#TBT Throwback Thursday: Sportscards 30 years ago - 1985 Topps Rack Pack

Posted on May 11, 2018 by Collect TheHobby | 0 Comments

For the last blog of the year we are going to keep it short and sweet and do another throwback Thursday post!   It's the 30th anniversary of 1985 Topps, so it's perfect to rip a sealed rack pack we had saved for an occasion or the itch to open something older!

This one was in huge demand at times since 1985 as it features most notably the rookie cards of Roger Clemens, Kirby Puckett, Mark McGwire, Orel Hershiser, and Dwight Gooden and many popular singles of some legendary Hall of Famers.  Late cards of Pete Rose have continued to get more popular as years pass as well.  During the big homerun years packs of 1985 got to be extremely expensive, but they have become very affordable in recent years after it came to light how some of these guys excelled.  Nonetheless, high grade cards in this set still sell very well 30 years later and are worth hanging on to with the level of popularity this set had, nostalgia buyers will exist forever. 

1985 Topps Rack Pack

The rack packs came wrapped in clear plastic with 48 total cards

1985 Topps Rack Pack reverse

If you were around in 1985...remember always checking the front AND back for your favorites!

The best hits in this pack...

1985 Topps #625 Mark Langston Rookie Card
#625 Mark Langston Rookie Card - NM
1985 Topps #549 Mike Scioscia
#549 Mike Scioscia NM-MT
1985 Topps Baseball Card Commons

Oil Can and Hall of Famer Bruce Sutter (300 saves and 1979 NL Cy Young) - Mint

What could have been?!

The story today is what could have been with this set?  It's certainly still one of the most memorable sets made in the 1980s, but for now it is tainted for many fans as the big rookie cards are Mark McGwire and Roger Clemens who are both linked to PED use and prices have come down significantly.  Like any scandal time may make their cards remain popular to some for years to come though.  Kirby Puckett is still beloved and he will always be popular.   In the end, we think at today's prices, this set has returned to being a fun rip for the money and it should stay that way for a long time to come.  The cards vary in condition but you can certainly find mint cards still.

Thanks for another great year!

We hope you enjoyed this quick break of 1985 Topps!   We had some good times in 2015, let's hope 2016 is even better!  Let us know if are breaking any packs or boxes of other sets anytime!  If you have some cool memories of 1985 Topps, please comment below!

If you ever need help with your sportscards collection, feel free to contact us.  We would also welcome some comments below if you have any other questions or thoughts on this post.  For more general information on sportscards, like us on facebook, follow us on twitter, instagram, or pinterest!

Posted in Buying and Selling, Our Travels

2015 Collectibles Holiday Shopping Guide

Posted on November 25, 2015 by Collect TheHobby | 0 Comments

It's that time again to give you an update on what's going on in collectibles for the holidays this year. If you haven't finished shopping for the 2015 season yet, then we hope this post helps you out! 

What's 2015 looking like at Collect The Hobby?

As always we have stocked up on great items to pick up for yourself or a loved one!  In addition to the listings on this website, a lot of our inventory has now been moved to, where you can visit their site and buy cards from us.  For the Holidays in 2015 our entire inventory is on sale through Cyber Monday, November 30th, 2015!   You can take a look at our current COMC listings and use the filter on the left side to search for your favorite players or teams!  The icing on this cake is free shipping until the end of sale is included no matter how many singles you purchase!

We also have lots of new cards listed on eBay in our eBay storefront!  We are shipping same day as much as possible during the holidays this year!   All items will be shipped within 48 hours!  Please consider planning ahead for any holiday gifts in terms of time!  Let us know if we can help you find anything in particular by contacting us!

Lastly we are having a sale on supplies to protect your favorite collectible trading cards!  We carry some of the industry's finest products from toploaders to albums and pages to magnetic one touch holders!  We have a great selection on our website now!

What are some of the hottest products in the collectibles market now?

