An article was posted on DailyFinance.com providing “10 tips to Win at Baseball Card Investing”. This article is spot on and a harsh reality many collectors refuse to accept. We modern collectors really enjoy the shiny, autographed, embedded jersey laden cards and will continue to snatch them up at very high prices. Old cards don’t interest the modern collector simply because in most of our minds they don’t have much chance to appreciate in value while a Orange refractor of a prospect could quadruple in value within weeks. Modern cards certainly can provide the best ROI but overall a vintage collector or investor is going to realize the most ROI across all of their endeavors than the average prospector.
The article lists 9 tips (although it says “10″ they skipped #6) for those looking to get into vintage. I’ve listed additional tips with each tip the article listed:
1. Buy the highest-quality you can afford.- My additional tip would be to make sure you can afford it. No buying with credit cards!
3. Hunt for high-grade cards from the early 1950s and pre-World War II tobacco-company cards-Don’t overlook football from the early 1950′s.
4. In your Internet research, look for trends so you can catch a card or set on its way up in value.- I’m not entirely sure how you are supposed to do this. I suppose studying a set for a few months would let you know what’s going on with it’s prices. Of course then it may have already made it’s move, just like stocks.
5. “You can still invest in good rookie cards and realize a profit,”-Of course you can. There are always a few bad apples that can kill you though like Roger Clemens. Buying cards from the 50′s and earlier would save you from that trouble though.
7. Completing sets is back.- And a lot of fun. What that also could mean though is that buying sets is not quite as popular as it was, so don’t go too nuts building a set.
8. Be aware of the risks.- Nothing is a sure bet. Buying vintage graded though is safer than just about any stock out there though if you don’t buy it too high. It may not appreciate but you’ll never lose your shirt on them like stocks can sometimes do to you.
9. Have fun.- DUH!
I did a write-up for Freedom Cardboard, the best sports card experience online complete with forums, a blog and a very well priced shop selling the newest and best boxes around. Here is the article in full. You can also read it here.
A guide to deciding whether or not to grade your modern cards. I would like to emphasize the word modern. I am not a vintage card expert and probably never will be. Now that you understand you should look elsewhere for guidance concerning your older pieces of cardboard gold it’s time to complete this eight step process to grading excellence.
2011 Bowman Chrome Prospects vs. 2010 Bowman Chrome USA U-18
2011 Bowman Release Date: May 18, 2011
2010 Bowman Chrome Release Date: October 18, 2010
|2010 Bowman Chrome 18U USA Baseball||18BC8||26||134||388||21||578|
|2011 Bowman Chrome Prospects||BCP1||3||21||171||8||203|
^ BGS Population Report 6/17/11 at 3:00 PM
What we have here are a couple cards that should not be commanding a premium for BGS 9.5 or better. However people are still paying $12-20 for the raw 2011 Bowman Chrome Prospects and $30-50 for those graded gem mint. The 2010 USA Chrome sells for $50-60 raw and $80-100 gem mint. Proportionately those seem about right with a 80-100% premium on both copies in gem condition. However when you look at the population reports you see that 84% of the 2011 Chrome are coming out gem while only 67% of the 2010 come out gem. Neither one are exceptionally rare.
The take home point of this exercise is that you should look at the numbers before paying a premium. 84% gem means more than four out of every five you pull could get the same grade so you should be submitting them yourself. Couple that with the fact that the 2011 has a higher print run and was made a year later and it is easy to see how your BGS 9.5 2011 Harper Chrome might as well be serial numbered out of 1000 by the time next year rolls around.
Harper’s Washington counterpart Stephen Strasburg had a much nicer spread at 1:8 Chrome RC’s coming back gem mint. Don’t buy the hype, or in this case don’t buy the hyped up version of the hype. His prices will come down soon enough if submissions continue to ring in at their current rate.
Our recommendation is to keep buying the USA Chrome in whatever form you get it and maybe let the 2011 Chrome cool off a bit.