Metal Universe could save The Hobby

While many refuse to acknowledge the fact, the truth of the matter is that collecting is at an all-time low. With prices going through the roof, designs getting worse and worse, and a recession in the mix, it’s no wonder why many have been walking away from collecting in droves.

The truth is, despite all the brands being released monthly, not many products are taking risks. Even two of the most popular brands of the past few years, Allen & Ginter & Masterpieces, have become somewhat stale. The year that game-used relics were introduced and certified autographs became common, The Hobby went into cruise control.

Don’t get me wrong, a well-done relic/autograph will trump any card most of the times but as we collectors know all too well, those special cards come once in a lifetime, if they do at all. Most of the times we pay $80-$100 or more for a bunch of lazy designed base cards, a couple of plain jersey swatches, and a sticker autograph from a 25-year old prospect.

I challenge all collectors to bust an old school box of any mid to late-90’s Metal Universe brand to see what collecting truly could be. Every single base card is designed specifically for the player, meaning even the “commons” have value to those who love collecting.

The inserts & parallels are beautiful and despite being considered junk wax for lack of relics and/or autographs, still bring in some serious cash on the secondary market. Recently, the Michael Jordan parallel you see below which is #’d to 50 copies brought in close to $1,700 dollars without the help of an autograph or jersey.

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36 thoughts on “Metal Universe could save The Hobby

  1. Reminds me of a good donruss crusade card. Still holding value way beyond swatch cards even. Look at Pinnacle Totally certified parallels circa 1997.

  2. “Most of the times we pay $80-$100 or more for a bunch of lazy designed base cards, a couple of plain jersey swatches, and a sticker autograph from a 25-year old prospect”

    WRONG. Most of the time we decide NOT to pay $80-$100 for a box of a lousy product. Even “less expensive” sets like OPC are a rip-off when buying wax…if you like the set it’s much cheaper to buy a complete one rather than try to build it (on Ebay they are going for roughly the cost of two boxes).

    Card companies have to realize that they are not just competing against each other….they are also competing against every single card/pack/box issued in the past as well.

  3. This was my favorite brand growing up. The 1997 Fleer Metal Universe Baseball was all my buddies and I bought. I was in a desperate hunt for a box or two to break last year and a store owner wanted $65. Great cards, but not for that much cash.

  4. If this is the way the hobby were, Id be gone, so would a lot of my like minded people. You cant say that junk wax is the answer because cards like that Jordan came once in about 5,000 cases. The answer is better designs, less crap jerseys, and lower prices.

    I would rather have 1 auto per box with a case hit being an auto jers for 50 dollars than paying 100 for 3 hits with 1 auto and 2 crap jerseys. Chrome is successful because of this.

  5. I loved Fleer’s Metal line! It only lasted a few years, but it was probably one of my favorite products. Since I was a kid when it first came out, I loved the fact that the base cards looked like inserts. Those basketball and football cards are still some of my favorites in my collection.

  6. And Gellman, that’s why people like you ruin this hobby. This hobby is about having fun. You DO NOT appreciate/understand this hobby.

  7. There will never be sets like this again, with companies trying to make deadlines, the art of design is long gone. As for autos and jerseys, the hobby has gone from simple to complicated, that is why people are walking away. Before you could collect a player and say this Jordan was the thrill of the hunt. Today this Jordan is like any other newer issue #ed to 50 with like 50 other parallels.

  8. Yup, because I spend all the time on my blog, all the time I spend on the message boards, all the time on ebay buying and selling because I do not appreciate/understand this hobby. I spend more time writing about cards than some authors spend on novels. Go, check, see how many words of text I have written over the last year and a half, then tell me how much you have written about cards in the last year.

    The hobby is about fun, you are right, but for me, fun is doing the stuff I do. Otherwise I wouldnt do it.

