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Thursday, November 30, 2006

Player Focus: Carmelo Anthony

When the 03-04 season hit, Carmelo Anthony was the 2nd hottest thing out the gates after Lebron James. Now look at his RC card values: his Bowman Signature auto/jsy is 1/3 of Dwayne Wade's (and only $20 more than Lebron's non-auto/jsy!), his Exquisite Auto/Patch RC is $2800, while Lebron's is $12000, Wade's is $7500, and Bosh's is a close $2200. I would say that Melo's RC value slide is at an end, and now is the time to pick up some deals. So far this season he's averaging 31.5 ppg and shooting .515 FG% & .833 FT%. Compare that to Lebron's averages of 27.5 ppg, .470 FG% & .712 FT%, and Wade's of 28.1 ppg, .472 FG% & .816 FT%. This guy is destined to achieve greatness. He led Syracuse to a national title his freshman year, then got drafted and led Denver to the playoffs his RC year (Denver went 17-65 the year before). I'm not taking anything away from the other two players, but I think that Melo is in a way a sleeper ready to awaken. Wade has also benefited from his great performance leading the Heat to the Championships last year, helping his RC cards build some really strong value.

You can still pick up Melo's auto RC's at good % of BV levels. I just saw a Bowman Sig Auto/Jsy sell for $64.76, roughly 65% of BV ($100). If he continues the way he's been playing, you can bet that he's gonna be getting alot more hobby love. My only concern is with Denver's performance, because they're in the stronger Western Conf, while Cleveland & Miami may have more chances to shine in the East. Anyway, however you look at it, Melo is a good long term (and possible short term) investment.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Real Deal - Market Report

Here are some actual RC card sales that I've seen recently for high potential players (not yet making the "hot" lists), which I thought were good buys.

03-04 Bowman Sig Gold Auto/Jsy Travis Outlaw #'d 69/99 - BV$37.50, actual $10.50 - 28% of BV
02-03 SPx Auto/Jsy Carlos Boozer #'d 1427/1999 - BV$30, actual $16 - 53% of BV
05-06 SP Authentic Auto/Jsy Deron Williams #'d 65/100 - BV$60, actual $53 - 88% of BV

The Utah Jazz have been on fire so far this season, lead by Boozer in the front court & Williams in the back. Considering how well they've been doing, I felt like these were good buys for two of their key Auto/Jsy RC cards. Just 2 days earlier I saw the same Deron Williams RC card sell for $82 - 137% of BV.


This report's sleeper is Michael Redd (Mil Bucks, 00-01 RC year). Redd is in his 7th NBA season with the Bucks, and he has improved and been rewarded with more minutes each year. Last season he averaged 25.4 ppg in 39.1 mpg. So far this season he's averaging 30.4 ppg (3rd in the league) in 41.1 mpg. Unfortunately he hasn't had a strong supporting cast. Now, the Bucks have future stars Andrew Bogut & Charlie Villanueva to help Redd hopefully make them a winning team. Although Redd has been a consistent scorer for the past few seasons, it seems like he hasn't received the hobby interest that other players have, possibly due to him playing for a not so good small market team. Redd doesn't have that many RC cards, but his better ones are: E-X Rookie Memorabilia Auto (500 print run) - BV $30, SPx #'d 4500 - BV $10 (Spectrum #'d 25 - BV $100), Fleer Autographics Auto - BV $12 (Silver #'d 250 - BV $15, Gold #'d 50 - BV $36), and Ultra Platinum Medallion #'d 25 - BV $40. All of these should be able to be picked up for less than BV. Although, he did just have a 45 point, 8 rebond, 5 assist, 4 steal night against the Lakers yesterday (and scored 57 against UTA on 11/11)!

