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Bruce Kovner
(Login oldbubblegum)
temporary moderators

Re: non sport card market dead?

December 8 2016, 9:12 PM 

Rhett sez: "...With sports cards there is a finite number of sets that were produced and they have been cataloged to death and only the most active of collectors actually make "New" discoveries. With non-sports the array of items is never-ending...we will NEVER catalog everything .."

This is the 1 constant truth for the NonSportsMan.

No matter how many things you collect..must admit..NON SPORTS is kinda like Deep Sea or Deep Space...always something new.
There are many on this board and former board members who have Crazy Good, Unusual Stuff (non sports). It brings me back refreshed time and again.

" Showing the love since 1961 "

Jon Hardgrove
(Login carbking)

Re: non sport card market dead?

December 9 2016, 8:49 AM 

And the "never catalog everything" is a true double-edged sword!

When much younger, I was intimidated by the lack of documentation on the non-sports genre which I collect (I still find it somewhat annoying at times).

But as I have grown older, I find this lack of documentation less intimidating, and more of a challenge; and obviously many on this forum feel the same way. Reference the various threads where we take a set that is either totally or partially undocumented, and among us all, are able to, if not totally document, then at least add to the existing documentation.

And while it has been said MANY times (never enough), Dan C.'s efforts have gone a long way in helping the documentation issue. The "picture is worth a thousand words" cliche is so true.

If documentation were more complete, we might have more younger individuals in the non-sport hobby, which, or course, would change the current pricing structure.

And while on the subject of documentation, would like to present an idea. I have thought for decades that "price guides" should be absent of prices! The printed prices are out of date by the time the book is published anyway. Rather, I would like to see the documentation guides list a "scarcity value" from 1 (overprinted, sold at discount, and so common you can wallpaper your den) to maybe 100 (so uncommon you have a better chance of winning an argument with the IRS than finding a type card).

With such a figure, collectors could decide on their own personal challenges; AND how much the set/cards are worth to them.


Brian Chidester
(Login bcxists)

Re: non sport card market dead?

December 9 2016, 10:24 AM 

Lack of documentation just makes it harder to price things. I'm very careful when I see things of which I'm unfamiliar in antique stores. Will often put something on hold until I can figure out if it is truly undocumented, or just requires a bit more of a dig than usual.

That being said, I've been looking around for a book on E cards like the Bob Forbes one on tobacco issues. I remember a few years back a guy posted something (may've been the Net54 baseball board) on his own forthcoming E card book. But I never saw a follow up and haven't been able to find it through my own searches.

This message has been edited by bcxists on Dec 9, 2016 6:45 PM

(Login 030190)


December 9 2016, 1:31 PM 

Hi Brian:

Yes, I know what you mean about the 'E' book that was coming out..

It is frustrating..

I have heard that the author is somewhat lazy and irresponsible...

I have also heard that he has a medical condition where he is wasting away and is threatening to be close to only half his body weight..
(Premier Login autograf)

I have met.............

December 9 2016, 1:35 PM 

I have met the enemy......and he is I

(Login FilmStarCards)

Just Gettin Started Here!

December 24 2016, 4:47 AM 

Non-Sports is most certainly not dead, my instagram @filmcardstar gets alot of traffic and directs collectors to non-sport film star cards. The main problem I've seen is lack of visibility as the sports cards record prices make all of the headlines. I know we live in a capitalist society that worships the dollar, and without the $3 million dollar figure none of the newspapers or magazines wouldve wrote about the T206 Wagner.

This is why non-sports is making a comeback. Thousands of uncatalogued sets of cards that can be picked up on ebay for a few bucks. This is how I got started collecting non-sports stuff. I was never one to be able to afford one of the major investment RCs (Even the 89 Upper Deck Griffey, at the height of baseball card mania), and my dad had a amazing knowledge for old movie and tv stars. Off I went...

Follow me on Instagram @filmcardstar



This message has been edited by FilmStarCards on Dec 24, 2016 5:11 AM

Brian Chidester
(Login bcxists)

Re: non sport card market dead?

December 24 2016, 1:15 PM 


Do I detect a fellow socialist round these parts, on this board? Solidarity!!

FYI, I sort of did myself in one time when I was hired by PSA to write an article on "power cards" for their publication, and told Joe Orlando, the editor, that I personally take all of the graded cards I buy out of their slabs and put them into old-school plastics. He cancelled my story and didn't even pay a kill-fee, which we journalists consider not only unethical but punishable through certain civil mechanisms. In my case, I submitted a complaint to the Labor Board and two weeks later got a small pittance for both efforts (the article and the complaint).

