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Saturday, January 26, 2008

NBA Hobby Update: Al Jefferson & Andrew Bynum

Al Jefferson finished last season as a breakout star for the ailing Celtics, averaging 16 ppg & 10.9 rpg. This season with Minnesota, he hasn't lost a step, averaging 20.9 ppg & 11.2 rpg in Nov, 19.9 ppg & 12.8 rpg in Dec and 21.4 ppg & 11.5 rpg so far in Jan (thru 1/25). Unfortunately, the T-Wolves have a league-worst 7-35 record. They're definitely at the very beginning of a rebuilding phase. Luckily, though, they do have a few young of players with potential (in addition to Jefferson) that they can build around (Sebastian Telfair, Corey Brewer, Rashad McCants, Randy Foye, Gerald Green). Maybe they need to dump a few of their centers (5 of the 15 players on their roster are centers).

Jefferson's 04-05 SP Authentic Auto RC #'d 1499 is averaging $21.52 this month, down from $26.35 in December. His SPx Auto/Jsy RC #'d 1999 is averaging $31.41, just about the same as it's $31.22 average last month. I really believe that his team's performance is holding him back from elevating to that next level of hobby stardom. He has 31 double-doubles in his first 42 games this year, and 9 in his last 12 games. 23-year-old Jefferson is definitely a player to buy!

Andrew Bynum got injured back on 1/13, right when his rookie cards were making some major jumps in value as a result of his increasingly impressive performances. What impact has his absence on the court had on his values? None at all it would seem. His 05-06 SP Authentic Auto RC #'d 1299 was averaging around $40-45 TAC this month. After his injury, $66.25! Same story for his SPx Auto/Jsy RC #'d 1499; $66.49 before, and $81.33 after! Despite being out an estimated 8 weeks, it was reported that doctors didn't have any concern about Bynum making a full recovery. I guess collectors share that sentiment! Bynum's SPA Auto RC has now caught up with Chris Paul's in value this month, putting it in a tie for the top $ spot of the set (can't compare SPx because some rookies are #'d to 1499 & others to 750).

Deals on Bynum's key Auto rookies are hard to come by these days. If you're looking for his higher-end cards, you can expect to pay $110-120 for his Ultimate Collection Auto RC #'d 250, and around $400 for his Exquisite Collection Auto/Patch #'d 225.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Player Focus: Gerald Wallace

Charlotte's highly athletic forward, Gerald Wallace, is a very exciting player to watch. He became a regular starter when he was selected by the Bobcats in the expansion draft 4 years ago, and has increased his scoring every season since. Through 1/19, he's averaging 21.5 ppg (25.3 ppg in January). Unfortunately, Charlotte won't be winning their division (or even going to the playoffs) any time soon. They are getting better with the addition of players like Jason Richardson, Raymond Felton & Emeka Okafor, but they have a long road ahead of them.

Wallace, unlike a lot of other rookies in 01-02, only has one true base Auto rookie; his SPx Auto/Jsy #'d 800 (actually a total of 2400 since there's 3 versions #'d to 800). It only books for $15 in Beckett, but on the actual market it's selling anywhere between $20 to $40 TAC right now. It's all about timing, so keep an eye on those listed on auction & you might be able to find a decent deal.

Wallace is only 25 years old and is just starting to settle down & focus on playing ball (we hope). I think that with his skill & athleticism, and limited number of Auto rookies, he could be a sleeper hit in the hobby sooner than later.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

NL ROY - How the Two Finalists Performed in the Market

The '07 NL ROY race was the closest ever under the current system. Ryan Braun beat out Troy Tulowitzki 128 to 126. Both players had outstanding seasons, and both of their rookie cards experienced tremendous growth throughout the year.

Braun's benchmark 05 Bowman Chrome Draft Auto RC peaked out in August at an average TAC of $172. From August, his batting average dropped from the .340's down to the .320's, and his BCD Auto RC fell in value to $130 in October, then got a little boost to $137 in November when he won the ROY, then fell again to $124 in December. So far in January, it's averaging $128, with it's most recent sales in the low $130's range.

Tulowitzki's 05 Topps Rookie Cup Auto RC (which has quite a few parallels) rose from it's average TAC value of $33 in July, to it's peak of $82 in November, as he helped his team get to the World Series. After he lost the ROY, his rookie cards became quite scarce. I didn't see any for sale in December, and only one so far in January, which sold for $67.04 TAC today (1/20). This card has parallels numbered to 399, 299, 199, 99 & 50.

Offensively, Braun was the better performer. In 113 games, he hit .324 with 34 HR & 97 RBI. In 155 games, Tulowitzki hit .291 with 24 HR & 99 RBI. From a fielding standpoint, Braun committed 26 errors compared to Tulowitzki's 11. It seems that offense typically gets more attention than defense, which is probably why Braun won out.

If you didn't buy into these players last year, it may be too late to find many good deals. One alternative to Braun's BCD Auto RC is his 05 Bowman Sterling Auto RC, which has been averaging $76 TAC this month, up from $68 in December, but still down from it's peak of $105 back in October. As for Tulowitzki, he only has the one Auto rookie, so you'll just have to keep your eye out for misspelled listings, auctions ending at odd times or some other type of opportunity!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Bynum Injured; Out 8 Weeks

Just when Andrew Bynum started to emerge as a star, he gets hurt, possibly blowing the Lakers' chances to take over the Pacific Division from the Suns. With Chris Mihm out for another couple of weeks, they'll have to rely on Kwame Brown to take over the center position. Very disappointing news! Hopefully the other players will be able to take up the slack and continue their successful run of 6 straight wins. Bynum was averaging 17.3 ppg & 12.2 rpg so far in January.

