Prewar market in the future

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Prewar market in the future

Post by TcardCollector on Wed Jan 06, 2010 6:25 am

Hey guys I just joined the forum after a three year hiatus after selling my entire prewar collection. I was worried that prewar was going to be even harder to break into now but from what I can tell a lot of the prices are about the same. In my notebook I have prices for T & E cards from '07 and a lot of the recent closed listings on Ebay are pretty close, identical in some cases. I've been away for a while so I was curious if this is a recent development due to the global recession, or have card prices generally leveled out after the great surge we saw in the middle of the decade. I remember in earlier days people hardly took note of caramel cards and then a common caramel card was suddenly worth far more then a common T206. Is it possible that the "internet boom" we saw in card collecting is over and were going to see a more level headed hobby, or is this just a temporary adjustment?
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Re: Prewar market in the future

Post by Bosox Blair on Wed Jan 06, 2010 9:12 am

A few thoughts on this (including some of mine) are in this recent thread on this Board: http://vbbc.forumotion.com/hobby-talk-f2/card-market-has-hit-bottom-t2418.htm

I have to say in general that I'm surprised you are seeing current sales at the same level as 2007. Pretty much everything I look at is a heck of a lot cheaper now. The thing that showed me this in the clearest terms was VCP (Vintage Card Prices website, which is a subscription service). You can search many graded card sales on this website and see how the prices have moved over the last several years. I am constantly surprised by how much cards sold for in 2006/2007 (I wasn't buying then) and how much cheaper they are now. This applies in a general sense to Ts, Es (especially), Ms, etc.

Just so we can see where you are coming from a bit better, could you give some examples of the cards you tracked?
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Re: Prewar market in the future

Post by sabrjay on Wed Jan 06, 2010 1:20 pm

The market for pre-WW2 cards will always be solid but I think we have seen the last of the great booms unless baseball becomes hugely popular again with the general public. The high profile and super rare cards will always do well but the the days for doubling and tripling your money in 6 months or so are over. If you are a collector, this is a great time, reminiscent of the early 1980s during that recession. We won't see prices surge like they did in the mid to late 80s, but once the economy gets stronger, card prices will start tracking slowly upwards again.

If I wasn't unemployed right now, I'd be snatching up a lot cards right now.

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Re: Prewar market in the future

Post by TcardCollector on Sun Jan 10, 2010 12:15 am

I used to have an account at VCP but don't anymore. I haven't done a thorough search by any means, I just searched and found some comparable graded cards on the closed listings of Ebay and found prices to have been very close. A couple observations about Ebay today, I'm going nuts with all the new prewar inspired sets that flood the prewar category on Ebay. Second, there seems to be several sellers flooding Ebay with "vintagized" reprints. This has always gone on but I don't recall ever seeing the quantity that I do now. I've also seen sellers use ambiguous language and are, "only listing their card as a reprint due to Ebay policy" but they don't really know what they are (ya right). I saw one seller a week or two ago listed around two dozen reprints of Cobb, Ruth, etc. with such language and they all sold for hundreds of dollars, it's the buyers fault too but still it can't be good for the hobby.
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Re: Prewar market in the future

Post by fisherboy7 on Wed Jan 13, 2010 10:27 pm

I agree that there will always be a solid baseline value for our prewar cards, and that will hold regardless of market conditions. That's the good news. However, there's no doubt that the value of more common vintage cards has taken a major nosedive in the past couple of years. You can buy t206's and e93's (for example) at a fraction of what they would have cost during the price boom we saw mid decade (2003ish-2007). But I think the scarcer stuff has held its value alot more. Problem is, people are holding on to that stuff right now until the market recovers. So availability has slowed down big time.

I also think the gradual decline of ebay has something to do with it. With all the changes ebay has made (most being negative for the seller) people are choosing alternate venues to sell their cards (auction houses, private sales). So that might contribute to the perception of a suffering prewar market. All one has to do is take a quick look at the pre-1930's section and all the junk listed there for evidence of that. I'm sure I'm not the only one who's sick of seeing all the homemade fakes, 2009 topps t206, and the like, being listed there just as much (or more) than quality vintage cards

The optimist in me likes to think that things will only get better from here, but it's hard to predict. Getting new/young collectors involved will be key.

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Re: Prewar market in the future

Post by TcardCollector on Thu Jan 14, 2010 7:31 am

heck I'm in my twenties and I started collecting vintage years ago and I know there are others like me so I'm not too worried about a generational problem. And maybe Topps will be successful in its mission to bring cards back to kids, and if they are it will only strengthen the vintage market down the road. While baseball may have been supplanted by football in popularity, it has an incredibly rich history which will always endear it to collectors.
Being optimistic, I hope one day in the future the ridiculous prices we see for high grade encapsulated cards will come back down to earth. The grading companies make far too many mistakes for a mint 9 to be worth 20x what a NM 7 is. In my perfect world grading companies would only slab a card authentic and then sellers would provide massive hi res scans front and back and we could all make our own valuation.
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