Continued from last post
We also collected a lot of non-sports super hero cards.
The popularity and success of the 1990 Marvel Universe card line caused many other sets and series to be produced from both Marvel and DC. The biggest problem with DC’s first line of cards, Cosmic Cards was one glaring thing.
No, it wasn’t because that they were more cheaply made and less innovative design. It was the fact that they were missing the most currently successful character that DC had, Batman.
But low and behold, you could open all the packs to your hearts content trying to locate a Batman card to go along with all the other DC super hero cards and never a single find one.
That’s because Warner Bros. had the exclusive rights for ole’ Batsy’s trading card license. So DC decided to just not even include him or even Robin card. However, there was a Nightwing card at least.
Depsite all of that the DC Cosmic Cards also suffered because of it’s daunting 180 complete card set. That’s just to many damn cards to collect!
Compile that with uneven production, and no inserts except for 10 Hologram cards. All that makes for a meager outing when compared to Marvel’s initial launch into the trading card world. They sold well I’m sure, but fell off quickly. They still aren’t very sought or valued today, but that is not always so bad, at least for me.
I found my old set and need to fill in a card or two in better condition, and it’s a buyers market out there for these cards!
They should have used cards of the cool comic covers and the like for special inserts instead for normal cards in the set.
That would have been a new idea at the time and probably helped this series retain a little more popularity and value in the long run.
The pinnacle of trading card collecting came with the magazine publication Tuff Stuff’s Collect! magazine.
It was a monthly publication dedicated to pricing non-sports cards. The hobby had grown so much that their was indeed demand for a publication such as Tuff Stuff’s Collect!.
Upon reading them I found a lot of letters wrote in by subscribers and articles. Many of them had the same points, all of which I found interesting. Here’s a few of them that I will excerpt from randomly:
From State of the Hobby By Jim Nicewander
“Whatever happened to the hobby we used to know?”
“In their world [sports card collectors 25 years ago as described in 1994] the answer was simple: greed.”
“Sports card collecting became an industry.”
“With sports cards, it seemed that just about every collector became a dealer-in attitude if not in trade.”
“Collectors began to worry less about personal favorites and more about resale value.”
“Today , there are scads of non-sports dealers…There are so many companies producing so many new cards that it’s almost impossible to keep up with them. And if manufacturer is constantly trying to come up with the next hot gimmick.”
“This type of growth is good for the hobby; it means more cards available at competitive prices.”
“So far, they’ve [the multitude of hi-tech gimmicks and manufacturers] only helped to increase the number of collectors.”
I won’t even get into the phone cards collecting that then took place. From what I read, the editor went vacation for his honey moon [From the Editor:Postcard from Aruba; JAN 1995], then he discovered phone cards because he was worried about how the magazine was coming along even though he was on vacation. He had to call using phone cards from overseas.
And viola! He ended up with all these used phone cards and didn’t throw them away (collecting them) and thus wrote about it and then creating attention for a new hobby, or offshoot of the all ready existing one. Back then print media was the way of communication, especially for the latest information. Now it’s all internet, but back then magazines and newspapers took care of things.
From letters to Collect! Polls, Promos, and Price Guides: Comments and Questions from our readers (Tuff Stuff’s Collect! Magazine; March 1995)
Gainsville, FL. said:
“After 25 years of collecting cards and comics and approximately three years of dealing, I would like to offer the following news…”
“The good: Most everybody is happy…move(s) to a more realistic price listings in several guides are also a plus.”
“The bad: Most everybody is unhappy, frustrated, and downright ticked off over a market glutted with product…too many chase cards…too many levels of chase cards…too many extra gimmick cards…”
“I see a preponderance of greedy, unscrupulous dealers overcharging at every opportunity, as the “sports card” mentality becomes more infused in non-sports [cards].”
Largo, FL said:
“I enjoy Collect! magazine…”
“[the single-card promos you insert in your magazine (Ty Cobb Cola-Cola Collection)] [dealers] out there [sell] …a $2 or $3 card to a little boy or girl for $35.”
