Card of the Day: Fran Tarkenton 1967 Philadelphia #106

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Interview with Dan Fox of Fox Sports Cards

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On YouTube, there are over 50,000 videos of collectors opening packs and boxes from all over the world.  Watching other people rip open a product can really help you decide if it might be right for you.  One of the most popular channels collectors subscribe to is FoxSportsCards, which is a card shop located in Marion, IL.  Recently, I interviewed Dan Fox of Fox Sports Cards to learn more about the store, views on the hobby, and his collection.

  • Can you tell me the history of Fox Sports Cards? When did it open & what inspired you to open a card shop?

Fox Sports Cards opened in Dec. 2006.  It was opened to address the fact that Marion had no Sports Card shop.  There was only one small store in all of southern Illinois, and it was not doing a lot of the things I felt collectors were looking for.

  • What are some of your best selling items?

Our best selling items would be new wax, single cards, vintage and memorabilia.  The wax sells pretty evenly across all price points.  We do sell a lot of high end wax, but we also sell a bunch of med-level and lower-end wax as well.  Baseball sells the most here in Cardinals country.  Football is next, then basketball products, and recently we began selling hockey, and it has been really selling well.

  • What type of events take place at your store?

We host bi-monthly Trade Nights at our store every month.  We try to host two or more autograph signings a year here at the store.  Our most recent signing was New York Giants star running back Brandon Jacobs.  We strive to have some Cardinal players every year as well as athletes from other sports. To be honest, I feel these signings are some of the most important things our store can do.  They provide our young collectors a lifelong experience and memory of meeting some of their favorite stars in their home town.

  • In your opinion, what is the state of the hobby right now?

I feel the hobby is contracting a bit right now due to several factors.  First, I put the blame directly on the stores and store owners.  Sadly, many of the people who own card stores today are not only NOT promoting their store, they are NOT promoting the hobby at all.  In today’s multi-media, tech-savvy world, if we don’t provide you some reasons to visit our stores a couple times a week, then why would you?  I see too many owners bemoaning the state of the hobby, while they continue to do NOTHING to change its’ course.  Our store and its’ business continue to expand and grow at a very strong rate.  We promote, continue to change/evolve, bring in new products and try new/different promotions to give our customers many good reasons to visit us often.  I also would put some blame on the big three manufacturers for the lack of support for brick and mortar accounts.  Donruss, Topps, and Upper Deck have all turned a blind eye to many of the distribution problems plaguing the hobby.  They have allowed wholesalers to start selling their products directly to consumers at pricing and at or below direct dealer account prices.  These artificially low prices give the consumers the perception that the product isn’t worth the suggested retail price.  It also allows pack searchers and the like to blend in online, and sell adulterated boxes on eBay and through websites looking just like every other online seller.  Last time I checked, these online sellers have NEVER hosted a Trade Night, and NEVER brought any new kids into the hobby. They provide NO SERVICE at all to the hobby.  Once they put the majority of card stores out of business, Wal-Mart and Target will be your alternative, and good luck with that.

  • With all the advances in technology, do you find it difficult for kids to get involved with collecting?

I feel its still very easy to get kids interested in card collecting.  In many ways, that hasn’t changed since I started collecting in 1968, cards are cool.  Its still a rush to pull your favorite player out of a pack.  The fact that there are now autographs, pieces of jersey, stamps, coins, and all sorts of other quirky cool things built into cards today makes it even easier than it was in 1968 to spark an interest.  Stores should have a presence on the web, you don’t have to sell, but at least be online, do some YouTube, Facebook, etc… Show the younger collectors that you will make an effort to market to their segment.  Too many stores consider these steps to NOT be worth the time and trouble.  Along these lines, I would love to see Topps, Upper Deck, and Donruss run marketing directed more at today’s marketplace.  Think of how many collectors would get back into card collecting of Topps ran a 1 minute spot showing a collector opening a box of Triple Threads Baseball, or UD showing someone opening Premier Baseball, 60 seconds of pure marketing genius.

  • Do you have a personal collection? If so, what is your favorite piece?

I do still collect.  My favorite pieces are my 1962 Topps Tarkenton rookie, 1955 Bowman Willie Mays, Smoky Joe Wood cut autograph,  Adrian Peterson rookie auto, and an autographed card from Pete Pihos.

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  • What has been your favorite box of cards that you have opened?

My favorite box of cards to open is either Premier baseball (or football or basketball), Triple Threads baseball (or football, or basketball).

  • What are some of the biggest pulls that customers have received?

We’ve had a couple Pujols autos pulled, a Sandy Koufax auto, some Honus Wagner relics in Topps Sterling, Michael Jordan auto out of Black, Jordan auto out of Premier, and a Jordan/Magic/Bird/Irving quad auto pulled in Black as well.

I would like to thank Mr. Fox for taking the time to answer my questions.  If your ever passing through Marion, IL be sure to stop by Fox Sports Cards.