My Published Beckett Letter

Chavezforprez

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When I was in High School and College I managed a Baseball Card Shop in Portland, OR. In 1994, I started noticing certain Insert Sets in Baseball, Basketball and Football were sky rocketing in prices from one month to the next. I decided to write Beckett to get their side of the story and get to the bottom of these price hikes. Here is my letter to Beckett (obviously shortened by there editors).





After reading Beckett's response, I started calling around to our friends that owned other shops, locally and out of state. None of them had any out of the ordinary requests for these cards, nor did we. Even at card shows, there wasn't a high demand for these Inserts. I'm sure there may have been some added interest in these cards, but not to the extent that required prices to jump 2 fold. My thinking is that Beckett wanted to stir up the market a bit and cause a frenzy with various Sets. That's just my opinion. Back in the day, there use to be a section that listed the Card Shops across the country that Beckett used as mediums for card prices. I haven't see those listings in years. Not sure if Beckett is still using that system anymore and not listing the shops or if they are using different online auctions and stores as references.

Sorry for the long read,
Billy

P.S. I've been trying to find a new copy of this August 1994 Beckett to update my old one I had. I finally found one on Ebay for $8.00 shipped. The one in the photo is the one I cut up and framed back in 1994. My new one will stay intact and I will probably frame it with a photo copy of my letter to place on the outside.
 

mrmopar

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I'm not buying their pricing methods. They price cards in groups, with top tier guys all being the same price, then the next tier, then the next and so on. If Frank Thomas, Ken Griffey and Cal Ripken were all hot, they were all the same price. Then Maddux and Bonds would get hot, their prices rise and Thomas would fall. I remember at one point in time, all base cards of Thomas, Griffey and Ripken were tops above everyone else and were $2.00 in the regular sets (Topps, Fleer, Donruss, Leaf, etc), then guys like Bonds, Gonzo, Maddux and others were about $0.50 less, then came the next tier at about $0.50 less.

The demand was not changing for their cards across the board, but their prices would change all together. ALL Thomas cards would drop for instance.

I do believe Beckett solicited, received and studied pricing feedback, but it was probably such a small percentage over all that they would need to extrapolate the prices across the board. Regional variations could shift an entire market, when in fact that was not the case.

The real sign for me was the "dealers" in the mid 90s. Most, if not every one I dealt with in that time frame would not set prices on anything new. If it didn't book in Beckett, they didn't sell it. They had to wait for book to be determined in order to determine their selling price. If dealers set and reported prices based on demand and past sales, then how can they wait for that price to be handed to them. WHO WAS SETTING THE PRICES??? Beckett was!
 

chieftazmisty

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Thank you for the nice read. It was a great question and the answer was a little shaky in my opinion.
In fact I think I have the Fleer Ultra Defense set
Chief
 

Chavezforprez

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Yeah, I've always been weary of Beckett's pricing strategies.

I do remember waiting on the new beckett to come out before we would put out our new singles from the new products. Especially when Shaq hit the Scene...Holy Cow, we couldn't get his stuff in fast enough.
 

Wassdogg

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Beckett has turned into little more than a PR firm for card companies. Its prices are essentially arbitrary numbers. Ebay is the only way to tell what something is actually worth on the open market. Anybody remember Baseball Cards Magazine? Great publication, an arbitrary price guide, but it always contained interesting articles on vintage and odd ball stuff.
 

cardboard_fan

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Why does everyone think book value and sell value truly coincide? It would be great if it did but that is not how retail works and people keep talking crap of Beckett but it is like this in ALL retail markets

For instance when I worked in the automotive industry if people were buying cars for "book" value then we were making a killing and they were stupid to be brutally honest

Also if you had a hot commodity like a limited edition package camaro come in people were going to pay well over sticker price to get it just the same with hot new cards that everyone wants or select high grade


SORRY NOT TO OFFEND ANYONE BUT THIS IS JUST MY TAKE ON SUCH THINGS
 

jimmyharcar

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Cool. Ahhh, Beckett. Remember those forms these used to have in the mags where you could fill out 'market info' and send in to them? I rememeber having a bunch of 84 OPC hockey star cards and I put in there that the prices were up. Two months later, the cards' prices I said had gone up actually did go up in the magazine.
 

Chavezforprez

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Cool. Ahhh, Beckett. Remember those forms these used to have in the mags where you could fill out 'market info' and send in to them? I rememeber having a bunch of 84 OPC hockey star cards and I put in there that the prices were up. Two months later, the cards' prices I said had gone up actually did go up in the magazine.

I remember those days. I never sent one in, but I do remember them.

Billy
 
H

houbb

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When you think about Beckett, SCD, or anyone that puts out price guides, they are nothing more than that. A guide. They are already dated when printed. It's there only to give you an educated, statistical guess of what the market may pay for those cards. Very nice read. Thanks for sharing.
 
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