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?