European Banks and Baseball Cards

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European Banks and Baseball Cards

Post by jbonie on Fri Aug 19, 2011 12:38 am

These two things would seem to have nothing to do with each other, but lo and behold weakness in the European banks, who are large holders of "PIIGS" debt, seems to be on the brink of causing another recession. There is lots of fear and volatility back in the markets, down 4% today - on what news?

Hopefully, things will get straightened out, but if not, the question is: how will card prices behave this time around?

My view is that prices could fall on a lot of sets, but especially some of the things that have seen some speculative interest of late. For instance, scarce T206 backs like Brown Hindu may correct 20% or so before continuing their long-term upward trajectory in price. Also, low pop T206 PSA 8's got really inflated, but I am just not sure whether the people buying them will ever stop. I'd also expect more weakness in E-cards and post-war stuff, with high grade (PSA 9 and 10) '52 and '55 Topps holding up the best.

What direction to take? I am staying the course and sticking with high grade N172 and N173 HOFers for the long term. They should retain their value the best as there is a broad swath of buyers who want them in both good times and bad. Some of the sepia-toned rarities like Gypsy's, Yum Yum, Hess, etc, should also continue to stand up well to economic malaise.

I believe 19th Century cards are still undervalued and are the best and most conservative investment in baseball cards today. What do other people think?
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Re: European Banks and Baseball Cards

Post by fisherboy7 on Sat Aug 27, 2011 3:03 pm

jbonie wrote:
I believe 19th Century cards are still undervalued and are the best and most conservative investment in baseball cards today. What do other people think?

Just getting around to reviewing some posts from the past week or two. This was a good one.

The more I think about it, the more I agree with the quoted statement. 19th century cards IMO are the most secure "investment" in baseball cards today. But I also think they have a lot of room for growth relative to the big T and E card sets. 19th century cards have everything going for them.....not only are many of them extremely scarce, even unique, but they also feature baseball's earliest heroes and pioneers. They have the appeal of being the earliest baseball cards produced. I know when I first discovered 19th century cards, I was amazed that cards that old even existed. Likely a good % of the younger collecting community would stare at you wide eyed if you told them that are cards older than 1952 topps (although the A&G reissues, topps t206, etc, have increased awareness).

Also, it seems like alot of the younger collectors who are attacking T206 these days with mucho gusto haven't really discovered the intricacies 19th century collecting. Just speculating here, but eventually you have to assume they will start exploring this stuff, which would cause a spike in the demand for N cards.

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Re: European Banks and Baseball Cards

Post by cccc on Sat Aug 27, 2011 3:34 pm

fisherboy7 wrote:
jbonie wrote:
I believe 19th Century cards are still undervalued and are the best and most conservative investment in baseball cards today. What do other people think?

Also, it seems like alot of the younger collectors who are attacking T206 these days with mucho gusto haven't really discovered the intricacies 19th century collecting. Just speculating here, but eventually you have to assume they will start exploring this stuff, which would cause a spike in the demand for N cards.

i've seen so much interest and excitement from new collectors about t206s, partly because the brand is so well known...but also because they see cool names like cobb, young, johnson, wagner etc that they hear from espn or baseball broadcasts occasionally.

i'm not so sure 19th cent will appeal to the mass. the names are so obscure and rarely get referenced like brouthers, anson, king kelly, ward....or e&g, yum yum, mayo. someone posted a scan of the just so young and people are going "cool, what is that?" you'd hope as people get more immerse in the hobby they'd dig deeper.

i missed this thread first time around (so so busy)...good bump ben and some good info/analyst/projection J. i do agree with both you guys 19th cent is back** to being underrated, but not sure it'll ever take off.



**i remember 6-7 years ago when 19th cent prices were really low and wesley would buy up everything...and sold them off a couple years later at some of its highest point (then he moved onto e107s). that man is a genius!
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Re: European Banks and Baseball Cards

Post by jbonie on Mon Aug 29, 2011 2:12 am

All the points that Ben makes is how I feel; about the scarcity/rarity, the players. They are truly baseball's pioneers and why shouldn't they be as well recognized among collectors as the early 20th Century guys? If you look at the amount of money put in 19th Century compared to the 1909 era, where there are probably 40 or so different sets with many cards, the 19th Century cards are downright cheap. That's why I think their prices will continue to rise.

There is something about that era that truly captures my imagination in a way that no other era of cards does. Baseball card collecting may be a bit of a cult, but if so, then 19th Century collectors are like a cult within a cult, lost in an obscure and largely forgotten era that is just beginning to resurface. It is truly its own world - at least it feels that way. Hopefully, more and more people will continue to catch on.
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Re: European Banks and Baseball Cards

Post by jbonie on Mon Aug 29, 2011 2:35 am

Just to add, there are definitely certain cards I prefer more. We live in a country where, sadly, the rich keep getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. This trend is doing nothing but continuing due to political gridlock and corporate lobbies. In the future, the wealthy are going to be the ones with all the money, regular people close to broke, so logically, it is better to buy cards that rich people want.

That means it is the perfect storm for high quality cards. By high quality, I mean beautiful looking OJ's with bold images that outshine their grade. In the land of OJ's, those cards are very hard to find due to the issues with fading. So I think the premium paid for those types of cards could expand considerably. Of course, technical grade will continue to play a considerable role as well because many wealthy collectors prefer high grade cards, yet image quality should be the number one priority for any buyer.

