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View Full Version : The Junk Wax Era- when did it start?


tulsaboy
12-12-2013, 02:27 PM
Looking for opinions... We all regularly refer to the "Junk Wax Era." When do you think that began? I feel like, at least as Topps goes, there is still a relatively brisk market for unopened product through 1985, and maybe 1986. Anything after that, especially 1988, is almost worthless. So when do you think this era began?

PM770
12-12-2013, 03:21 PM
In my opinion, 1987 was the beginning over the massive overproduction. I know it started to ramp up all throughout the 80s, bu I believe 1987 was the year.

I remember as a teenager watching a story on 20/20 during the summer of 1986 when they talked about how the value of baseball cards had skyrocketed. They talked about rookies and how the big 2 rookies that summer (Joyner and Canseco) did not have cards in Topps and only Canseco had cards at all.

I remember they showed a guy with a specially built vault in his house that contained his T-206 Wagner.

So my best un-professional guess is 1987. Thats when the presses REALLY went crazy.

brewing
12-12-2013, 05:35 PM
I would guess 1987 too. What a year for rookies, too.
Larkin, Greenwell, maddux, Sierra, bonds, palmerio, Matt Williams, bo jackson.

No wonder they kept printing, the demand was unreal. I have tossed 3 3200 count boxes of topps commons. Still have a dozen sets and several unopened boxes.


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gregr2
12-12-2013, 05:59 PM
Was the junk wax era perpetuated by Topps and the other card manufacturers as a way to increase profits?

Rich Klein
12-12-2013, 08:46 PM
Still exists 81-86, I use 1987-94 AKA the peak years of the hobby boom to be the overproduced era. That ended with a crash in August, 1994 when the Baseball Strike began

D. Bergin
12-12-2013, 10:51 PM
It seems like Topps really increased production in 1987. The other companies upped their production to, but really spiked the numbers in 1988 I think.

I lost track of how many monster boxes of '88 Donruss I've tossed in the trash each time I moved or tried to make space in the house.

Junk wax for football, hockey, basketball, probably begins in 1989.

D. Bergin
12-12-2013, 10:54 PM
Was the junk wax era perpetuated by Topps and the other card manufacturers as a way to increase profits?


There was a huge demand at the time, so yes.

As soon as every Tom, Dick and Harry started putting away full cases of new cards to pay for their future retirement or kids education, the junk era started in full swing.

tulsaboy
12-13-2013, 06:50 AM
Rich-can you explain your comment about 1981-1986? I'm not challenging, just curious. I wonder if production of those years was significantly higher than it was during, say, 1975-1980, or if more people were becoming aware during that era of the importance of keeping unopened product (and keeping their cards in good shape). The second explanation would inform the reality that a box of 1982 is easier and much cheaper to source than one of 1978. If all other things are equal, it is hard to say that a span of 4 years totally explains the 500% or so disparity in the price of unopened product.

gregr2
12-13-2013, 07:04 AM
There was a huge demand at the time, so yes.

As soon as every Tom, Dick and Harry started putting away full cases of new cards to pay for their future retirement or kids education, the junk era started in full swing.

Thanks for the information!

Rich Klein
12-13-2013, 09:24 AM
That there were certain times of "wax" explosion

There is definately more wax and cards issued in 1978 then in the pre-78 era and then in 1981, especially with the three companies there was a major uptick in card production. That is why you see a ton more

78 sets then 77 and 1981 sets then 1980, etc.

81 to 86 was definately a time with big production but the real explosion began in 1987.

Hard to explain but 87 became "the year" for the over production and more unopened was saved that year in part because of the then immense Topps (and Donruss and Fleer) RC crew.

Then 88-91 at the very least were printed till te cows came home and even 92-94 was very heavily produced. Remember by 1993 at Beckett we were shipping over 1 Million Baseball magazines a month and selling a good proportion of those magazines. And one of the primary reasons was the interest in new products. The reason there is slightly less 92-94 product out there then the 87-91 era is there were more products in those years and thus a diffusion of those products make for seemingly less out there.

But there are still a ton of singles until about 94 so I'm OK with 87-94 as the overproduction era

Rich

brewing
12-13-2013, 11:22 AM
I heard the old man on pawn stars say something along the lines of, if it's made as a collectible or collectors item, then it has no long term value. Because it encourages people to keep it, thus insuring the supply will be high in the future.

I wish someone would have schooled me on that principle 30 years ago when went all in on new product.


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steve B
12-13-2013, 12:34 PM
That there were certain times of "wax" explosion

There is definately more wax and cards issued in 1978 then in the pre-78 era and then in 1981, especially with the three companies there was a major uptick in card production. That is why you see a ton more

78 sets then 77 and 1981 sets then 1980, etc.

81 to 86 was definately a time with big production but the real explosion began in 1987.

Hard to explain but 87 became "the year" for the over production and more unopened was saved that year in part because of the then immense Topps (and Donruss and Fleer) RC crew.