Ah, well, we all have our ideals. I suppose mine center around the idea that not every pleasure, nor every human endeavor, can be boiled down to dollars and cents. Sorry Donald Trump. Apologies Karl Marx. I'll pay for things, as we all must; but my cabinet of curiosities goes beyond mere ventures in investing.

I have no interest whatsoever in getting cards that everyone has, just because they have high numbers on their placards up top. Would rather find something truly scarce every time.

This message has been edited by bcxists on Dec 26, 2016 11:39 PM

(Login FilmStarCards)

Re: non sport card market dead?

December 24 2016, 8:08 PM 

Brian, you are sounding like some of the dealers I encountered at the Philly Non-Sport show!

One seller, who at the beginning of the convention was thrilled to find a booth of vintage film star cards and vowed to return with his want list of Peerless Fortune cards, expressed disappointment that all of mine for sale were gasp PSA graded followed by the memorable remark "Oh, I don't do graded".

I started grading and selling non-sports around 2008-2009. In that time I've had several thousand dollars in sales, a guest spot on Antiques Roadshow, auditioned for AMC's Comic Book Men. Bugged the Harrison family about these cards so much I dont blame them for ignoring me. Some really great opportunities, yet the fact that other than wonderful publications like The Wrapper and Non-Sports Update, these cards remain unknown to most collectors.

Brian Chidester
(Login bcxists)

Re: non sport card market dead?

December 24 2016, 11:45 PM 

I'll buy a graded card if it is an issue I really want. I just don't care that it's graded, that's all.

(Login FilmStarCards)

Re: non sport card market dead?

December 25 2016, 11:01 PM 

Brian, I understand your frustration and have had my own trouble communicating with PSA. From Mr. Orlando's perspective, selling PSA graded material is in the best interest of the company. When your dealing in items valued over $500 investor collectors rely on 3rd Party grading companies to guarantee authenticity. In the past, the industry has seen its share of fraudulent practices. I'm going to discuss these problems in future videos. Like the time a Monsters of Filmland #1 put me in the middle of a husband/wife duel (D... but this is a reason I support companies like PSA, SGC, Beckett..

That being said, I can also see why vintage collectors like to jailbreak cards out of their scientific slabs (:

This message has been edited by FilmStarCards on Dec 25, 2016 11:58 PM

Les Davis
(Login LesWrap1)

Thank you all!

December 26 2016, 10:56 AM 

Best discussion thread in a long while! Look for an edited version in the upcoming Wrapper #304. Still kickin' - Les "The Wrapper"
P.S. May the Force be with us in 2017!

Brian Chidester
(Login bcxists)

Re: non sport card market dead?

December 26 2016, 4:09 PM 

Hi Tony,

Again, it makes total sense for the investor class. But again, my interests run neither to that ideal, nor to cards that are desired enough to warrant fakes (for the most part). There is also the fact that PSA and SGC have had their fair share of bad authentications. Bill O'Keefe's book on the T206 Honus Wagner sufficiently shatters the notion of infallibility, particularly the section where he does the hard algebra of pitting cards sent in against actual employees, plus hours of operation, and return-time for grades. We live not in a perfect world, but I digress...

Finally: Joe Orlando's business has nothing to do with a journalist's personal collection. The article was about how certain cards become valuable and what sustains them beyond certain bubbles. SGC's magazine ended up publishing it.

This message has been edited by bcxists on Dec 26, 2016 11:38 PM

Joe Marciano
(Login bvb5366)

How about the hobby itself?

December 26 2016, 4:21 PM 

As Les says, this is an interesting thread. It seems that the non sports MARKET is doing okay. I even played an unusual part in that market this year. Thanks to all that I have seen and learned about here at this chat board, I have, after many years of NS collecting developed an interest in older cards. I never pictured myself dropping $500 for 8 cards I would never paid attention to in the past. To make it even worse, they were graded cards too and I do not like graded cards. But they caught my interest, learned my name and ended up in my bag. To make it even "worser", I am now in the NS market looking to see if I can possibly complete a graded set. As I said I do not like graded cards but these look so great....

