This Week in Sports Cards #2

Financial markets announced this morning that Topps is going public, again, through a Special Purpose Acquisition (SPAC) deal with Mudrick Capital, which values Topps at around $1.3B, or almost 4 Mike Trout rookie cards. More on this next week.

Empty Case Collecting

I was browsing eBay last week and came across a rare 1979-80 Topps Hockey Card Empty Wax Box Case, listed for $1599.

1979 Topps Hockey Empty Wax Box Case

And it reminded me about how many different hobby segments there are. But you may be asking yourself, does anyone actually collect empty cases, boxes sure, but cases? They do indeed. So I wanted to share a few empty case photos from my archives.

At the 2019 National in Chicago, I snapped this photo of an incredible collection from the guys over at Vintage Breaks / Just Collect.

Vintage Breaks Empty Case Collection

It’s an incredible collection that displays beautifully and was one of the show’s highlights, but I have no idea how Leighton Sheldon stores them! You definitely don’t want to break them down since most old cardboard is brittle after all these years.

Later in the year, I ran across a collector who framed a few empty cases to display with his unopened box collection from the same set. But you probably wouldn’t want to cut up multi-hundred/thousand dollar vintage empty cases.

Framed Empty Sports Card Case

Another empty case image I saw recently was shared by the folks at Dave & Adam’s Card World of a set of empty 1986 Fleer Basketball Cases.

3 1986 Fleer Basketball Empty Wax Cases

I have a single empty wax case in my collection. It’s a 1978 Topps Basketball case since I used to be a big collector of the set, but a little more about this particular case in a future dedicated blog post.

1978 Topps Basketball Empty Wax Case

Whether it’s a display piece for your office, man cave, background for youtube/podcast interviews, or as a way to augment an unopened box collection, I think empty cases can be a great addition to a sports card collection.

Hobby Reads

PSA Halts Grading & SGC Triples Prices

On March 30th, 2021, PSA suspended card submissions. The next day, perhaps as a result, or perhaps also from a massive influx of cards, SGC tripled their grading prices.

Obviously, demand is high (particularly from modern collectors), and there are a lot of ways to take this news. Some feel these companies sat on their laurels, couldn’t read the market, and were left on their heels. Some see the companies taking advantage of collectors; others say it’s just supply/demand economics. Some collectors see this as a big opportunity for new entries to 3rd party graded to take a market piece. PSA, BGS, and SGC have been the big three for a while, with PSA certainly being the dominant force. Perhaps this is the opening for CSG/GMA/HGA to take market share?

I lean towards the “every company is a technology company” line, and none of the big-3 has pushed innovation the past few years. Back in July 2020, you could see this coming when CSG entered the market; and I wrote a piece about how these companies have to accelerate change, embrace technology, or risk being replaced. Now, graders, dealers, and collectors (not to mention shareholders) are suffering from these companies’ inaction slow action.

I hope these companies take the opportunity to adapt, innovate, and find ways to provide continued and valued service to the hobby. And, if you are an entrepreneur, there has never been a better time to provide a new product, focused on customer service, to an aggravated hobby.

In the News

  • The online sports card marketplace, Starstock, got an $8M cash infusion.
  • Even ESPN is reporting on high-end card sales, this time discussing the $2.25M sale of a 2000 Playoff Contenders Championship Rookie Signed Ticket Card.
  • iMore highlighted a baseball card artist reimagining some class vintage cards.
  • I hope my collection doesn’t magically change from physical to digital in front of my eyes, NBC is reporting that sports cards have gone virtual.
  • Goldin Auctions is going to start accepting crypto as payment for cards.
  • Sports Collectors Daily reported that the Chicago Sports Spectacular was canceled and that this summer’s National is still at risk.

Uncut Sheet Storage

I started this post by talking about the difficulty of storing empty cases, but how about uncut sheets? Back in February, I wrote an article called 5 Reasons to Collect Uncut Sheets of Sports Cards. I put my money where my writing was and purchased a set of 1990 Topps baseball in uncut form.

1990 Topps Baseball Set in 6 Uncut Sheets

And while I have an uncut sheet of 1982 Topps Baseball (Cal Ripken RC) on my office wall, I have no idea how to store these 6 sheets or any more that I would like to acquire. If you have any advice, I’d really appreciate you reaching out on Twitter or in the comments below.

Hot Tweets

Contact me at if you have any updates, news items, comments, corrections, suggestions, or questions. All are appreciated.

Leave a Reply