Then 88-91 at the very least were printed till te cows came home and even 92-94 was very heavily produced. Remember by 1993 at Beckett we were shipping over 1 Million Baseball magazines a month and selling a good proportion of those magazines. And one of the primary reasons was the interest in new products. The reason there is slightly less 92-94 product out there then the 87-91 era is there were more products in those years and thus a diffusion of those products make for seemingly less out there.

But there are still a ton of singles until about 94 so I'm OK with 87-94 as the overproduction era

Rich

All true.

There also was a buildup of a few other things. Before about 1980-1 there wasn't much for card sales through large retailers. It was almost entirely through distributors to local convenience stores. K-mart carried packs and albums in 74 and newer, but not in huge quantity compared to what came later. Large toy chains like KB toy and hobby and Toys R Us, child world etc generally carried nothing or nearly nothing. Maybe a box at the register, but that was about the limit. Even non-sports could be a challenge, out of probably 10-15 corner stores in my town only 3-4 carried the 4th series of star wars, and only one carried the last series.

When things went to three companies in 81 that started to change. Large retail started carrying more, usually all three sets which meant moving it off the counter and onto its own shelf. Small stores didn't always carry all three, but did usually carry more than just one. A friend of mine worked in his family 5+10 and convinced his father to carry whatever cards he could get. Everything sold well, and he gave me a couple boxes at a really cheap price for suggesting they carry more cards.

By 83 big retail carried everything and had fairly large stocks. Child world carried the 83s as uncut sheets as well as wax, cello and rack packs.

Between 77 and 83 another thing that happened was a big increase in the number of card shops. when I moved near Boston in 77 there was one card shop in town, a really unusual thing. By 81 there was another card shop, two antique shops selling cards, and a couple people selling out of their homes. And there were at least 6-7 full time dealers in the Boston area.

That only increased by 4-86 and beyond. Ordering directly from any of the companies in 77 was hard. It required a full shop, as the required pics of the storefront and interior. By the early 90's all they required sometimes was a business license and enough money to make the minimum order. So some flea market guys could buy direct.

And of course, they sold/printed at least as much as people ordered. Good for Topps Fleer and Donruss short term, not so good in the long term. But I imagine it would have been hard for an exec at any company to pass up short term profits the size of what they were while the competition was making that money.

Steve B

tulsaboy
12-13-2013, 01:05 PM
Thanks, guys. That is a helpful analysis. Without anything better than simple observation to back up my opinion, I tend to agree. I feel like in the late 1980's and early 1990's, almost every dealer had lots of 87 and later unopened product available at modest prices. The 1985 and earlier (and sometimes 1986) was somewhat available, but much less so than the later stuff. Looking at the prices being asked (and received) right now for various product (and high-grade singles) for pre-1987 stuff, it seems that there is a pretty clear deliniation.

I have been astonished lately at the prices being realized even for 1979 and 1980 unopened and high-grade singles. I would think that there is a substantial amount of unopened product still available, but the prices make me wonder if that supply is rapidly dwindling.

Thanks for your thoughts!

David W
12-13-2013, 09:36 PM
I agree with 1987 for Topps. Topps was still the company everyone wanted, Fleer and Donruss were afterthoughts.

In 1987 Donruss and Fleer were clearly not as popular and not sold nearly as much in big box stores and warehouse clubs. I'd go to Sam's Club and buy 2-3 boxes of 87 Topps, I don't recall them carrying anything else.

I'd be curious to know especially what Fleer's production numbers were compared to Topps, I bet a lot less.

By 1990 everyone had ramped the presses and Score had jumped in along with Upper Deck and Leaf, and from 1990 to 92 or so there was product everywhere. I had a small card shop for a year in a small town, and you really couldn't hardly give Topps away by 1990, they all wanted Leaf or UD.

That was also the time when 87 Fleer rookies (Bonds, Kevin Mitchel and Will Clark) became the desired rookies from the 87 sets, and were much tougher to find in the pre internet days. 88 Fleer was more sought after also than Topps. Glavine's rookie had a definite premium at the time in Fleer, plus the Billy Ripken FF card pushed 88 Fleer to the top.

Just my random ramblings and recollections.

Zach Wheat
12-13-2013, 10:22 PM
That there were certain times of "wax" explosion

There is definately more wax and cards issued in 1978 then in the pre-78 era and then in 1981, especially with the three companies there was a major uptick in card production. That is why you see a ton more

78 sets then 77 and 1981 sets then 1980, etc.

81 to 86 was definately a time with big production but the real explosion began in 1987.

Hard to explain but 87 became "the year" for the over production and more unopened was saved that year in part because of the then immense Topps (and Donruss and Fleer) RC crew.

Then 88-91 at the very least were printed till te cows came home and even 92-94 was very heavily produced. Remember by 1993 at Beckett we were shipping over 1 Million Baseball magazines a month and selling a good proportion of those magazines. And one of the primary reasons was the interest in new products. The reason there is slightly less 92-94 product out there then the 87-91 era is there were more products in those years and thus a diffusion of those products make for seemingly less out there.

