Barry Bonds, will he get to 70?
Barry Bonds, will he get to 70?

While the summer months are hot, the weather relatively the same, the market climate continues to change. At times, the modern market acts like a fierce hurricane as collectors blow through conventions and auctions, swiping up everything in their path. Other times, the modern market resembles a slow moving mudslide as items become buried beneath spending hesitation and reluctance to sell.

In the summer of 2001, we find ourselves in a modern market that falls somewhere in between. The modern market is strong in some areas, slow in others, and unpredictable at times. It's almost like a tornado that occasionally touches the earth and then disappears back into the sky as a harmless funnel cloud.

Let's take a brief look at the major sports and how their markets are shaping up.

Baseball:

For the diehard fan, this has been a great season. We have seen a host of surprises including strong performances from teams that were supposed to be pummeled on a daily basis. Unfortunately, that is also part of the reason why modern baseball cards are somewhat slow right now. For example, try naming more than 3 or 4 guys in Minnesota's starting lineup. Even Seattle, the team with best record in baseball, is lacking in major star power. Of course there is Ichiro Suzuki, but the team lacks the kind of star power that makes collectors buy.

Here's a quick breakdown:

Positives:

  • Ichiro takes MLB by storm
  • Bonds and Gonzo hit homers at a record clip
  • Clemens, Maddux, and the Big Unit prove that they are still a force
  • Manny, Juan, A-Rod, and a host of others having strong seasons
  • The Cubs are actually playing well, Sammy still going strong
  • Ripken goes deep in All-Star Game

    Negatives:

  • McGwire, Griffey, Nomar, Big Frank, Mo, Pedro, and a host of others are either struggling with injuries, at the plate or on the hill. These are some of the guys that drive this hobby and they are simply having tough years for a number of reasons
  • No one wants to root for Bonds and, for Gonzo, it's too little too late for collectors
  • There's a lot of quality baseball being played this summer, but squeeze plays, hit and runs, and solid defense just don't excite collectors
  • Philadelphia, Minnesota, and Seattle just don't have the overall star power collectors like to see
  • Ripken and Gwynn say goodbye

    Basketball:

    The Lakers won but, the way fans are today, they come to expect nothing less. With such high expectations, winning becomes less exciting to some and excitement is what causes collectors to reach into their wallets. Despite an unreal postseason run by the Lakers, the celebration was short-lived.

    Here's a quick breakdown:

    Positives:

  • Kobe and Shaq are young, charismatic, and champions
  • The league is blessed with several young, talented, and athletic players
  • There's a rumor about Michael Jordan's return that won't go away
  • Allen Iverson can take over a game like few in the game's history could

    Negatives:

  • Expectations are way too high for the younger players
  • Vince Carter needs to win to gain more respect from collectors and fans
  • Iverson is a great player but too controversial for some collectors
  • What happens if MJ doesn't come back?
  • Some of the game's best players are fading and on the verge of retirement

    Hockey:

    The comeback of Mario Lemieux was a great story, along with a few others, and it helped make for an interesting season on the ice. While hockey has never enjoyed widespread acceptance by collectors, diehard hockey fans are starting to collect more and more.

    Here's a quick breakdown:

    Positives:

  • Mario's great return
  • Ray Bourque rises to the top
  • Hockey fans showed a lot of support this year
  • PSA O-Pee-Chee cards, in high-grade, on fire

    Negatives:

  • Wayne is still gone
  • How long will Mario stay?
  • Jagr leaves Pittsburgh (might be a positive depending how you look at it)
  • The league is trying, but it needs more crossover star appeal

    Football:

    The fall is only a couple of months away and, for the football fan, the summer is like the home stretch. Camps are in full force around the country as the gridiron warriors get into shape for the 16 games of pounding and bone-crunching ferocity. Before you know it, Sundays will be reserved for one thing and one thing only...football games (accompanied by large quantities of beer guzzling, chip munching, and pizza swallowing).

    Here's a quick breakdown:

    Positives:

  • The Ravens are the champs
  • Ray Lewis is a dominant defensive force
  • Culpepper should continue to improve and Moss should catch many of his passes
  • Manning, Couch, and some of the other young QB's show promise and poise

    Negatives:

  • The Ravens are the champs
  • Ray Lewis is disliked and is a defensive player which doesn't excite collectors
  • With Marino, Montana, and Elway leaving the game over the last few years, a void has been left at the quarterback position
  • Overall, a lack of superstar power (the game is in a transition stage)

    Golf:

    Golf cards are amongst the hottest on the modern market as the game continues to surge in popularity and collectors recognize these guys as true athletes (the jury is still out on that one if you ask me). The British Open just ended with David Duval emerging victorious and the sport always seems to be in the news.

    Here's a quick breakdown:

    Positives:

  • Tiger is the most recognizable face in sports
  • The sport is still growing with no end in sight
  • The PGA will continue to find younger, stronger, and athletic golfers as time goes on
  • Golf cards have been a saving grace in the hobby this summer

    Negatives:

  • Tiger is struggling a little
  • When Tiger doesn't play, ratings and overall interest goes way down
  • The sport needs a little spark, more charismatic golfers (Happy Gilmore anyone?)

    There you have it. The modern market is always somewhat volatile and this year is no exception. What will these sports have in store for us in the coming months? Will Barry get to 70? Will Tiger find his way out of his mini-slump? Will Kobe and Shaq continue to dominate in LA? As fans and collectors, we can only wait and see but every day, something new can happen.


    Joe Orlando has been an advanced collector of sportscards and memorabilia for over 25 years. Orlando attended Westmont College in Santa Barbara, California where he studied communications and was the starting catcher for the baseball team. After a brief stint in the minor leagues, Orlando obtained a Juris Doctor from Whittier Law School in Southern California in the spring of 1999. During the last fourteen years, Orlando has authored several collecting guides and dozens of articles for Collectors Universe, Inc. Orlando has also authored two books for Collectors Universe. Orlando's first book, The Top 200 Sportscards in the Hobby, was released in the summer of 2002. His second book, Collecting Sports Legends, was released in the summer of 2008. Orlando has appeared on several radio and television programs as a hobby expert including ESPN's award-winning program Outside the Lines and HBO's Real Sports, as the featured guest. Currently, Orlando is the President of PSA and PSA/DNA, the largest trading card and sports memorabilia authentication services in the hobby. He is also Editor of the company's nationally distributed Sports Market Report, which under Orlando's direction has developed into a leading resource in the market. Orlando also contributed the foreword and last chapter to The T206 Collection: The Players and Their Stories, a 2010 release, and to The Cracker Jack Collection: Baseball's Prized Players, a 2013 release.
    Shaq cards are a victim of high expectations
    Shaq cards are a victim of high expectations
    Tiger is in the midst of a mini-slump
    Tiger is in the midst of a mini-slump