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Cardboard Connection “CEO” Mike Smeth Scandal UPDATE

On March 17, 2016 Cardboard Connection CEO Mike Smeth assaulted 3 people with a gun and threatened to kill them!

The erratic Smeth was sentenced to 5 years and 12 months probation after pleading guilty on February 9, 2017.

Keep in mind, Cardboard Connection CEO Mike Smeth has also been accused of hacking into Panini’s Tracy Hackler and several of his former business associates at Cardboard Connection. It’s believed no criminal charges have ever been filed in regards to the hacking.

I’ve reached out to several current employees of Cardboard Connection for comment and have not received a reply.

Having personally met Smeth before, this is a person you want to stay away from at all costs.

Original Post on the Mike Smeth Scandal

R-Rated #6: Topps 65th Anniversary Party Review

Reviewing the Topps 65th Anniversary Party held January 18, 2017.

What was good and bad from the party. The giveaways were great for me and those in attendance, but did it anger collectors? I read tweets from people who responded to my coverage on Twitter.

Topps wasn’t thrilled with my live coverage, I give theories as to why.

Review & recap of the 65th Anniversary Party

See What Came Inside the Swag Bag (YouTube)

See all the 1/1’s I Pulled From 11 Silver Packs (YouTube)

See Video From Inside Party (YouTube)

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2017 Topps 65th Anniversary Party Recap

Las Vegas is the land of losers, but not for most who attended the Topps 65th Anniversary Party on January 18th.

See Video From Inside Party (YouTube)

Topps handed out gifts to the privileged crowd, that in most cases, exceeded the steep price to attend. Over 66 Kris Bryant cards were a part of the swag given to every person. His cards just happen to be the hottest thing in the modern baseball card market since Mike Trout and Bryce Harper asserted themselves several years ago.

Personally, I was able to sell 60 of the 65 cards from the 65th Anniversary Kris Bryant Set each attendee got for more then the $2,500 I paid for the pass.

See What Came Inside the Swag Bag (YouTube)

The party could end up being a small financial come up for me, but I felt the event was light on entertainment. I was disappointed there wasn’t even a real nod to their illustrious past making baseball cards.

Collectors who couldn’t attend might question why cards that were meant for unopened packs & boxes be a part of the giveaways for the evening.

For example, I got this Corey Seager 2016 Topps Mint card that was serial numbered 5/5 to the party. I guess those 5 Seager cards from the party never made it into the packs themselves?

See all the 1/1’s I Pulled From 11 Silver Packs (YouTube)

A few of the employees at Topps were less then thrilled with my live stream coverage of the event on Twitter. One asked me to not record at a certain moment, and another told me to stop altogether about midway through the event. Some dealers have asked me not to film them at the National, so it’s not something I get hot and bothered over.

Topps could think about embracing the live stream coverage more. If I didn’t live stream the event, I would have just half drunk tweeted over 100 times off the dome. That might have proven to be a far worse option for them compared to a live stream of their own employee talking.

Personally, I would have much rather tweeted stuff off my head and not have to hold a camera for 5 minutes at a time. I often get accused of being biased and negative. The great thing about a live stream is that it removes my filter and the viewer can see for themselves what the party is like. I would have found everything under the sun to make fun of during the event because that is my nature. The live stream removed that altogether and people were able to form their own opinion.

The story checks out for Kris Bryant. He has the “aw shucks” humble demeanor, but with male model good looks. He admitted privately to being a little tired. He’d just spent the last week traveling to the White House, getting married, the Topps party, and was off to New York the following day.

The smartest person in the room proved to be Tom Fish of Blowout Cards. He purchased over a dozen passes and walked away with hundreds of Kris Bryant cards to sell or keep. There will be more Topps parties such as this held in the future, but it’s unlikely anyone will get the value Fish was able to secure.

My results:

Paid for Pass: $2,500

Extra nights at Vdara/Aria: $750

Flight: $156

Craps Win/Losses: ????

Shoes: $80

Walking around money: $200 +/-

Tips: $200 +

Food: $200 +/-

Ubers: $206

Strip Club: $800

GROSS Spent: $4,092++

Won Lakers Bet: $190

TOTAL Spent: $3,902

Cards Sold:

On eBay: $1,025

Private Sales: $2,250

TOTAL Sold: $3,275

 

What I have left:

 

 

 

R-Rated Podcast #5: Over Paying – Vintage Baseball Cards – Topps Pre-Party

On the episode – recorded January 16, 2017

I over payed for a website and it reminded me of the countless times I’ve over payed for sports cards.

Purchased another domain, vintagebaseballcards.com and I contemplate what to do with it and vintage cards in general.

Heading to the Topps 65th Anniversary party on January 18th. The more I think about how it’s going to go, the more I think it was a mistake buying a pass.

2016 results for the 30,000 card COMC account are revealed. The eBay and Amazon cross listing feature turned out to be huge.

