The Fading Appeal for Game-Used Jersey Cards
I quickly want to say welcome back to all who went to the National in Chicago! From all accounts, I've heard it was amazing. I didn't have the chance to go but I'm not mad that you got to go. Just jealous.
OK, now I'm mad.
I'd never consider myself an “expert" when it comes to collecting, or anything else for that matter. Most of the time I can barely tell you what I had for dinner the night before. But there is something I'm hearing more and more in our hobby. It's the phrase, “just a jersey." I wouldn't say it bothers me, but I do wonder why even I get cynical when I pull one.
You know what I am talking about: the Jersey Card.
It's a simple concept: put a piece of a game-worn jersey on a trading card. And it used to work.
The collectors universe is constantly evolving and I try to keep up. But when did the jersey card become a throwaway? I know, it's not a twelve-color patch with stitching numbered -1/-1 or an HD video platinum auto quad super-duper striped patch insert card (though that would be awesome).
Have we become that spoiled? I am speaking of myself too. I find myself rolling right past the plain swatches, looking instead to pull the card that shoots out a magical beam of light into the heavens.
I've asked many people at my local hobby shop, "What do you think about jersey cards?" The answer is a resounding, "Eh, whatever."
What is the real reason behind this feeling? Could it be that there isn't much monetary value because eBay says so? Or, is it the fault of the card companies enticing us with their “golden tickets" as if we were living in a collector's fantasy Wonkaland? 2010-11 Panini Gold Standard Basketball has real 14k gold embedded in cards. How can a jersey card keep up with that kind of pressure?!?
Listen, I'm not afraid to say I don't know why the jersey card has lost its mojo. I know many people believe that manufacturers shouldn't even include a jersey card as a guaranteed hit for any product. I get it. The modern sports card continues to evolve, which is a great thing. But we may have lost the simplicity and charm of where the hobby started: a pack of cards and a stick of gum.
It was that simple. And for decades that was enough. In it's plainest form, the jersey card can also be boiled down to a similar simplicity. But, perhaps, it's time to move on.
P.S. If you have any jersey cards hanging around collecting dust, send them to me. I just picked up cross-stitching and could use the material!