zion and Luis Robert collecting peeps as well

  7. Nice post. I was driven out of buying boxes and even packs long ago. But there are still trades and quarter boxes around, though the quarter boxes are probably 50 cent boxes or even dollar boxes now. Gonna be an interesting next few months/years.

    1. I dont' get to see any of those without having card shows :(


Cards and coffee go together like PB&J, so don't you and leaving a comment below. Take a sip and let me know your thoughts!