Should Upper Deck Change Its Redemption Policy?

Topps Changed Its Policy. Will UD Follow Suit?

Late last month, the Topps Trading Card Company announced that all redemption cards will now be valid for 10 years from the date of issue. This extends back to include redemption cards that were issued in 2021-22 products.

Normally, a redemption card – a little cardboard “I.O.U.” that promises the collector a premium card – would expire after two years or so. This would take the luster off of buying sealed products that were more than two years old. Sure, you might get a rookie card of a player that is now a superstar…or you might get an expired redemption card for an autograph of that same rookie that was now worthless. 

What this move does for Topps is increase desirability in both old and new card products. We all dislike getting redemption cards – but it is nice to know that if we buy a product from 2021 in 2024 that the redemption card is still worth something.

Of course, Topps does not make hockey cards, but Upper Deck does. So, will Upper Deck keep up with its main rival and also extend the window of its own redemption cards?

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The Hobby Bros Be Hatin’

Seriously, Bro…Do You Even Know Sports Cards?

Back in March, I wrote about how Connor Bedard’s Young Guns rookie card was trending downward in value. I also posted the link to my story on X/Twitter…and boy, did that rub some people the wrong way!

While most agreed with my analysis, some did not – and their comments were funny. Here are some of my favorites:

I think you are bing disingenuous by counting poor condition cards and cards listed with no shipping to Canada as “comps”

It’s definitely not UNDER 400. It’s still selling for mid 500s. Anyone who bought it at 1200 when it was first hitting is a dope. It will settle in the 3-400 range.

If you are surprised by this, you don’t know anything about sports cards. Everything drops after retail hits the shelves.

Rooting for cards to plummet in value sure is a choice.

New to the hobby, or just repeating the same story and replacing the card?

Ouch! Maybe I’m naive at times – but I sure as heck ain’t new to this 🙂 

Granted, my analysis of the Bedard Young Guns card and its downward trajectory was hardly hard-hitting stuff. When the supply starts to meet the demand, prices go down. That’s how these things usually work.

My whole point was that the card’s eBay sales price dropped by around 60% in less than two weeks’ time. 

Now, what is really interesting is what is happening to eBay sales of Bedard’s Young Guns cards now that his first autographed rookie cards were issued back in April with the release of 2023-24 SP Game Used Hockey. 

Since then, his Young Guns card has continued to plummet in value. While an ungraded copy of the card can still sell for upwards of $500, average sales of late have been between $250 and $350 – a far cry from the $900 it was fetching two months ago. Even PSA 9 graded copies of his Young Guns card have been selling for between $250 and $400. 

It appears that the Herd of Hobby Bros has moved on to greener pastures, grazing for the next shiny thing they think they can flip for a huge profit. 

Note: This article is an updated version of an editorial that originally appeared in Volume 2 – Issue 13 of the Puck Junk Newsletter. For stories like these, plus news and updates about hockey cards and collectibles, subscribe to the newsletter here.

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Follow Sal Barry on X/Twitter @PuckJunk

Checklists are NOT Dead!

A few weeks back, I opined that checklist cards in this day and age are pretty much useless and should be discontinued. I put a poll out on X/Twitter asking collectors if they like checklist cards.

As you can see from the poll results above, 50.7% of respondents still like checklists, while 49.3% do not like checklists.

There are two takeaways here:

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What Would You Do With a Full Case of 1979-80 O-Pee-Chee Hockey Cards?

In a record-setting auction that ended Sunday, February 25, a full case of 1979-80 O-Pee-Chee Hockey cards sold at Heritage Auctions for $3.72 MILLION DOLLARS.

The winning bid, which was placed Saturday night, was for $3.1 million. The “buyer’s premium” that gets tacked on to the winning bid price was $620,000, bringing the grand total to $3.72M. 

What I want to know is, what would someone do with an entire case of 1979-80 O-Pee-Chee Hockey cards?

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Connor Bedard’s O-Pee-Chee Rookie Cards are Hot!

But Will They Be This Hot for Long?

It’s a mad, mad world we hockey card collectors are living in right now. Earlier this month, the hobby got turned on it’s head – again! – thanks, in large part, to the hype surrounding Blackhawks rookie Connor Bedard.

Upper Deck released its 2023-24 O-Pee-Chee Hockey set on February 7. Traditionally, OPC is issued at the start of the season and does not include any of the “big name” rookies, who would normally get OPC cards later in the year as a part of an update set.

But this year, OPC was released mid-season. That means that Upper Deck could include Connor Bedard in the ’23-24 OPC set – and boy, did they ever! 

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Is There Too Much of a Good Thing?

After I launched the Puck Junk Newsletter last summer, a reader commented about the sheer number of hockey cards coming out over the next few months. 

That got me wondering: are there too many hockey sets being released at once? In other words, is this too much of a good thing? 

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Player Collecting: The à La Carte of Card Collecting

Once upon a time, it was possible to collect every hockey card released during the season – especially when there were only two major sets available. But nowadays, it is impossible to collect every hockey card out there, especially when you consider all the parallels, autographs, jersey cards, and one-of-one cards.

Since it is impossible to collect everything, many card collectors focus on player collecting – that is, collecting just the cards of their favorite players.

Like an à la carte menu at a restaurant, which lets you order smaller portions of certain foods without the side dishes, player collecting allows you to sample every, base, parallel and insert set out there.

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When to Pivot Your Collecting Focus

Sometimes, you have to look at what you’re not looking for.

When I went to the Sport Card Expo in Toronto back in November, one of the things I wanted to buy was an Auston Matthews Young Guns rookie card. In fact, there were a few different rookie cards of current stars that I was looking for.

The problem was, they were all more than I wanted to pay. Much of the new stuff was graded. And even ungraded copies of cards that I wanted were in the neighborhood of $500 or more. 

That’s when I reminded myself of one of my long-standing card collecting strategies: know when to pivot your collecting focus, because you won’t know what you might find. 

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What Is Your Collecting Resolution for 2024?

Happy New Year, Puck Junk readers! As 2023 was winding down, I started thinking about what kind of New Year’s “Collecting” Resolution I wanted to make for 2024. 

Sure, we may want to exercise more, eat better foods, or read more books in the new year. But as collectors, we also make resolutions when it comes to collecting.

Usually, these resolutions usually involve better organizing our collection. Hey – the struggle is real. 

In the past, I’ve made New Year’s “Collecting” Resolutions to get rid of duplicate cards, complete sets, or to get myself a “Holy Grail” card sometime during the year. And I’ve done all of those in 2023.

So, I need to give myself an entirely new “Collecting” Resolution for 2024.

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The 6th Annual Puck Junk Awards

The National Hockey League really needs to upgrade its hardware game. Sure, there is no better trophy in sports than the Stanley Cup. And the NHL does a pretty good job at honoring its best forwards, defensemen, and goalies each year. But what about honoring the best scorer who can also fight, the player who came out of nowhere and wowed everyone, or the guy who clawed his way back into the league after a year-long hiatus? 
 
Since 2018, Puck Junk has given out awards to such players. They may not have scored 50 goals or posted 15 shutouts, but they were still interesting, exciting — or even infamous — during the past season. 
 
That said, here are your 2023 Puck Junk Award winners!

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