Sports Cards Mania

Fishercat

Svelte and sexy!
SoSH Member
May 18, 2007
8,174
Manchester, N.H.
I have a new favorite stupid hobby story for 2023.

So for those unacquainted, for 2023 Topps Chrome they started inserting "Tacofractors" into the product. It was a 200 player subset of cards that are, well frankly, ugly.

1696518416403.png

These are numbered to five and were introduced along with "Frozenfractors" which are negative numbered cards (so numbered to five but in reverse!). Topps/Fanatics pretty much immediately pushed promotion of these cards hard with subsequent promises of something big and telling collectors to hold on to the card. This drove the pricing up on these a ton - several hundred dollars for low end players in the product and upwards of four digits for better guys - with it peaking at 11,000 for the "Wild Card" that was in Cosmic Chrome (where another 100 Tacofractors were inserted).

There was a ton of speculation surrounding what the surprise was - that Fanatics had MLB players promoting. People saw Fanatics fly out cardholders to San Antonio for a Wemby autograph drawing, or bringing S-tier athletes to trade nights, and speculation went to the moon. One rumor floated out there was that Tacofractor holders would be flown to and invited to the 2024 Mexico Series. Others thought it might be a meet and greet or some sort of interaction in line with the "follow back" cards in Big League.

The promo was revealed today and it's that owners of the Tacofractor card of the guy who steals the first base in the WS gets $15,000 in Taco Bell. Which means they made a set involving plodding catchers and Oakland A's where the big prize was based on World Series play and speed. People are...not pleased. It's genuinely funny to me but like, all that hype for a lot of diarrhea. Perfect.
 

Bergs

funky and cold
SoSH Member
Jul 22, 2005
21,515
I have a new favorite stupid hobby story for 2023.

So for those unacquainted, for 2023 Topps Chrome they started inserting "Tacofractors" into the product. It was a 200 player subset of cards that are, well frankly, ugly.

View attachment 72057

These are numbered to five and were introduced along with "Frozenfractors" which are negative numbered cards (so numbered to five but in reverse!). Topps/Fanatics pretty much immediately pushed promotion of these cards hard with subsequent promises of something big and telling collectors to hold on to the card. This drove the pricing up on these a ton - several hundred dollars for low end players in the product and upwards of four digits for better guys - with it peaking at 11,000 for the "Wild Card" that was in Cosmic Chrome (where another 100 Tacofractors were inserted).

There was a ton of speculation surrounding what the surprise was - that Fanatics had MLB players promoting. People saw Fanatics fly out cardholders to San Antonio for a Wemby autograph drawing, or bringing S-tier athletes to trade nights, and speculation went to the moon. One rumor floated out there was that Tacofractor holders would be flown to and invited to the 2024 Mexico Series. Others thought it might be a meet and greet or some sort of interaction in line with the "follow back" cards in Big League.

The promo was revealed today and it's that owners of the Tacofractor card of the guy who steals the first base in the WS gets $15,000 in Taco Bell. Which means they made a set involving plodding catchers and Oakland A's where the big prize was based on World Series play and speed. People are...not pleased. It's genuinely funny to me but like, all that hype for a lot of diarrhea. Perfect.
This is great.
 

Daven

New Member
Aug 23, 2006
3
Anyone ever use Pwcc to sell cards? Just curious how it went for you.
Also just looking at what some people are selling I'm shocked at the condition the cards are in!!
 

staz

Intangible
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Dec 2, 2004
20,589
The cradle of the game.
Shameless plug alert: Since getting back into cards last year after a 40 year break (30 of which spent working in various printing industries) I find that my eye is drawn to some of the more interesting/amusing decisions made by Topps back in the day. So with the start of this season, I decided to highlight one of these each week. Enjoy.

https://www.instagram.com/fun_of_one/
 

Traut

lost his degree
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Jul 20, 2005
12,738
My Desk
I tracked down a Byung-Yung Kim autograph which completes my quest to get a signed card from every player on the 2004 Red Sox.

Kim was by far the hardest signature to find. Though others like Mirabelli, Andy Dominque, and even Wakefield are pretty rare.

I will post pictures when I get all of them in.
 
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Traut

lost his degree
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Jul 20, 2005
12,738
My Desk
Nice- that’s a great project. I have found signed Manny cards to be pretty elusive.
Yep - Manny also doesn't sign many cards. As a result they tend to be higher priced than his stature (non-HOF, multiple teams, PED user).

