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Old 04-23-2022, 02:26 PM
OPC Baseball Obsessed OPC Baseball Obsessed is offline
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Default Is 1970-1990 Football the Next Collector Card Growth Era?

This seems like preaching to the choir in the "Vintage Football Cards" section of the site, but I had an interesting conversation with a colleague and collector about the new generation of semi-pro collector, and isn't there a really strong argument that the next group of solid, steady and fan-based vintage cards will come out of these football sets considering (1) the tainting of the PED era in baseball and its two biggest stars (which is ridiculous, IMO, but relevant here); (2) the general decrease in the popularity of baseball running consistently through age demographics; (3) the "junk era" production essentially nullifying a great majority of the baseball sets from 1988-1994/5; (4) the 'single star' element of modern basketball cards; and (5) the reasonably limited production of all FB cards of this era? The explosion of the Payton card(s) surely backs this up.

Would like to hear everyone's take on this.
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Old 04-23-2022, 04:23 PM
G1911 G1911 is offline
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I hope to one day become a semi-pro collector.
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Old 04-24-2022, 10:39 AM
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Cliff Bowman Cliff Bowman is offline
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I detest all of the airbrushed out team emblems and helmetless photos of Topps 70's football cards because Topps didn't want to pay the licensing fees, but maybe that's a non factor with most collectors now.
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Old 04-24-2022, 06:10 PM
G1911 G1911 is offline
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I think it is unlikely because:

1) Production for 1970-1990 was very high, making it difficult for their to be a shortage of supply of Topps cards (except the 1972 3rd series). There has to be huge demand for their not to be a surplus of cards

2) There are lots of NRMT+ condition cards too, except for maybe the 1971's. Not many condition rarities either.

3) Football does not celebrate it's history like baseball does.

4) The popularity of the sport has less to do with it than most think, I suspect. For good or bad, baseball is simply associated with cards in a way that nothing else is. Baseball has been loss popular than Football for something like 40, 50 years now, but Baseball cards remain the card leader.

5) Related to 3, there are very few truly iconic players in football history. Mays, Mantle, Aaron, Clemente, Jackie. There aren't players like this in football that carry that cultural and general recognition among the public. It is true for Jim Brown, but he's 1958. It is true for Joe Namath, though I don't think he will do so well as that generation that loved him passes on (unlike Mickey Mantle, he doesn't hold up statistically - Namath is almost a pure nostalgia character). Who are the icon rookies between 1970 and 1980? Payton, as mentioned. OJ is... tainted. There are some in the 80's but by 1981 the print run was massive, there's a Montana rookie for everyone who wants one that keeps a cap on its value (I'm sure PSA 10's will prove a good investment long term still). The Bradshaw may have some room to advance, 71's are condition sensitive and there's a more finite cap on NRMT copies of his card than most.

6) Football remains an American sport. If I was not a collector but a pure speculator, I would gamble on vintage basketball stars over vintage football.

That said, I'm an idiot and am often wrong.
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Old 04-24-2022, 07:19 PM
Joeybats Joeybats is offline
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I want to apologize for the long post but this is something I think a lot about these days. Feel free to scroll past if you'd like.

My feeling is that the modern cards are immediately placed in high grade holders or sent out for grading with the intention of many to "invest" or "flip". I really think that many of the "stars" of today may be forgotten in five years or less. The modern card market is a cash play that will end terribly for a number of "collectors". I don't care if someone has a /10 or /5 card, if the player is not generational who really cares about the scarcity.

While others have mentioned that the production numbers for those cards between the 70s and 90s were high, I would take pause. Most of those of us who collected in the 70s were not placing our cards in hermetically sealed holders after we pulled them from the packs. Although production numbers in the 70s were higher than the limited /10 or /5 cards today, we are able to look at the stars of that era and find highly collectible, clean cards that are not as "available" as the production numbers may have you believe. Many of those 70s star cards ended up in the spokes of bicycles or in less than perfect condition as a result of a game of flipping.

I say vintage all the way. I say raw all the way if you are collecting for the fun of collecting.

I also say don't sleep on vintage football, basketball or hockey. Hindsight is far more accurate than foresight. Tell that to the guy that left me with an 800 count box of Ray Lankford rookie cards in a lot I purchased a few years ago. Those same type of "investors" are ruining the hobby again and are hoarding the current bunch of Lankfords. Those aren't collectors, they are the ones that think they will retire on their investments.
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Old 04-24-2022, 08:05 PM
G1911 G1911 is offline
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I think the supply of nice copies is pretty large by the time we get to the 70's. Just pulling some of the big ones for each decade:

1970 OJ - over 1,500 in PSA 7-10
1972 Staubach #200 - over 1,000 in PSA 7-10
1976 Topps Payton - over 5,000 in PSA 7-10

There's some regrades, plenty in SGC, Beckett holders and plenty more that are raw and in NRMT or better condition still (Greg Morris seems to have several a week sometimes), so there are many more than this number. I'd call this a large supply considering the interest in football history.

For the 80's, it's what I would think is massive:
1981 Montana - over 15,000 in PSA 7-10
1984 Marino - over 19,000 in PSA 7-10
1986 Rice - over 21,000 in PSA 7-10

I think it's true that there is a shortage of nice and clean examples for the 50's:
1952 Bowman Gifford - less than 100 smalls, less than 100 larges in PSA 7-10
1957 Starr - less than 500 in PSA 7-10
1958 Brown - a hair under 700 in PSA 7-10

I'm sure the 10's will prove nice investments for the investors, but I'm not sure there's a market for these to explode across the board when there are so many clean copies out there for players who don't have the historical interest the baseball legends do. I think the high end 50's stuff will do great, only a fraction of the interest is needed to throw off the supply demand equation there.
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