“I go to card shows…and see it all the time.”
“I’ve had to chance to stop a sale by pointing out the “Tuff Stuff’s Collect!” logo on the back of your “Coca-Cola Collection” Ty Cobb and Polar Bear insert cards.”
“[dealers] are in the business to make money…”
Sounds like to me people were unhappy for legitimate reasons. One main one, greed. It’s just as simple as that, every one wanting to cash in on that cow. Then they do and the milk the utter dry.
And even the magazine themselves (Tuff Stuff’s Collect!) were cashing in with making promo cards available with their bagged monthly publications to help them sell their magazines. Then compounding the bigger problem indirectly by providing these promo cards to dealers taking said cards and reselling for a scalping profit.
Elements like that are what I feel, led to further downfalls within the collecting society and still do to a degree today, but that is the nature of life and business as with anything.
The aftermath from the crash of the mini boom from the comics sales from speculation and big story lines like Batman being broken, and Sup’s Death by Doomsday in the 1990’s didn’t help things either. DC wasn’t alone in this cause of speculation and surplus, Todd McFarlane I’m looking at you with your beginning a whole new trend of Spider-Man bagged, variant covers.
Thanks to him, Zenescope is still making their product be about the collectability of the of the cover and not enough about the comic itself.
After all that, I finally started also becoming more interested in other things, mainly females. But at the same time I still had money to spend on a hobby. That hobby had to be something, and it was Magic the Gathering.
I played MTG when I was in the seventh grade starting with 4th edition. I abandoned the game for several years leaving my cards safely shelved.
Later on a friend in high school took a large interest in the game suddenly and I disclosed to him how I had a stash of cards from when I used to play years ago.
At first he didn’t believe me, but when I delivered my large collection of cards as promised, he then ate his words. We ended up sorting through them and I enjoyed being able to once again trade them, even though they were my old cards.
We never played in any tournaments or anything like that, we just enjoyed playing for fun. Many times we would have four way multi-player games where it was every man for himself.
Temporary alliances were always formed but soon broken at the precise time (usually after a strong arsenal, and good hand were established, or when you were going to have to discard something wastefully), sometimes meaning you had to throw a rock in the pond.
But it was always loads of laughter and fun. Those were good card collecting days still, roughly in 1999-2000 up until the end of 2001.
After that I didn’t really think much of collecting much. The little bit that I did collect was video games and even then I stopped playing those altogether for awhile too. It was a different time in my life but a time of discovery.
After my hiatus from gaming and collecting, I eventually came back to collecting cards with Wacky Package ANS2 in 2006. It reminded me of collecting them when I was young, but being an adult with more money to spend, I enjoyed opening pack after pack and the thrill of sliding each one into it’s sleeve until I had the complete set. It was true bliss to be back collecting cards, collecting anything! I was’t worried about the investment either, I just wanted to collect the set because I enjoyed seeing all the different spoofs. But again, even as we speak today, it has become an industry respectfully. I had to make sure I protected them and of course when they offer you an official collectors album, they can get you hook, line and sinker.
Wacky Packages is even a culprit for buying into the gimmicky stunts, not that Topps hasn’t (They were responsible for the cheap Batman movie cards). Take for instance their latest Wacky Packages erasers. They are really cool, but how and they hell am I supposed to store these? (Maybe the local craft stores will have a button or bead case that will work? I don’t know!)
Again it’s the same issue I had with pogz years ago, and when you can’t collect something the way you would like, you lose interest and fans tend to wane from collecting entirely.
However, I have to agree with some of the points that were stated earlier, I think things like the erasers help and also hurt but in the end are overall good. I still want to get a set, but then what will I do with them? Such is the dilemma of a collector I suppose.
I’ll update if you I do get a set!
Thanks for reading this article. Please check back again soon for more topics on collecting!