Rare Finds

My rare find for this report is a 03-04 Finest Gold Ref Luke Walton #'d 25, sold for $62.01 on 11/8. Walton is one of my "sleepers" and this is one of his best, most limited Auto RC cards (yes, the last good year for Finest RCs!). I think that this card is better looking than the SPx Spectrum RC for that year (also #'d 25), and could probably be picked up for less too. Congrats to the lucky collector that bought this rare find.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Player Focus: Andrew Bynum Auto Variations

As all of you have noticed, the way that some players sign their names vary, depending on the year it was signed, or in some cases the product that was signed. Kobe Bryant's autograph evolved from Kobe Bryant, to Kobe 8, to just Kobe. Andrew Bynum, just within his RC year has three different auto variations: AB #17, A Bynum and A Bynum #17. In the case of Kobe, there's a premium for his full name signature, because he only signed it that way for a short time during his 1st year. Of the Bynum autos, the products that have each variation are: "AB #17" - all Topps products, Reflections, SP Game Used, SPx, UD Hardcourt, UD Rookie Debut & UD Portraits. For "A Bynum" - Exquisite Collection, SP Authentic, Ultimate Collection & UD Trilogy. For "A Bynum #17" - SP Signature, UD Portraits & UD Sweet Shot. Based on this rough info, I would say that the AB #17 would probably be the most abundant (and possibly the lowest long term value), while the other two would have the most potential value, due to 1) the high end products that have the A Bynum version, and 2) only two products having the A Bynum #17 version. Also, players' sigs don't usually get longer, they tend to get shorter, or more abbreviated over the years, so I would guess that the AB #17 might be the one to persist in future year products, making the other two variations more scarce and command more of a premium as time goes on. The other x factor is that we don't know the population for the autos that aren't serial #'d, so it's very hard to get an accurate count of how many of each really exist.

If you anyone out there knows which variation is usedUD Rookie Debut, please let me know! Thanks.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Player Focus: Andrew Bynum

There's been a shortage of skilled big men in the NBA (at both ends of the court), which has allowed players like Shaq & Duncan to dominate and help lead their teams to championships. Yao looks to be the current heir to the Center throne, with some younger potentials in the midst. Of these younger players, Andrew Bynum appears to be the best bet. At only 19 years old (and now starting for the Lakers), he has the physique to compete with anyone, is being coached by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (Kareem is starting to teach him his signature sky hook) and he's shown us flashes of stardom with his scoring, rebounding, shot blocking, etc. If you can find his key auto rc's for less than current BV (in the 70-80% of BV range), pick them up. Most of them that I've seen have been selling for around 120-170% of BV, but if you look hard enough, you can find good deals out there. One SP Authentic Auto RC sold for 76% of BV on 11/25 (one sold the very next day for 129% of BV, and another one is already at 187% of BV with 11 hours left on auction!). I like his SP Authentic Auto RC #'d 1299 - BV $30 (the first 100 also have a patch), his SPx Auto/Jsy RC #'d 1499 - BV $40 and his SPx Spectrum Auto/Jsy RC #'d 25 - BV $120. If he continues to develop at the rate he has been, look for his RCs to get increasing attention with up arrows in the coming months.
My View: The Downfall of Topps Finest Basketball

Topps Finest was first introduced for Basketball back in 93-94. It was a simple premium product, with base RCs & ref versions. Over the years they've experimented with things like only base RCs, no ref RCs (95-96), having 2 series' but with only RCs in one of the series (94-95, 95-96), Bronze, Silver, Gold, Embossed (96-97), etc. Recently, Topps has just gone crazy with the parallels. In the 05-06 set, there are 19 RC variations! There's the base, 6 diff colored refs, 6 diff colored x-fractors, and 6 diff colored superfractors. It's very deceiving. If you pull a RC auto ref #'d 99, normally you'd be thrilled. But when there are 5 other colored ref auto RCs #'d to 229, 19, 59, 199 & 1, you're actually getting one that has 606 ref auto RCs on the market. All this does is dilute the value of each RC card. The best change that Topps made to the Finest Basketball brand was in 02-03 when they added Auto RCs. In my opinion, the best value Finest years were 02-03 (base auto RC, ref auto RC & Gold ref auto RC) & 03-04 (base auto RC, ref auto RC, Gold ref auto RC, X-fractor auto RC). If Topps wants to compete with UD, they should return to this simple but value inducing format. I personally refuse to buy any Finest RCs after the 03-04 year because you just won't be getting the bang for your buck that you should be.