We know some guys like Kris Bryant and Carlos Correa have been red hot for awhile.  Anything Bryce Harper or Josh Donaldson is way up in 2015.  Marcus Mariota has lead the NFL class this year for sales by a wide margin.  Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel are the favorites in NHL cards.  Karl-Anthony Towns and early surprise Kristaps Porzingis have been huge so far.  Garbage Pail Kids continue to be a popular area of collecting.  Vintage sportscards, especially pre-1960 in higher grades has continued to shock with records prices nearly every week.  How about new things to watch and possibly things you haven't considered yet this year?

For trading cards there are plenty of new sportscards sets coming out in December including Bowman Draft baseball, Topps Chrome football, Panini Prizm basketball and Upper Deck Black Diamond hockey to name some of our favorites.  In non-sport the hottest sets are all centered around the new Star Wars movie release Episode VII: The Force Awakens!  Topps hobby boxes will have the best items to find in packs!   There will also be a Topps High Tek star wars set this year!

In video games for younger players its looking like Skylanders has another run in them with the new Superchargers starter packs and related figures being released.  Elementary and up to middle school students, both boys and girls love this series still.  The best of the collectibles are the first series figures that are more challenging to find that were part of the "Spyros Adventure" set. 

For older gamers, Call of Duty: Black Ops III on all systems will be very hot this year!  New graphics engines, new exo-suits and it's Call of Duty?  Best selling game of the year candidate?!  Destiny: The Taken King is soon to add new Sparrow racing among other challenges and continues to be very popular.  Fallout 4 has landed with rave reviews.  Will any of these games in unopened condition be very valuable in 25 years?  Will be fun to watch.

What do you think?

Feel free to comment with your thoughts on what collectibles you will be looking for this year!   Happy Holidays to everyone in 2015 and beyond!

Posted in Buying and Selling, Our Travels, What's new?

2015 GBSCC Convention - Sportscards and Memorabilia

Posted on October 21, 2015 by Collect TheHobby | 0 Comments

It's already been a year since the last GBSCC show at the Shriners.  Hopefully if you set up at shows, our tips from last year helped you out!  It's still New England's largest show for sportscards and memorabilia. It's been promoted by the GBSCC and held in Greater Boston, MA since 1985. For 2015, the 30th annual show will be on November 6th, November 7th, and November 8th at the Shriner's Auditorium in Wilmington, MA. We will be buying and selling again, so feel free to contact us in advance if you have questions we can help you answer!  Our Buy List is up to date if you are selling anything soon!

Show Flyer

2015 GBSCC Convention Shriners Auditorium

Hope to see you there!
To our local customers that can make this event, we look forward to seeing you!  The autograph guest list is awesome again as Sure Shot Promotions did another nice job lining up some great names!

If you ever need help with or are selling your sportscards or non-sportscards collection, feel free to contact us.  We would also welcome some comments below if you have any other questions or thoughts on this post.  For more general information on sportscards and collectibles, like us on facebook, follow us on twitter, instagram, or pinterest!

Posted in Buying and Selling, Our Travels

Advanced sportscard valuation: Pricing one of one cards

Posted on September 24, 2015 by Collect TheHobby | 0 Comments

We always get questions from collectors and dealers looking for help on sportscards valuation and pricing.  One of the most difficult aspects of this is pricing one of one cards (1/1).  You may have seen these cards on eBay or Amazon

Valuation on commonly found cards can be confusing, but because there are many examples to look at, you can trend their historical prices to figure out a fair value.  When you have a card that is the only one, the value is often an opinion of what anyone will pay at a given moment in time.  In this post we will cover how to identify these cards and some frameworks to help value them.

What are one of one cards?

There are several types of one of one cards in today's market.  The first kind are cards that are produced to be the only one.  In most cases, the truest one of one cards are serial numbered with a "1/1" or it will say the words "One of One".  In some sets these cards are not numbered but it will be known in collecting circles that only one was made. 