Bynum's rookie cards were just starting to pick up steam, with his 05-06 SP Authentic Auto RC #'d 1299 selling in the $40's range, and his SPx Auto/Jsy RC #'d 1499 averaging in the mid $60's. Since it's already been said that he's expected to make a full recovery, I wonder how much of an impact this injury will have on his values. I guess we'll probably see what typically happens in these situations; the optimists will hold off selling their cards/look for deals to buy, and the pessimists will start unloading their cards. Personally, I think we will see some pull-back in the market, but probably nothing too major.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

High-End Rookie Sales Report

Here are some high-end rookie & rookie-year parallel sales (TAC) over the past few months. After the year, card & player name is the month of the sale(s) and single or monthly average sales price.
  • 94-95 Finest Grant Hill Ref: 11/07 - $62.03, 12/07 - $97.80
  • 02-03 SPx A/J Spectrum Carlos Boozer #'d 25: 12/07 - $135.50
  • 03-04 SPA Auto Ltd Carmelo Anthony #'d 50: 12/07 - $192.50
  • 03-04 Exquisite A/P Carmelo Anthony #'d 99: 1/08 - $1,803.95
  • 03-04 SPx A/J Spectrum Leandro Barbosa #'d 25: 12/07 - $133.50, 1/08 - $117.28
  • 04-05 SPx A/J Spectrum Dwight Howard #'d 25: 11/07 - $486.99
  • 04-05 Exquisite A/P Dwight Howard #'d 99: 1/08 - $1,753.95
  • 05-06 Exquisite A/P Andrew Bynum #'d 225: 11/07 - $213.47, 12/07 - $259
  • 05-06 Exquisite A/P Deron Williams #'d 99: 11/07 - $950.98, 12/07 - $811.17
  • 05-06 Exquisite A/P Chris Paul #'d 99: 11/07 - $1,583.33, 12/07 - $1,013.95
  • 06-07 Exquisite A/P Brandon Roy #'d 99: 1/08 - $637.98
Aside from Grant Hill, all of these players will probably end up as the superstars for their respective positions for the next decade or so.

Friday, January 04, 2008

NBA Rookies on the Move

Below are some rookies that are selling at higher price levels so far in January versus December. The first price is the Dec average, and the second reflects the latest sales prices through the first 4 days of Jan.
  • 96-97 Topps Chrome Kobe - $109.46 -> $131.83
  • 98-99 SPA Paul Pierce #'d 3500 - $29 -> $36
  • 98-99 SPx Finite Paul Pierce #'d 2500 - $7.62 -> $15
  • 01-02 SPA Joe Johnson Auto #'d 1525 - $11.31 -> $14.93
  • 04-05 SPA Dwight Howard Auto #'d 999 - $160.51 -> $170.50
  • 05-06 SPx Andrew Bynum A/J #'d 1499 - $42.02 -> $60.65
  • 05-06 SPA Chris Paul Auto #'d 1299 - $57.73 -> $64.75
Keep an eye on Kendrick Perkins' rookies. He's now the starting center on the hottest team in the NBA. Although he's playing a supporting role to the big 3 stars on the team, it's allowing him to gain the attention of the hobby as a result. His 03-04 SPx Auto/Jsy RC #'d 1999 was selling for less than $5 TAC a year ago. It's averaging $11.11 this past week. Tony Allen is also set to rise in value.

A couple of the rookies that are selling at lower price levels are:
  • 02-03 SPx Amare Stoudemire A/J #'d 1999 - $48.85 -> $40.28
  • 03-04 SPx Carmelo Anthony A/J #'d 750 - $127.45 -> $113
Now is probably be a good time to pick up Gilbert Arenas rookies. Arenas hasn't played since 11/16, and his hobby standing has fallen significantly. It also didn't help that he ran off his mouth at the beginning of the season, and couldn't back it up. Sellers are holding off listing his key Auto rookies on auction, but you can probably find some good deals on his non-Auto Ultimate Collection RC #'d 750 & SPx RC #'d 1999, which were selling in the $50-70 & $30-50 ranges respectively last season.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Player Focus: David West

Power Forward David West is one of those players that has consistently improved each year, has been a consistent producer for his team, and has eluded the hobby spotlight. From the beginning of the season through 12/17, he averaged 18 ppg & 9.3 rpg. In his last 8 games, those numbers have increased to 24 ppg & 10.4 rpg, which have helped the Hornets to their current 7-1 run.

West's Auto rookies were easy finds for under $10 for most of his career; until recently. It seems like the hobby is finally starting to notice his contributions to this up-and-coming New Orleans team. I just saw one of his SPx Auto/Jsy RC's #'d 1999 sell for $18.50 TAC earlier today (probably a record high for this card!). In the near term, I'm guessing that you'll be able to pick up his SPx RC for around $10-15 TAC. If the Hornets can continue their success, and become one of the next-gen power teams, expect his values to rise. Collectors will probably start digging through their rookie common boxes, looking for those West cards that they had nearly forgotten about, from 5 long years ago.