State of the Hockey Collecting World

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State of the Hockey Collecting World

Post by THTRB-Admin on Thu Mar 02, 2017 5:30 pm

Hello fellow collectors,

It's been awhile since I tried to amp this up and in the interim I feel the hockey market has really changed.

  • Box prices do not support rip and flip I watched a lot of UD product being busted over the past 2 years and especially with the Cup saw lots of collectors cash going flying out the window. When a Gretzky autograph doesn't cover the cost of the box, there is Big Trouble in Little Canada. This year I have especially felt that it is far easier to just buy a nice Matthews RC than buy two boxes of product. I have had fun with other boxes (Leaf Lumber Kings) as it was actually economically sound (easy to get $20-40 each for 4 cards) to know at least your price was covered a bit. But it is almost easier to just sit and pick singles off the Bay with sellers of limited hockey knowledge.

  • Group break hosts are not day traders The group break has now deteriorated the hobby into degenerative gambling and collectors are lining the pockets of hosts who are nearly sitting back and making full-time incomes off collectors' money. It has also altered company production of products so there is a case hit in one box but the rest of the case might be pretty weak. If you open a 10 box case and only 1 or 2 boxes carry their price then that is not a product worth contributing or collecting. But the main irk to me is hosts who have breaks where some (or even a majority) of collectors go hitless and are just left without anything. Total garbage. And the whole "they knew what they were getting into" argument only goes so far. Think back to when you were busting open a box of 1989 Upper Deck at your LCS. If the store owner came up and said "tell you pay me, I'll open a box for you, and if it has a Griffey, it's yours, if not, I'll just keep the rest and your cash". You would have walked right out of that LCS and thought of reporting the guy to the police. So what changed? Why do collectors now not feel "the thrill of the rip" like we once did? That fun moment when you slowly peeled the wrapper off and saw a glimpse of that back card triggering collector euphoria.

  • Ebay has replaced the thrill of the rip Let's face it, the thrill of the rip has been replaced with the thrill of the snipe or last second outbid. Where once we didn't mind throwing out tons of wrappers and keeping 100-300 commons in a big 3200ct shoebox, we now don't like the clutter and just want a shiny new addition to the PC. Every now and then we pacify the itch to rip with an occasional cheap blaster box, but the real thrill is nailing that limited card or hitting the BIN before anyone else sees it. And I can't blame anyone...if you spent the same amount of money on Ebay as a case of 15-16 Cup, you would have a full auto lineup of just about every NHL player you would want from the set. Ebay singles have made it safer to collect and more economically sound than the rip.


I feel what is left is back to the humble beginnings of the hobby and the pride and joys that are our PCs. I started out collecting Steve Garvey cards as a kid and it has actually been a blast collecting those same cards with autos from the Topps Signature Series. It reintroduced me to what I loved about the hobby, just having a nice personal PC that meant something to me. Got me to do some fun PCs with Lumber Kings and focusing on just a couple areas I want to collect rather than feeling that I should be opening every product. And I wanted to share that with other great collectors I know who also have great hockey PCs. So I am trying to do just this forum up to collectors who just want to share good PC stories and hockey talk without the group break peer pressure or rip/flip mentality of the other forums. Real collectors, real PC pride, real hockey talk.

So feel free to come in skate with us for awhile, pull up a laptop, turn the game on and crack open a Molson...

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Re: State of the Hockey Collecting World

Post by GoJays on Thu Mar 02, 2017 5:59 pm

Well said, Rink. I thought group breaking had a lot of potential when it came around, particularly with high end products. It provided the opportunity for lower-income collectors to own high-end cards. Unfortunately, the economic crash seemed to bring change to the industry, and rather than collecting being a hobby, it became a source of income.

In Upper Deck's defense, they've responded to what the market wants. Unfortunately for collectors, the market wants group breaks that resemble gambling. It is almost impossible to purchase a box and get any value out of it, collecting value or otherwise. One needs to purchase a case to get anything nice.

Upper Deck has recognized that group breaks dominate the hobby, and adjusted the prices and products accordingly. No longer are SP Authentic, SPX, Ice, or Black Diamond geared for collecting. They are targeted towards the market, and surrounding a high-value card with a bunch of low-value cards seems to entice group breakers even more.

I remember returning to the hobby many years ago. I set a limit of around $100 per month to spend on cards. With that, I would visit my LCS every week and purchase a few packs. One week, it would be four packs of SPX. The next, five packs of Ice. Another week, I might split a box of Black Diamond with another person. I wasn't concerned about the resale value; it was about finding cool inserts, jersey cards, acetate rookies.

Back then, I had a desire to return to my LCS on a weekly basis. I would meet interesting people with cool stories and collections. Now, my LCS averages around a dozen customers every day. Most orders are online.

I don't know has been holding the hobby back, but I believe it is a combination of these factors. Group breaks converting the hobby into gambling, eBay putting a price on everything, and the Internet taking away the interactions that made the hobby great.

Of course, the Internet hasn't been all bad. It allowed us to meet collectors worldwide. My collecting experience wouldn't be nearly as good without many of the connections made.

I'm not sure what the solution is. I don't know if there is one. The thrill of the rip seems to have been replaced with the thrill of the sale. I do think communities of collectors, rather than resellers, can provide us with a better collecting experience. I don't know if there is a permanent fix, but I'm happy to try to find it.


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