Another year of card collecting has come to a close and tomorrow at this time will start a whole new year. My 23rd or so year as a collector. Obviously in these amount of years as collecting there has been a lot of changes. Both good and bad. But here are some of my thoughts and observations from the 2013 card collecting season.
First off, I will kick it off with licensing which seems to be a bigger issue in the hobby than most think. There are a lot of collectors really sick of the way the license landscape is laid out. Mostly in baseball. I have heard many, many times that collectors are really tired of what Topps is putting out. They are sick of the same designs, the non-action photography on the base cards and the overall value of what Topps puts in a box. There were even a couple of collectors getting done the hobby as well just because they don't like what they have heard coming up for 2014 Topps baseball. This is a huge red flag to me. Especially since Topps has the baseball card license til 2020. Yes, Panini and Upper Deck both own the MLBPA and collectors could collect non-MLB licensed cards but most won't due to lack of logo's. Hopefully this part will get worked out.
And speaking of collectors getting done with the hobby, sadly, must say I saw a lot of that as well. At least 10 collectors that I know are either taking a break or just getting done in general. I am sure there is more. Yes, this is worrisome but like I posted about in this ARTICLE there are ways to move on from thinking about quitting and hopefully those who are getting done will find a way to come back.
A high note for the hobby for 2013, is I have got to clap my hands and give two thumbs up for two companies that are continuing to find ways to keep collectors collecting and driving them to go to their hobby shops keeping the few that are still around alive. Upper Deck and Panini have both done their jobs doing this.
Upper Deck has National Hockey Card Day in USA and Canada where they give you a FREE pack of cards just for showing up at the shop. And of course as a collector you are not just going to show up there without any kind of purchase. Upper Deck has also donated cards to charities, given collectors opportunities such as having their own cards made, opening up product that you would never be able to afford for FREE and by surprise and not to mention they gave away a Wayne Gretzky auto to a kid and a LeBron James auto in their Father's Day promotion. And that is only the tip on the iceberg. Great stuff.
As for Panini, they are driving collectors out to their shops by all of their promotions with FREE packs (with a purchase) such as Black Friday, Father's Day, Boxing Day, and Player Of The Day which offers collectors a chance to spend a day with their favorite player. They also sponsor Pop Warner football among many other promotions to get cards and stickers into kids hands. Not to mention, with every product release, they are always giving some product away whether it be by their very challenging scavenger hunts or by everyone's favorite photo contest #paniniwildcard. This is great for collectors who may not be able to afford these products or afford the hobby in general as this is an incentive to keep them going. They also take time out for their collectors either on Twitter, Email or Facebook. Panini also supports this blog (among other sites) that gives away tons of cards from their support to you guys.
Another high note for 2013 is companies bringing back some classic brands and innovations. Sometimes it's not always about what NEW idea they can come up with. Sometimes you need to take a look in the past and see what worked. Companies toyed with acetate again, classic products like Pinnacle, Select, Flair Showcase and a few others, they also added top rookies to a base product that usually only had them as autograph/patch cards making it more fun and more valuable for set collectors again.
As for my collecting in 2013, I didn't get to break as much as I wanted. Just as many collectors are facing it's getting expensive to collect and I know I can't always afford to break. But, I did add a few nice cards. Didn't really hit anything big but hopefully that's because 2014 will be the big year. And once again, I didn't really PC anyone either. I had started with Rueben Randle but as with all PC attempts, it crumbled.
As 2013 closes, there were some high and some low notes as there is every year. Hopefully moving forward this hobby will find a way to grow and find a way to draw in younger collectors. They are not only the future of the hobby, but they will someday be all that the hobby has.