This seems to be a trend for Topps. The Bowman Chrome Baseball is the same. It started in 97 with a base & ref set. Now they also have diff color parallels. Bowman Elevation Basketball is following the same path. They have 5 different RC variations, #'d to 999, 399, 299, 99 & 1. This should be reduced to 3 at the most: #'d 999, 99 & 1.

I've always liked the Finest & Bowman brands. They have nice designs and great auto RCs. It's a shame that they're cannibalizing themselves & pushing themselves out of competitiveness.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Real Deal - Market Report
Here are some actual RC card sales that I've seen recently for high potential players (not yet making the "hot" lists), which I thought were good buys.
  • 01-02 Topps Chrome Zach Randolph Auto - BV$20, actual sale $9.38 (47% of BV)
  • 01-02 SP Authentic G Arenas Auto #'d 1525 - BV$80, actual sale $48.99 (61% of BV)
  • 03-04 Finest M Pietrus Auto #'d 999 - BV$12, actual sale $3 (25% of BV) *REAL DEAL!
I know that Areans is already considered a "Star" player, but just wanted to list it b/c it sold for a realtively good % of BV price.

This report's sleeper is Jarrett Jack (Por Blazers, 05-06 RC year). I feel that Jack could be an essential part of Portland's effort to pull themselves out of mediocrity. In the next few years, the Blazers could be topping the Northwest Div, with Jack running the floor, dishing to Randolph, and young talents like Aldridge, Webster & Outlaw. Most of Jack's RCs are booked as commons, and can be picked up for nice % of BV prices. Some RCs that I like are his 05-06 SP Game Used Rookie Excl Auto #'d 100 - BV $40, SPx Auto/Jsy #'d 1499 - BV $15 and Ultimate Collection Auto RC #'d 250 - BV $20. Jack hasn't received much attention, due to two other PGs from that RC year who have been really hot, Chris Paul (NO/Okla) & Deron Williams (UTAH), but watch out for this quiet sleeper!

Rare Finds
My rare finds for this report are the two most limited Autos for Lamar Odom's RC year: 90-00 Skybox Autographics Century Marks Auto #'d 50 (BV $50) & 99-00 E-X E-Xplosive Lamar Odom Auto #'d 99 (BV $50). The Autographics CM auto recently sold for $44 (88% of BV) and the E-Xplosive sold for $26 (52% of BV). Both are great finds, and congrats to those buyers who won them in auction. I expected the Autographics card to go for more $, due to the higher level of popularity for the brand, but not for as much as it did.

It seems that more & more collectors are putting a huge premium on premium products. The % of BV for the high end stuff (90%+) is so much higher than for the medium end stuff (20%-70%). Makes you think... card companies are probably making much better profit margins off of the high end product, so they don't mind that it may be cannibalizing the popularity of their other products.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Real Deal - Market Report
Here are some actual sales that I've seen recently for high potential players (not yet making the "hot" lists), which I thought were good buys.
04-05 SPx Throwback Josh Childress Auto/Jsy RC - BV$50, actual sale $14.55 (29% of BV)
05-06 SP Game Used Charlie Villanueva RC #'d 999 - BV$15, actual sale $0.99 (7% of BV)
05-06 SP Game Used Rookie Excl Lawrence Roberts Auto RC #'d 100 - BV$ 30, actual $4.99 (17% of BV)