But there are still a ton of singles until about 94 so I'm OK with 87-94 as the overproduction era

Rich

Interesting insight Rich. Not much more to add other than for it was really noticeable with the 1989 issues.

Z Wheat

the 'stache
12-14-2013, 03:15 AM
I concur, 1987 is when everything started ramping up in a big way as far as baseball card production went. I still like the set, though, as they represent a fun time in my youth. I hold on to a lot of them, not because of any monetary value, but because of what they represented. I remember cracking open wax box after wax box, looking for Jose Canseco, Wally Joyner, Danny Tartabul, B.J. Surhoff, Bo Jackson, Mark McGwire, etc. I was a kid, and I didn't grasp that more of them were being produced. I was 16, and working my first part time job. It meant I could buy more cards than ever before. Just my dumb luck I wasn't 16 in 1983. I might have a stack of Ryne Sandberg cards instead of Todd Worrell cards, lol.

http://img196.imageshack.us/img196/9028/oobd.png

Screw you, Topps, and your little "Monopoly piece" All Rookie Team Awards.

You know how many of these darned things I still have? http://www.williamgregory.net/images/laughing.gif

HasselhoffsCheeseburger
12-14-2013, 12:57 PM
I stumbled across some interesting information a while back while researching a particular Donruss product.

Topps sales went from ~500 million cards/year in the late-1970s to ~1 billion by the mid-1980s (that's sales, not production. Obviously production was much higher).

Donruss saw production increases each year in the early-1980s, and 100% increases in BOTH 1986 and 1987 (twice as much in 1986 than 1985, and twice as much in 1987 than in 1986).

In 1987, Topps had a 50% market share, Donruss ~25%, and Fleer a little less than 25%.

While these aren't firm production numbers, I don't think it's unreasonable to use them to extrapolate a ballpark set of parameters. Obviously, you're looking at major production increases for Topps even when comparing late-70s to early-80s, with gargantuan increases starting in 1986. But more importantly, this is important information for the people that seem to think that they'll see future price increases with 1980s that we're seeing with 1970s currently. There's just too much disparity in the amount of product produced to draw any kind of correlations.

But, and this is just my opinion, if you're purchasing cards solely for an investment, you're almost always going to be disappointed. The people I know that have done well did so because they collected what they enjoyed and then chose to get out when a trend caught fire. Since I've started collecting unopened the most excited I've got over an acquisition and the items that bring me the most joy having them in my collection aren't the 1970s items, they've been the hard-to-find stuff from the "junk wax era." Because that's when collecting was the most fun for me as a kid.

37Jetson
12-14-2013, 01:14 PM
The Junk Wax Era in Football started around 1983 with the Topps "X" boxes that were largely bought up by Steve Myland. Low and behold Football got hot a few years later and still goes for good coin today. These "X" boxes sold for around $4 if I recall.

For sure the overall Junk Wax era started in 1987, maybe 1986 if you count Topps.

callou2131
12-15-2013, 01:38 PM
I would argue that we are back in it again. Every rookie has thousands of signature cards, they may even be designated as such for 3 years. Look at it this way. In 2000, spx had the big card Rick Ankiel autographed /1500 That was pretty much it. Now take it to 2013. You would have his Base auto of God knows how many. His refractor, his blue refractor, his quadrublesuperamazingfractor etc. That would be in topps chrome. Next week out comes Bowman chrome with all the same stuff. The week after that another topps product comes out with again all the same stuff. It used to be a big deal to pull an auto. ANY auto. You could get $10 for the cheapest and they only went up from there. Now you can pull an auto and not even break even on the PACK nevermind box. Oversaturation will again kill what little market is left for the newer stuff. After all the junk and watching fleer and donruss dissapear the other companies didnt learn a thing.

steve B
12-15-2013, 04:26 PM
I stumbled across some interesting information a while back while researching a particular Donruss product.

Topps sales went from ~500 million cards/year in the late-1970s to ~1 billion by the mid-1980s (that's sales, not production. Obviously production was much higher).

Donruss saw production increases each year in the early-1980s, and 100% increases in BOTH 1986 and 1987 (twice as much in 1986 than 1985, and twice as much in 1987 than in 1986).

In 1987, Topps had a 50% market share, Donruss ~25%, and Fleer a little less than 25%.

While these aren't firm production numbers, I don't think it's unreasonable to use them to extrapolate a ballpark set of parameters. Obviously, you're looking at major production increases for Topps even when comparing late-70s to early-80s, with gargantuan increases starting in 1986. But more importantly, this is important information for the people that seem to think that they'll see future price increases with 1980s that we're seeing with 1970s currently. There's just too much disparity in the amount of product produced to draw any kind of correlations.

But, and this is just my opinion, if you're purchasing cards solely for an investment, you're almost always going to be disappointed. The people I know that have done well did so because they collected what they enjoyed and then chose to get out when a trend caught fire. Since I've started collecting unopened the most excited I've got over an acquisition and the items that bring me the most joy having them in my collection aren't the 1970s items, they've been the hard-to-find stuff from the "junk wax era." Because that's when collecting was the most fun for me as a kid.

