Monday, February 3, 2014

The Falling Price of Minis

I posted the results of my 2014 Topps Jumbo box here over the weekend and spelled out my collecting priorities for assembling the first series of the set over the next few weeks.  First on my list of probable pickups was the completion of the 1989 minis set.  After making a list of cards needed to complete all of my insert sets, picking out a few autographs and relics to target, I set out onto Ebay to find out how much I could expect to be out through all of my purchases.

After looking at the pricing trends on the Minis I have decided to adjust my priorities slightly.  The 1989 mini set appeared tough at first.  The cards are seeded at 2 per hobby box or five per jumbo box.  Assuming you do not pull any dupes, it is going to take a few cases to put together a complete set of minis.  The secondary market seemed to share this thought during pre-sales leading up to the release of Series 1.

With pre-sales reaching highs over $100 I thought the process of putting together a mini-set would be slow with the best approach being to piece together the set from lots and singles picked up in sales and trades.  The minis then started to trend down slightly right before the release of the set.

$75 is certainly better than the initial sales figures, but that is still steep pricing for a stack of minis.  Consider that in past year's most case breakers selling Master Sets on Ebay included the minis as a part of their sale, along with the base set and three or four other inserts, and usually sold them for around $100-$120.  With the price of the minis running high this year, the price of Master Set sales has also escalated to well north of $150 to $200.  That's steep too.  Luckily, the prices tumbled a bit more once the cards actually started to hit the shelves and collectors started to get the cards in their hands.

At the end of the first week the prices had slid back into the mid $50s.  Again, pricy for an insert set of minis from a base Topps set, but still a lot of people bought these sets at this price.  Now, before we move on, please note that in the week surrounding the release of Topps 1, the 1989 minis went from multiple sales at, or over, $100 and by the end of the week had been nearly cut in half.  It's not unusual for cards to settle in price after they have been out on the market for a few days, or even weeks.  Die hard player collectors or set builders often push the prices on cards upon their initial release for the sake of quickly assembling the cards they need for their collection.  Again, this is a huge drop.  However, it gets worse and if you are a collector who buys sets off of Ebay, and you bought at one of the top two prices, do not read any further.

Magically over the weekend the price almost fell by half again.  The price just north of $30 is not just an isolated sale that I picked out.  There are several sets which have sold at this price in the last 24 hours.  Meaning that the 1989 Minis set has gone from selling in the low 100s and high 90s all the way to 30 dollars in the course of a week.  Now, it would be fun to piece together this set in singles and a few lots, but by the time I pay shipping I will probably be paying way more than the $30 I could just buy the set for.  So, I am going to make a compromise and hold out for a large lot.  There is something not very sporting about just buying a set off of Ebay.  I promise I won't.

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