Wednesday, October 22, 2014

A Little Sports Card Collecting Redemption Card Rant

When it comes to sports card collecting, the order of the day is memorabilia cards and autographs.  In case you are new to the hobby, the companies have started taking pieces of jerseys, balls, bats, pucks, skates and so much more and embedding them onto cards.

However, every now and then (READ: every new set or product) has a card or two that is not quite ready and ends up with a blank card with a code on it being placed into the packs.  These packs can cost anywhere from $2 to upwards of $15 (yes, not your typical 1980s era card pricing huh?).

Companies have been using band-aids for years in regards to autographs.  This is where a player simply signs a bunch of stickers and those stickers are applied to the cards and inserted into packs for the autographed inserts at rates that vary along with the price of the product. Call it the scratch-off lottery ticket syndrome if you want.  I'm not fond of the band-aid autographs, but I understand the business behind why companies do it.

Redemption cards that feature autographs and swatches of game-worm attire are another story.  The checklist for these products have been known for a few months, and for products at the end of a season it's even longer.  Take 2013-2014 SP Authentic Hockey for example.  The company knew that Calder Trophy winner Nathan MacKinnon was going to be THE card to get in the set.  Alas in a box that costs close to $100, the lucky collectors getting this card in a random pack were greeted with a redemption card for that card.

Now to Upper Deck's credit the SP Authentic brand does not use band-aids and there were probably some logistic challenges in getting MacKinnon to sign a thousand cards.  I appreciate why it was done, I just don't see how this kind of thing happened.  This is the card that kids are dreaming of pulling out of the pack, and once they get it, they have to wait 6-12 weeks for the actual card to arrive.  Just a bummer.

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