Wednesday, May 26, 2010

TNA's New Era...In Cards

Back in the late '80s and early '90s when collecting sports cards was at it's peak both as a hobby and for monetary gain, wrestling wasn't really in on all the action. Sure, there were some great card sets produced both domestically and abroad, but by and large they simply didn't have the collector demand that those McGwire and Jagr cards did.

In the past decade, the trading card market has both died and been reborn. Most hobbyists point to dealers and collectors who took the fun out of the cards and simply saw dollar signs instead of stats and sticks of bubble gum you could break a tooth on.

Sets that include autographs, pieces of memorabilia, and other "chase" cards have seemingly helped bring the hobby back to a happy medium. While kids still get to collect their favorite stars, the adults get something to "chase," and if they so choose, make some money on.

Wrestling has caught onto this, with both WWE and TNA producing sets featuring autographs, Diva and Knockout "kiss print" cards, pieces of tights, shirts, and even ring mats. While WWE had a nice multi-year showing with their various Topps Heritage card set releases, a company called Tristar has nicely handled TNA's trading card offerings.

Tristar's latest release has gotten attention in both the wrestling and card collecting worlds. A 90-card basic set (featuring Hulk Hogan in the first 7 cards) combined with seemingly countless autograph and parallel cards have had collectors fighting over both packs and boxes.

Tristar has even limited the number of "hobby boxes" (the boxes containing packs that you would purchase individually at a hobby store) which contain a guaranteed two autographs as well as several other chase cards.

For those simply into the autographed cards, there's a better solution. "Blaster" boxes which are sold for around $20 at both hobby and major department stores each contain 24 basic cards and 1 autograph card. Seeing as that a hobby box only contains 2 autograph cards and cannot be found for under $80, it's much more economical for the autograph collector to buy up these Blaster Boxes. With cards like one featuring the autographs of all three of The Beautiful People and former leader Angelina Love or another featuring the autographs of Hogan, Ric Flair, Sting, and Kevin Nash, it's quite the fun hunt.

With the basic set featuring both the TNA standbys and new faces such as Rob Van Dam, Jeff Hardy, Orlando Jordan, and Generation Me, there really is something for everyone in this set. I have noticed a smaller amount of Knockout cards in this set, most likely due to the popularity of the separate Knockout card series. Another interesting note is the fast time frame Tristar produced these cards in. Some of the pictures used in the set date only two months prior to the sets' release.

While this isn't one of my MarketWatch updates, I will leave you with this: if you were to ask me to name some wrestling collectibles that I feel will rise in value, you've got them right here. Between the autographs, subsets, limited run, and buzz around this set, you couldn't do much better.

New era in TNA? Yes. New era in wrestling cards? Absolutely.

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