Andy Dominque ended up costing me $27 while I got a Johnny Damon for $10.

Kim cost me $40. While Nomar was $44.

Other somewhat spendier ones (other than Pedro and Ortiz):

Lowe - $34 (also doesn't sign a ton of cards)
Wake - $58 (bought before his cancer DX - didn't sign a ton of cards)
Millar - $24

The vast majority of everyone else was under $10 with most under $5. Bobby Jones $1.49, Gabe Kapler $2.27, Mike Myers $3.77, Scott Williamson $4.99 and Pedro Astacio $2.25.

I haven't added Francona yet because I think he's experiencing a retirement bump. But he also hasn't signed a ton of cards.
 
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Petagine in a Bottle

Member
SoSH Member
Jan 13, 2021
11,692
Yep - Manny also doesn't sign many cards. As a result they tend to be higher priced than his stature (non-HOF, multiple teams, PED user).
His signature also seems to be really inconsistent. Which probably isn’t surprising.

I am working on a signed 1992 Topps set. I have 460/792. Will probably take me the rest of my life to complete.
 

Traut

lost his degree
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Jul 20, 2005
12,738
My Desk
His signature also seems to be really inconsistent. Which probably isn’t surprising.

I am working on a signed 1992 Topps set. I have 460/792. Will probably take me the rest of my life to complete.
Incredibly inconsistent.

I will only buy Topps certified autos for him.

If you look at many of the Upper Deck cards he signed in Cleveland they say "authentic because they were received through the mail from Manny Ramirez". I would bet a mortgage payment those cards are signed by a clubbie. No way Manny was signing and mailing anything. He wasn't even cashing his paychecks back then.
 
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Fishercat

Svelte and sexy!
SoSH Member
May 18, 2007
8,174
Manchester, N.H.
I've heard Kim is a nightmare to get to the point that people made customs with signed photos instead. Relievers are so difficult in these team builds.

I'm always a bit surprised at what players don't sign much. Kenley Jansen is a really tough find from the current team for instance
 

Petagine in a Bottle

Member
SoSH Member
Jan 13, 2021
11,692
From building this 92 set, it seems like a lot of the difficult players tend to be players from outside the US who didn’t play for long- a lot of them end up back in Central America or wherever they were originally from and are lost track of really quickly.

Re: Tito, he’s got a signing coming up. Cards are $59, I think? Getting an 04 ball which was $119.
 
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Traut

lost his degree
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Jul 20, 2005
12,738
My Desk
I've heard Kim is a nightmare to get to the point that people made customs with signed photos instead. Relievers are so difficult in these team builds.

I'm always a bit surprised at what players don't sign much. Kenley Jansen is a really tough find from the current team for instance
Donruss and Leaf Signature series from the late 1990s made building this “set” possible. Kim came after those sets were released.

Upper Deck also did a team USA series that got me Phil Seibel and Lenny Dinardo.
 

Traut

lost his degree
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Jul 20, 2005
12,738
My Desk
My BK Kim auto card fell through. Seller was messaged and said "checked inventory and can't find it." Quest continues. I do have a Bobby M Jones auto which is a lot harder to find than the other Bobby Jones autos.
 

Bergs

funky and cold
SoSH Member
Jul 22, 2005
21,515
My BK Kim auto card fell through. Seller was messaged and said "checked inventory and can't find it." Quest continues. I do have a Bobby M Jones auto which is a lot harder to find than the other Bobby Jones autos.
That fucking sucks.
 

Bergs

funky and cold
SoSH Member
Jul 22, 2005
21,515
I tracked down a Byung-Yung Kim autograph which completes my quest to get a signed card from every player on the 2004 Red Sox.

Kim was by far the hardest signature to find. Though others like Mirabelli, Andy Dominque, and even Wakefield are pretty rare.

I will post pictures when I get all of them in.
I've been doing something similar, but not restricted to any years. Also, only Topps or Upper Deck certified, and only in Red Sox Uni, so I'll never get everyone.

For '04, I have:

Pedro
Manny
Papi
Timlin
Tek
Millar
Damon
 

Ed Hillel

Wants to be startin somethin
SoSH Member
Dec 12, 2007
43,267
Here
So I collect video games primarily, and I figured SoSH would forgive this transgression in here. This game is a pain in the ass to find in nice condition sealed, it took me a long time. It’s the first print of his first cover. Leave it to Tommy to overcome the NFL Gameday Cover Curse!
 