  9. Gellman does bring up a good point. The greatest thing about this hobby is being able to tailor it to your own interests and ambitions. I go after older stuff and focus on my Emmitt Smith player collection. If Gellman wants to focus on new products that have patches and autos, then more power to him. We don’t have to agree on what we collect, as long as we both enjoy what we do.

    That’s why this is a HOBBY. People that complain and belittle others for their different collecting habits would be like a fisherman saying to all other fishermen that they must use a very particular fly/lure with one specific rod/reel combo in one specific stream. It just doesn’t make sense.

    I may not agree with Gellman’s collecting philosophy, but his collection is his collection and it is obvious from SCU that he is passionate about it, and I have the highest respect and admiration for that…

  10. Couldn’t agree more Dave.

    James get my nomination for douchiest comment of the year.

    What the fuck has happened to the people who read this blog?
    It seems to me that most of the people who comment here now
    believe that Mario is the ultimate champion of set collectors, and
    “old-school” cards. Check out his fucking collection!
    New products, autos, patches, stickers, OH MY!

  11. People like Gellman are the problem. Bitch and bitch and bitch. Personally, I would happy to see this tub disappear but as long as he has his 3 fans that lick his taint, he won’t go anywhere. Anyways, why do we care about Gellman’s opinions? All he does is cry poverty and can’t afford to open wax, so why care about what he thinks about it? Metal, Pinnacle, Mid-90’s Leaf were awesome sets. I would buy cases if I could find it.

  12. I don’t care about Gellman’s opinions at all – he’s a completely different collector than I am. What I do care about is his writing style, which is always enjoyable, his fresh take on new releases, his not being afraid to say a popular product sucks, and the fact that he puts a lot of work into SCU. He’s also a nice guy to boot.

    So do I qualify as licking his taint?

  13. Metal Universe had to be my least favorite product line ever, but it’s great that people still enjoy it. People should collect what they like, not what someone tells them to.

  14. The solution you suggest is almost impossible to achieve with modern cards, Paul. Think about it, think about card collecting without ebay — ebay isn’t collecting, it’s assembling — so think about ‘card collecting.”

    Is it possible to collect what you like? It is if you have unlimited resources, but for those of us who have some change to throw around here and there, and I’m not talking chump change; it’s almost impossible to collect what you like. Every single card company has taken the internet for granted, and that more than anything is what’s ruining the hobby and leaving more and more people feeling ripped off.

    They hobby as it stands, is all about the card capital, not the actual cards. Boxes get busted, and then traded or sold off for stuff that you actually want. The card companies know what’s up, they know the only thing that gets bought/sold on eBay are the “hits.” So why would they spend time designing stellar base cards if the price of shipping outweighs the value?

    The companies are smart, and somehow they’ve managed to avoid numerous RICO lawsuits but the way they’re going about things is bound to stir things up. As it stands now, they’re filling the boxes with junk autographs and people are buying them for the shot at the big pay day.

    If there wasn’t an easily accessible form to buy and sell cards are ridiculously low prices, things would be different. If prices were just based off Beckett’s suggested value, things would be different. Unfortunately, the free-market’s a bitch.

    The card companies know what’s up and they’re catering to people that buy cases not boxes, let alone packs. As dumb as they all seem, they’ll continue to cater to the group of people that bust and ebay immediately. Do those people care about base cards? Hardly.

  15. People like Gellman are the problem. Bitch and bitch and bitch. Personally, I would happy to see this tub disappear but as long as he has his 3 fans that lick his taint, he won’t go anywhere. Anyways, why do we care about Gellman’s opinions? All he does is cry poverty and can’t afford to open wax, so why care about what he thinks about it? Metal, Pinnacle, Mid-90’s Leaf were awesome sets. I would buy cases if I could find it.

    R, my main man, looks like you have it all figured out. You are right, I am a problem because I dont think that some set from 1995 is the sweetest thing ever. That is exactly how you should look at it.

