Clemente’s Corner: Connor Bedard’s Young Guns Prices Do Not COMP-ute!

Amid the usual sea of Michael Jordan, Mark Grace and Walter Payton cards and jerseys, another – much younger – athlete was prominently on display at the recent Chicago Sports Spectacular.

Connor Bedard was very much on the minds and tongues of many at the three-day event, the Windy City’s biggest sports collectables gathering and one of the best-attended regional shows in North America.

And Bedard’s Young Guns card was hands down the most-talked about item – even by those who don’t typically buy hockey. It was a card that had shaggy-haired teens carrying silver cases scurrying about in search of it, while seasoned collectors shook their heads (some in disgust) at some of the prices in the showcases.

I wasn’t entirely surprised by what I saw. The budding Chicago Blackhawks star is arguably the biggest rookie this season – of any sport – and it was a 400-table show taking place in Bedard’s backyard. In other words, the reaction was predictable.

As a hockey card collector, I want to see more people in the hobby. I love to see the hobby grow. But the Bedard buzz has brought with it what many of us had feared for months – new people who aren’t collectors, but speculators driving up demand (and prices) looking to flip and make a profit.

There was no shortage of Blackhawks fans – or card carrying cases – at the Chicago Sports Spectacular this past weekend. [Photo by Clemente Lisi]
It feels like the pandemic – this time with no masks – all over again.

There has been hype around Bedard cards and collectables since the 18-year-old center was drafted No. 1 last June by the Blackhawks. He is considered a once-in-a-generation talent much in the same way Connor McDavid was in 2015 when he came into the league.

Bedard has been living up to his preseason superstar billing. He currently leads the Blackhawks and all NHL rookies in scoring. He could very well be awarded the Calder Trophy by season’s end as the NHL’s top rookie. That would give all Bedard cards another bump.

Remember me?

We got a taste for what Bedard cards could go for when Upper Deck included a surprise Easter egg in the form of a draft card in Series 1 late last year. Prices quickly jumped and the card is now going for about $600. While some told me they were looking for that card in Chicago, I didn’t see any at the show.

Meanwhile, Bedard’s Young Guns base card soared in price on eBay, stretching past $1,000 on March 6, the day boxes went on sale. Values dropped on the online auction site within days and settled somewhere in the $800 range. Since then, the card’s price has fallen further – as more and more people break cases of the stuff – and could be had for around $500, sometimes for even less.

You wouldn’t really know that from attending the show. I saw six different dealers selling Bedard Young Guns cards, with prices ranging from as high as $1,000 to as low as $600. I actually saw four selling for $600 and one for $700. At the same time, Upper Deck Hockey Series 2 hobby boxes were selling for $300, while a few dealers even had them priced at $330. Blasters were going for $45. By comparison, boxes and blasters typically sell for nearly half that under normal circumstances.

I even witnessed some debating whether to buy two hobby boxes in the hopes of pulling the card.

The response I heard one dealer say to an aspiring Bedard seeker was priceless: “You could just go and spend $600 on the card somewhere here at the show.”

Good point.

However, that didn’t deter some who were looking to score a Bedard Young Guns Silver Outburst, more valuable than the base version.

But these aren’t normal times for the hockey hobby. The show was proof that Bedard mania marches on almost two weeks after Series 2 had been released to much fanfare and hype. As a result, the Chicago Sports Spectacular was a wonderful case study in the disconnect that can be seen at shows compared to prices the web. While eBay comps are a way buyers and sellers gauge what they want to pay for a card, not all dealers in Chicago seemed to care.

And comps seemed to matter when discussing other cards. A lot of people I talked to at the show were on a quest to find Bedard’s Young Guns card. Others wanted to buy a hobby box. Most came up empty-handed after getting sticker shock. Some found some consolation in other Bedard cardboard – most notably ones from his time with the Regina Pats junior team or Canada Junior National Team.

Collectors who didn’t want to spend $600 on Bedard’s Young Guns card had other options.
[Photo by Clemente Lisi]
“I’m not going to spend $600 for a rookie card,” one buyer told me. “For that price, I could buy other players.”

What Bedard’s Young Guns card is really worth at the moment remains anyone’s guess. Everyone seems to think it’s worth whatever they want it to be.

Clemente Lisi is a lifelong Rangers fan who first started collecting cards in 1986. He collects both vintage and modern with a focus on rookie cards. Follow him on X/Twitter @ClementeLisi.

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Author: Clemente Lisi

Clemente Lisi is a lifelong Rangers fan who first started collecting cards in 1986. He collects both vintage and modern with a focus on rookie cards. Follow him on Twitter @ClementeLisi.

9 thoughts on “Clemente’s Corner: Connor Bedard’s Young Guns Prices Do Not COMP-ute!”

  1. Makes me wonder if the tide will turn over time and his draft pick card from Series 1 will actually be the card to have and more valuable than the base YG in Series 2.

  2. Incredible article. Thank you. Says everything I’ve been thinking when it comes to Bedard and what’s been going on at shows and eBay over the last two weeks. It is madness but I think we in the hockey hobby will eventually get past this.

  3. Great report out of Chicago. Really love how Sal and his team are on it. No one covers hockey cards and collectables like Puck Junk. Thank you!!!

  4. Is the guy in the photo Sal? I thought it might be at first, but I can’t imagine he owns one of those cases. Ha!

  5. I live near Philadelphia and there was similar stuff going on there a few weeks back at the Philly Show. It will die down. I’m just sick of reading and hearing about it. Make it stop.

  6. This too will go away. As someone who mostly collects jerseys , and sometimes cards , I’ve seen hysteria like this come and go , especially in football and basketball. I agree that it is annoying , but it shall pass. You hockey guys just aren’t used to this much attention.

  7. Comps may be the he worst thing that has ever happened to the hobby. I don’t trust most of the sales on there — yet they set the bar for what cards are worth. It makes no sense.

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