It's been a couple weeks of frustrating back-and-forth internal dialogue when it comes to my player collecting. I've been torn with what I think about some of the new cards out there. But I've had enough sleeps on it and today, I am going to say some words that in my 20 years of Trevor Linden collecting.....I've never said.
If you read my last post from a couple weeks ago, you'll know that In The Game (in its final days producing products under its own brand moniker) recently released Superlative Vault. These are cards that were leftovers from the ITG Superlative archive. I believe they were cards that would be used as replacements should the need arise to deal with damaged product. These are cards that have been printed, assembled, cut and on standby.
There are some pretty spectacular memorabilia cards in the release and the product run is extremely small (because there just wasn't the overstock on hand in the shop I suppose). Regardless, the desirability factor is very volatile within the hobby.
Some are gobbling up this product as fast as they can. And why not - it's great bang for your buck. Others (like myself) are hesitant to pick up any new pieces for the pc. Overpricing (at least from the Linden card front) and just a lack of excitement for product that has been recycled too many times now has left me on a bit of a downer.
Fast forward to today.....and ITG's latest announcement.
UM is what I would consider to be In The Game's highest-end product. And I've spent a number of years (and a decent chunk of change) chasing down some key cards for my Linden collection from these sets.
Heck, some of the pinnacle pieces in my personal collection are from ITG Ultimate Memorabilia.
When I learned today this product was coming out (and I'm assuming Linden will be well represented in it), any desire to chase was extinguished.
I can appreciate that there will be many collectors clamoring over these cards and I'm confident there will be some spectacular items coming out of these boxes.
But it leaves me thinking that my years of chasing the original releases will just not be as special to me.
When I see this, I think "one-of-a-kind".
The thought that another card like this (maybe not exact) could be included in Ultimate Vault leaves me torn. Actually, it leaves me saddened. I'm already looking at the above card differently. I don't see the thrill of finding it and acquiring it.......all I can think about is Ultimate Vault and stamped cards. I don't like that at all.
I think that the pattern of those with deep pockets reaching even deeper to hoard these products...only to see singles show up on the secondary market with inflated prices will just continue to grow.
As it is, I have a watchlist on ebay that has 20 or so cards on it which are in some way "stamped". Some have been on there for years, and I see them continuing to be there for many more. Oversaturation....and overpricing.
To think that the saturation level of these stamped variations will be going up even more has led me to make a very important announcement.
I will not be chasing any of the Trevor Linden cards to come out of ITG's Ultimate Vault. It does not matter what the price tag is on them - I want no part of the product. I won't entertain offers and I won't be looking on ebay for them. They'll pass right on by like it's a card I've already crossed off the list. This product does not exist in my eyes.
I feel that these "recycled" releases, while excellent for anyone who wants to gamble on some nice memorabilia items they might not have in previous years, are nothing more than a product dump from the company. As well, I think that these releases are geared more for the "flippers" as opposed to the collectors. The secondary market will continue to be flooded with these cards - and many at higher asking prices than their original release prices.
I think people who took a loss on the products the first time around now have a chance to "get a little closer to even".
Not me though. The only thing I'd like to get from Ultimate Vault is a checklist of Linden cards in the product. And I doubt I'll even see that.
My end-of-May hiatus can't come soon enough. I may even start early now.