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.

The cost of overproduction – 1991 Topps Chipper Jones #333 RC

In economics, the term overproduction refers to an excess of supply over demand of products being offered to the market.  That is what happend in the mid-late 80’s to the early 90’s in the hobby.  During this time card manufacturers made products for every man, woman, and child around the world.  One of the best cards in the 1991 Topps baseball card set has to be the Chipper Jones #333 rookie.  Chipper is having a great year, currently batting .415 with 12 HR and 35 RBI’s.  You would think that a player doing that great would have a rookie card going through the roof.  Thats not the case here.  Even with Jones having such a great season his 1991 Topps #333 rookie won’t even sell for a $1.00 on eBay.  This is all because there were so many of them produced.  Jone’s most valuable rookies would be his 1991 Topps Desert Shield and 1991 Topps Tiffany.