Wow, and that's before getting to the 88-93 stuff.

When one of the local shops closed in around 95 or 96 he had everything on sale for a month or so. Including at least a pallet of 90 Donruss at $5 a box. But he said if I wanted a few anything over $2 a box was fine. He had two or three more pallets in the basement and a standing offer from a liquidator for $2 a box for anything he had left. So figure 3 4ft x4 ft by 4 ft high blocks of 90 Donruss boxes.

Steve B

Beatles Guy
12-16-2013, 01:35 PM
I would argue that we are back in it again. Every rookie has thousands of signature cards, they may even be designated as such for 3 years. Look at it this way. In 2000, spx had the big card Rick Ankiel autographed /1500 That was pretty much it. Now take it to 2013. You would have his Base auto of God knows how many. His refractor, his blue refractor, his quadrublesuperamazingfractor etc. That would be in topps chrome. Next week out comes Bowman chrome with all the same stuff. The week after that another topps product comes out with again all the same stuff. It used to be a big deal to pull an auto. ANY auto. You could get $10 for the cheapest and they only went up from there. Now you can pull an auto and not even break even on the PACK nevermind box. Oversaturation will again kill what little market is left for the newer stuff. After all the junk and watching fleer and donruss dissapear the other companies didnt learn a thing.

I agree with this observation. Autographed cards have "jumped the shark" so to speak, just like GU stuff has. It's to the point where many autos have become worthless. Topps definitely needs some competition.

insidethewrapper
12-27-2013, 07:01 PM
Overproduction really started for Topps I think , and agree in 1987. Fleer in 1988 and Donruss in 1988.

Great boxes are still 1989 UD, 1990 Leaf, 1992 Bowman, 1984 Donruss. Low prints were 1994 Fleer Flair Series 2 ( Arod - R) and 1992 Fleer Update Factory Set. Most of the above are harder to get in case lots.

rgpete
12-28-2013, 12:49 PM
1986 when the card market crashed from the overproduction

toppcat
12-28-2013, 05:38 PM
I was active in the current market back then and it went into overdrive for Topps in 1986 but realistically, high levels of production really commenced about 1973-74.

tulsaboy
12-28-2013, 06:17 PM
Dave, during your research into Topps, have you ever found any reliable production numbers for any period? I would be interested in exactly how out of control production got. You said it kicked off in 1973-74. Do you think the shift to one series during those two years has anything to do with that? Freed of the problem of series-based distribution, do you think it was easier for Topps to produce more cards and to distribute them in a wider variety of methods than before? Lots easier to be creative with distribution when you aren't worried about how well a late series will sell when in competition with football or basketball... Just curious about your thoughts.

rgpete
12-29-2013, 08:14 AM
The other contributing factor is back before the 80's baseball cards were for kids, most thrown out by their mothers, I could be wrong but people didn't worry about saving them along with unopened boxes thinking they're not going to be worth money if they did it was a hobby not a business to make a living. Now things changed because of the media tv, price guides, a dime a dozen in the mid 80's, attracted not only kids but adults thinking that some day they could have a fortune if they save it and as the years go on the cards would increase in price, not thinking that the card companies saturated the market satisfying the demand of buyers the sky was the limit. The card companies also got greedy offering different limited edition sets, special cards, etc and raising the price and marketing towards the adults and not the kids with pack prices as high as 5.00 dollars. I guess print it and they will buy.

CardTarget
12-30-2013, 11:51 AM
You can still buy packs of 1984 Topps for like $.50. I'd say 84-94.

tulsaboy
12-30-2013, 12:10 PM
Where are you buying them for that price??? Right now it is hard to get a box for anything less than 60 a box. Not that it makes that much of a difference. The fact that you can still get 30 year old wax for that price is amazing. Would be like getting 52 Topps for 1.50 a pack in 1982. Obviously that wasn't the case, but it should be an indicator of the level of production involved...

Hot Springs Bathers
12-30-2013, 01:20 PM
I agree with Rich's note on 1981-86 being added to the over-production years. The "guessed at" number for pre-81 would mean that the mushroom happened in 1981.

While Rich won't like this, the explosion and over-production began with Rickey Henderson and the monthly Beckett introduction. At that point the manufacurers knew they had a good thing going and we will never know how many of these cards were printed.

In 1991 I had a part owner of one of the big three come into our wholesale warehouse to ask me if I wanted cases of past years cards going back to 1981. If I bought "x" number of cases he promised me several cases from an other sport that happened to have a rather hot rookie card from 1986/87. His inference was that they had stockpiled tons of them.

My partner has always maintained that anything that could be printed over and over again perhaps even today could not be worth anything. With what we know about some of the folks running the card companies during this era I think it is possible that anything and everything went on during the boom years.

Rich Klein
12-30-2013, 02:00 PM
Beckett did not go monthly till the end of 1984. However, there is no doubt CPU had a major impact on pricing in the 1979-84 period as a monthly rag (and I do mean rag because of the paper quality)

Rich

rgpete
12-30-2013, 05:04 PM
The 5.00 dollar a pack is an example for the recent to new packs that have game used and or autograph cards that are geared towards collectors not kids

Hot Springs Bathers
12-30-2013, 06:37 PM
Rich we all enjoyed the guide during the crazy 80s!

