Wednesday, March 6, 2024

Today's New Hockey Card Release is the Biggest One Awhile; The "Upper Deck Series 2, 23-24," is Causing a Ruckus

There are a variety of hockey card lines that exist. From the official NHL-branded ones Upper Deck does to Leaf with their cool cards. There is a, "Main," line that lot of folks collect with various releases throughout the season. Somewhat unimaginatively titled, "Upper Deck Series 1, Upper Deck Series 2, Upper Deck Extended Series," this is the go-to for folks who want to dabble in hockey cards but have less interest in more esoteric lines such as, "SP Game Used," "Artifacts," "Allure," or the like. Today, March 6th, 2024, was a huge day for card collectors. The official rookie card (or as it is called in this case, "Young Gun,"card) for Connor Bedard became possible to find in boxes/tins/blasters/etc. of, "Upper Deck Series 2 23-24," product. It has caused long lines, insane prices online, rage-filled internet posts about the prices, and generally is a wild time to be into hockey cards. Why? One person is to blame/thank, Connor Bedard.

Connor Bedard was the first-round draft pick and at only 18 years old plays at a level in the NHL that shows an amazing degree of skill usually found in more established players. Those prone to hyperbole have said he's this generation's Gretzky (that remains to be seen) or that he's at least already at the level of Auston Matthews or Sidney Crosby despite being so new to the NHL. There are plenty of times when players come out of a minor league with potential but can't manage in the big-name league (I was living in Cortland, New York when Tim Tebow joined the New York Jets as an NFL player and was there for Summer Camp with everyone convinced that would be the Jets' year). Bedard has been doing amazing stuff, however, with an admittedly awful team, the Chicago Blackhawks. He is the shining beacon of hope for that team right now and even though a jaw fracture took him out of play for some weeks, he's been back and continues to impress. 

The front and back of the card everyone is after.

This is by no means Bedard's first card. A little, "Draft day, " card was included as a surprise in some, "Upper Deck Series 1 23-24," sets and goes for $500, easily. His cards from when he played in the Canadian Hockey League are popular too. There have even been other NHL-affiliated sets with a Bedard card featuring him decked out in his Blackhawks uniform. People don't care though, they want that, "True," rookie card and are hunting the Young Gun. Boxes that could contain his card were preselling for $300 or so with the 22-23 years boxes about $100-$150 upon release (of any of the series), to give you an idea how much this box is inflated by Bedard-mania. Some stores are selling whole cases for thousands, blaster boxes (little mini boxes with a handful of random packs) that normally cost $25 are going for $50, and so forth. 

Anything that might have Bedard's Young Gun card included is being price-gouged by many stores because as of this minute when I check eBay his regular Young Gun card goes for anywhere from $780 to a little under $1,000. People could pull even rarer variations of that card but it is all random, making this like a lottery where you maybe will have a lucky ticket for a small win, could randomly find a jackpot, or most likely end up with a bunch of other cards of minimal value (at least compared to Bedard). Buying packs of sports cards is a gamble, but up until recent years, it was a cheap gamble with hockey, at least. While baseball cards have always garnered insane money and their hobby boxes are wildly priced, hockey cards have been mostly ignored and cheap outside of quite old cards, rookie cards of big names (e.g. Gretzky), and so forth. Bedard has drawn a lot of attention to hockey cards, however, and there is only so much supply to meet the demand. Hence, people are either sitting out this box due to feeling priced out of the hobby, paying crazy prices, or if they're lucky know of a retailer/friend who will sell them a box for a reasonable price.

Recent confirmed sales, not just asking prices, but cards actually selling for that!

Will Bedard-related cards keep their value? I do not know. Barring some sudden career-ending injury he should have many productive years in the NHL and could very well lead a team to the Stanely Cup; I'd wager that will happen when/if he gets traded at some point to a team with better players because besides Seth Jones on the Blackhawks (a solid defenseman), Bedard is kind of alone in his talent. I suppose if someone goes and buys a Bedard Young Gun for $800-ish that could very well be a smart investment or end up looking foolish in a few years. That's all long-term though and for the short-term it is all about Bedard. God bless anyone with the budget to invest in him.

1 comment:

  1. I truly hope you are not "investing" in these cards, David...