Thursday, April 22, 2010

I Pledge Allegiance to Beckett

The blogosphere has a lot of passion about a great variety of subjects. Whether it be Upper Deck vs Topps, gimmick cards versus million junk card redemptions, or Bip Roberts vs Boof Bonser, there is a very polarizing aspect to bloggers and their beliefs.

I have held back far too long and I feel that it is time to reveal to you a very solid belief of mine about the great hobby of baseball card collecting...I am a big-time believer in the Beckett magazine and its pricing system.

I have bought a Beckett with every new release. I remember reading it as a kid, and when I started collecting again last spring I wanted to see whether the material was still relevant to the hobby as a whole. I was not disappointed.

I find the material invaluable in helping me plot the course of JD's collection. In my opinion, Beckett is right on the money with their product reviews and is able to provide invaluable insight about product contents, flaws, strengths, and pricing. I rarely, if ever, have disagreed with a Beckett review and I have continually thought about posting them in this blog as a reference for you all to aid you in your decisions.

I also very much enjoy the articles, especially those pertaining to top-selling and sought-after prospects. Beckett magazine lets me know who is out there, where to find them, how much I should pay for them, as well as who to avoid and who is overpriced. Any collector can easily benefit for the vast amount of effort and knowledge that Beckett puts forth each and every issue. It is a tool to maintain balance in the collecting universe, and one that I am proud to say I use religiously.

So why all the hatred? Well, being devil's advocate I can certainly see how many are put off by the assumed "value" placed on each card. I know it can be hard to stomach this some times, but realistically about 99% of all cards produced are crap. They are of sentimental value at best. Worst case scenario, Beckett will be able to confirm that indeed your card is crap and that you should either throw it away because it just takes up space, and you would be doing everybody else a favor by making their crap slightly more valuable do to increased scarcity.

As for the pricing itself, how incredible is it to find an all-comprehensive guide covering all products and all subsets of those products? And the low-high pricing in ingenious in that it gives you that range that you are looking for. Everybody always complains about not being able to gauge a true value of cards...well thanks to the high/low figures, a good spectrum of averages becomes possible, thus allowing the collector to protect themselves against a lopsided trade or a shorted sale price.

Beckett also is very generous to all of you relic collectors, by offering generous estimates of a relic card's value. While I personally find relics to be a total waste of time, at least if I do pull a relic, Beckett is there to protect me and give me trade value for a card that I really do want.

One difficulty with Beckett is the "no pricing due to scarcity" on many short printed and low serial-numbered products. While many find this to be a detriment to the hobby, I believe it is extremely useful because it lets you know that something that you have pulled is very special and should make you feel good about yourself. Isn't that part of the joy of collecting, to feel good about your collection?

What else can I possibly say? Again, I know this is a touchy subject and everybody has an opinion, but at the end of the day, we all use Beckett in one form or another, and we all rely on their expertise in the baseball card collecting business to aid us in our decisions. We should all be thankful that they are here to help.


  1. I like the articles. The big pulls, the cool collections, the product previews, all good aspects. The quality of writing by Olds, not so good. The price guide, ridiculous. Why do you think you can get patch/relic cards on eBay for under a buck? I will tell ya. because that's what they are worth. They ain't worth what Beckett says. The 'LOW' book should be one cent. Period. As for not getting ripped off in a trade... If you want a card, and a trader wants one of your cards, why does it matter one bit what some jackball at Beckett thinks?

  2. so lets say that you are a big Mario Mendoza fan. You and he went to different schools together, or whatever. You find a guy out there that collects Pujols, of whom you happen to have a rookie card. You can't stand Pujols so you would gladly trade your Pujols for his Mendoza, right?

  3. Are you kidding? I have abstained from the Beckett/No Beckett argument forever, but there is one big fat thing about them that is obviously ridiculous. Pricing. Their price guide is absurd. Sure, I guess you could use it as a "relative" price guide, like this card is "worth" twice as much as that, but the prices are essentially plucked out of thin air. Cards fall in the same open market as all collectibles and valuables, and their price guide does not reflect the reality of that market in any way. It's not that the cards that we think are crap are listed as such, its that they are listed as not crap.

    The bottom line is this: cards are only worth what someone is willing to pay, and by and large the Beckett price guide ignores the actual real-world prices in this way and instead goes for absurdly overinflated prices that do not reflect the market. It's as crazy as Beckett giving a HV of $4 to a dollar bill. That's how out of touch the pricing is.

  4. I'm actually reading a Beckett right now...huh, Heyward is going to be a sought after card? Now that seems like a stretch...

  5. Me I like Tuff Stuff. Same BS only cheaper. Come on what does an issue of Beckett cost now per sport 9 bucks? Lets face it Beckett or TS it's all a guide. A GUIDE. Price Guide!!! Plus Tuff Stuff has there comprehensive price guide on their website for free. The only thing Beckett has for free on there site is the ad links. Plus Tuff Stuff's parent company puts out the Bible of Baseball cards the Standard Catalog. It's freaking awesome. Not so much for pricing, which it has, but just for the reference and info in there. And to be honest if you want what cards are worth do an ebay search on finished auctions there you'll see what your card is worth. But it's like I always say you like what you like. Hell I like the late 80's Topps Baseball sets. Why? God I wish I know,maybe it's the smell. JD's Daddy I knew you posted this to get a rise out of people, nicely played sir. Oh and I'll plug too for pricing, it's hit or miss sometimes but can be useful.

  6. I'm so angry right now I am pleading the fifth.

    One, two, three, four... FIF!

    Nicely played indeed. I'm not necessarily anti-price guides, if they are used strictly as guides, and not gospel. You've got to have some sort of reference point, especially for nice pulls. There are 4 issues of Sports Collector's Monthly floating around here somewhere. They just started showing up at a good friends house, who is not a collector. He's always getting random mags like that. Dude gets freakin Architecture Digest for some reason as well, and trust me, he hasn't built anything since Legos. Anyway, long story short... people are gonna fight about this, and it's going to be fun to read.

    Sometimes it shocks me how close some eBay completed listings are to the average of Beckett hi and low.

  7. You is loco.... and I LIKE it!

  8. Is this a late April Fools Day post?