Tuesday, March 11, 2008

2008 Moments & Milestones Blue - Pedro Martinez

What's the latest gimmick from Topps? Well it's actually on its second set this year. Topps Moments And Milestones. Where every card is numbered. EVERY CARD. That's cool and maddening at the same time.

Take for instance this blue parallel card of Pedro Martinez. It's numbered 3/10. That means that there are only 10 of this card. Sounds great, but there's a catch. There are 312 variations of this blue card and they are all numbered to 10. Doing math quickly in my head, that comes to 3,130 different Pedro Martinez cards. That's just for this blue parallel. It doesn't seem as special, does it.

There are also 313 different cards that are numbered to 150. 313 that are numbered to 25. 313 that are numbered to 1. Ouch. My head hurts. That being said, I like this product. There is something to be said about a card set that feels special, but ultimately isn't.

As long as you know what you are getting into before you purchase a pack, I see nothing wrong with this set. It is a product of its time. That time is of numbered cards and parallels. It's just the way things are now. I can't change them and neither can you. This stems from the adults of today feeling like they got a raw deal.

As kids, they were told that their cards would be worth millions. All the Jose Cansecos and Darryl Strawberrys and Todd Van Poppels would be worth a fortune when they reached adulthood. Just look at their parent's cards. Mickey Mantles and Willie Mays and Hank Aarons were worth a lot of money. So the same must be true for these cards. Right?

Flash forward 15 to 20 years. Most of the cards from the late eighties and early nineties are worth diddly and squat. The dealers and the magazines and the card companies kept telling the kids that the cards were going to be worth something. The cards from that era were all mass produced. They also had more people paying attention and caring for their cards, which cut out the handled card factor.

Stashed away in a basement, in some album with 9 pocket pages, is page after page of 1991 Score Todd Van Poppels. There must be hundreds of them. Maybe over a thousand. Almost all were purchased from dealers for some serious cash. A few were obtained in packs. A few were obtained through trades.

Let's say there are 1,000 1991 Score Todd Van Poppel cards. If all 1,000 cards were to sell at high Beckett value, it would be worth $250. But you would be lucky to find someone willing to buy 1,000 Todd Van Poppel cards for high book price. At low book price, those 1,000 cards would be worth $80. You might be able to find someone willing to take them off your hands for $50. That would be roughly what you paid for 1 page of cards, from a dealer, in 1991.

Just like with anything, you need to know when to sell with baseball cards, if that's what you are collecting them for. I have a handful of different Roberto Hernandez rookie cards because I thought he would be something outstanding. Plus, his story of getting to the majors was so inspiring to me. He did turn out to be something outstanding, just not in the eyes of collectors.

These Moments And Milestones cards make me feel the same way. On one hand, it feels like I'm part of something special. On the other, I feel like I'm getting ripped off. At least I know the logistics behind the cards. I know what I'm getting into. I like those odds.


capewood said...

My younger brother, who knows nothing about baseball and even less about baseball cards, purchased about 10 boxes of baseball cards at a flea market about 6 years ago. He paid something like $5 a box. There must have been 8,000 cards. The only thing he knew about baseball cards was that some of them were valuable. Without actually seeing the cards, I told him they were probably worth about 5 cents apiece. So he figures he's got $400 worth of cards he paid $50 for. Sounded like a pretty good investment to him. I told him that if the guy who sold them to him could have gotten $400 for them he wouldn't have sold them for $50. When I finally got a look at them, the cards turned out to be Topps, Donruss, Fleer and Score from maybe 1987 to 1992. I browsed through them and the best card I found was a 1990 Fleer Cal Ripken, worth at that time about 25 cents. My brother still has these cards because he doesn't believe that he threw $50 away for a bunch of worthless paper.


White Sox Cards said...

It also depends on the individual. If something is essentially worthless, but worth something to that individual, then that trumps everything else. It's all about perspective.

Even though, they are pretty much worthless book-wise, it sounds like he got a deal that he could live with and be happy about.

Some dealers just don't want to hold on to older stock that doesn't warrant the storage space. People can find some fantastic deals that way.

Wax Heaven said...

Thanks for doing the math and ruining it for me. :(

White Sox Cards said...

Sorry, Mario. The "500 home run" cards are ridiculously available. Things like last year's Paul Konerko card are much harder to come by. That was only limited to "6 hits".