Spending a lot of time on social media lends to hearing a lot of complaining. TONS. From all over the place. Collectors upset with card companies and even card company owners and former employees duking it out via Twitter. ( sad, right?).
One of the biggest arguments is that card companies are excluding a lot of ‘old-school’ collectors who were fans of building sets and those that are not interested in all the flash and high price tag that comes with premium sets. One thing most collectors seem to forget is that card companies are a business and mostly react to the needs of the customer.
Greg Kohn, Director of Product Development at Leaf Trading Cards, had this to say about the current state of the industry via Twitter:
@LongFlyBall when the term “return of investment” entered our hobby as an expectation it ended what collecting meant. Need a happy medium
— Gregg (@ScoobyCub) July 12, 2013
That may be true, but this part of the industry has been going on for a long time. In the January, 1992 issue of Beckett Baseball a collector wrote in claiming Beckett had bias towards the higher-end, premium card items because the kept, “raising the price”. The response to this inquiry rings true even today:
Card manufacturers created “premium” cards such as Leaf and Stadium Club (ed. note: this WAS 1992) in response to many collectors’ cries for more limited products. Unfortunately, many of these premium cards are now priced out of the reach of many collectors due to the perception of a small supply.
The one point that Kohn made in his discussion that most hobbyists don’t realize is, the licensing fees to use these teams, players is expensive, and card companies need to do what they have to to continue to put out agreed upon product that will make collectors happy and keep these businesses afloat. So higher dollar, premium sets turned into relic inserts, autographs, game-used redemptions items, etc, etc. But remember- that all costs more money which has to be made back somewhere.
When will it end?
Who knows for now, but collectors will always be divided on who is more important; the set builder, player/team collector, the hit collector, or rip and flipper.
It’s definitely a monster now, more so than anyone may have imagined. Even back in 1992.