This report's sleeper is Mickael Pietrus (GS Warriors, 03-04 RC year). Pietrus didn't have the quick star career start that others in his RC class had (Lebron, Wade, Carmelo, Bosh...), but he has been quietly posting strong numbers as a starting GF for the Warriors this season (11.1 ppg, 5.9 rpg, .481 3P%). Look for him to be a larger contributor going forward. His key RC cards can still be had at reasonable prices. Some recent sales are: Exquisite Auto/Jsy RC #'d 225 - $142.49 (BV $160 - 89% of BV), Finest Auto RC #'d 999 - $3.00 (BV $12 - 25% of BV). Even though the % of BV for his Exquisite sale doesn't seem that good, almost all other players' Exquisite RCs that I've seen have sold for over BV (Ex. Luke Walton, a comparable player, sold for $165 - 138% of the $120 BV) . I like his SP Game Used Rookie Excl Auto RC #'d 100 which books for $60 and Topps Rookie Photo Shoot Auto #'d 56 at $80. All of his RCs can be had a fairly low % of BV prices (for now!).

Rare Finds
My rare find for this report is the 05-06 Bowman Welcome to the Show Charlie Villanueva Auto/Jsy #'d 5/5. This the only card from this set that I've seen, and its of a player previously listed on my "sleepers" list. This card sold on ebay for $51.01 recently (BV not listed due to scarcity). A very nice pick up for someone wanting a rare RC year card for an up & coming player.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

The Real Deal Part 1

Here are some real sales on ebay for some of the players that I've listed in my "Sleepers" listings, along with some players who's cards are really hot. In my opinion, you should be able to pick up a "sleeper" RC card at around 70% of BV or less. Some of the players on my list have already jumped from "sleeper" to hot while I've been writing my blog, as you'll see below (of course it also depends on the set the RC card is from also).

05-06 Exquisite Ronny Turiaf Auto/Jsy RC #'d 225 - BV $80, Sales 11/8 $115.48 (144% of BV)
05-06 SP Game Used Ronny Turiaf Auto #'d 100 - BV $30, Sales 11/8 $27.21 (91% of BV)
05-06 UD Rookie Debut R. Turiaf Hotagraphs Auto - BV $25, Sales 11/8 $16.16 (65% of BV)
03-04 SP Authentic Luke Walton Auto RC #'d 1250 - BV $25, Sales 11/9 $14.38 (58% of BV)
03-04 Exquisite Luke Walton Auto/Jsy RC #'d 225 - BV $120, Sales 11/9 $165 (138% of BV)
04-05 SPx Josh Childress Throwback Auto/Jsy - BV $50, Sales 11/10 $14.55 (29% of BV)
99-00 Skybox Lamar Odom Autographics Century Marks Auto #'d 50 - BV $50, Sales 11/11 $44 (88% of BV)
05-06 Ulitmate Coll Charlie Villanueva Auto RC #'d 250 - BV $60, Sales 11/9 $42.69 (71% of BV)

05-06 SPx Andrew Bynum Auto/Jsy RC #'d 1499 - BV $40, Sales 11/8 $56.55 (141% BV), $104.59 (261% BV), 11/10 $58 (145% BV)

It seems like for both sleeper & hot players alike the Exquisite Collection Auto/Jsy RCs are commanding over BV in actual sales. Overall, all other RC cards for sleepers seem to be selling for under BV at this time. My personal favorites for RC cards are SPx Auto/Jsy (incl Spectrum versions), because you seem to get the most bang for your buck; a serial #'d RC with both an auto & jsy, plus the hype value. I try to stay away from Fleer & Topps RCs, except for the Bowman brand & Topps Rookie Photo Shoot Autos. Most of their other brands/products are either unattractive or weak in value. If you compare Upper Deck's brand RCs with similar serial #'s & qualities (auto, game used, etc.) to Topps & Fleer, most of the time UD's RCs hold a higher value; important especially if one day you need to sell off your collection to survive!