Website Group Break Checklists is shouted out for anyone looking to buy into breaks or are team collectors.

That Sports Card Podcast had a good interview with the owner of Jaspy’s Hobby Land, a former Topps employee and current group breaker.

Several tips are given about trading cards on the Upper Deck ePack website.

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Top Selling Sports Cards Of 2016

The collectibles industry is on fire. Despite this website’s focus primarily being on new card releases from Topps & Panini, and how often the products can suck – the bulk of the sports collectibles industry is focused on items from the distant past.

2016 saw prices inflate nearly across the board for high-end vintage baseball cards. While the criminal convictions of ‘shill bidding’ at auctions both online & off are real concerns, that shouldn’t diminish the excitement collectors are experiencing buying these collectibles from their past.

High-end vintage baseball cards have skyrocketed along with the general economy (stock market) over the last 8 years. Collectors tend to gravitate towards the “holy grail” collectibles during these booming times, much like investors flock to the best performing stocks, and art collectors flock to the best known works of art.

There’s virtually no card is more iconic than the 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle. Aside from the cards’ visual appeal, there’s still many fans alive today that saw Mickey Mantle play. Having that connection to their childhood is certainly a factor in Mantle’s card prices continuing to accelerate well after his career and death.

During 2016, numerous Mickey Mantle cards sold, but the highlights include a PSA 8.5 version of his 1952 card which sold for over $1.1M in November. The same card sold for a ”mere” $130,000 back in 2010, when economic times were much bleaker.

Private Auctions

We know employees related to PSA & the major auctions houses were involved in shill bidding at auctions that attract the highest quality cards … so we have to take their own data with a grain of salt. However, it’s possible the values are more accurate given the scrutiny the industry must be under by high-end clients. I really have no clue, but PSA recently counted down the highest selling collectibles on their twitter stream this week – and posted a recap on their blog here.

Here is a look at the top selling sports cards according to PSA:

#1 Honus Wagner T206 – Graded PSA 5 (MC)

Sold For: $3.1M – October 2016

#2 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle – Graded PSA 8.5

Sold For: $1.1M – November 2016

#3 Honus Wagner T206 – Graded PSA 2

Sold For: $776K – November 2016

#4 (tie) 1963 Topps Pete Rose – Graded PSA 10

Sold For: $717K – August 2016

#4 (tie) 1916 M101-5 Sporting News Babe Ruth – Graded PSA 7

Sold For: $717K – August 2016

#5 1909 E90-1 American Caramel Joe Jackson – Graded PSA 8

Sold For: $667K – August 2016

Online Auctions

Online auctions have seen the trickle down from the record prices seen at the auction house. Cards of Roberto Clemente, Hank Aaron, Pete Rose and others have skyrocketed over the last few years. While Mickey Mantle, Babe Ruth and Honus Wagner remain the “holy grail” type cards to collect – collectors are paying up for a wider range of baseball players than I can remember. In a ‘rising tides lifts all boats’ scenario – we’ve seen online auctions for virtually all HOF players from the 1960s era trend upward in 2016.

Below is a website I follow during the year. They keep track of the top selling online auctions. Below is a look at the top selling baseball cards in 2016. Notice Mickey Mantle doesn’t appear in the top 5 … partly due to his cards being in the hands of collectors already – and the fact many of his top sales occur at the more ‘private’ auction house setting.

One thing that stands out about the top selling baseball cards is that only 2 cards made after 1980 appear on the top 50 selling baseball cards list. However, comparing that to football, and particularly basketball paints a different picture – as modern cards are some of the most valuable cards in those sports.

Source: PriceGuideApp

Michael Jordan is clearly still the king of NBA cards. For a period of time, Steph Curry cards were in high demand. However, following a dramatic NBA finals loss to the Cavs (where Curry was inconsistent) and after Kevin Durant joined the Golden State Warriors – Stephen Curry card prices have trended downward, along with his statistics. However, many of his cards still remain some of the most valuable basketball cards sold in 2016.

Peyton Manning and Tom Brady rookie cards are from a similar era – and often are some of the top selling football cards each year. While you’ll occasionally see a 1st or 2nd year player in the top selling NBA cards for the year, even with how popular Ezekiel Elliot and Das Prescott have been for the Dallas Cowboys, neither can crack this list of top selling NFL cards. In fact, Tom Brady’s rookies, which were made in 2000, are the most current card on the list below:

Overall 2016 was a huge year for vintage sports cards. The adults who are buying these cards are getting to the age in life where they have some money to spend. What will be interesting to follow in the coming years is if future generations will continue to bid up the values of these cards … or will that generation start favoring a different era of cards? Certainly the Honus Wagner, Mickey Mantle, Babe Ruth, ect cards will stay valuable, but will the values continue to accelerate? Will Mike Trout, Derek Jeter, Buster Posey, ect cards start appreciating to the levels seen by the 1960’s era cards? Only time will tell.

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