Hoisting the Cup and the Cardboard

I apologize for my delay in my monthly piece and while I’d love to point to our hometown Avalanche winning the Stanley Cup and my spending the last 10 days hanging out with the team in a drunken stupor, I can only report a celebratory shot with friends and enjoying seeing the team parade the trophy around town, to bars and at the capitol building.

When I’m not slinging cardboard, I work event security in the area and had an opportunity to be incredibly close to some of the action during the run to the Finals. 

At one point of Game 1, I was working in the corner to the right of the teams on the Avalanche twice attack zone.  With 9 minutes or so left, I got called to one of the entrances and was asked if I wanted to work with one of the celebrities on site.  I was given a few options and a few minutes later, I was on the 5th level of the arena, looking at the back of the ABC booth and Sean McDonough.  Yes, I went from being against the boards to not being able to see the ice. 

When the game went into overtime, Sean walked past me and wondered who let the homeless guy in the suit (my guess) up the press level.  I few minutes later, I explained to him that I was there to assist him after the game so he could go where he wanted to go without incident.  Fortunately the madness that goes with Mr. McDonough does not rival most announcers at NBA games and getting him to the media compound was easy after he said hello to friends and colleagues. 

At the end, he asked me if I would be there for game 2.  I had already committed to working a hip-hop show and let him down as nicely as possible.  He asked about game 5 and since the Avs had won game 1 and for there to be a game 5, we would have had to lost a game.  I looked at him and said, “Sean, I hope I don’t have to see you until next season.”  He got my point and while there was no reunion for game 5, I’m quite ok with that.

As a shop owner, I’ve learned that a local team winning a championship is not a month long celebration, but instead lasts decades as the Avalanche and Broncos players who brought home championships are sill revered and heavily collected in some instances, many years later. 

It is my hope that names like MacKinnon, Makar, Landeskog and others will enjoy the same enthusiasm of those of Forsberg, Sakic and Roy before them.

It wasn’t all security talk and work in Colorado as we did sell a few boxes in the past month.

Here’s a peek at what has sold the best:

1) 2022 Panini Absolute MLB

Each year when Absolute lands I have that angel/devil scene from Animal House on my shoulder.  Part of me wants to push it out the door as Panini MLB offerings don’t do as well as they could if they were fully licensed.  Part of me remembers the year before when Absolute rolled crazy fast.  This year, I offered boxes at $139 initially and already regret it since I just restocked a few at $175. 

Boxes suggest they have 4 hits but mine have actually offered 6 per box with some crazy patch action on some.  While we could use a few more big name rookies this year, sales in store and online have shown collectors have more than embraced this Panini baseball offering and I’ll try to remember that better in 2023.

2) 21/22 Upper Deck Series 2 NHL 

It is easy to point to the Avalanche’s championship run as a reason are gulping up boxes of series 2.  I’m pretty sure the Avs Alex Newhook rookie card isn’t pushing things too hard, but the Young Guns rookies of Moritz Seider, Lucas Raymond, Quinton Byfield and others are picking up the slack. 

Also helping boxes is that prices have remained relatively low so even younger shredders are able to enjoy a few packs without having to hit up mom and dad for a loan.

3) 2022 Panini Select UFC

We recently did a personal box break night and sold more boxes of Select UFC than any other product.  Boxes offer 2 autos and 1 relic card and much like UD2, it is enjoying greater interest in part because of competitive pricing. 

Boxes are generally running $250-$290 and when you factor that in against previous UFC releases like Prizm, the barriers to entry aren’t there.  They even have a chance at rookies of the newest future gem, Paddy The Baddie.

4) 2022 Panini Chronicles Draft Picks Football

In a year where Kenny Pickett (and other 2022 rookies) will either save us or sink us, I was a bit concerned about how the 2022 NFL draft class would be appreciated.  Following the trend of the 2 releases just before this, I put boxes out at $139 and that has helped them move more quickly than I expected. 

With 3 autos and 1 relic per, it’s the perfect product for collectors to learn more about one of the lesser hyped draft classes in recent years.  A few collectors have commented on how nice it is to be able to purchase a hobby box of football for less than $200.  It will be interesting to see whether this type of affordable pricing will continue once we get to training camp and preseason action.

5) 2021 Topps Chrome Platinum Anniversary MLB

No, this product didn’t suddenly heat up in the past month.  It released in the past month.  Yup, right at the end of June, we received the last offering from 2021 MLB.  While it had the Chrome name, it had no history, but it did employ the 1952 Topps style, offered 1 autograph per box and has some names that should make this product compelling.  Some of you might need a moment to remember some of the 2021 rookies like Jo Adell, Joey Bart, Dylan Carlson and others, but I just did a case break with it and really like the way it looks. 

There are oodles of individually numbered parallels and the Daryl Strawberry auto /10 certainly made the Mets team owner in the break yell when he saw it pulled.

Now it that isn’t an interesting list, I don’t know what is.  I had 3 very affordable boxes, a brand new release from 2021 and a Panini MLB offering in the top position.  No, I don’t try to make this up.

With SP Authentic NHL, Prizm NBA and Optic NFL either having recently landed or being on the On Deck Circle for the shop, we might see a return to normal next month.

Then again, perhaps this is the new normal 🙂

Mike Fruitman owns Mike’s Stadium Sportscards in Aurora, CO.  His column normally focuses on what products are selling best in hobby shops. He’s got thousands of cards for sale on COMC.com under the ID cardmn5150. You can email him at [email protected] 

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