Tuesday, October 19, 2010

No Pricing Due to Scarcity

These five words have become some of the the most dreaded words to me in the collection world. The baseball card hobby prides itself in makes variations upon variations of unique cards that keep us running back for more, finding a gem, throwing on a top-loader, and then scurrying to the nearest Beckett (you know you look) to see what the beauty is "worth".

And then you hit those words "No pricing due to scarcity"...and the balloon deflates. You stare at your card like it was some four-eyed alien and shrug your shoulders as you case it up and throw it into a box somewhere to vanish into obscurity until you find it and write a post like this.

Of course you could always toss it up on eBay to see what the card is worth. Of course you could also be severely underwhelmed as the card goes for WAY less than your "book value" and you are left feeling empty AND without a nice card.

Here are a few examples of some fortuitous pulls over the last year that qualify under the WTF pricing dilemma.

Topps Chicle Pablo Sandoval. Okay, one of the nicer auto's of the Chicle set...mmm....maybe $20 bones give or take a world series championship this season? But then...

BAM! Black umbrella back, numbered 12/25. One of two or three variations, this being tier two. Go to pricing guide..."No pricing due to scarity" DOH!

Ah, Evan Longoria Auto Relic from Topps unique. My first auto-relic. Go to the guide....BAM "no pricing due to scarcity". Seriously? Apparently there were only so many relic autos even produced that the dreaded words must apply.

> This one is the biggest mystery because neither of these guys really ring the bell for me, yet Beckett cannot even muster up a guess. While the auto subjects are not fantastic, I will say that the on-card TTM look to it, along with the horizontal scheme, really makes this a great card. I believe this subset is only 10 subjects (2 per card) and 25 cards each, so basically 125 total cards exist...sounds like it should be worth something, right? "No pricing due to scarcity".

It's not that I really want to sell or trade any of these. I guess my main argument is that a lot of us by a lot of product seeking unique treasures (yeah there are some base-hunters out there too, but I personally could not maintain the beast that became Mt St. Cardboard).

I just think that part of the fun of collecting is finding a great card and being able to thumb though a pricing guide, see a massive number, and feel like you beat the odds. "No pricing due to scarcity" really ruins that for me. I just think it's kind of lazy. Beckett feels they can throw a dart and put a price on more common cards, why can't they just do something like say it is worth a "gazillion" dollars or something...ANYTHING. Yeah sure, eBay market will dictate the price, but only at the cost of having to give up your card.

I just think in a hobby that is already rife with poor quality check standards, overpriced wax, and loads of worthless hits and autos, that somewhere and somehow you should have a rewarding feeling for pulling something great instead of question marks, a shrug of the shoulder, and tossing the card into a box.

Am I alone on this? What are some of your "no pricing due to scarcity" gems?


  1. I really wanted to know what the 1/21 Black 2009 Goudey Parallels were worth, since Beckett priced out all the other variations in that set.

    I have one, I like it, would love more.

  2. I agree completely. To me, "No pricing due to scarcity" means "No pricing because that means we might have to actually update this guide at some point."

  3. I just sent one of mine to CheckOutMyCards. An Absolute Memorabilia triple prime piece numbered 1/10. The other one I have is a Michael Jordan Radiance Autograph. I admit I do look to at least give me some sort of starting point if I'm interested in selling and those "five words" suck big time!

  4. What's ridiculous is I have a Chris Paul jersey card that's numbered to 50. 23 out of 28 cards in the set have pricing in various ranges, and of course mine doesn't. How can they not price 5 more cards? It's the same print run.

  5. Absolutely, that's inexcusable that 23 other cards with the same print run have ballpark figures while you are left scratching your head. I bet you were pretty disappointed and wish you could have had that Fabricio Oberto jersey instead!