Friday, February 12, 2021

Cardboard Keepers - LeBron!

Time for the next installment of Cardboard Keepers, a thought experiment in which I theoretically whittle my entire collection down to just 2,000 cards; 1,000 baseball keepers, and 1,000 "other" keepers.

Today's entry into this project is a basketball card, and I'm virtually certain this is the first time in the history of this blog that back-to-back posts have been basketball-related.  Don't worry, I'm not turning into a full-on b-ball collector or anything, just kind of worked out this way for whatever reason.

As many have commented on recently, this hobby has gone absolutely insane recently.  I'm not sure how long it can keep up like this, or how long I can remain a collector if it does, but I'm trying to make lemons out of lemonade and take advantage of some of these outrageous prices to sell some things I am no longer interested in and pick up some significant cards with the proceeds (before I can no longer afford them, which happens in a matter of days in this climate).

This card is an example of just that, as I funded it entirely from eBay sales just last month:

Yes, the newest inductee into the Cardboard Keepers project is my first (and only) LeBron James rookie card!  I know his Topps Chrome RC (and it's various parallels) is considered the LeBron rookie to have, but since that now sells in good condition for more money than I paid for my new car four years ago, that wasn't happening.

I settled on this Bowman Rookies & Stars card instead.  It was right in the range of what I could afford in a PSA 9 based on the sales I'd made, and I really love that it shows him in his actual Cavaliers uniform (that Topps base card where he's wearing the white suit makes me cringe).

When I started to think about basketball players that I'd want in this collection alongside Jordan and Wilt Chamberlain (the only two basketball inductees so far), LeBron was an obvious choice.  I'll leave the debate about the all-time GOATs to someone with more basketball knowledge than myself, but is there anyone who thinks there's been a greater player in the NBA these last 20 years?

Here's a look at the back.  I like the layout actually, though I totally see how some could consider it overly "busy".

And now for a small rant about the state of the hobby.  Cards, not just select cards but seemingly ANY card that I develop an interest in, are literally rising in price exponentially by the week.  I purchased this card less than one month ago now, and while I won't get into the exact price, I will say that it cost me "three figures".  And it wasn't $999.99 either, it was a good deal less than that.

Well, in the few days that it took for the card to arrive in the mail, it rose to about a $1,200 card in a PSA 9.  In the couple of weeks since then, it's now eclipsed $2,000, and continues to trend upward.  Increasingly I get the feeling that, with the types of cards I'm searching for during my mission to condense and pick-up iconic cards, if I don't buy a certain card now, I will never be able to afford it again.  This "FOMO" landscape is not how I want to enjoy collecting, and there is no way that prices can continue to increase at this rate for very long, it's simply mathematically impossible.  I mean, at the rate things are going is this going to be a $10,000 card by the summer time?  I don't see how that's possible, even though I continue to be proven wrong on that front over these past 12 months.

I'm curious how you all are handling this new climate that we find ourselves collecting in?  Are you trying to make lemons from lemonade, and flip some overvalued cards into other more expensive overvalued cards like I am?  Are you just waiting it out for a bubble to burst?  Will the bubble ever burst, and will collecting ever again be what it was for us prior to 2020?  Ready to give up and find another hobby completely, perhaps?

Alright, sorry for the rant there, I'm just highly concerned for the future of this hobby.  If kids these days are completely priced out, and they can't even grab a pack of cards at the local big box store while shopping with Mom and Dad because the flippers cleared the shelves, will there even be anyone left who cares about sports cards in 20-30 years?  

For me at least, and for many collectors that I know, a big part of what we love about this hobby is the nostalgia factor.  If my Dad hadn't been able to purchase any cards for me as a kid because they were unavailable everywhere, and out of his price range when he could find them, I know for a fact that I wouldn't be a collector today.  I'd love to hear in the comments from anyone else who has similar worries, or even a contrary viewpoint!

As for the non-baseball Cardboard Keepers collection, it is up to 29 cards in size now, and can be viewed here.  I've still got a long way to go, with 971 cards remaining to be selected.  With the way things are going it's looking doubtful that I'll ever finish this project, yet at this point anyway I intend to keep plodding along.  I'll be back soon with the next card or group of cards for the project, but until then thanks as always for stopping by! 

1 comment:

Fuji said...

Congratulations on the Lebron! Basketball cards are crazy right now. In regards to this hobby trend... I'm trying to stay positive. There are a bunch of cards I missed out on (like a nice Lebron rookie), but I decided to cut back even before the rise in hype. I haven't sold anything yet... but it's getting to the point where I might. Well... at least some of my graded duplicates... or even some of my Kobe's.

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