    Its true, I do cry poverty because right now we are a one income household like 650,000 new people every day. Does that mean I am not entitled to an opinion? Hmm, didnt know that economic status = ratings. Either way, just because I dont actually have the money to go out and spend hundreds per month on wax, I do have the money to smartly buy what I want. Yet, if I am going to buy something, it needs to be good, which entitles me to talk about things that I want on my site.

    Now, in that same vein, my blog is entirely full of opinions and commentary, which is exactly what blogs are meant to be. Does that mean you HAVE to read it? No. Does it personally impact your life when I speak my mind on the blog if you dont read it? No. Then why would you like me to disappear?

    You know, I never agree with dayf on retail/versus hobby, and a lot of the bloggers wholeheartedly disagree with me. Do I want them to disappear? No, because I am not a person that tries to disparrage the PRESENCE of commentary in the hobby. I will disparrage the ideas verbally that I think are against my philosophy, but by all means, say what you want. Regardless of what you say, some commentary is always better than no commentary. Obviously in “R-“s mind, thats not true. How unfortunate.

    As for the three fans I have, Im happy with that, and why shouldnt I be? Ive worked hard, and most of the time they arent fans, but friends too. Hell, Im fans of theirs. Im sure if you felt compelled enough to do something that merited a following, you would feel the exact same way I do about my “fans.” Obviously you have nothing to add to this conversation other than kindergarten level fat jokes and lame jokes about taints, so I wont hold my breath about you writing anything worth reading.

  16. Seriously? A fresh take on new products? Let’s see Donruss – hates it, Topps – hates it, Upper Deck, well they called me and made me feel like a part of the family – love it. He started the site BECAUSE of Upper Deck and now, because they hugged him a little bit, he’s all for them. FUCK THAT. Stick to your opinions and don’t be swayed by people PRETENDING to be your friends. Oh and if he was a real blogger, he wouldn’t have turned the annonymous post option off. He is Comic Book Guy from the Simpsons, plain and simple.

  17. Actually, I only hate Topps products over 100 bucks. The Chrome brands are still among my favorites. In Fact, I busted more Topps products last year than anything else. For Donini, I like a lot of their stuff from before this year, Limited was one of my favorite sets of 2007, and National Treasures was one of my faves from last year. As for Upper Deck, they have been the best in my opinion for a long time. They are much more accessible in terms of answering my question, so that is a huge plus. So far, I dont think any of the above statements are unreasonable.

    But, you are right, I guess im just not a real blogger, Even though you have obviously read enough of my stuff to have the info necessary to make those comments. Glad to have you as a taint licking fan!

  18. One income, huh? Didn’t your wife lose her job, like, 3 months ago. Time to put down the ice cream and hit the want ads.

  19. I’ve already suggested to you that you come to the National and air your grievances. Hackler will be there, “Donini” will be there, in fact, everything you dislike will be there. But you won’t come to a live in-person meeting, preferring to hide behind your computer screen. You’re a coward, plain and simple. You would probably mess yourself and run straight for the food court if anyone actually challenged you in public.

    Oh, and tell your wife to get a job. Sloth is a sin, afterall.

  20. The bottom line is that I actually agree with you on a lot of points. Yes, the new products are over-priced garbage, yes, Topps products over $100 are shit, yes, recent designs have zero imagination. But you continually complain and complain and call people out and it doesn’t get you anywhere except burned bridges. Work with people, play ball sometimes, you’ll get farther. You have an opportunity to help the hobby but you continue to tear it down. As a person, I think you’re a lazy piece of shit but you make some good points. However, I have friends at Beckett and Donruss and you’re points fall on deaf ears because of your shitty attitude and delivery.

  21. Put down the ice cream?

    Why don’t you take it easy champ, maybe decaf for you next time.

    By the way, I’m sure that I am not the only one who feels that dickbags
    like you are ruining the “hobby”. And remember dumbshit, that’s what this
    is, a “hobby”. Sometimes defined as:

    “A subject or plan upon which one is constantly setting off; a favorite and ever-recurring theme of discourse, thought, or effort; that which occupies one’s attention unduly”

    Don’t really see any right or wrong way to pursue that.