I was not a bidder, but I think a great card was sold at Legendary very inexpensively - the two player Gypsy Queen card went for $1500. It's sort of a double rarity because it is a two player card and also a GQ. Also, it had a nice image. No doubt in my mind its value will continue to grow over the next ten years.
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Re: European Banks and Baseball Cards

Post by jbonie on Mon Dec 05, 2011 3:59 pm

Things kind of played out how I expected this fall but now I expect prices to gain increased momentum as we move towards the spring. The seasonality, plus at least a temporary solution coming out of Europe, should move the economy and card prices forward considerably, including wild prices for rare backs and increases in condition and absolute rarities. I feel really optimistic going forward, at least for the next year or two. However, there could be more problems down the road... I'd treat those as buying opportunities.

My 2 cents...

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Re: European Banks and Baseball Cards

Post by pariah1107 on Tue Dec 06, 2011 6:56 am

GREAT TOPIC! From what I understand the S&P downgraded credit ratings for 15 of the 17 countries in the EU today, or they were placed on some type of credit watch. I thought I would see some damage on the market today but was surprised it did not happen, yet. Can someone fill me in on how these events effect the value of my baseball cards?

I collect mid-grade W's, mostly for personal enjoyment. In that regard I feel the value, to me, will not diminish, but am very interested in this subject.

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An uninformed wannabe's view of the n-series

Post by m-mac on Tue Dec 06, 2011 5:33 pm

Problems in Europe or here can impact the value of your baseball cards in several ways. One way may be if uncertainty of european asset values increase, other 'investments,' including collectibles, begin to look relatively more attractive, so prices of collectibles increase. Another way may be the policy responses to the ongoing fiscal and funding crisies. mallet If governments resort to the printing press, generally speaking, collectible prices will increase as people look to spend their currency for any tangible goods that should maintain their purchasing power. Arguably, the first great run up in card prices occurred in the inflationary period of 1971-72. A huge increase followed in the increasingly uncertain and inflationary period of the late 1970s that ended during 1980.

Don't collect N cards right now. Want to, but don't have the knowledge or resources. For some n-series, I think that their lack of quantity and the lack of agreement with the standards used by 3rd party graders specific to the photo images of some N cards limits their appeal. Some people seem to accept a high technical grade, while other focus on the image. Still others care/don't care whether the card is skinned. It may be impossible to complete a set, nor is it clear of what a complete set would consist. For other series, the images are crude. It's an advanced area, in my interpretation, much like the early E-series.

What makes T cards generally appealing is their availability, attractiveness, affordability to the middle income groups, and their relative liquidity in sales. A concensus checklist exists for most of the series. Increasingly, in the 206/205/207 series increasingly focus on specific attributes and refocus their collecting (series no., brands, or factory designations). Generally, at present, N cards are none of these of attributes. However, I do agree with the sentiment regarding the game's pioneers (should be more of them in the Hall in my opinion), and I also think you will do well if you purchase wisely.

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Re: European Banks and Baseball Cards

Post by jbonie on Tue Dec 06, 2011 5:55 pm

T-cards are fairly priced right now, however they are plentiful in relation to N-cards. You are right that the negligence of TGP's to factor in image quality creates a problem where technical grade is not always accurate. One great way to play this is to buy low-grade cards with outstanding images, but another way to play it is to buy high-grade cards with outstanding images because in actuality they are quite rare. The selection of N172's in Goodwin right now is outstanding and when you look at the quality of those cards and their rarity in those high grades, I see major upside to the price. Why shouldn't a nrmt-mt Old Judge with a great image sell for 5k like a t205 or t206? Another great way to go is PSA 8 T205's since it is so hard to find T205's without chipping and corner damage. So I see those as two good plays in the high grade market for those with the money. Otherwise, it is best to stick to low-grade cards discounted by back damage.
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Re: European Banks and Baseball Cards

Post by the-illini on Wed Dec 07, 2011 4:28 pm

jbonie wrote:T-cards are fairly priced right now, however they are plentiful in relation to N-cards. You are right that the negligence of TGP's to factor in image quality creates a problem where technical grade is not always accurate. One great way to play this is to buy low-grade cards with outstanding images, but another way to play it is to buy high-grade cards with outstanding images because in actuality they are quite rare. The selection of N172's in Goodwin right now is outstanding and when you look at the quality of those cards and their rarity in those high grades, I see major upside to the price. Why shouldn't a nrmt-mt Old Judge with a great image sell for 5k like a t205 or t206? Another great way to go is PSA 8 T205's since it is so hard to find T205's without chipping and corner damage. So I see those as two good plays in the high grade market for those with the money. Otherwise, it is best to stick to low-grade cards discounted by back damage.

Totally agree. When you really start looking for them in comparison to other Old Judge cards on the market, the number with quality images on them is actually pretty low.

Honestly, with OJ cards I could care less about the backs of the cards and to a certain degree even the corners/edges of the card are secondary to me if the card has a tremendous image. I have a Harry Wright OJ with a fabulous image that is graded authentic (I believe due to a factory miscut) that I wouldn't trade for any OJ Wright that has hit the market recently that received technical grades far superior to mine, simply because of the quality of the image.
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Re: European Banks and Baseball Cards

Post by jbonie on Wed Dec 07, 2011 7:15 pm

It's be interesting to see what happens with high grade OJ's but it seems like the prices are beginning to recover. If you have a high-grade OJ with a great image, that is like a double condition-rarity. Some have recently come to market but in general they are hard to find.

It'll be interesting to see what direction prices take on OJ's... if the "great image" guys prevail over the "condition guys" or vice versa. I like to have my cake and eat it, too, but that severely limits the size of my collection. Yet I don't regret it because I love my cards.

It's hard to imagine most collectors completely not caring about back damage or corner damage, or an authentic grade. But Chris, as far as "A" graded cards go, your Harry is one of the best out there!
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