Friday, November 10, 2006

NBA Sleepers Part 5

Tyson Chandler (NO/Okla Hornets, 01-02 RC) - Chandler's RC cards started out hot, then cooled and seem to have settled at their current level. He seems to have joined an exciting team this season. The Hornets have a young, talented starting line up with Paul, West, Stojakovic & Mason, and I think Chandler will fit in quite well and will have a break out season. His RC cards are fairly priced. From top to bottom, some of his RC cards I like are SPx Spectrum Auto/Jsy #'d 25 ($250), Spx Auto/Jsy #'d 750 ($50), SP Authentic Auto #'d 1275($40), UD Flight Team Key Signatures Auto #'d 100 ($20) and UD Sweet Shot Rookie Memorabilia Jsy #'d 600 ($20). Hopefully he can maintain a double-double avg & help the Hornets get to the playoffs. The Hornets should get a lot of attention with Chris Paul running the floor.

Shane Battier (Hou Rockets, 01-02 RC) - I think that Battier is one of the more underated small forwards in the game. The Rockets picked him hoping that he could be a third scorer, along with T-Mac & Yao. The new Rockets GM in-training is one of the new age managers basing player decisions on calculations to see how effective players really are, not just looking at their plain stats (i.e. ppg, rpg, etc). We'll see if his pick lives up to his expectations. Battier doesn't have that many RC cards, but his higher priced ones are Topps Chrome Ref ($24), Topps Chrome Black Ref #'d 50 ($48) andUltimate Collection #'d 250 ($30). Some of his better RCs (and moderately priced) are SPx #'d 1999 ($10), SP Authentic #'d 550 ($8), UD Sweet Shot Rookie Memorabilia Jsy #'d 600 ($12), Topps Xpectations #'d 250 ($25), UD Legends #'d 500 ($12) and Topps Pristine Ref #'d 250 ($18). If you notice that for the year 01-02, I don't pick the Hoops Hot Prospects Jsy RCs because I just can stand the way they look!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

NBA Sleepers Part 4

Ronny Turiaf (LA Lakers, 05-06 RC) - Here's a guy that almost didn't get to play in the NBA. After being taken by the Lakers, and having successful heart surgery, he has become one of the hardest working players that I've seen. Great attitude, great team player, and gives 100%. He doesn't have that many RC cards, so picking them all up wouldn't be that much of a challenge. Prices for his cards are still relatively low, so I'd get his best ones. Exquisite Collection Auto #'d 225 ($80), Exquisite Collection Gold #'d 25 ($75) & Greats of the Game Auto #'d 99 ($80). Some of his more affordable cards are SP Game Used SIGnificance #'d 100 ($30), UD Hardcourt Signatures ($15 - what a deal!) & UD Rookie Debut Hotagraphs 1:336 packs ($25). Turfiaf will play a key role on this young Lakers team, along with Bynum & Walton.

Luke Walton (LA Lakers, 03-04 RC) - Walton is becoming what the Lakers had previously hoped Devean George would become - a SF with a well-rounded game, and with a high basketball IQ. Walton has started the first 5 games of this season, and is avg 14 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 3.8 apg, 1.2 spg and is shooting .617 FG% and .833 3P%. Just needs improvment with his .583 FT% (although he's a career .717 FT%, so I'm sure that won't last). Walton has tons of RC cards, so I'd be selective on which ones to buy. For lower priced, high quality RCs, there's Finest Auto #'d 999 ($20), SP Sig Sinatures Auto ($20), Ultra Signatures Auto #'d 350 ($15), UD Rookie Exclusives Auto ($15). For a little more, you can get Bowman Sig Auto/Jsy ($25), Hoops Hot Prospects Auto/Jsy #'d 400 ($20), SPx Auto/Jsy #'d 1999 ($30), Ultimate Collection Auto #'d 250 ($40), SP Authentic Auto #'d 1250 ($25). For his high end RCs, there's Topps Rookie Photo Shoot #'d 56 ($80), Finest Gold Ref Auto #'d 25, Bowman Sig Gold Auto/Jsy #'d 99 ($62.50), Exquisite Collection Auto/Jsy #'d 225 ($120) & SP Game Used Rookie Exclusives Auto #'d 100 ($60) & SPx Spectrum Auto/Jsy #'d 25.

