Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Ever hit that "Lull" in the hobby?

You know what I'm talking about, we've all had that feeling at one time or another. It could have started with that eBay auction you lost in the last 5 seconds to complete your rainbow parallel set of a certain player or team. It could have started when the new products didn't just do it for you design or value wise. Maybe the hobby has become too expensive or hard to find products in your area. Whatever it was, we've all had this feeling.

It's something that you can't really explain or compare to, but collectors within the hobby can relate to each other. Recently I've had that spell on me for the last month or so. This time there really wasn't anything that triggered it, I guess it was just time for it to come around. The last time I had this feeling I left the hobby for three years and did unrelated hobbies like collecting NASCAR Die-cast, building plastic model cars and planes.

The last time I was just bored with what I was collecting at the time. I had a pretty impressive Troy Tulowitzki Collection, a decent Baseball HOF collection of game used and autographs and a decent amount of other PC cards I've been collecting over the years. It came to a point where I needed to change some things up, and so I did. I sold everything I had of Tulowitzki except for 25 cards, sold or traded away my Baseball HOF collection except for a Ty Cobb game used bat card, and sold the rest of my PC or gave cards away. Looking back now I wish I didn't go that far, but we learn as we go on in the life of a collector.

Looking back on that time and comparing it to the present it is much different. I'm not bored within the hobby, not really looking to start any new PC collection or expand my current Baseball HOF too much, and don't have a need to just sell everything away or giveaway the cards I have on hand. This is much different, and I don't want to leave the hobby and do something else. It might have to do with The Pack Gambler business side of things this time. I find a lot of my collecting habits have now been changed to match with The Pack Gambler business since we launched in April with the website. Previously we were writing our blog and providing some detail on reviews or view points within the industry. Now we buy mainly for the site which includes products for Box Breaks, Singles, and Sets. Our habits outside of The Pack Gambler have decreased with this hobby lifestyle of buying, which I believe might be part of the reason I feel this way.

Recently we had our Fall Sport Card Expo in Toronto, the last of the big shows of the year. I was really excited to go and meet up with some Gambler Followers, talk with the companies, search out some deals and buy into the redemption promotions going on. This would end up to be the first time that I didn't spend over $50 at an Expo. That's not to say that the Panini or Upper Deck redemption's weren't worth it or that the products I didn't like, it was far from that. It was that lull that I felt in collecting again. There were some deals that I found in both the sports and non-sports card world along with the odd memorabilia piece that would be cool to have. I just didn't have that "I want that" feeling, and not only at the Expo did this happen. It was a few weeks before hand as well of having this feeling.

I met up with @LongFlyBall (Twitter handle) at the Expo and I started talking about the "lull" I have currently within the hobby. During this conversation I've coined a new phrase "Collectors know collectors". About 5 seconds into talking he knew exactly what I was talking about. That indescribable feeling that we have from time to time within the hobby, this was the first time in a while that I talked about it with a fellow collector. I felt relieved that he knew what I was going through. Just so happens that he too was going through it at the same time. Here were two collectors at the biggest sports card show in Canada with two major releases of Hockey cards talking about not buying anything (or at least very little) and being in this lull state. What were the odds on that? I did pick up a few things for the PC and a retro box of hockey to bust open for fun, but not 1 box for a wrapper redemption or an expensive memorabilia piece.

This time around I won't be selling or trading away my PC or anything we have currently in stock. I'm going to ride this lull out and see what happens. Besides, even if I nothing left in the PC and went onto something else I'd be drawn back into the hobby sometime down the road. So instead of making a mistake or two with the current collection, keeping things in check seems to be the best thing to do. Plus it makes an interesting study to write an update once the lull has past.

A piece of advice for anyone that has felt this way about the hobby, or any other collecting hobby that you might have. There will always be that time when you could say this is enough. What you do at that time and how you move forward is what will stick with you in the long run. Making a decision either to stick it out or walk away can have both benefits and disadvantages. If you have no regrets with your decision then you've made the right one. For now I don't have any regrets with sticking it out. The lull will pass in time and so will the feeling to spend less and then I'll go after that new piece of memorabilia that will be great with my current collection. How long that is? Well that's a different story, only time will tell how long it will be and when the next lull will come around again.

The Pack Gambler

Friday, November 15, 2013

Why own sporting memorabilia? Written by guest blogger: Isabelle Riley

Here's a short piece written by Isabelle Riley asking the question "Why own sporting memorabilia?" Isabelle is a guest blogger for us and is currently writing for HTFM (www.htfm.com) A company based out of Australia that brings some pretty cool framing ideas to the sporting and entertainment world of collecting.   

Why own sporting memorabilia?

Owning sporting memorabilia is not just about owning a signed baseball or a bat, it’s about the connection you have to that particular game or the player. Owning the ball from a 1970’s game when you were born in 1985 probably won’t have as much personal value as a signed game ball from the 2000’s, the last game you watched with your dad or the game where the Yankees scored an amazing win, the day your daughter was born. There is a personal connection to sport that even the hardest man cannot deny, everyone has their favorite game, player, match or baseball cards for whatever reason, and to own a part of it is one of the greatest things any sporting fan could experience.  

The one problem with collecting sporting memorabilia however, and it’s experienced  by all fans of any sport, is knowing that your piece is a legitimate artifact of the game, the only way to really ensure that, is if you catch the game ball yourself, or you purchase a quality piece of memorabilia from a company that sells merchandise with a Certificate of Authenticity. Your chosen company should happily advertise the fact that they only supply sporting memorabilia that comes with these certificates, like HTFM Framing and Memorabilia, if they don’t, alarm bells should start ringing.

There are also certain types of memorabilia that are worth more than others. Any memorabilia that is expected to be a one off is obviously going to be worth more than a batch of baseballs all identically autographed for a memorabilia company. Also any cards or posters are worth more if presented in a frame and in mint condition. Same goes for any baseballs that are in original game condition and kept in a glass case. Some collectibles are worth incredible amounts of money, for example, the baseball card T206 is a card that shows  Honus Wagner during the early 1900’s.

There are an estimated 60 in existence, making them worth around $2.8 million each. That’s an expensive card! Any players that have played and signed memorabilia from the 1970’s onward is generally worth less as they have signed so many products, their signature has been devalued.
So no matter the baseball memorabilia your interested in collecting, it’s important to check for authenticity and to do a little research about their market value to make the best investment.

Isabelle Riley is a copywriter and digital marketing specialist from the Gold Coast, Australia, working for  HTFM. We give you access to some of the worlds most sought after sporting memorabilia and celebrity autographed memorabilia - helping to savor and cherish some of the greatest moments in time.