Neilalien rounds up a bunch of recent links that paint a sad picture of the decline of the sports card industry.
Slate: Requiem for a rookie card
… this was my old stash. Thousands, if not tens of thousands, of baseball cards from the 1980s. Puckett, Henderson, Sandberg, Gwynn, and McGwire stared back at me with fresh faces. So long, old friends, I thought. It’s time for me to cash in on these long-held investments. I started calling the lucky card dealers who would soon be bidding on my trove.
First, I got a couple of disconnected numbers for now-defunct card shops. Not a good sign. Then I finally reached a human. “Those cards aren’t worth anything,” he told me, declining to look at them.
“Maybe if you had, like, 20 McGwire rookie cards, that’s something we might be interested in,” another offered.
The Washington Times: Baseball card industry retrenches
Not so long ago, baseball cards were the sun of the sports memorabilia universe. Kids couldn’t get enough of them. Grownups treated them like shares of Microsoft, with hot-blooded rookie card speculation forming sort of an early version of day trading. Hotel ballrooms from coast to coast were booked with card conventions.
Those days are gone, left in the wreckage of a baseball card crash that in the last month has claimed Fleer and Donruss as players in the industry.
Both companies were major pioneers, helping to break a 30-year monopoly held by Topps Corp. and usher in an expansive new era in collecting that saw the introduction of holograms and bits of game-used jerseys and bats in card packs. But a perfect storm involving an oversupply of card releases, out-of-sync pricing at retail and flagging fan demand prompted a $1.2 billion industry in its go-go days of the early ’90s to collapse to less than $270 million in projected revenues this year.
Read ’em all and weep.