more to come!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

NBA Sleepers Part 3

Brevin Knight (Cha Bobcats, 97-98 RC) - Knight struggled in his first 7 seasons, playing for 6 different teams and avg 7.2 ppg, 6.1 apg & 1.8 spg. After injury problems and finally finding the right set up in Charlotte, he's been showing his skills. Over the past 2 seasons, he's avg 11.4 ppg, 8.9 apg & 2.1 spg. He doesn't have that many RCs (there weren't so many darn products/brands back then), but some of his key cards are Bowman's Best Atomic Ref ($6), Finest Ref ($15), Skybox Premium Autographics ($20) and Century Marks #'d 100 ($40), Topps Chrome Ref ($10), Ultra Platinum Medallion #'d 100 ($20), Stadium Club First Day Issue #'d 200 ($7.50) & Stadium Club One of a Kind #'d 150 ($15). Of course, I would go after his Auto RCs, which you could probably find well below BV. *He also has Auto RCs in 97 Scoreboard, which could probably be had at a steal! I think he'll be one of the top PG this season, and for seasons to come, as long as he can stay healthy!

Lamar Odom (LA Lakers, 99-00 RC) - Odom can be the savior of the Lakers. Kobe can't do it alone, and Odom has the potential to be the alternate go-to guy. He has the height of a PF, and can score (including from behind the arc), rebound, dish, cause turnovers and he's got handles. He's had some problems in the past, but in the first few games of this season (when Kobe was out) he sure looked like he was ready to unlock his full potential. I'm predicting that this year he'll post 18+ppg, 10+rpg & 5+apg. His RC values have reflected his lack of consistency, staying pretty stagnant over the past few years, making now an opportune time to pick some up! I like his Fresh Ink RC autos (all of which book for $15), Skybox Premium Autographics ($25) & Century Marks #'d 50 ($50), SPx Radiance #'d 100 ($50). His SP Authentic #'d 1500 has a BV of $40, SPx #'d 3500 is at $20. One of his most limited (but also cheap) RCs is Stadium Club First Day Issue #'d 150 ($18).

more to come!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

NBA Sleepers Part 2

Here are a couple other players that I think are undervalued in the hobby:

Zach Randolph (Por Trailblazers, 01-02 RC) - Randolph has been Portland's top scorer & rebounder for the past few seasons. He's starting this season on a tear, with 26 ppg & 10.3 rpg in his first 4 games. I think that he has not received the hobby attention that he deserves partly because Portland is a smaller market, and the team as a whole hasn't done well. He doesn't as many Auto rc's as other players his year. The only ones are Topps Chrome Auto ($20), Topps Pristine Auto ($40), and Topps Xpectations Auto ($20). These are great deals for Auto RC collectors, esp considering that his other higher end non-Auto RCs book for almost the same price, like SPx #'d 1999 ($20), Ultimate Collection #'d 250 ($50), Hoops Hot Prospects Jsy #'d 1000 ($15). But it's all about preference. I personally prefer auto rc's over all others.

Travis Outlaw (Por Trailblazers, 03-04) - This young teammate of Randolph has been brought along very slowly, but with each season, he's seeing more playing time, and is putting up more points & grabbing more boards. He was drafted in the same superstar year as Lebron, Melo, Wade, Bosh, ..... so he hasn't gotten much attention, thus keeping his RC cards at affordable levels. If you look in your Beckett, Outlaw isn't even listed for most of the sets. You could probably pick up some of his quality RCs like SPx Auto/Jsy #'d 1999 for less than $10 on auction (common RC Auto/Jsy book for $40). The only RCs that are listed are Exquisite Collection Auto #'d 225 ($120) & Sweet Shot Signatures Auto #'d 49 ($50). Outlaw came straight out of high school. Jermaine O'neal was also brought along slowly (and also straight out of high school), and look how he turned out!

