What if it didn’t catch on?

Did you ever stop to think what would have happened to the sports card industry if the memorabilia card never really caught on with collectors?  When the first memorabilia cards hit the market back in 1997 people were so caught up in the insert card craze and went nuts over any type of die-cut, low numbered card of their favorite player.  I think many collectors will agree that the 1990’s had some of the best insert cards that the hobby has ever seen, but what do you think the hobby would be like today without memorabilia cards?  I wonder what type of insert cards Topps, Upper Deck, and Donruss/Playoff would have inserted into all those packs that have been made in the last 11 years instead of memorabilia cards?  If card companies only made a few memorabilia cards per year instead of the thousands they do now, I bet more people would be thrilled to pull a one color jersey card of a player.  Collectors in today’s hobby aren’t even thrilled if they pull a jersey card of Derek Jeter or Alex Rodriguez due to the overproduction of these types of cards.  Back in 1997 pulling a jersey card of Ken Griffey, Jr was equal to pulling a Babe Ruth or Honus Wagner memorabilia card of today.  The problem is that when something like the memorabilia card was introduced, it became so successful every company wanted in on it, and thought the more they made the better.

2 Responses

  1. We tend to think of card companies as the ultimate collectors, when in fact, they’re really not. The people who run card companies are businessmen first and foremost, and they do not care one iota about the actual collectability of their products on the secondary market, nor do they really care about collectors either. What they do care about is pushing cases of product out the warehouse, and one way to do that is to find whatever will drive sales and put in so much of that item that sales increase as much as possible.

    When jerseys were first inserted the ratio was so incredibly high and the player selection was so good that they were the instant “must have” item, even over autographs. Now the reverse is true for the most part, because of the saturation in the marketplace.

    HOWEVER, for the true collector, it’s awfully nice to be able to get a swatch of jersey from pretty much every player.

    Now, they may not really be “game used” anymore, but hey, it’s still a swatch of cloth isn’t it?

  2. Heres the real questions, why did it catch on? what about that piece of signed card board is so valuable. Sports Memorabilia really proves the point that “it is worth what someone will pay for it”

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