Topps sent out a tweet earlier this week asking for people willing to answer some questions to help assess the state of the hobby. I thought it would be a great opportunity to participate and give my opinions.
Here are some links to what other and collectors have said:
Below you’ll find my response. A lot of these questions deserve more attention.
1. How long have you been collecting? What are your favorite players, teams, sets, etc. to collect? Which card in your collection means the most to you and why?
I have been collecting on and off for since 1981. I stopped collecting in 1994 and within the past few years have been getting back into the hobby. I only collect my favorite teams (Utah Jazz and the Seattle Mariners). Occasionally a pack will find it’s way into the shopping cart when I’m shopping as well. My favorite card are some 1963 Fleer cards (Mays, Williams, Koufax, etc.) that my mom bought from the mailman because they didn’t have a home.
2. In the time that you have been collecting, what is your favorite story, memory, experience, etc?
Going to card shows when I was younger is my best memory. We lived in a small town so we would have to travel at least a few hours to get to them. I would save all of my money and have a list of things that I wanted to buy. Sometimes I would deviate from that list when I saw something that I didn’t know I wanted. It was so great walking into the big room and seeing all of the tables, dealers and collectors.
3. What are the effects on the hobby of major card companies moving toward exclusivity deals with sports leagues? Given that this could be the direction that the industry is headed, what should card companies do to continue to provide a quality product to collectors.
As a collector I hate the exclusivity. I like competition and believe in the free market. I’m sure I’m not the only collector who wonders why this helps the hobby.
4. Pick a timeframe – 5, 10, or 20 years. In that timeframe, what has been the single best and worst development in the hobby?
The best development in the hobby is the Internet. It all started with eBay and now we have lots of other sites emerging to help collectors find what they want when they want it.
The worst development would have to be 1989 Upper Deck. That set changed everything. They started by creating a good quality card and then later they started thinking outside the box and then competitors like Topps do the same. Soon every card company is producing 30+ sets. It has been an evolution that has resulted in exclusivity and some very expensive cards.
5. What are your thoughts on prospecting? Do you do it personally? Why? Has the clamoring to find the next big rookie affected the quality of products, either positively or negatively?
I do not prospect because I don’t have the time to do so. I think prospecting is great for both cards and the leagues, but it seems like it’s a lot like playing the stock market.
It has always been big deal to find the rookie card of your favorite players. I’m old school so I will say that I prefer having a handful of rookie cards per player and having those rookie cards released after the player has actually made it to the big leagues.
6. We are collecting tangible products in an increasingly intangible world. As our lives move more and more online, what will the effects on the industry be? Will the next generation of kids be as excited about collecting cards as we are? How should the major card companies respond?
I for think the online world can only enhance what we all think of cards. Everybody must take better advantage of the resources we have available, especially the card manufacturers. As we all know, opening a pack of cards and pulling your favorite player can get anybody hooked. Providing online resources to make that experience can keep collectors more engaged. In fact, that is one of the reasons why I have returned to the hobby. I would have loved to be able to have unlimited resources when I first started.
7. How has new media changed the way you collect? How should the major card companies utilize new media to connect with their consumer base? How can new media change and/or revitalize the hobby?
Absolutely. New media makes it possible to follow fellow collectors, card companies, dealers, etc. I think it is great that there are numerous podcasts to listen to. At Topps, you were creating a video podcast that brought some valuable attention to the industry. You should continue down that path. I love that you guys are connecting with the community by asking these questions.
8. How has the recent rise in counterfeits and scams affected the way you collect? What advice would you give the major card companies to help combat this?
I have not been affected by these but I don’t like that it is happening. Help us as collectors know how to avoid these scams. Be transparent.
9. The poor economy has affected all of us in recent years. In what ways would you like to see card companies respond to provide interesting, affordable products for collectors?
10. We’ve done autographs. We’ve done just about every kind of relic/game used product you can think of. What’s next? Where do we go from here?
That’s a good question. I don’t think you necessarily need to come up with what’s next. I’m old school though.
11. If you could say one thing – anything – to Topps and know that the CEO will read it, what would you say?
I’d love to find out more about your Internet strategy. I’d love to see your website contain archives of the sets you have produced. Your website should be the hub of everything you do.