The second group of one of one cards are based on condition.  You may see cards that are the only one in existence for their grade.  A BGS 9.5, an SGC 98, or a PSA 10 may be the only one that is in gem mint condition out of all the copies of that card that were made.  It can be any year or any grade, if the population is one, then there is often a premium in the price.  If the population increases by one, then the status is lost after that.

The last group of one of one cards is a very debatable area.  These are cards where the serial number may be attached to the player.  The best example are "jersey number" cards where the serial number is something like xx/50 and the player wear xx on his uniform when he plays.  Another example are cards that are the only one on a venue.  Cards in this group are losing their appeal as one of one cards as time passes and the premium is declining. 

The true one of one's in the first group are the one's that collectors are most likely to recognize year's from now.  The other groups are softer examples of one of one's and their values can change easily.

How to value them?

The comparison or trending method of pricing is so difficult on one of one cards that this is also why there is almost never a book value in any of the price guides.  They cannot possibly track all of the sale prices on one of one cards.  These cards can swing in price very fast because ultimately the price is simply an agreement between a seller and a buyer.  Even still, there are several ways based on the types of one of one's to get a fair ballpark for both parties if they want to take the time.

  • By player

One of the most relevant ways is to compare by player.  What are other one of one cards of that player selling for?  One of one's are in many sets today and comparing by player has become easier and easier as more cards like this have been made over the years.   Be careful to compare apples to apples, such as high end sets to high end sets to be as fair as possible.   Licensed cards will outsell unlicensed cards that seem to have similar attributes.

  • By set

Sometimes there isn't as much data for a player.   Maybe they are a new rookie and they do not have many cards yet?  Maybe they were excluded from some years and now have newer cards because they improved their performance over time?  Valuing by set can be trickier if two people do not agree, but you can use this method to see what comparable current players have sold for that are from the same set.   You can compare players who may price similar by using a regular base set and comparing the prices of two players with similar skill sets.

  • By grade

When trying to price cards by condition, you would compare other cards in a similar set in the same grade.  You will need to still use as similar a player type as possible.   For example, a common player is less likely to sell for similar prices as a superstar in most sets within the same grade. 

These are the top ways to categorize and value one of one cards.  It's certainly not an exact science and there is some level of subjectivity when dealing with these types of cards.  At times the values can be somewhat random if there is impulse buying or a very hot player being sold.  Make sure to consider those factors when determining a value as well.

If you ever need help with your sportscards or non-sportscards collection, feel free to contact us.  We would also welcome some comments below if you have any other questions or thoughts on this post.  For more general information on sportscards and collectibles, like us on facebook, follow us on twitter, instagram, or pinterest!

Posted in Buying and Selling, Collecting Tips

#TBT Throwback Thursday: Sportscards 25 years ago - 1990 Donruss Pack

Posted on August 27, 2015 by Collect TheHobby | 0 Comments

In this throwback Thursday post we decided to go back to 1990 one more time to continue looking at the last 25 years in the hobby and rip a pack!

We selected one we remember fondly... 1990 Donruss baseball.  We had many good times, going to the corner store or the mall or the bowling alley and buying packs for $0.50 each.  These days wax boxes are cheaper than they were in 1990 and the cards aren't worth as much due to big production levels during the 1980s baseball card expolsion.   If you collected then, you will remember it as the one with the polarizing red borders and the Carl Yastrzemski puzzle pieces included in every pack.  Wax packs came 16 cards each and the big pulls were star players, "Rated Rookie" cards, Diamond Kings, and most importantly error cards.  The Juan Gonazalez Reverse Negative error was a huge chase card.  There were several hot All-star error cards.  The most notable overall in 1990 were the two Nolan Ryan cards for his 5,000 Strikeouts and his Diamond Kings being made with the backs switched on the error versions.