Both of these guys' RC cards can be found on auction for well below BV (although neither of them have that many RCs on auction, so it might be hard to find their key cards).

more to come!

Monday, November 06, 2006

Basketball Outlook - Hot Sleepers

Aside from the obvious stars (whose best RCs are just unattainable for us average collectors), here are a couple of players that I think are quiet sleepers waiting to break out into hobby stardom.

Charlie Villanueva (Mil Bucks, 05-06 RC) - With the lack of good big men in the NBA, teams are putting their hopes behind anyone who has some skills and a big body. I think that this guy has the chance to be a top F in the East, up there with Dwight Howard, Antawn Jamison & Chris Bosh. In the 1st 4 games of the season, he's avg 18.8 ppg & 10.8 rpg. For a low cost quality RC, try Finest Auto #'d 349 ($20), Ulitimate Collection Signature Auto ($20). For a mid range quality RC try SP Sig Rookies INKorporated #'d 50 ($40), Topps Big Game Draft Day Moments Relics Hat/Auto #'d 129 ($40), SPx Auto/Jsy #'d 750 ($50). For high end RCs try Exquisite Collection Auto/Jsy #'d 225 ($300), SP Game Used Rookie Exclusives Auto #'d 100 ($120), SPx Spectrum Auto/Jsy #'d 25 ($225), Ultimate Collection Rookie Auto Patches #'d 25 ($300).

Josh Childress (Atl Hawks, 04-05 RC) - He's been coming off the bench for the past couple of seasons putting up decent numbers (10.1 ppg & 5.7 rpg), and getting increased minutes. I think that this year or next will be his break out season. If you want to pick up a low cost quality RC of his, try Bowman Signature Auto/Jsy #'d 399 ($15). For a mid range quality RC, try SP Sig Rookies INKorporated Auto #'d 100 ($25), SPx Auto/Jsy #'d 750 ($40), Bowman Sig Auto/Jsy #'d 50 ($30), SP Authentic Limited Auto #'d 100 ($45). If you can afford the best (which I can't!), try Exquisite Coll Auto/Jsy #'d 99 ($300), SPx Spectrum Auto/Jsy #'d 25, Topps Rookie Photo Shoot Auto #'d 55 ($100), Ultimate Collection Draft Day Ink #'d 6, UD Trilogy Rookie Premiere Patches Auto #'d 10 or Topps Chrome Auto Ref #'d 7, if you can find them!

more to come!
Basketball Season is Here!

With all these new brands, subsets, sub-subsets,'s very hard to keep track of today's basketball RC's. There are just way too many RC cards for each player now. Look at Finest for instance. There's a base RC, refractor, x-fractor, superfractor, black ref & x-fractor, gold ref & x-fractor, green ref & x-fractor, red ref & x-fractor. That's 12 RC cards for each player, just from Finest! It doesn't even matter that they're all #'d, autographed, or whatever. All this does is take value away from the product as a whole. I think that SPx has it about right. They have a base & Spectrum RC. If you notice, SPx auto RCs typically has a higher value than Finest auto RCs of the same player and with a similar #'d to. I believe that this overproducing of RC versions is a big reason why.

Another problem that I'm having is card companies cannibalizing their own brands. I think that there are too many brands out in the same MSRP range from the same companies. For Upper Deck, they have SPx, SP Authenic, SP Game Used, SP Signature, Sweet Shot & Trilogy. Personally I don't have the money to be buying so many different brands. I'll probably focus on 2 (maybe 3 at the most).

My fav brands to buy for Basketball are SPx & Bowman. They have reasonable pack prices and if you pull an auto RC, chances are it will will have a relatively strong value in comparison to similar RC's from other brands.