    Why not go back to leaving anonymous, douchey comments
    on YouTube videos instead.

  22. Man I used to love those Metal Universe hockey cards when I was a kid, now I gotta go see if I can dig a few up in the basement!

  23. i agree with you so much mario. great article. im going to get a metal univ. box (not sure which yet) with that said about the low time in collecting, is there any other product/singles to buy that you think would prosper in a few years when things hopefully get back to normal? keep up the great work! if you ever need anything-jvanhine90@hotmail.com

    and to R-, whats the point of bashing mario? he is doing the best that he can in fighting the bad guys. he says what we all feel, and he encourages people not to accept the ripoffs of today. going to the a big show with all the beckett assholes wont do a thing. theyd talk upperdeck to have marios balls be a rare dual insert in the next product. i dont dislike you, as we are all in the same boat and in this together, but i think maybe you should ease off M.

  24. Reading the comments here, I wish that Gellman hadn’t even responded to R-‘s original comment. He’s a troll, and like any troll, his only goal is to get a reaction from people. I’m sure that he’s been hitting refresh on this post all night to see how badly he’s pissing Gellman and others off.

    But the thing is, I know Gellman and I know that he couldn’t care less about your fat jokes, or even your distasteful comments about his wife. If you think you’re making Gellman mad, or somehow influencing others’ opinions of him with your comments, you’re sadly mistaken.

    The only thing that your comments are accomplishing is to make everyone who reads them realize what a jackass you are. You complain about Gellman not going to the National when he lives on the other side of the country. Hiding behind his computer screen? Hell, you seem to be afraid just to tell us your name!

    If you really want to confront someone at the National, I’ll be there. I consider myself to be an ally of Gellman and I agree with 99% of his views about the hobby. Of course, when I go to the National, I’ll be going there to have fun, not to waste my time dealing with people like you.

    Through his blog, Gellman has had a huge impact on the way that collectors perceive the hobby. He’s opened many people’s eyes to the unethical behavior that goes on regularly at Beckett and the card companies. He’s great at what he does and he’s highly respected across the entire card blogosphere. I hope he never changes. I imagine that comments like these from douchebags like “R-” only make him more committed to doing what he does.

  25. Excuse me people but step back and take a minute and “grow up”. Everybody is entitled to their own opinions and everyone is entitled to what they want to collect and pursue in their “hobby” choices. So what if one person likes Topps Triple Threads cards or Upper Deck Sp authentic or even Fleer 1991 for pete’s sake. I have been in this hobby for over twenty years and I have seen good things and I have seen bad things from all of the companies. Yes there is quality control issues….Yes there is marketing ideas that just plain stink….Yes there is autographs that look like someone just took and drew a straight line on the card/sticker. Yes we have assholes on EBAY with their fake crap and fake autos and quite frankly it’s disgusting. Target those guys instead of leaving lame comments on here towards one another. Also show some respect to Mario’s blog and keep the childish behavior off of here.

    Personally and in my opinion I enjoy Gellman’s SCU blog. Sometimes I might not always agree with what he says but that’s just that…. a disagreement that is my own thought. I’m not gonna say he’s wrong or right because it’s only an opinion. He’s making attempts at getting these EBAY scammers noticed. What have you done lately?

    Kris is right about what he said about the card companies. All that matters to them is getting your greenbacks into their pockets and at any and all costs.

  26. I used to think Gellman was a bit of a dickbag, back before I knew enough about collecting to see that he makes good points.

    Now I just think you’re the dickbag R-

  27. Hmmm…all of this bitter commentary on a post about a sweet Jordan insert card? Looks like we got a little off track.

    Look how shiney it is!!!

  28. If Metal Universe or a Metal Universe-esque product were to return to the hobby, that would be the single greatest thing for cards in 2009. Well, it might be a toss up with O-Pee-Chee I guess.

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