Sunday, May 28, 2017
What is going on with base rookie cards?
Clayton Kershaw didn't have a great outing against the Cubs today. He didn't have much command, he gave up three home runs, and you could tell that the Cubs were bent on making him work.
Fortunately, the Dodgers' offense showed up big time. But whether Kershaw won or lost this game wasn't going to affect the price of my $80 rookie card of him.
That's right, I said "$80 rookie card."
I seem to be the only person who hasn't come to terms with this already (or the only one who cares), but I remain stunned by the prices of certain base rookie cards of star players. I've mentioned it already with 2011 Update's Mike Trout and 2015 flagship's Kris Bryant. These are very attainable cards going for crazy prices.
Now it's happening with Kershaw.
Maybe it's the recent statement by Buster Olney that Kershaw could never throw another pitch again and make the Hall of Fame, but I am suddenly aware of how much his rookie card is selling for right now. Earlier today, there was a tweet from Eric of Those Back Pages/The Diabetic Card & Comic Geek, saying:
"Just a head's up, if you don't have a Kershaw Flagship RC, and want one, don't wait much longer."
OK, that peaked my curiosity. I headed over to COMC and tracked the only Kershaw flagship rookie card being sold (it's actually from the Updates & Highlights set, card #UH240).
This is what I found:
There was also a gold parallel version of the card:
Now, I know how COMC sellers like to inflate their prices, so I hopped onto ebay to scan through some prices there. Leaving out the graded cards -- because dammit why are we grading cards from 2008 -- I made a list of the BIN prices and averaged them.
It came to $88.97.
This is for an Update card that you could have pulled out of a pack as often as any other card in 2008.
This blows my mind.
What is the reason for this? Why are cards of Trout and Bryant and Kershaw selling for so much when they are not exclusive? They aren't autographed, rare, or the coveted Bowman Chrome rookie version.
Well, speaking of that BoChro version, I think the answer can be found in Eric's tweet thread.
He says, smartly, that rookie card collectors, seeing the in-demand Bowman Chrome autographed card traveling far out of the reach of their wallet, are looking to flagship rookie cards.
This seems like a significant shift in the hobby to me, and while I pay virtually no attention to the rookie card market, it makes me want to hang on to rookie cards a little more than I once did.
I happen to have an extra Kershaw Update rookie card. Here is the back to prove it's not one of those dumb Berger's Best inserts:
It's amazing that I am holding this flimsy card in my hand from not even 10 years ago and people are paying $100 for it.
It makes me -- a non-seller -- think.
I have lots of different Kershaw rookie cards. I not only have the Update card, but the gold parallel Update card and the gold-letter parallel Update card. And I have a few extra Kershaw rookie cards. Dupes.
None of them go for nearly as much as the Update card, but they are commanding some decent prices.
A quick ebay average shows the Stadium Club card hovers around $26, the Heritage High Numbers card around $16, the Allen & Ginter card around $14, the Timeline card around $13.50 and the Goudey around 9 bucks.
Such demand for something I pulled out of packs so easily a mere nine years ago.
I think people are realizing that Kershaw could very well be the best pitcher they see in their lifetime -- or at least believing the people who are saying that.
But it still amazes me what a wild, west show this hobby can be.