1990 Donruss Wax Pack

The packs came like this... wrapped in paper and sealed with wax

The best hits in one pack for old times sake...

1990 Donruss Barry Bonds
#126 Barry Bonds
#121 John Smoltz
#111 Roberto Alomar
1990 Donruss Jose Canseco
#125 Jose Canseco

At that time, what a pack!

To pull Barry Bonds, Jose Canseco, and Hall of Famers John Smoltz and Roberto Alomar in the same pack is a big win for 1990 Donruss!  The others were Jose Rijo, Joe Magrane, John Kruk, Jesse Orosco, Ron Kittle, Julio Franco, Chili Davis, Hubie Brooks, Kurt Stillwell, Joe Carter, and Lee Smith

1990 Donruss cards held little value as the key card for many years was the Sammy Sosa rookie card, which has plummeted in value due to his downfall in popularity over the years.  The Aqueous Test cards have held up very well however.  These are 1990 Donruss cards that have "Aqueous Test" stamped on the back of them.  It was a test set of cards Donruss did to try out a new glossy surface and some amount of wax boxes was leaked, but clearly not many.  On occasion sealed packs still come up for sale, but be careful buying them as there have also been fakes made.  Many of these cards can bring over $1,000 each nowadays depending on the player.  It is unknown if every card was made and thus if a complete set is possible to make.  New cards do appear on occasion sometimes when a pack has been found and opened.  Very unusual and rare cards to say the least.

A great trip down memory lane!

We hope you enjoyed this quick break of 1990 Donruss!   Let us know if are breaking any packs or boxes of other sets anytime!

If you ever need help with your sportscards collection, feel free to contact us.  We would also welcome some comments below if you have any other questions or thoughts on this post.  For more general information on sportscards, like us on facebook, follow us on twitter, instagram, or pinterest!

Posted in Buying and Selling, Our Travels

Should I have my cards graded?

Posted on August 12, 2015 by Collect TheHobby | 1 Comment

It has become one of the common questions in the sportscards market since grading really began to grow in popularity in the late 1990s.  We get this question often from new collectors who are learning, but also hear from seasoned collectors who have not tried grading as part of their hobby yet.  Grading, as you may know, entails sending your sports and non-sports cards to a 3rd party authenticator to have the condition formally evaluated.  While there are nuances in scale for different companies, the general range is how nice the card is on a scale of 1-10 with 10 being the best condition.  Once there is a grade, valuing and trading the cards becomes a lot easier.  Grading increased in popularity quickly as sales moved more and more to the internet versus in person.  It gives one a good idea of condition without being there in person with the seller of a card.  Grading will enjoy popularity for a long time as long as cards are sold online.

The short answer to the question is that it depends.  In this post we will expand on that answer and discuss some common thoughts as one goes through the decision process on grading.

Why do people have their cards graded?

The concept of grading is popular because it serves a few major purposes for most collectors that grade cards.  The first and most is to determine authenticity.  This is especially important with high dollar cards from vintage to modern.  By the late 1980s as collecting got into the "boom years" it became common for larger and larger scale counterfeiting groups to move in and try to make some money with fake cards.  It was increasingly popular to "manufacture" some of the most popular cards at the time from the timeless 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle or a classic 1933 Goudey Babe Ruth to a 1986 Fleer Michael Jordan, 1979 OPC Wayne Gretzky, or a 1985 Topps Mark McGwire.  If you could make passable cards in those days it became the same as printing fake money.  Many key cards were faked and as a result grading began to emerge and was made popular by PSA.  As the years passed, BGS and SGC also emerged to make a trio of leading authenticators.  Making sure your cards are real is a very valid reason to get them graded, regardless of the condition.  