As long as there are people with money to spend on something they can look at as an investment, the NS market will be active. On the other hand, how is the NS Hobby doing? Any one notice that there were no threads about the Philly shows this year? At my age my memory can play tricks so I looked to check. I went to those shows. The last one was the saddest I have ever been to. I got there Saturday about noon and as I walked into the show, at the top of the ramp, something looked wrong. Walking around I quickly saw what was wrong. Where were all the dealers. For the first time I can remember one side of the back row was empty tables. Artists were filling slots that usually held dealers.

For the first time in a long time I had a want list. Thanks to my Wrapper prize I had an almost complete set of 70's Star trek cards to fill in and I discovered that my Topps Planes set was actually missing 4 cards from the second series. I stopped at dealers I usually passed by looking for those cards. The piles of available cards were smaller then they used to be. I couldn't get even one of the blue backed planes cards I needed but Todd had some of the Star Trek cards. That day, the "Philly" show looked like a sad shadow of what it had once been.

The market may be alive, but the NS hobby seems to be in trouble. The NSU has become a joke. It and the price guide are aimed toward the commodity market buyers. The Wrapper is having its problems and that is one resource the hobby needs to keep. It appears to me that the non sports hobby is what is in trouble and that, in the long run, will not be good for the NS market. Who is going to buy those esoteric card sets that the board members like discuss? Still, there is some hope. Kids LIKE picture cards. Just ask Jason. I passed on another 10,000 dupes to him for the kids at the Jaycees' Halloween party (Thanks in part to Richard who provided the 65 pound box I won)and he will tell you that they are really interested in those cards. So a future can exist for the hobby. Is there anything the members of this board can do to make it come to pass? I got questions but am short of answers.

(Login agfav)

Re: attics empty?

December 26 2016, 8:50 PM 

This message has been edited by agfav on Dec 26, 2016 10:24 PM

(Login Steve_NY)

Re: non sport card market dead?

December 28 2016, 1:37 PM 

I have been hearing the same thing for 10+ years.

But every year, including 2016, my non sports sales have increased. I rarely advertise to sell my non sports cards, just what shows I will be set up at. I never fully depend on those sales anyway as my display always includes a high percentage of sports related items except when I do the Philly non sports card show.

But 2016 stands out as being probably the 2nd or 3rd best year that I have had for selling non sports cards since 1976.

My wife always says to me "stop buying and sell what you have". So every year, I set a target, and tell her that I will quit buying and selling non sports cards if I don't make that target.

I am still here buying and selling non sports cards because every year in the past 10 years, I have exceeded my target.

I really am very tired of hearing this statement and watching "collectors" and occasional dealers who advertise common non sports card items in The Wrapper try to convince others that their hobby is dead, and sales are dead. I had one of my best Philly shows ever earlier this year.

Yes, we have lost some very heavy players in the recent past, and often their passing has influenced recent sales, but non sports is far from over. They said the same thing about comic books in the past, and that hobby is also far from over.

If you are still convinced that the hobby is dead, please contact me to sell me your collection. I will buy all of your cards -- especially the ones I need to complete sets I am making. Check out one of my recent ads (just not the last 2 issues) in The Wrapper, and tell me what you want to sell.

Steve Sabow

Jason R.
(Login a71678)

Re: non sport card market dead?

December 28 2016, 11:03 PM 

My original post in this thread was meant to be similar to Steve's in that anyone who thinks the market is dying should sell me their cards, though I'm not sure that came across.... (But seriously... sell me your cards!)

Joe is correct in that many kids who attend our annual Jaycees Halloween function seem to really appreciate the non-sports packs and singles we give out each year, many through his generosity. Of course, there are also those kids whose mindset is, "Can I eat this? No? Then why are you wasting my time?" But there's a wise guy in every crowd.

A good piece of "reluctant testimony," as my former oratorical professor liked to say, comes from my wife, who dislikes both non-sports cards and the Jaycees due to the time and money "wasted" on both that could otherwise be spent on her. The last time she attended the Halloween event Joe mentioned was in 2012, when we drew a record crowd of about 750 kids due to Hurricane Sandy having blown through two days earlier, rendering many neighborhoods unfit for trick-or-treating due to flooding, downed trees and widespread power outages. I had bought one of those coin-operated card vending machines and set it on "free play," so to speak, with a volunteer there to make sure each kid pushed the lever only once. They had the choice of either "Batman Returns" or "Hunchback of Notre Dame" cards.