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Lose Remerswaal

Experiencing Furry Panic
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
View: https://youtu.be/P-NgeXl-PPA?si=omEgyT20-pchqLhu


Nigel: Exactly. Now this is special, too, it's a...look...see...still got
the uh...the ol' tagger on it...see...never even played it ...see...
Marty: You just bought it and....
Nigel: Don't touch it! Don't touch it! No one...no one...no! Don't
touch it.
Marty: Well uh I wasn't...uh I wasn't gonna touch it...I was just pointing
at it...I....
Nigel: Well don't point, even.
Marty: Don't even point?
Nigel: No. It can't be played...never...I mean I....
Marty: Can I look at it?
Nigel: No. No you've seen enough of that one.
Marty: Don't look at it.
 
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DennyDoyle'sBoil

Found no thrill on Blueberry Hill
SoSH Member
Sep 9, 2008
41,919
AZ
With an emulator, or really not at all, since it’s NFL GameDay 2003 in the year 2023.
Was a joke.

You, and many others, have made lots of money doing stuff that I would have predicted was stupid, so in the end the joke is on me. But I still find the idea of a video game enclosed in plastic to be absurd.
 

Ed Hillel

Wants to be startin somethin
SoSH Member
Dec 12, 2007
43,267
Here
Continuing this diversion, I'm curious what @Ed Hillel thinks about this video. As an outsider to that hobby, it seemed to me like it lines up with "all the crypto money dried up", but the video could be bullshit for all I know.

View: https://youtu.be/HJ0GdGkZ5PM
You could make the same video for any collectible from 2021 to 2023, as 2020-2021 was the most insane collectibles speculation bubble in history. Jordan rookies went from 25k-30k to a peak of 750k in a matter of about 15-18 months (which was largely set off by the Jordan 30 for 30 documentary). Charizards from 30k to 400k in Pokemon (Logan Paul had a massive influence in Pokemon values going up), Black Lotuses shot up, comics, Fortnite cards, you name it. Oh, and let's not forget NFTs... And, yes, all of it coincided with Bitcoin going from 2k to 67k in 2 years, the government printing money, and people being locked up inside and having nothing else to do or spend money on. Video game collectors have always been super sensitive to stuff like this, whereas you don't really see it anywhere else, other than maybe the initial run of comic collectors in the 90s (after all, comics are for reading, right?). Comic collectors got over it pretty quickly and all acclimated, though I suspect resistance will remain with many video game collectors even as the hobby stabilizes and expands. In fact, Karl himself has started buying graded games recently, and you can see a shift taking place where more collectors will start participating, as opposed to the rash of speculators during the covid insanity.

The video game collecting community is extremely populist, it reminds me a lot of certain political rallies, actually. How anyone wants to spend their money, I mean who cares? The irony is that the large majority of "real collectors" buy stuff that they either play once or never and sits on their shelves anyway, or they emulate. But even if they don't and play the game every day, who really cares how someone else wants to do it? I think it's a community where people just like to be mad and find a scapegoat. It's always been that way, well before grading games became more mainstream in the last handful or years or so. It's really a lot of people who run around calling people Marxist communists on various social media forums who then turn around and complain about the effects of capitalism. I don't want to get too political, but that's really all to say I don't find reactions like that surprising.

The idea it was some market manipulation scheme because somebody went on a scripted show like Pawn Stars and said their game was worth more than it really was is not persuasive to me. I'm pretty sure everybody knows that's what Pawn Stars is. There was probably some stuff that towed the line, but that's no different than any other market. For example, PSA is owned by the same parent company as Goldin, which is the biggest seller of sports cards in, I believe, the world? There could be a million different videos like the above in card communities, but it just doesn't happen. IMHO, though, and as you pointed out, video games were sitting in the same crazy bubble everything else was when crypto when bonkers. It also just takes a 2-3 people to shift a market massively, and that's likely what happened. Serena Williams's husband/founder of Reddit started going hard at games (as well as a ton of other collectibles), as did a couple of other collectors with massively deep pockets who had profited off huge off their own sales, and that alone caused a massive spike overnight.

The same thing happened in comics actually. There was a massive spike up front, followed by a crash, followed by a more steady, natural growth. Games look to be on the same path, having likely hit bottom this past Summer and seeing some slow growth the last quarter for the first time since 2021. Time will tell.
 
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Ed Hillel

Wants to be startin somethin
SoSH Member
Dec 12, 2007
43,267
Here
Was a joke.

