Four things to be careful of when buying new product

Dollar stacks

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Over the last years I have noticed several pitfalls I think everyone needs to be aware of when buying new product. Some I have experienced myself, others I have seen others experience, and some were more costly than others.

So I thought it was a good idea to write this guide to make everyone aware of some of the possible pitfalls! This article is focused on trading cards and other collectible cards, but you may of course apply each advice as you see fit on every product imaginable.

Make sure you actually like the product

This is one I have experienced myself. In the past I have bought boxes of different franchises and lately I’ve been buying and diversifying even more, also partly for my Box Break content on this blog.

You really need to like and want the product that you are buying. Yes, there are absolutely awesome hits that will make you enjoy all products no matter what. But for every box with an awesome hit there are probably a dozen boxes with not so great hits, and those are the ones you need to enjoy too!

For me personally one experience I will always remember is buying two boxes of Topps Chrome Star Wars Galaxy 2021 just over a year ago. I wanted to open more affordable Topps Chrome product after really getting into Topps Chrome Formula 1 2020 and those boxes were about 200 euro each and looked cool, so I decided to go for it!

I was not a Star Wars fan however at that time and had only seen some of the movies long ago and thus I couldn’t even relate to many of the scenes that are portrayed on the cards and the box opening was actually quite lackluster. It was however one of the reasons for me to really get into Star Wars and having watched all the movies and several shows over the last year I can now say that I absolutely love the product and love looking back at the pulls from the boxes I opened back then!

And very recently I did it again as can be seen in my Upper Deck Space Jam: A New Legacy Box Break article, and even though I had an extra reason for it this time, it still did not feel right and it was actually not that enjoyable.

So only buy product that you really like! And if you are opening the product for different reasons than personal enjoyment, even then you should at least somewhat like it in my opinion.

Check if the product is not overpriced

I’ll start off with an example to further illustrate my point.

The Topps Chrome Star Wars Galaxy 2021 set was sold by Topps for $99.99. It got sold out pretty quickly and initially rose to $150-200 on eBay and is now up to even $600-700. Click here to view its current price on eBay.

This made it a no-brainer for Topps to release Topps Chrome Star Wars Galaxy 2022 at a new price point, and that actually happened just a few days ago. And when seeing $600-700 prices for the 2021 product on eBay then it would be unwise to sell it again at $99.99, so they decided to go with $300.00 this time! People are willing to pay big for Star Wars Galaxy and so it is only natural that Topps wants a bigger cut as well. To be fair, if they wouldn’t, then other stores like Blowout Cards, or Dave & Adam’s Card World or Steel City Collectibles would be driving up the price anyways, so you can’t really fault them for that. And even if stores wouldn’t do it, then there are still other people looking to flip product that would.

However what we observe now is that the boxes still have not sold out on the Topps website after a few days.. This is not a big deal for them, they have made plenty of extra profit with this move and ultimately it will probably still get sold or they can sell some off to the bigger stores.

What actually is important now is that we need to recognize that the customer base is satisfied and not hungry for more boxes. And with stores, investors and flippers alike not being able to move the product as quickly as they hoped they will likely lower their prices to recoup some of their investments to move onto the next product. And then there are also lots of people who opened the boxes chasing the big hits who are now selling off their regular numbered hits and parallels to recoup some of their money and move on to the next product as well.

The result of all of this is that the box prices will drop because not enough people are interested anymore, and the single prices will drop because the market gets flooded. So the lesson I want to share here is that you need to be very careful when buying into new product. If things are relatively cheap or a first-year product then it makes sense to get into it as soon as possible, however when those are not true then it often pays off to wait a little bit to see where the prices are headed and only then buy a box to open. And often you can even pick up some nice single cards along the way for good prices!

Be aware that redemptions expire

Some products offer redemptions, these are placeholder cards for actual cards to be provided by the manufacturer later on. They can be included in the product for various reasons but usually this occurs for autographs that have a delayed signing, in that case waiting for it would significantly delay the product and they rather release the product now, but with redemption cards.

There is one caveat with redemptions though, they will always have an expiration date, and sometimes it will be as short as one or two years after the release date of the product. This means that when buying older product it is important to check the expiration date for the redemptions. Otherwise they will expire worthless, though there are cases known where companies like Topps or Panini still offer some kind of compensation, so it can never hurt to at least check.

When investing, be sure that you can hold the product for a long enough time

This one sounds simple, but reality is always a bit more complex than theory. The idea with investing in product, for example sealed boxes, is that if you wait long enough, the price will have appreciated because there are less sealed ones still available on the market. This assumes an equal demand over the entire lifespan, in reality the demand may rise or decline.

When you need to sell product early, for example to cover emergency expenses, then it is likely you will make a loss on them. This could for example happen because you bought too early and the price actually went even lower, or because the product sells slowly. Selling slowly is not a big issue five or ten years down the line when it is much more valuable, but it is an issue if you need the money right now! In that case you may need to sell it at a discounted bulk rate to attract other investors, who may or may not repeat the same steps.

So when investing make sure that you have your emergency funds sorted and ideally have other forms of pension maxed out as well, only then it really makes sense to invest in product being certain that you can hold it for a number of years.

Closing words

So these are my tips on some of the most important things to be careful of when buying product. If you have any suggestions or other remarks then feel free to comment here, on my Twitter or on my Instagram!

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