At one point in the evening, three out of the four slots were jammed, and, busy with another "emergency" (who knows what it was at this point?), I asked my wife to go to that end of the block and see if she could get them working again. She managed to free two out of the three, which was good enough, as the evening was winding down at that point. As she was closing the machine back up, she saw a little girl eyeing the stack of "Hunchback" cards she had pulled out to free up that slot and asked if she would like to have them. The girl's eyes got wide, and she could only smile and nod. Those cards made her night.

I think it's the subject matter, more so than the hobby itself, that draws modern interest. The cards that have drawn the most excitement at our event in recent years have been "Harry Potter," "Pokemon" and anything superhero-related. We see those three themes reflected in many the costumes, as well. Many of those kids likely had no idea "Harry Potter" cards even existed before seeing them there, and while they may have known about "Pokemon" game cards, they likely did not know about those based on the cartoon series, which is what we gave out this year (thanks again, Joe!).

Likewise, my 12-year-old stepdaughter, who, aside from a brief infatuation with "Harry Potter" cards around age 6, hasn't cared about trading cards in years, put a set of "Little Mermaid" cards on her Christmas list this year, only because she happened to see them as I was leafing through my Benjamin guide one day and discovered they existed (it has always been her favorite Disney movie). For comparison's sake, the other items on her list were an iPad, a new American Girl doll and a horse. Two out of three ain't bad.

TL/DR version: If we want a new generation of card collectors to emerge, there must be affordable cards with subject matter they care about, and they have to know it exists. I bought my first non-sports (and baseball) cards from my local grocery store. Try finding them there today! Hobby-only boxes are nice, but ironically, they aren't doing anything to grow the hobby.

Whether that means those kids eventually will be interested in collecting pre-1970s R-cards or 19th-century tobacco I can't say... but I sure hope so because 40 years from now, I'll have plenty of the former to sell them!

Edited to add: Regarding the Philly show, there may have been fewer vendors at the last show, but what was there was quality; I certainly didn't spend much less. I was saddened, however, to learn that the hot sauce guy didn't make it this year happy.gif

This message has been edited by a71678 on Dec 28, 2016 11:09 PM


Claude Emond
(Login Gamebits)

Re: non sport card market dead?

December 29 2016, 11:50 AM 

Well, I think the manufacturers should stop making sets marketed to the "investors", look at any modern sets, there are more chase cards than what's in the base set, people are buying boxes, if not cases, to try to hit big on the rare one. Gone are the time were you would go to the store an buy a few packs to try to complete your set, trading with friends along the way.

Make a regular set, may be a sub-set, like the stickers one Topps use to include at a rate of one per pack, don't sell cases and boxes to the regular customers, only to merchants.


(Login boxingcardman)

Re: non sport card market dead?

December 30 2016, 10:11 PM 

Well lots of interesting ideas being bandied about here.

I see a tension between collecting and enterprise. Striking the balance is the hard part.

Anyone who says they are Simon-pure collectors with no investment concerns is not being honest. Not in this day and age. No one likes to spend money on an antique item that has (as they say on Roadshow with regard to counterfeits or repros) "decorative value only." We'd all like to think of ourselves as shrewd people who collect things with value to others. Especially so when we spend the family's moolah and lots of free time acquiring cards, going to shows and putting our little treasures into specially purchased holders and such. Then, when it becomes too much about the Benjamins, when the Rolex boys move in like they did with baseball cards 30 years ago, a lot of the fun just withers up and dies because we spend too much time worrying about condition, flips, and investment potential. Ugh!

But whaddayagonnado? Ignore what things cost? Ignore grading? Ignore the all-powerful "Market" (hallowed be Its name). Yeah, not so much. I play the slabbing game because only a fool wouldn't when selling, and yeah, I even like how it helps protect and organize the cards, but if it wasn't for the return on investment, I'd never bother. Take a $5 card, spend $6 to slab it, and if it hits the charts the buyers tear you apart. Where do I sign up? Beats the piss out of working...

I suppose at the core of the flummoxing discussion for me is what it all means. I've never been a fan of comparing pee-pees during my leisure time, not with the mean, rough world we inhabit and the need to compete to eat on a daily basis, but that is how I see the whole slabbed card competition thing. And for what. precisely, do we enslave ourselves to "Market" (hallowed be Its name)? Who cares, really, if some wooden-faced dork with a bad haircut gives you a certificate at a pressed chicken lunch in a convention center in Cleveland? "We now anoint you king of the dipsh*ts because you have the most expensive Topps set." Good for you. See how much it impresses the ladies...or not. The flip side of the flip game, of course, is that if the cards don't qualify for the game, no one wants them at any price, and who wants to spend more of the family treasure and precious time on this Earth on crap no one values. Might as well just fire up the 'cue and cook my steaks with the cards as kindling.

