31 January 2012

Upper Deck's High End SP Game Used Soccer

Unfortunately it appears this product has tanked. Sales don't appear to be very strong as sealed boxes which began at around $180.00 online, have already been reduced in price several times by the major retailers I've seen. There are however several singles which are quite innovative in the soccer card World and they selling very well on the secondary market. Specifically the 'supreme fabrics' jumbo patch cards and especially the 'by the letter' nameplate patch cards.

The jumbo patches are generally selling from about $30.00 to $50.00 and this includes scrub players, which In the grand scheme of things, most MLS players would fall into this category. The letter patch cards though are the real attraction though with the going prices currently at about $150.00 to $200.00, the few superstars seen so far, namely Beckham and Henry, are commanding much higher prices. It looks as if SPGU soccer is destined to continue falling in price since nobody seems to be busting any of this product, I see relatively very few singles on eBay.

If this type of high end format and brand were applied to say a Champions League or Premier League product I have no doubt this would be a winner even at the original price point dare I say.

26 January 2012

Shocking Price For Messi 1/1 Futera Auto

This Messi Futera 1 of 1 autograph card recently sold for a whopping $4,500.00.

I'm not convinced either way regarding this particular autograph's authenticity but it never ceases to amaze me that someone is willing to pay this much for a Futera auto considering the questions surrounding that shady company...

14 January 2012

This Is Why I Don't Collect Futera Autos...

Aside from the typical crap Futera design this card has a serious problem, the signature on the back is clearly a horrible fake. Shockingly, someone bought this turd for $620.00 on eBay. At these kind of prices it looks like Futera has a nice little racket going.

Pictured below is an authentic sample of a pre-printed Ribéry auto on an officially licensed Bayern card from Panini. Notice how the signature is nothing like the Futera autograph.

Checking on the web there's no shortage of discussion questioning the authenticity of Futera's products. Futera themselves do little to dispel collector's concerns as there's no explanation to be found on their site about how they obtain the signatures or any guarantees as to their authenticity. In fact this is all I could find on Futera's official website regarding their 'signed' cards.
"AUTOGRAPHED CARDS: Some card publishers get players to sign pieces of clear tape and stick them on to a card to create their ‘Autographed’ cards, but whilst there is a nice uniformity in that method, we prefer for the players to sign direct on the card surface. This means that the players will sign where and as they want to sign - sometimes over the design or their own image - but from a collector’s viewpoint we feel that’s a good thing, as it adds character and gives each card a unique touch from the next."
These people are unbelievable...

12 January 2012

Soccer Cards Desperately Need Upper Deck's Touch

Upper Deck has a bit of a shady history with past incidents ranging from their production of counterfeit yu-gi-oh cards to unauthorized baseball cards as well as the Beckham "error" autographs from 2010 World of Sports. Despite these troubles as far as I'm concerned they generally produce the best quality trading cards of any manufacturer around. Unfortunately at the moment the only soccer license UD hold is with MLS. Obviously for collectors that's not the most attractive league around, however in terms of card content, collectibility and quality UD's MLS offerings are vastly superior to the garbage TCG products from Panini and Topps (who both have the trading card rights to all major football leagues and competitions around the World). Just take a look at what's available on eBay from Panini and Topps.

Both Panini and Topps have actually released nice looking higher-end products within the last year, Panini with their Premium Champions League set and Topps' Authentics Premier League brand but unfortunately these types of products lack high end cards of the top players that everyone wants as well as being very poorly marketed and distributed, (Topps Authentics is a direct order only product) not to mention these collections seem to be an afterthought for both manufacturers. UD on the other hand produced some of the better collections ever seen with their excellent Manchester United collections among several others. I for one sorely miss UD's presence in the market of international football cards and hope they can soon get back into the global game.

04 January 2012

The Most Valuable Footballer Signatures - On Cardboard

The following is a breakdown of the most valuable certified autographs in the soccer card hobby as well as a few who surprisingly don't have a certified autograph as of yet and some players to look out for in the future. Note that I didn't include Futera cards in this assessment due to their dubious nature.

Roberto Baggio - Il Divin Codino or The Divine Ponytail as he is affectionately known has a huge following not only in Italy but also in Asia which is where his two certified autographs were released back in the early 2000's. The 2003 Panini Calcio Cards auto (hideous sticker BTW) pictured below has a low print run of 100 and has been known to sell for well over a staggering $1,000.00 USD!

David Beckham - Here in the USA David Beckham is a massively overrated footballer and his signed card's prices reflect that. Many fans of the game here in the States regard him as a legendary player on par with the likes of Pelé, I shit you not! I suspect this is also the case in east Asia where his autos also command a hefty price. Capitalizing on his inflated reputation as well as pop culture icon status, Upper Deck pimped his cards as the main selling point in their excellent Man Utd products and apparently they sold very well, thanks in no small part to Becks. Well past his prime now, his signature remains among the most vauable in any UD soccer release.

George Best - .....

Fabio Cannavaro - .....

Cristiano Ronaldo - Cristiano is hugely popular with contemporary collectors and is perhaps the most sought after signature of any footballer right now. He has a small selection of Upper Deck Man Utd autos from the mid 00's, unfortunately they're all sticker autos but still very desireable among collectors. Despite massive popularity CRonaldo surprisingly hasn't had another certified auto issued in nearly a decade.