Rich Klein
12-30-2013, 07:43 PM
when the strike concluded, the card companies have started focusing on older collectors and probably on one level correctly so. If you have dwindling income, it's easier to get the low hanging fruit then to plant seeds and hope for the future.

Whether the card companies made the right decisions is another subject but I will point out that Topps, who was the most conscious of having some truly affordable products, is the one with the MLB exclusive till 2020. Only two companies are left extant from 1995 and UD survived a near death experience in 2010. Fleer and Pinnacle both left (2005 and 1998 respectively)

(UD and Panini have contracts with the MLBPA and Panini with the HOF as well)

Rich

esquiresports
01-07-2014, 08:01 PM
It's been a lot of fun reading this because I lived through it. 1986 or 1987 is when the "junk wax" era began in my opinion. I would guess that Topps' production roughly doubled every year from 1977 to 1985 and then accelerated even more quickly to the peak in what I believe is around 1991/1992.

I recall seeing a ton of 1986 Topps wax and racks well into 1987, but that may have been driven, in part, but a weak rookie class.

1987 was the first year that Topps sold factory sets on a truly national level. They did produce some factory sets in 1974 and 1984-1986, but 1987 was a huge factory set production year. From 1987-1993, factory set production was huge. I still have mine.

I believe 1988 Donruss holds, by a good margin, the record for highest production. I mean it was everywhere you looked. 1989 Donruss was saved in part by a strong rookie class. 1990 Donruss production remained in the stratosphere.

1989 Upper Deck started out as the "scarce" product, but I wonder how long they printed 1989 Upper Deck product. Its production appears to be up there with just about any other product than 1988 Donruss. 1990-1992 production was extremely high.

Card companies really began to bank on the card craze in the late 1980s. You had new entrants like Sportflics, Wild Card, Star Pics and others who cashed in with less than stellar product.

The big companies battled back by releasing new sets. You saw special sets - opening day, baseball's best, etc. Then Topps reintroduced Bowman in 1989. Donruss came out with an upper end Leaf product in 1990. Topps added OPC Premiere, which was THE set to have along with Leaf. Then Studio Club, Gallery, and on and on. It was pretty horrible.

JWBlue
09-25-2014, 12:54 AM
It would have to be either 85, 86, or 87.

Topps: I recall in 1986 noticing packs in more places than 1985. Then in 1987 I noticed the cards even were more prominent. Even as a teenager I sensed these cards might not be worth much.

Fleer: 1986 I noticed higher production.

Donruss : 1987 they really stepped up production. Those blister backs were everywhere.

bcbgcbrcb
09-25-2014, 06:51 AM
Topps, I would say '86 - '87
Fleer, I would say '88 - '89
Donruss, I would say '87 - '88

bbcard1
09-25-2014, 08:51 AM
I might argue 1981. The supply of wax was wonky mainly because of the strike, but after 1981 there was never any problem finding wax. The obscene production started really in 1987, IMO.

Econteachert205
09-25-2014, 10:18 AM
A lot of good opinions and information here, I'll add my own. I think that the year is 1981, with the exception of 1984 Donruss which has always been explained to me was in short supply. The fact that stuff from 81-86 kept some relative value while 87-94 basically became worthless doesn't really paint the whole picture. My 1981 price guides list complete 81 topps, donruss and fleer sets higher than prices now. That's 33 years with an inability for saturation to lead to higher prices. The answer to why could be low demand, but it can't be the only answer. Plus you go from 1 company to 3. I like the stuff from 1981-87, and I had to get by my own bias to see that the only difference between it and the stuff from 88-94 is that people weren't quite totally soured on it and have positive memories surrounding it. I loved pulling Clemens and Gooden and Boggs and Puckett and Ripken and Gwynn rookies. The fact that I enjoyed it means they've at least been able to tread water, in my opinion.

Footballdude
09-25-2014, 11:41 AM
I think a big reason why the 1981 set has not gone up, aside from a generous supply, is that back then the set was largely rookie driven. John Tudor, Joe Charboneau (however you spell it), Jeff Reardon, Tim Raines, Lamar Hoyt, Fernando Valenzuela, Mookie Wilson, Kirk Gibson, Harold Baines and Tony Pena were all rookies I remember everyone asking for back in the day. How many of those panned out?

bcbgcbrcb
09-25-2014, 04:01 PM
Having no HOF rookies in the '81 sets plays a big part in keeping the set/wax price down IMHO. As far as star players from that year though, I think they hold their own with just about any other year from the 1980's, except maybe 1987 (which is worthless anyway). Raines and, to a lesser extent, Reardon are borderline HOF'ers. If Baines played a few more seasons in the outfield instead of DH, I think he would be up there with Raines. Valenzuela was one of the top 5 pitchers in the NL for the decade of the '80's. Kirk Gibson had many good years and was a fan favorite in Detroit. Other stars throughout the '80's were Hubie Brooks, Leon Durham, Lloyd Moseby, Bruce Hurst, John Tudor, Tony Pena, Mike Boddicker, Rich Dotson, LaMarr Hoyt, Rafael Ramirez, Damaso Garcia, Bill Gullickson, Charlie Lea & Keith Moreland. All were stars through at least the mid-80's, some longer.