Secondly, as noted grading serves the purpose of assigning a condition to the card including catching alterations.  Another issue by the late 1980s was many, many unscrupulous "dealers" at the time tried to sell unsuspecting buyers misgraded and altered cards as often as they could get away with it.  An advertisement in a magazine or catalog would claim "near mint" for condition and you would receive cards with VG to EX corners or a wrinkle.  Other times the cards would be recolored or maybe a mark was removed with a soaking process.   Trimming became more and more popular, a process where cards would be cut down to size and passed off as factory cut.  While grading has not been perfect in catching alterations in cards over the years, it has done a tremendous service to the hobby to reduce the amount of altered cards out there. 

Lastly, collectors and dealers use grading to help value cards.  Having a third party evaluate the condition of a card can help two parties come to an agreement quickly on its condition and subsequent value.  This became very important with more cards exchanging hands via the internet every year.  It's significantly easier to buy and sell if you have a very good idea of the type of condition card you are buying and selling.  Many cards in certain grades trade in bands just like stocks.  Highs and lows are established for grades and many buy and sell more graded cards for this reason.

Misconception: All cards should be graded

Some rumors have traveled through the hobby off and on about grading over the years.  The one that stands out that many think of when they hear of record sales prices that graded cards often bring, is that all cards should be graded.  It's often thought initially by those first learning about grading cards that if the potential is there to increase the value you should always grade the cards. However, the clear truth is that in many cases getting cards graded can lower their value.  Often less experienced collectors and dealers will naturally over grade their cards.  It's human nature to want to give the best rating to cards that you can...especially the owner.  They may really believe a card is near mint, when in reality it's no better than very good.  In those cases, especially the newer a card is, it often lowers the value.  Most newer cards made since the 1980s that are ungraded trade closer to values that assume the card is in near mint to mint or better condition.  As these newer cards are easier to find, lower grades can make them significantly less desirable which lowers the value because less collectors will want them in lower grades. 

Good luck grading!

We hope this post helps you think more about whether to grade your sportscards!   Let us know if you have questions around grading cards anytime! 

If you ever need help with your sportscards collection, feel free to contact us.  We would also welcome some comments below if you have any other questions or thoughts on this post.  For more general information on sportscards, like us on facebook, follow us on twitter, instagram, or pinterest!

Posted in Buying and Selling, Collecting Tips

#TBT Throwback Thursday: Sportscards 25 years ago - July 1990

Posted on July 30, 2015 by Collect TheHobby | 0 Comments

Time for another Throwback Thursday post!  We decided to rewind back 25 years to take a quick look at how the hobby has changed more specifically over the last quarter of a century.  Baseball cards and sportscards overall were climbing rapidly to their peak in 1991.  At the time Beckett was the most popular magazine and we feel a July 1990 issue would be the best of all places to take a good look at that time period. 



The cover featured a 21 year old Ken Griffey Jr of the Seattle Mariners.   He was in the middle of his first all-star season in 1990 and had become one of the hottest players to collect in the hobby.  His 1989 Upper Deck rookie cards, which are classics now, were just starting to get hotter, moving up to $18 each in this issue.  The back cover featured Frank Viola during his superb all-star season where he won 20 games and finished 3rd in the Cy Young.  He was behind 1990 Cy Young NL Doug Drabek and Ramon Martinez.  Some think Frank should have taken that award noting the highest WAR among the three by a significant amount. 

The issue begins as they always did at the time, with a commentary on the time from Dr James Beckett called the "Owner's Box".  Being based in Texas, clearly they are very excited for the 1990 NSCC and the All-star game being in Arlington, Texas.   Their are prizes being awarded for detailed information on pre-1973 baseball card sets!

In 1990 there were dozens of healthy manufacturers in the hobby.  The hobby was still on the upswing approaching the 1991 peak in popularity.  You could find cards anywhere at that time from Supermarkets to Bowling alleys.  Hobby stores were opening at a fast rate in nearly every town in the United States it felt like.   Classic trading cards were big and Collect-A-Books were taking off.  New types of sets seemed to be coming out every single month. 

