Junk wax era was so bad because it was all overly printed base cards. Now we have #ed cards, autos, jerseys, inserts. Does that mean that every insert or #ed card inherently has value? No, but it sets things apart from the junk wax era in a way. Junk base is always junk base, but the valuable cards right now aren't going to suddenly plummet in 10 years as a result of the "era" we are in. However things like slabs and "INVEST 📈📈📈📈" are things we will look back on and leave a bad taste in our mouths for this era.


In 10 years, a 1/1 of someone who flamed out in 2-3 years will not hold much, if any, value except to the player’s family.


That's always the case though. Has nothing to do with what era you are in if a player busts they bust. Also much easier to sell a nice looking superfractor than a shitty sticky junk wax card from the 90's.


This is one reason I've tried to shift my focus to collecting cards that I really like/care about and not worrying about "what is this card worth/what will this card be worth." I ask myself "what cards will I still like/care about in 20 years?" and that's what I'm keeping/collecting, regardless of value.


I'm the same way, I mainly collect Detroit Tigers cards because I enjoy looking at all of my cards.


The Junk Slab era?


The manufactured value era. It is a good question.


Second this.


Great answer. I think it has produced a sense of FOMO across the hobby as well. There are rookie cards being sold right now for way more than they should be. There are definitely legit rookies out there, but some careers are not going to pan out, or they will become “average” players.




Value is always dependent on how much people are willing to pay. Be it a house, a dog or a baseball card the value is in what people will pay. No one can say this card or that card should be worth this much.


The “ignore current players and buy on card autos of my favorite players from the 90s for $20” era


I’ve been picking up every Ozzie Smith I can.


Kinda what I'm doing.


I am selling all of my mediocre cards and tethering up to mcdavid, Gretzky, and Ovi.


The Junk Slab era.


The false scarcity era


Finding low numbers makes some people run around the house screaming, but you really have to ask, "Should this card have even been produced in the first place? Is it meaningful?" There's a good reason there's only 25 of those candystripe-bordered font-swap Jackie Robinson Day nickname parallels in existence. When I think "scarce", I think of Star Co. basketball cards from the 80s that were only sold at arenas and big hobby shops, with print runs of 5,000. They were the only licensed cards being produced between '82 and '86, and most people couldn't find them. A 1/1 of a meaningless card just doesn't do it for me.


I've also noticed there are a lot of 1/1s lately. I looked up Ivan Rodriguez 1/1s this morning, a guy who retired a decade ago, and there are 12 for sale from 2021 sets. 5 of those are from the Topps Archive Signature series. Even manufactured rarity is becoming less rare, it seems...


Sticker auto and mass produced relic era


Sticker autos are the worst


That's the bulk of current autos


I hate on card autos like most, but now I question if an on-card auto from current era is legit or not. I have a Bob Erskine auto (not numbered) from heritage I thought was a reproduction. Looked up one on ebay and sure enough the auto was clearly different than the one I have.


The hype Era


Junk wax 2, electric boogaloo


I collect GOATS and future HOF/current HOF so don’t really mind whatever era we’re in. My cards will hold value.


I like this era. Maybe I’m one of the only ones. Bowman Chrome was awesome this year and so were the basic Topps and Topps chrome sets. Idk if the value will universally hold across the board on all the higher end stuff, but it definitely will on the #d variants on the kids that hit. The BC on card 1st Autos are great. I’m a lifelong collector and this is the first time the industry has felt seen in quite awhile. We’ve got great product range too. Anyone can buy a Topps base blaster or hanger. If you want to get fancy go to Chrome. I think all the bitching is just bc ppl like to complain. Like yeah, if you drop 3k on a Luis Rodriguez that’s probably a bad investment. But that doesn’t mean the entire industry is junk wax 2.0


I was a junk wax era collector, stopped for 20 years and came back mostly for football. I recently got back into baseball and I agree with your sentiments. I think the Topps Chrome and Bowman Chrome products are great and you can generally get them at retail prices in target or Walmart without fending off scalpers. I enjoy baseball because it feels more like a hobby compared to the other sports


Seems 10 times worse now. I can see a day when people look back on these cards and only want to collect the base set and maybe chrome. Maybe Stadium Club because of the great photography. Cards with snowflakes? A current card of a retired player? Products that cost hundreds of dollars where people get excited because they get a red card or some nonsense? Who cares!!!


This would be my girlfriend's reaction to any baseball card though. Why does any card (or any item in general) have value? Who cares about a card of Bobby Witt if you can just take a picture of him at a game. If the market deems it valuable, then it's valuable. I agree with your overall point though. That's why everyone should just collect what they enjoy and not try to get too worked up over the investment aspect of it. I think snowflakes are a bit silly, but I also don't like Stadium Club because it doesn't feel like a cohesive set to me. I do think there are tons of beautiful pictures in that set, but it isn't something I want on my baseball cards. However, those cards are pretty widely loved. That's part of the joy with so many sets, there is something for almost everyone. I chose to collect '21 Finest, and I do like the design. But honestly, the on-card auto is what made me choose that set over some of the others. I think that was the most important factor for me.


Junk Plastic Era Junk Foil Era Junk Parallel Era


The problem with comparing right now to the junk wax era is that while that was specific to the card community, this is related to a whole host of hobby adjacent industries that got bigger as people were given $3200 with no strings attached over 18 months. Baseball cards will get lumped in with the others as the “stimulus boom” era.


I feel like I'm one of the few that didn't use my stimulus for cards or meme stocks... (Paid off my last student loan, put some into savings, and the rest into my daughter's 529 if anyone is curious what I did with it)


I would like to know this too.


It’s very possible/probably that some people used stimulus money to buy cards but I think more people used the money they didn’t spend on going out to eat, vacations, concerts/events, etc.


I can’t say what people consciously spent the stimulus money on but it definitely opened people up to more money that they could use toward hobbies and other interests. I technically used the $1400 stimulus to have someone cut down two dead trees in my front yard but I would have had to do that eventually anyway so it opened me up to buy two Topps chrome black boxes with my bonus check last month instead of having to put more toward those trees.


Does anyone have the data on the print runs of base sets across the years?




The problem with this time around of mass production is Panini charges 1000 a box for 200 worth of resale. In 2026 when Fanatics takes over, how much will panini cards go down in value?


“Junk Wax Chrome Refractor” Era




The refractor era


The Covid era


Have to agree with junk wax 2.0 or junk parallel 2.0. I came back to the hobby in August so I "missed" on the early days where selling stuff for tons of cash was the "norm". This is now one of my hobbies, as I enjoy looking for cards of players I want to collect to display. And surprisingly this is probably the least expensive hobby I have.


The “Mass Wax” era


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