Troy Kirk
09-25-2014, 11:16 PM
During late 1984 the supply of Donruss dropped dramatically, and then in 1985 Donruss and Fleer were kind of hard to find at normal retail prices. There was a lot of talk in the card magazines about card shortages those years. Then in about 1988 the card companies used the pent up demand to open the floodgates.

1963Topps Set
12-16-2014, 07:03 PM
Interesting thread and postings. I can go to my local supermarket today and they will have unopened packs of baseball cards from the late 1980s / early 1990s in their vending machines. However, I noticed they don't have any from the late 1960s / early 1970s! I stopped collecting after a decade of collecting in 1981. When I started up again in 1989, boy did I awake to a nightmare. A kids hobby was now an adult "industry". Thank goodness for the 1994 strike. It took greed to kill greed and I was able to resume collecting the old cards in earnest once again.

This forum is so great on all levels and I have already learned and seen so much!

valediction
12-17-2014, 09:03 AM
I'd go with 1987. The way I look at it, anything before that time production may have been going up, but demand still outstrips supply for the vast majority of that material. After that, we see unopened material available in box or case form for less than what it retailed for at the time, in some cases, less than wholesale of that time. The 1987 Fleer is still a bit above new release pricing from back then, but Topps and Donruss are at or below it, and in 1988...yeah, you are looking at products where shipping is more than the product itself for much of it. (certain exclusions apply as always, 89 UD, 90 Leaf, 92 Bowman, 93 Finest, etc) if we can buy $70 Vending cases, sub $150 wax cases, $6/ box today for products that were $14.40+ tax at the drug store 25+ years ago. I mentioned in another thread I have a box of 1988 Fleer I still have with an index card clipped to it showing I bought it in November of 1989 for $28 (which was below going rate at the time), and now I can buy a sealed case for $8.50 per box (plus shipping) from places like BBCexchange.

gopherfan
12-21-2014, 03:09 AM
Better question is when will it end?

1963Topps Set
12-21-2014, 10:18 AM
Better question is when will it end?

Well put!

ALR-bishop
12-21-2014, 05:56 PM
The wax era actually ended many moons ago. What was the last real wax pack you opened ?

gopherfan
12-22-2014, 11:21 AM
1991 Topps Traded

1963Topps Set
12-22-2014, 01:49 PM
I last opened packs in 2014 when I bought the Topps Heritage cards due to the fact they had the 1963 Topps design. This only made me realize why I love the old cards the best, Topps can never recapture the magic they once had. Junk indeed.

valediction
12-22-2014, 02:42 PM
I think most people look way too hard to find fault with things they didn't grow up with, and ignore the faults in those they DID grow up with. Part of human nature, things that we are familiar with seem 'better' than other things. It happens all the time the music today sucks, the movies aren't as good, TV shows are terrible, sports cards are junk, etc.

1963Topps Set
12-22-2014, 03:44 PM
I think most people look way too hard to find fault with things they didn't grow up with, and ignore the faults in those they DID grow up with. Part of human nature, things that we are familiar with seem 'better' than other things. It happens all the time the music today sucks, the movies aren't as good, TV shows are terrible, sports cards are junk, etc.

I completely agree with that statement! However, if you check carefully, you will see that the quality in most things have gone down considerably. To coin a well worn phrase, they don't make 'me like they used to!

valediction
12-22-2014, 04:54 PM
I completely agree with that statement! However, if you check carefully, you will see that the quality in most things have gone down considerably. To coin a well worn phrase, they don't make 'me like they used to!

Depends on what you're looking at.

In sports cards, it's been a fair while since I opened boxes with 70+% off center rates, miscuts so bad you can see two distinct cards, 90% or so rates of print spots/dots, cards stained with wax, gum eating through the cards like I saw regularly in the 80's. I get less wrong/blank backs or fronts, the card stock is better, print quality is better, less rough cut edges...

1963Topps Set
12-22-2014, 05:15 PM
Actually, wrong backs, miscuts (where you see two cards), variations, bleed through errors, overprints, and many others are rather collectable today. They add to the spontinatiety and personality of the older cards. The new cards are to pristine, glossy, always right, who needs that? I don't.

valediction
12-22-2014, 05:56 PM
Actually, wrong backs, miscuts (where you see two cards), variations, bleed through errors, overprints, and many others are rather collectable today. They add to the spontinatiety and personality of the older cards. The new cards are to pristine, glossy, always right, who needs that? I don't.

