Tim’s Take: Four Hobby Phrases That Should Be Retired Now!

You know the feeling you get when you hear the same phrases repeated over and over and over again?

Whether it was your parents yelling things like “Don’t make me come back there,” or “Because I said so,” or that catchphrase your once favorite sports personality now uses as a noun, verb, adjective, and every other part of speech you can think of, certain phrases just get beaten into the ground.

The same can be said for the card-collecting hobby. While those not on social media may not hear these things often, those that are and interact with others in the hobby daily, get bombarded by these words and phrases regularly.

The solution? I think it’s about time that some of these phrases get retired now. 

Continue reading “Tim’s Take: Four Hobby Phrases That Should Be Retired Now!”

Tim’s Take: Is Cleaning Cards a Dirty Business?

All we are is dust in the wind…

Those words, made immortal by the poetic genius of Kansas, were true when they were written and are true today. It’s also true that I hate dust, who doesn’t? The only thing I hate more than dust is dusting. But sometimes, even our cardboard collections succumb to the annoyingly random, floating, airborne particulate. Or maybe something worse. So what do we do about it?

I think there is certainly a difficult and layered discussion that can be had regarding the differences between dusting off your cards, cleaning, restoration, and alteration. We live in a world where the hobby is particularly focused on the gems, gem rates, and population counts among the best of the best. Finding the best quality so that you can maximize your “profits” is and has been, the direction the hobby has trended heavily since around 2015.

Sure, collectors have always wanted the best looking cards in the best condition possible, but since we’ve regularly eclipsed six figure sales for cards, the thoughts of dollar signs take over and the only way to get them is to grade. There is a ton of money at stake now and with half dozen or more card grading companies (the alphabet soups) that will rate your card on an arbitrary scale of 1-10 (with no industry regulation, oversight, certification, or standardized operating procedure), there’s extra incentive to help stack the deck in your favor.

Before I continue down this potential rabbit hole, keep in mind that I’m not talking about taking out the Swiffer duster once in awhile to run over your boxes, binders and bro cases. I’m not even talking about taking the dust off the individual cards themselves. I’m talking about where we draw the line between wiping off a thumb print or some dust particles vs. physically changing or altering the state of a card.

Continue reading “Tim’s Take: Is Cleaning Cards a Dirty Business?”

Tim’s Take: Fanatics Strikes Back

If you recall in my article where we first discussed the Panini vs. Fanatics lawsuit, we asked if Fanatics was a monopoly, as Panini accused them of being. In that article, we said the short answer was no, and the long answer was also probably no.

But let’s flip the script and turn the attention to the accuser, Panini. Is Panini a monopoly in the hobby space?

I think the conclusion ultimately ends up being the same. But fortunately for all of us captivated by this drama, if both parties have their way, we may now eventually find out. Let’s break down a simple timeline of what has transpired to get us here, shall we?

Continue reading “Tim’s Take: Fanatics Strikes Back”

Tim’s Take: The 2023 National Sports Collectors Convention

My every-other year visit to the National Sports Card Collector’s Convention wrapped up Sunday afternoon and I wanted to join the cast of thousands that will take to social media to regale you in the fun they had. But I think I’m going to take a different approach from just showing off what I bought because this wasn’t my first trip to the largest, and most important hobby show of the year. It wasn’t my second, or my third, or even my fourth. This was my ninth time participating in this colossal event.

In that time I’ve seen many, many cool things, I’ve met dozens and dozens of cool people, and I’ve developed many hobby friends. In recent years, I’ve met many listeners of the Puck Junk Podcast as well as those that interact on social media. It’s been one of the best hobby experiences that I look forward to annually, and especially every other year when it becomes a “home game” for me.

But there’s no shortage of controversy and discourse in this amazing hobby and that makes it interesting, and fun. So let me get this part out of the way first. There was a popular narrative on social media all week, which was, of course, the abundance of detracting opinions and negativity. The list is long. There was the stuff about breakers getting loaded boxes. There were the instances of the “influencers” seemingly getting most of the bigger promo pack hits. There was a lot of talk about preferential treatment given to YouTubers with large followings for “on-site grading” promotions. There were the countless examples of the seemingly incessant need of “collectors” to suckle the teat of hobby celebrities and brag about how they are all now “best friends”.

Were all of these things true? Maybe. But that’s not the point and I’m not here to discuss that (at least for now). What I will address instead are the two biggest issues people continually pointed out, the “10x comp pricing” and the “extreme heat,” as well as some observations I had.

Continue reading “Tim’s Take: The 2023 National Sports Collectors Convention”