The Hotlist - July 1990

The hotlist at the time was headed by Bo Jackson.  He was already a huge star at this point but in 1990 he seemed to continue to dazzle in the first half of that season.  On July 11th he had his famous running up the wall catch.  Even more dazzling is that he hit a homerun in 3 straight at bats against the New York Yankees, driving in 7 runs.  He went on the DL after that dislocating his shoulder on a ball ironically hit by Deion Sanders (the other multi-sport star of the time).  He then managed to hit a homerun in his first at-bat off the DL later in the season off Randy Johnson to tie the major league record of 4 straight at-bats with a homerun.   Bo Jackson rookie cards are still very popular to this day.

Ken Griffey Jr was right behind Bo and of course would go on to pass him and all other players as the "Hottest of the 1990s" overall.  From here as a Mariner, Ken was the best selling overall player in the decade.  When you were opening packs and hit a Griffey, you knew you hit something was that simple for many years.  If you had piled up on his Upper Deck rookie cards back then, you would have done nicely now.  His more challenging cards should do very well as he gets elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2016, his first year on the ballot.

The most notable jumps back then as we remember it, was Cecil Fielder coming in at #17 with his breakout 1990 season featuring 51 moonshot homers.  1990 Score moving up to #12 with some notable error cards being chased coupled with a decent design for the times.  1990 Upper Deck had moved up to #24.  Some collectors may or may not remember, in those days Topps was actually lagging for being too traditional with their cards.  Stadium Club would come along soon to remedy that, but 1990 Topps is still a design many loathe to see. 


Vintage cards - 1990

Many collectors always want to know... what about the vintage cards?  For this post we will mention post-war cards briefly from the early 1950s to the late 1970s.  The prices of the vintage cards depends on the year.  Overall, we would say many keys cards have done really well, especially in higher grades.  High grade cards of all years have done very well through the mid-1960s.  For the late 1960s and 1970s the keys and ultra high grade cards have treated collectors well, but overall these have dropped or gone sideways from those days.  


Beckett in those days started with 1948 Bowman, but many would be most interested in the 1952 Topps page for fun.  An iconic card, the 1952 Topps #311 Mickey Mantle books at $7,000 in Near Mint condition in the July 1990 issue.  Safe to say with a recent PSA 7 Near Mint card nearly passing $100,000, you would have done really well buying as many of those as you could have found in any condition.  The prices of mid-to-late 1970s cards did not hold up as well overall, we suspect because the hobby is smaller and more of those survived in great condition.  There are exceptions in the key cards such as 1976 Topps Dennis Eckersley rookie cards (book up to $10) or 1977 Topps Bruce Sutter rookie cards (book up to $2.50).  Players like that were not appreciated fully in 1990.  Eckersley's rookie in PSA 10 has sold for over $11,000 in recent years and Sutter's rookie passes $1,000 regularly as well.  Amazing prices if you had chosen your cards carefully.

Lastly a couple of pages to illustrate the popularity of the hobby in 1990.  At that time in our area (New England) we had shows daily during some weeks and on weekends had dozens and dozens to choose from.  Shows were a big deal and the promoters did amazing things with the size of the hobby at that time.  We think many collectors would get a kick out of seeing things like this today, so we took a couple of favorites...

Great example of the popularity of shows:  One promoter in 3 states, for 3 days!

Another great point on shows:  note the hours?!  12 hours of treasure hunting!


#TBT - throwback thursday

We hope you enjoyed this brief look at the hobby a quarter of a century ago!  Things were certainly really different in 1990!  It's always fun to see how the hobby has evolved and hear great stories of its history!  If you have stories of sportscards like this, feel free to share them with us!  

If you ever need help with your sportscards collection, feel free to contact us.  We would also welcome some comments below if you have any other questions or thoughts on this post.  For more general information on sportscards and collectibles, like us on facebook, follow us on twitter, instagram, or pinterest!

Posted in Buying and Selling, Collecting Tips, Our Travels