But that's just making my point. Who knows how people will feel 20-30-50 years from now about the cards of TODAY. You have nostalgia for the cards you grew up with. You rationalize and excuse the flaws that if they happened today would be chalked up as 'nobody at Topps cares, quality control sucks'. Because they happened when you collected and the eras before, they are unique, add personality, etc. Take cards being issued in 4-7 series over the summer. That wouldn't work as well today because everyone would order each series and save them, unless Topps released markedly less product as the season progressed, there wouldn't be scarce series. When Topps makes SP's as something to chase so it's more challenging than just 'buy a box of series 1 and series 2 and be done', they get lambasted, but when you are chasing cards that didn't get released in your town 50 years ago, it's perfectly fine to spend years chasing those last 25 SP's and brag about the finish. Maybe those Super SP's from 2013 Topps will be looked on fondly and adults coming back in the hobby in 20 years will be telling stories about bugging their mom at the checkout line at Target and they pulled that Bryce Harper Sunglasses variation from the one pack their mom bought them back in the day, complaining about how new cards are junk.

1963Topps Set
12-22-2014, 07:48 PM
In the future, doesn't matter how far along, a 1954 Topps set will always be in far more demand then the 2014 Topps set. As I stated in a previous post, I can go to my local supermarket and get unopened packs from the late 1980s / early 1990s (These are already over 20 - 25 years old!) but there are no unopened packs from the late 1960s / early 1970s. Junk will always be junk no matter how old it is.

1952boyntoncollector
12-22-2014, 07:50 PM
In the future, doesn't matter how far along, a 1954 Topps set will always be in far more demand then the 2014 Topps set. As I stated in a previous post, I can go to my local supermarket and get unopened packs from the late 1980s / early 1990s (These are already over 20 - 25 years old!) but there are no unopened packs from the late 1960s / early 1970s. Junk will always be junk no matter how old it is.


could argue that the 1954 topps isn't big in demand either..

1963Topps Set
12-22-2014, 08:21 PM
You mean you would rather have a 2014 set then a 1954 set? As far as 1954 Topps not being in demand, then give me an Aaron rookie for the same price as the most expensive card in the 2014 set.

1952boyntoncollector
12-22-2014, 08:32 PM
You mean you would rather have a 2014 set then a 1954 set? As far as 1954 Topps not being in demand, then give me an Aaron rookie for the same price as the most expensive card in the 2014 set.

I am not comparing.....

and yeah you take the very best card from a set that has value..that doesn't mean the whole set is great...actually the commons are usually what make you lose money on the sets...heck the PSA 10s 1974 topps can be worth 500-1000 dollars but the PSA 8s are a few bucks....so just because the PSA 10s are worth so much that doesn't speak for the normal set......so super conditioned or HOF or special player cards are just great cards..not great sets...

take away the 5 best cards in the 1954 set..what percentage of value are they taking of all the cards are in same condition? 50%?

if it isn't worth sending in the commons in Average condition to get graded than that speaks for itself

if 1954s are so great...would you send in a psa 3 common to get graded? I would send in a T206 common..but not a 1954...

by the way I really like the 1954s..

go and buy on ebay 1954 commons on ebay and try to sell them for profit..now buy a 1954 Aaron...I got a feeling the Aaron has better chance in going up in value than the commons......so your example means nothing...

t

1963Topps Set
12-22-2014, 09:49 PM
I was comparing the highest value card of the 1954 Topps set to the highest value card of the 2014 set. I am willing to bet you 60 years down the road the highest value card from the 2014 set will not be worth anywhere near what the highest value 54 is worth now. I don't collect PSA graded cards, that is a racket I don't buy I into. I don't need a company, whose main concern is to make money to give me their opinion on a grade that I can clearly see for myself based on my 40 plus years as a collector. Also what you said can be said about any vintage set. Just a few of the high end cards and many commons and that is your set.

1963Topps Set
12-22-2014, 09:51 PM
As aside note, I would rather have 100 commons from the 1954 Topps set, then 1000 commons from the 2014 Topps set.

1952boyntoncollector
12-22-2014, 10:50 PM
I agree id rather have 1954 commons than whatever they are making now..

I haven't seen any cards that were made in the last 10 years....but I thougth there are autograph limited edition cards that are like inserts or something that will all be worth more than commons in 1954......like the regular cards of 2014 are what the chewing gum was in 1950s...

1963Topps Set
12-23-2014, 06:19 AM
All I am saying is that baseball cards pre 1975 will never be considered "junk". The same can not be said for cards after the 1970s.

1952boyntoncollector
12-23-2014, 07:30 AM
Well 15 years from now, the 45 year old buyers may want to buy 1980s cards in psa 10 condition versus any 1970s card in psa 10 condition...

the third party grading really is a game changer in terms of collectability of cards that otherwise would not of been collectible

1963Topps Set
12-23-2014, 04:52 PM
1980s cards in high grade will be very easy to come by as values skyrocketed and everyone went directly to saving their cards. No playground flipping, no bike spokes, no throwing out, right into top loaders or plastic sheets and binders.

As for PSA, they changed the game all right. Now you can spend thousands on a 10 which would otherwise be a 2 dollar low number common.