You, and many others, have made lots of money doing stuff that I would have predicted was stupid, so in the end the joke is on me. But I still find the idea of a video game enclosed in plastic to be absurd.
I know it was a joke, but it was also clear you found it absurd :)

But this is what collectibles largely are - old things middle-aged people get nostalgic for and put on their shelves for their non-original intended use. Comics are for reading, stamps are for licking, guitars are for strumming, coins are for buying things, TCG cards are for playing, iphones are for texting (some sealed OG sealed iphones sell for 50-100k now), cars are for driving, the list goes on and on. Video games are really no different.
 

DennyDoyle'sBoil

Found no thrill on Blueberry Hill
SoSH Member
Sep 9, 2008
41,919
AZ
I know it was a joke, but it was also clear you found it absurd :)

But this is what collectibles largely are - old things middle-aged people get nostalgic for and put on their shelves for their non-original intended use. Comics are for reading, stamps are for licking, guitars are for strumming, coins are for buying things, TCG cards are for playing, iphones are for texting (some sealed OG sealed iphones sell for 50-100k now), cars are for driving, the list goes on and on. Video games are really no different.
Sell all your shit before the baby boomers die off!
 

Ed Hillel

Wants to be startin somethin
SoSH Member
Dec 12, 2007
43,267
Here
Pretty cool.

I don't still have the game, but for some reason I still have the box from the original Madden back in 1988.

John Madden Football (1988 video game) - Wikipedia

View attachment 73806
I love OG Madden stuff. I have an original Sega copy sealed, which is just in OK condition, but tough to find, and also the first-released console edition. Though everyone knows the best Madden on Genesis was Madden 92...

When Madden died, his estate actually consigned his personal Genesis copy to an auction house and it went absolutely insane. It sold for nearly half a million dollars. They sell for nowhere near that now, not even close, but it was again a sign of the times, and also probably speaks to the uniqueness of that one copy coming from where it did.
 

Bergs

funky and cold
SoSH Member
Jul 22, 2005
21,515
New-ish adds to the collection: Two sets of patch inserts.

On the top is 2007 Upper Deck (each #'d to 15), meaning there can only be 7 complete "YASTRZEMSKI" sets (thanks to needing 2 S's).
Beneath that is 2009 Topps (each #'d to 50), meaning there can only be 25 sets.

letters.JPG
 
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staz

Intangible
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Dec 2, 2004
20,589
The cradle of the game.
Clearly not Bergs-level cool, but this is my most recent acquisition. (And easily the most I've ever spent for one card!)

But I'm really enjoying it. The dude had multiple stretches when he was historically unhittable.

74563
 

staz

Intangible
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Dec 2, 2004
20,589
The cradle of the game.
As a reference when grading, I created this 'wallpaper' for my monitor that shows examples/descriptions of the various grades. I decided to pull the reference jpg examples from PSA. This took place in January. Today, I wanted to upgrade this wallpaper to highlight some particular examples of common wear features, so I went back to the PSA site to re-download the same reference images.

But the images PSA uses to reference its various grades have all changed. They are still depicting various '52 Mantles, but with much, much more subtle differences. Take a look at the VG 3 example shown on PSA today - versus what they were showing 10 months ago (below) - night and day IMO.

WTF?

Google Photos
 

Bergs

funky and cold
SoSH Member
Jul 22, 2005
21,515
As a reference when grading, I created this 'wallpaper' for my monitor that shows examples/descriptions of the various grades. I decided to pull the reference jpg examples from PSA. This took place in January. Today, I wanted to upgrade this wallpaper to highlight some particular examples of common wear features, so I went back to the PSA site to re-download the same reference images.

But the images PSA uses to reference its various grades have all changed. They are still depicting various '52 Mantles, but with much, much more subtle differences. Take a look at the VG 3 example shown on PSA today - versus what they were showing 10 months ago (below) - night and day IMO.

WTF?

Google Photos
What.
The.
Fuck?

That is insane. That "new" 5 is gorgeous and looks like 7's I've seen.
 

staz

Intangible
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Dec 2, 2004
20,589
The cradle of the game.
What.
The.
Fuck?

That is insane. That "new" 5 is gorgeous and looks like 7's I've seen.
PSA's 9 year old video (with original Mantle samples) is still on YT. Weird.

I was able to dig out the January PSA versions, thanks to the Wayback Machine. Seems like a pretty big difference from January (right) to now (left)!

74741
 
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