Let’s start with apathy
When you show your cards to most people their response is going to mirror that of this squirrel. The card could feature a good player, or have a nice design, but really most people just don’t care and they’ll slump over like they have no bones. They’re self-absorbed and too busy giving themselves to the infinte dance scroll that is TikTok.
Even if they feign the slightest interest in your 1991 Fleer cards, it will disappear after they finish giggling. You see they are only nostalgic for the adolescent jokes they once made about the name of all-everything award winning pitcher Orel Hershiser. Oh, which will then make them think of Dick Trickle. They might even say his name out loud with an intonation reminiscent of Butthead.
This is all true and you know it.
Haha, look at the fat guy wearing purple Crocs and a sequined dickie dancing to Boot Scootin’ Boogy. And they’ve already moved on.
People won’t pay money for useless crap that they don’t care about. That’s your 1988 Donruss Diamond Kings set. It’s your 2017-18 Prizm Lonzo Ball rookie. It’s your 1994-95 Upper Deck Eric Lindros. My website hosting plan doesn’t allocate enough storage space for me to list them all. Just know it includes almost all the players and almost all the cards. It doesn’t matter if the card is autographed, shiny, has a square inch of supposedly game used jersey, whatever. People not giving a crap about the player does a pretty good job of rendering it Worthless.
People will pay for useless crap that is currently holding their attention though. For example, Candy Crush in-app purchases or some shit like that. They’re addicted AF. But, aren’t we all?
Apathy is only part of the equation. There is more to it. Don’t think you’re clear of shacking up in the Worthless dorm just because you’ve got a stack of Michael Jordan cards.
Jumping Jesus on a pogo stick that’s the proverbial 10 gallons of shit in a 5 gallon bucket, no? Well, there sure is one thing humans are good at and that thing is making poor life decisions after a night of heavy drinking. Christ, how else can you explain why there are over 8 billion of us making each other miserable. Keep it in your pants fellas. Oh and we conveniently f-up the environment with wreckless abandon as we scurry about doing shit that is of no importance. Awesome side effect.
On top of that we are a greedy and narcissistic lot. There’s one way to assure I’m superior to you and that is for me to have much more money than you. Isn’t that what really matters?
Enter the sports card manufacturers. Man this joint is ripe with the stench of shysterism. Anyway, they’re corporations (or as the US Supreme Court likes to call them, people) so what do you expect? Somewhere along the way it was decided that the most noble cause is for companies to maximize value for shareholders, the most righteous of the species.
The math here is pretty simple. Licensing fees and design costs are fixed no matter how many cards are produced. Gotta pay the billionaire owners of the teams not to sue you for promoting their product. That shit ain’t cheap. Designers on the other hand are more of a nuisance. Their pay sucks and is nothing by comparison.
Manufacturing costs per card are generally lower the more cards you make. How do you maximize that sweet sweet profit then? Run those printing presses like a mother and flood the market. If your clueless retailers (s’up Walmart and Target) are just on autopilot and blindly buy whatever junk you make, you’re golden.
Cards are not rare. The print run for most is in the range of hundreds of thousands to millions of copies each. Probablilty says that what you got is nothing special.
In addition, the greedy bastards make like a forty different sets each and every year. Players with mild success and long careers can have well over a billion cards produced. Oh, no, definitely not talking about you Carmelo.
This is the second part of the Worthless equation, overproduction. Just cause your card features a player everyone knows and idolizes and most definitely didn’t get suspended for a gambling problem, it doesn’t mean your card is worth jack shit. Enter the Worthless 1990-91 NBA Hoops Michael Jordan card as just one example. I just found one sold on eBay for $0.29 plus $0.98 for shipping. Whoever sold that card took a loss just on the eBay fees. Damn.
People don’t pay for useless crap that is exceedingly common. Common useless crap is not special enough to inflate their ego. Without a big old inflated ego how can they possibly inflict their superiority complex upon those around them?
Overproduction is a bitch. It takes what you’re sure should make you enough coin to buy a new house and makes you look like a sucker. It’s the thing most people don’t consider when they let their imagination dream about their incredible sports card find. Take it from me, go the safe route and know your shit is Worthless. That way you won’t be disappointed.
Obsession with the pristine
People have this weird ass obsession with things being pristine. Take good old Madonna here. She has a baby. Big fricken deal, right? Being a single mother sucks. Just ask Antonio Cromartie’s baby mammas. Oh, but Mary here, you see, she’s a virgin (pristine – wink) so it must be the most special baby ever. So special that everyone here has a glowing golden ring around their head. Hey everybody, let’s spend millenia praising, adoring, and most importantly, tithing in honor of her and her immaculate crotch fruit.
By the way, check out the buff body on baby Jesus there. Also, what the hell? Could you put a more creepy hairdo and facial expression on that thing? That’s one ugly ass Jesus. He be giving me nightmares for real.
WTF does this have to do with sports cards? Well, people that pay the big bucks for cards are afflicted with OCD. The card they buy has to be more pristine than all the others. It all ties back to the big gulp sized ego and the need to feel superior. Amongst the teeny tiny group of people who give a shit about 1988-89 O-Pee-Chee Brett Hull cards, you gotta have the Madonna-like pristine one so you can gloat within your little social circle. It currently costs them around 4 grand for this honor to be bestowed upon them..
Don’t worry yourself about getting that kind of money. You don’t have that card. Yours is Worthless. First, yours was made by Topps and not O-Pee-Chee. That matters to these egomaniacs, even though 99.9% of folks couldn’t tell them apart. That is, if they bothered to look up from their phone long enough to see them side by side. Also, yours was manufactured with the picture off-center, rough jagged edges, and a various array of blobs and dots of stray ink from the printing process. On top of that, the corners have been slightly bent from jostling around inside a shoe box for the last 35 years. Nope, you’ve got yourself a flawed rectangle of thin cardboard and that’s pretty much it. One just like yours sold on eBay last week for $2.99.
Condition of your card is the third leg holding up our wobbly Worthless stool. The value is not about the card itself. The value is about social standing and stroking egos. Buyers of cards have decided to put outsized importance, and therefore money, behind the idea of condition. So, let’s say you somehow dodged the apathy and overproduction bullets. Your card is still likely Worthless. It is certainly worth less than the triumphant sale prices spouted off by social media snake oil salesmen. Yours is flawed. Nobody tithes in honor of a single mother from Odessa with a regular old baby named Jesus.