So what does any of this have to do with the "Market" (hallowed be Its name)? I dunno. These are just the things I contemplate when I am free-associating about collecting. I like Star Trek (Original Series, of course; the rest is for pussies) so I collect the cards. I had the wherewithal to pay for a few certed autographs and I put 'em in holders because I think they look nice:

[linked image]
[linked image]

Is it stupid? I have no idea. But I enjoy looking at them anyway. Maybe the answer is as simple as that: if it relaxes you it is a good hobby and worth something, if it raises your BP, get out. Someone chided me recently on a different board for buying a $1 card. Why would I do that? Because I wanted it for my set and I enjoy collecting. So get off my back!

But back to the Market (hallowed be its name). Ahh, foul commerce, you raise your stinking head again. Why is everything in this beautiful, vicious bastard of a country about a market? Wish I could answer that one...But I digress again. Any "market" is just the sum of the participants' manifestations of their passions and prejudices. The OP says that the NS Market (hallowed be its name) is one where rare stuff moves and the rest rots and asks why it is so. There is no answer. Maybe we have enough of the other stuff? Saturation, I suppose is possible. I mean, everyone has enough of the base cards from modern sets to light every bonfire in the USA on the 4th and still have them coming out their yin yangs, so that's some of it, especially when it ain't baseball cards. Part of it may be peer pressure: you wanna impress your peeps, so you chase after what they chase after. Then there's just the herd mentality factor. Never underestimate the predictability of stupidity. Put a rope outside an empty dive bar and the idiots will not only flock, they will pay a cover to get in. And the more who line up, the hotter the place becomes. Perception = reality. Then there is the Pinto factor. Remember the Ford Pinto? Had a bracket near the gas tank that would shred it in a rear ender, plus door mechanisms that jammed shut when the car got hit. Result: crispy critters. When Ford got sued and nailed and the story went public as to how Ford decided to BBQ a bunch of its customers because the cost of fixing the defect was more than the cost of paying off the dead and wounded, Oregon or Washington, I forget which, decided to liquidate its fleet of Pintos. Surprisingly, there was a market well above scrap value. Not everyone makes rational decisions using the same calculus as us geniuses, which means there is a market for everything, even an exploding car. You just have to find the right price. Maybe that's the core answer to this dilemma.

Anyhow, it's 7:00 on a Friday night, I have jet lag from my vacation, and I want to go home, eat dinner, and play with my cat who I haven't seen in two weeks. [insert mike drop meme here].

This message has been edited by boxingcardman on Dec 30, 2016 10:16 PM

(Login Steve_NY)

Re: non sport card market dead?

December 30 2016, 11:17 PM 


Interesting thoughts that sparked some additional thoughts from me:

1-- When anyone asks me what they should collect or invest in, to be sure that they make their money back on their purchases, my answer is always the same: Collect what you like so if you get stuck with it when you want to sell, if ever, you will always continue to enjoy it. I have followed that same path since day 1; I never buy anything that I plan on selling that I don't like myself, so even if I spend $1,000s for a collection or box, that item has to interest me as well.

Last year, I began buying full unopened boxes of the original Wacky Packages cards because I like them, not because I can make a profit on them down the road. But if I don't, I will continue to enjoy them anyway!! I now need only 6 of the 16 boxes to complete that run. Some boxes I now have three complete unopened full ones. It's an endeavor that I have fully enjoyed and it makes me happy to find each new one that has eluded others in the past.

But it was much easier in the late 1950s/early 1960s, when comics were 10 cents and packs were 5 cents. If nothing else that is what really knocked the kids out of the hobby in recent years, the inflation of the costs of collecting new items. Only adults can really afford to collect new or old at these prices.

2 -- I really love those Star Trek cards of yours. They should bring enjoyment-- and that is what collecting is all about.
Having fun and enjoying doing it.

Happy Holidays!!


Brian Chidester
(Login bcxists)

Re: non sport card market dead?

December 31 2016, 2:01 PM 

Buy cards or collectibles is not an investment. Buying stocks and bonds is. Don't confuse the two.

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