Is Superfractor Madness dead?

When I left the hobby in the 90’s there was no such thing as game-used jerseys and certainly no one was  guaranteed a certain amount of autographs per box. If you wanted to pull a certified autograph you had to fork over $20 for a pack of ’97Donruss Signatures and watch in horror as you pull a Fernando Vina or John Jaha signature. Sure, you might find an autograph in a box of Upper Deck or Donruss but the stated odds were in the thousands, if not hundred-thousands. Low-numbered cards were becoming less-rare but with the exception of Pinnacle Totally Certified, I had never seen a numbered card in my ten years of collecting.

By the time I returned to the hobby in mid-2007 I was in for quite a rude awakening. There was now all new gimmicks like printing plates, X-Fractors, Superfractors, 1 of 1’s, game-used dirt/buttons/jerseys/pants, triple autographs, and more parallels than I knew what to do with. When I began Wax Heaven I was a complete “noob” all over again. It’s been seven months now and I can finally say I am pretty knowledgeable about everything but there is one small trend that I think has gone unnoticed to many in the hobby.

Superfractors were about as hot as anything could be in my return thanks to guys like Joba Chamberlain & Fernando Martinez, not to mention 100 other Bowman Chrome prospects making collectors rich overnight. Unlike printing plates, to me the Superfractors had a purpose. The idea of pulling one in a pack or even purchasing one was almost unthinkable since many were selling for $300-$500 a piece if not more. The players with so much as a tiny bit of potential would sell for close to $1,000 or more. By the end of the year Superfractor Madness had spun out of control.

Well, this month I began browsing for Superfractors hoping to add one to my collection and I have noticed two things. The first is how cheap and common they are now. Last week a Mike Rabello Super was selling in the teens until the final hour when it finally went for just over $40. More and more frequently there have been Supers selling for under $30 and thanks to Topps over-producing WWE cards, there are many Superfractors failing to sell for as little as .99 cents! So are Superfractors going the way of Printing Plates? If so, what is the next big thing in the sports card hobby?

8 thoughts on “Is Superfractor Madness dead?

  1. You know, I’ve always understood the buzz with superfractors being that they are rare but I’ve never understood the buzz with the cards themselves. I think they’re pretty friggin’ goofy looking… Give me a plain refractor any day. They’re just a better looking card in my opinion…

  2. Cheap superfractors? I’m not complaining..they’re puuuurty.

    The next big thing? Perhaps game used scrath and sniff B.O.? Smell your favorite players sweat!

    Ok..that might be going too far..

  3. Are the WWE ones not even “real” superfractors?!? I’ve never looked at them before, but that auction for the Cody Rhodes one lists it as being #’d 13 of 25…that’s not a super! That could be part of the problem. Calling something a “superfractor” and making it look like other supers but when it’s not 1/1, it’s not going to get the bids of “real” 1/1 supers. Or maybe the person just mis-marked the auction? I really don’t know…I don’t know much about the WWE cards.

  4. It’s all about who’s collectible and who’s not. I’ve got a Prince Fielder 08 Finest printing plate that I can’t sell to save my life. Yet I’ve seen 2 Sammy Sosa plates go for $150 each. I also just pulled a Johhny Whittleman auto from 07 Bowman Heritage, which according to the back of the packs is the hardest auto to pull in the whole set at 1:8100 packs. Yet it books as a common and sells on eBay, or sometimes fails to sell for 99 cents. It’s all about what people want. It’s getting harder now to move Ryan Braun and Hunter Pence autos, which you could have retired on last year. If you’ve got a Joba auto, I say sell it now before he gets lost in the shuffle of the next hot prospect ultra-x-super tinfoil madness.

  5. Who is buying all these cards anyway, has anyone ever bought a card for 4 figures? but yet repeatedly we see them sell and know they will never reach the long term stable higer price. Can Joba cards possibly be selling for more in 5, 10, or 20 years?

  6. Two bits:

    First – bashing John Jaha? Eek. Let’s just say if any 1/1s ever pop up, if there’s any other bidders out there, there will be a bidding war. Seeing as how I have 99% of his cards minus the 1/1s, I know there’s one collector of him out there 😉

    Second – your WWE example is a little off. The auction that ended without bid at $0.99 appears to have been ended early. It was relisted and sold with a BIN for $35. I don’t think there’s many baseball commons who sell for that much for a card /25.

    But yes, the excitement of 1/1s is dead and boring. That’s the same with most everything going right now. Something is good then it’s done to death and becomes old hat.

    Here’s a novel idea – focus on a good looking base product. Gimmicks only last for so long.

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