Thursday, February 4, 2010

Why I collect and What I collect - the Upper Deck conundrum

Anyone ever read this book? I haven't, but from what I've heard (it's been on my to-read list now for a little while), be cautious if you choose to read it - it might taint you on a company that I'm sure you ALL have at least one card from. Upper Deck.

When I chose to complete the ultimate master set of 2009 Goodwin Champions, I always kept this book in the back of my mind. Richard McWilliam, owner of the company, has been super-shady in the past in regards to ethics and integrity. Hell, even the recent Konami lawsuit over the Yuh-gi-oh cards is a clear example of that.

Just super quick overview:

(caution - this MIGHT taint you, so tread carefully)

This card:

This card started it all. Actually, it was THIS card that catapulted Upper Deck:

The Griffey Jr. card put Upper Deck on the map.

But let's get back to that Murphy card. I was just a kid, maybe two years into collecting cards, when UD came out. I remember the day I pulled that Griffey out of that pack at my local card store in Houston. Then as I bought more packs, I hear about this super rare, Dale Murphy reverse-negative card that hit the market - and it spiraled out of control on the secondary market - it was the holy grail of the UD set. In the book, McWilliams pretty much got pissed off that he wasn't get a cut of the secondary market pie, secretly printed up a ton more of the cards, and quietly flooded the market with them.

See the problem?

This the same McWilliams that's running UD now. This is the same McWilliams who did a shady deal with a Chinese company to counterfeit Yuh-gi-oh playing cards so he could make an extra buck.

I don't plan on UD ever sponsoring my blog, so I can say what I want.

So why am I collecting Goodwin? Because they ARE nice cards. I have the the complete checklist in front of me, including the relics, autos, etc and I collect Goodwin with caution. If I hear something fishy going on with them, for example the SP auto's and relics NOT being actually SP's - then I'll dump the whole lot of what I have on Ebay within an hour and I'll completely stop buying UD products.

You see, even with short prints, there can ONLY be EXACTLY 5 total "Master" sets of 2009 Goodwin Champions possible. The reason being what I stated in one of my earlier posts - the fact that there are supposedly only 5 Buffalo Bill Cody Relics made.

Again, this is assuming that you want an absolute master set of Goodwin's. I feel the Goodwin set is attainable - as an example, I picked up two VERY short printed auto's last night; an Al Kaline hard signed Goodwin (supposedly limited to only 50 copies) and a KOJI UEHARA hard-signed Goodwin (supposedly limited to 25 copies). So essentially, whomever else was trying to complete a master set, I screwed them by sniping out the auction and winning both.

Look, I know where value is, but collecting anything with UD with a limited quantity is someone shady for me. Fact of the matter is, the Goodwin cards look good and it's the last time, for now anyway, as an authorized MLB product from them.

And unlike the junk I collected in the late 80's, odds are, 20 years from now, this collection will hold it's value, or even go up.

When I was collecting the first set of UD, the major difference between now and then is this: I have a little more expendable income now. Yes, I could easily be considered one of those high-end collectors, buying packs of cards for $100, $200, even $300. But I find absolutely NO value in those cards. I much prefer cards that are realistically obtainable for the masses - it makes the cards fun to collect and everyone has a shot at some great cards and I can do with these cards what SHOULD be done with these cards - trade!

Again, I won't be completing, or attempting to complete any sets till I complete the master run of Goodwin and Ginter - the Goodwin is coming along at a very quick pace, but I still do predict it will take me 2 years to complete the master set. The Ginter, also two years, but I am reconsidering completing a relic and auto set due to the volume of 1 of 1's - someone out there has a the gold-signed 1 of 1 Phelp's auto and I refuse to pay $10,000.00 for it; do you have ANY idea what I could buy for that $10K? Think original T206's - which have a far better investment/return value than anything modern, with the occasional exceptions, like Pujol's rookies or Jeter rookies.

Ok, enough rambling - more later!


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