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Throwing Away Money – A Time Honored Tradition in the Hobby

Updated: Jun 28

I don’t get it.


Year after year, season after season, collectors ignore history and willingly throw away

their hard earned dollars. Sometimes they do this by purchasing brand new wax during

release week at inflated prices. More often, they begin chasing the latest unproven

prospect. The vast majority of these prospects don’t live up to the hype, and the value

of their cards comes crashing down.


How many times have you heard, “He’s the next Mike Trout, Michael Jordan, Wayne

Gretzky, Joe Montana, Tom Brady” or insert your favorite all-time legend here?


Every Single Season.


The card prices of “the next big thing”, get driven up far beyond the values of the cards

of the legends used for comparison. It makes no sense.


Sometimes the prospect hype machine actually finds someone who performs well and

shows that they may really have a meaningful career. Aside from injury or off the field

shenanigans, their talent alone may place them as one of the league’s top talents.

So those guys make up for all the losers, right?


Wrong.


Enter San Antonio Spurs rookie Victor Wembanyama.


The French born player was the #1 draft pick in the 2023 NBA draft and was

immediately the newest subject of the hobby hype machine. Collectors clamored for his

cards. Draft based products, Topps Now cards in street clothes at a baseball game, it

didn’t matter, collectors bought. Eventually NBA licensed cards came out and people

drove up the initial selling prices even higher.


By the time Panini Prizm came out in the spring, Wemby showed that he may be the

real deal. He was a force to be reckoned with on defense and he was averaging close

to 20 points a game. He went on to lead the league in blocks as a rookie and won the

Rookie of the Year award. Pretty solid right?


Well, those accomplishments weren’t enough to sustain his elevated card prices.

The first few PSA 10 Panini Prizm NBA cards of Wemby sold for over $500 in March.

Only a few weeks later, they were selling for $330, and most recently were down to

about $135.


Hundreds of dollars were wasted on each and every one of those first cards to hit the

market.


As you read this, you’re probably thinking one of two things.


You either agree with me that being one of the first people to buy cards of the hype

machine’s flavor of the month is a bad idea or you’re saying “Don’t tell me what to

collect or how to spend my money!”


I get it, some people love prospecting.


And that’s ok!


I just want to make sure you know there is a way to do it that decreases your risk of

financial loss and allows you to have a larger collection. With just a bit of patience, you

can let the prices settle down, collect the cards you want, and have some extra money

left over to buy even more cards.


As we can see, even the prospects that truly turn out to be great players have their

initial values drop. Whether we are talking about sealed wax prices or singles, the

prices tend to trend downward in the weeks and months following a release.


Don’t fall prey to the FOMO mentality that shops, show dealers, and hobby influencers

try to give you. They want your money and they want to make you think now will be

your only chance to get that card. Unless it’s a super limited parallel, it won’t be your

only chance. The number of raw cards on the market will grow and the population of

graded copies will climb.


I want you to be able to buy, sell, and trade your way into a collection you’ll love.

I have a feeling that you’ll love your collection a little more if you exercise a little

patience and are able to pick up more cards of your favorite players because you let

prices come down a bit.

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