Alessandro Del Piero - Pinturichio's only certified autograph was released all the way back in a 1998 Juventus collection by Upper Deck. Reportedly this on-card has a scarce print run of only 20. It's so rare that I've only ever seen 1 on an online aution and as you can imagine it sold for a some serious cash, well over $1,000.00 if I remember correctly.

Landon Donovan - Landon is the undisputed favorite for US soccer collectors and his autograph's prices definitely reflect that. Having recently signed an exclusive contract with Upper Deck has seen his certified signature become more common lately and as a result his prices have dipped a bit. The highest end Donovan autos can still go for over $300.00 though, some serious money.

Ryan Giggs - The Welsh Wizard has a nice selection of autos from both Upper Deck and Topps including on card and sticker autographs. The United legend's relatively wide selection of autos has not really hurt his auto's values which remain strong. I reckon when he retires his prices will only see a boost.

Mario Gómez - .....

Andrés Iniesta - A bit of an underrated player IMO. It's a very different story on his 3 certified autos though. Each one is are extremely rare and in the rare event that one does show up for sale, they perform very well on the secondary market. The scarce World Cup auto from below can go for upwards of $500.00.

Kaká - The autographed card pictured below is Kaká's sole certified & autographed trading card. Due to it's rarity (numbered to /50 copies) and despite the hideous sticker this one sells for big bucks, even nearing the $1000,00 mark on occasion.

Roy Keane - The legendary long time Man United captain didn't sign as much as the other Utd icons of the time, Beckham, Giggs and Scholes. So his auto is relatively rare and sells very well on the secondary market, with a premium price on awesome on-card autos like the one below.

Frank Lampard - .....

Paolo Maldini - AC Milan and Italian football in general have a massive following in the far east of Asia. The legendary captain and symbol of Milan for decades has earned him extreme popularity among Asian collectors and has led to extreme prices for the few auto Maldini has. $1000.00 is not unheard of for some of his inked cards.

Nakata Hidetoshi - The most prolific icon of Japanese football in the 90's, 2000's and possibly of all time, Nakata is hugely popular among Japanese collectors who tend to be a very dedicated and hardcore bunch, which leads to huge prices on his many autographs. His autos sell for around $300.00 - at the lower end! Higher end ones sell for $1000.00 + easily.

Pelé - Edson Arantes do Nascimento, as is his given name, has a series of autographed cards from Canadian card brand, SportKings. These tend to sell well but not for as much as you might think for a player many consider the greatest of all time. Usually somwhere in the $250.00 to $400.00 range.

Ronaldinho - Ronny

Ronaldo - The original and best of the Ronaldo's as far as I'm concerned has the 2002 Panini World Cup auto in the pic below and a few DS (now defunct) auto's to choose from. Not even the fugly white paper/sticker that Panini used for Ronaldo's signature can stop O Fenômeno's sig from fetching $500.00 and beyond!

Francesco Totti - ................

Robin van Persie - ................

Mark Viduka - ............

Xavi - Another undervalued player who some even consider to be the World's best, he's even tired of winning it all with Barça & Spain hasn't he. Xavi's only auto which is limited to /25 generally sells within the range of $500.00 and a cool grand.

Honorable mention for players like Adriano (of Inter fame), Anelka, Ballack, Chiellini Clint Dempsey, Deschamps, Fàbregas, Forlán, Gascoigne, 'Pipo' Inzaghi, Henrik Larsson, Lúcio, Rafa Márquez, Michael Owen, Puyol, Rui Costa, Schmeichel, Scholes, Shearer, van der Sar, van Nistelrooy and Javier Zanettiwho all have valuable signed cards but don't quite crack the elite list.

Franz Beckenbauer - .....

Johan Cruyff - .....

Thierry Henry - Titi.

Diego Maradona - Diego.

Zinedine Zidane - Zizou.

Ones to look out for in the future.
Eusébio, Facchetti, Shilton and Ian Wright autos can all be had for well under $100.00 and in the cases of Eusébio & Shilton under $20.00!

Javier Chicharito Hernández - A massive fan favorite among Mexico and Man Utd fans alike, the sweet pea has no reputable certified autos to speak of but he does have a dubious Futera auto which regularly sells for 3 figures in the rare case that it does surface. If he were to have a Panini, Topps, or UD auto, I'm sure plenty of collectors would be willing to pay big money to pick one up, I know I'm one of them.

Lionel Messi - Despite there already being ongoing debate about Messi being the greatest of all time, Messi does not have a certified autographed trading card as of yet, I doubt he even has one of those shitty Futera ones. I don't know why Panini  hasn't been able to secure Messi's signature for any of their collections but if they or any other company (SportKings anyone?) did produce one I'm cerain collectors would be falling over themselves to obtain one. It'd surely cost a fortune to get your hands on one though.

Neymar - I'm not really sold on Neymar being a bona fide superstar, yet. Until he proves himself in Europe, I see him as another Robinho type who possibly lacks the temperment and maturity to be a legit World class player. If he goes across the pond and does indeed prove himself as an elite player I could see his potential future autos doing very well.

Wayne Rooney - Even though he's already a well established superstar Rooney does not yet have a certified auto but once he does I reckon it will cost a small fortune.

Luis Suárez - .....