Monday, October 13, 2008

Autograph Offering: Calvin Johnson/Take The Poll: Suggestions To Improve Auto Program

I wish I could tell you this autograph offering of Calvin Johnson is a good deal because of the price or quantity or because he is a high draft pick or because of the team he plays on or the position he plays. But none of these matter.

Good luck if you're considering re-selling this card. I'm sure this is a great opportunity if you're a Lions fan or a fan of his alma mater, Georgia Tech or like to collect etopps autographs as part of your sports memorabilia collection.

The reality is this card is being offered in the etopps autograph program too late. We already know this based on the quantity you can buy in the email sent by etopps: 3. It indicates the confidence etopps has that this will be a sell-out.

One of two things has to happen to get out of this frustrating cycle of releasing autographs of players whose secondary-market hype has passed. It's not the best solution but at least it points in this direction.

Since we cannot get these cards autographed until they are at least available to be shipped, etopps has to bite the bullet and offer the autograph as soon as possible, regardless of where we are in the football season (read after the football season is over).

Let's take Adrian Peterson's auto as an example. It was offered at the tail-end of the playoffs for $99 on 1/23/07 to be exact. From my Friday Marketwatch posts, you can see that it has been one of the best selling autos on ebay since it was announced...until the beginning of this season. Could you imagine what would be its value if etopps had waited until the beginning of this season to release this auto? It probably would have sold out but the last one that sold went for a little more than $25 over the price of the auto. So if you bought the auto at today's price (upper $20s) and spent the $99 on the auto, you would have broken even if you were the seller who sold this last one on ebay.

Another possibility to take advantage of the hype of rookies while they are in their rookie season is to offer autos with stickers. (I know what you're thinking: "Heresy!") This suggestion would not be for the autos we've seen for Favre, Bill Russell, Tomlinson, Pujols, Emmitt Smith or any of the other greats of football, baseball or basketball. It would only be for the rookies if this would help them become available for the second market prior to their sophomore season when the value of most rookie cards (and autos) go down.

I'm going to open a poll through Friday: keep the auto program as it is, offer autos beyond the season of the sport the player is in, sticker autos for rookies only if it can expedite offering the autos while these rookies are still in their rookie seasons, or something else. If you vote for something else, I welcome you to post your comments on what can improve the timing of offerings in the etopps autograph program.


Jeff said...

If you offer sticker autos you RUIN the entire autograph program. Sticker autos are the worst thing that have ever happened in the autograph world. A lot of people will not collect sticker autos and I am one of those people. The fact that etopps has the signatures on the cards sets these autos apart from many others and adds a good deal of value.

No Brainer Bargains said...

Thanks for your comment, Jeff. Let me ask you this -- which would you prefer: Matt Ryan's auto offered in early December with a sticker signature or next season with his signature on the card?

Jeff said...

Me personally would rather wait and have it on the card. There are MANY crappy looking sticker auto issues to pick up now if I really needed one but for the price of etopps autos I would much rather pay for a quality autographed card than to pay more for the same old thing every other set has.

No Brainer Bargains said...

I sense you're a collector, Jeff. I agree that are plenty of crappy sticker autos out there. But even the crappy ones sell if they are listed at the right time during a player's development and etopps has missed this boat time and again. Guess which sells better: crappy sticker autos of a hot-selling rookie or an on-the-card auto of that same rookie the following season when that player is not doing as well as the previous year, aka sophomore slump.

Jeff said...

Trust me I understand your point completely. It is the same argument I have why etopps needs to ship the football cards during the season and make sure it happens with no delays. I see no reason why they can't release an auto card during the season though a quick ebay search netted quite a few Matt Ryan autos on the card, it kinda surprised me.