1952boyntoncollector
12-23-2014, 07:44 PM
1980s cards in high grade will be very easy to come by as values skyrocketed and everyone went directly to saving their cards. No playground flipping, no bike spokes, no throwing out, right into top loaders or plastic sheets and binders.

As for PSA, they changed the game all right. Now you can spend thousands on a 10 which would otherwise be a 2 dollar low number common.


right high grade a new definition for 1980s...psa 10 is the only high grade...and it not easy to come by....plastic sheets destroyed chances for psa 10s for the most part....the fact you can spend thousands on getting 10s proves my point......

1963Topps Set
12-23-2014, 08:18 PM
right high grade a new definition for 1980s...psa 10 is the only high grade...and it not easy to come by....plastic sheets destroyed chances for psa 10s for the most part....the fact you can spend thousands on getting 10s proves my point......

I never stored my cards in plastic sheets, I was always afraid that a sheet would fold and crease at least three cards!

I was referring to the vintage cards for the thousands collectors are paying for 10s which would be otherwise be a few dollars at the most. I am not aware of anyone paying thousands for junk cards.

1963Topps Set
12-23-2014, 08:22 PM
I think most people look way too hard to find fault with things they didn't grow up with, and ignore the faults in those they DID grow up with. Part of human nature, things that we are familiar with seem 'better' than other things. It happens all the time the music today sucks, the movies aren't as good, TV shows are terrible, sports cards are junk, etc.

I wanted to comment on the above. I started collecting as an 8 year old in 1971. I got my love of the cards from the late 1940s, 1950s and 1960s retroactively. So I didn't quite "grow up with them", I just fell in love with their incredible beauty and simplicity. It is part of an era that is lost forever. Thankfully, we have the surviving collectables to enjoy from that time.

glynparson
12-29-2014, 02:57 PM
I will take Any 1954 Topps card over any BASe 2014 card. Especially in another 20 years.

Jayworld
12-31-2014, 09:40 AM
1980s cards in high grade will be very easy to come by as values skyrocketed and everyone went directly to saving their cards. No playground flipping, no bike spokes, no throwing out, right into top loaders or plastic sheets and binders.

As for PSA, they changed the game all right. Now you can spend thousands on a 10 which would otherwise be a 2 dollar low number common.

+1 on this.

Collectors (and non-collectors) became very much aware of baseball cards and their values in the late 1970s-early 1980s and people began to horde cards; i.e. the "rookie card craze" (early issues of Baseball Card magazine from 1982 on had articles dedicated to "best rookie picks" for later sets), and by the time the "junk wax era" began, millions and millions of baseball cards were being produced by Topps, Fleer, and Donruss, and later Upper Deck, Score, etc. When I was collecting new product as a kid in the mid-1970s, I could only find wax packs at the neighborhood 7-11, and by the early 1980s, when Donruss and Fleer entered the market, this expanded to the neighborhood drug stores as well. By the late 1980s, I saw wax packs almost everywhere; 7-11s, convenience stores, gas stations, drug stores, local big "box" stores such as Walmart and Target, etc...

So, back to the OP query, I think the junk wax era began in the late 1980s, possibly 1987 or thereabouts. One can still get unopened wax boxes from the 1987, 1988 and up period for relatively cheap prices today, compared to late 1970s-early 1980s wax box prices.

Many collectors do like the third party grading, and I guess for some, that would make collecting late 1980s cards in top graded condition a collectible challenge (whereas otherwise not for raw cards of that era). I have never used TPG; guess I'm old school and prefer to put my cards in plastic sheets and look through them from time-to-time.

1952boyntoncollector
12-31-2014, 10:45 AM
Many collectors do like the third party grading, and I guess for some, that would make collecting late 1980s cards in top graded condition a collectible challenge (whereas otherwise not for raw cards of that era). I have never used TPG; guess I'm old school and prefer to put my cards in plastic sheets and look through them from time-to-time.[/QUOTE]


raw cards are fine for the 1980s ....its just if you plan on selling them expect to be frustrated as more and more buyers that spend the bigger money expect to buy graded cards...its just a fact...the plus side of buying raw cards is that they are very cheap..the negative is they sell for cheap.

Jayworld
01-01-2015, 10:14 AM
Many collectors do like the third party grading, and I guess for some, that would make collecting late 1980s cards in top graded condition a collectible challenge (whereas otherwise not for raw cards of that era). I have never used TPG; guess I'm old school and prefer to put my cards in plastic sheets and look through them from time-to-time.


raw cards are fine for the 1980s ....its just if you plan on selling them expect to be frustrated as more and more buyers that spend the bigger money expect to buy graded cards...its just a fact...the plus side of buying raw cards is that they are very cheap..the negative is they sell for cheap.[/QUOTE]

Exactly. I quit collecting "modern" cards about 1984, started back in 1990, and currently have nothing in my collection past 1982 Donuss set. If I get anything more modern, it would be the 1983 Fleer set (which would be the stopping point for my collection), as I thought it a good looking set back in the day. I sold my 1985-1990 sets back in the early 1990s before the "bubble" burst. Happy collecting!