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What’s your favorite NFL team? Now who’s your favorite player on this team? These were easy questions to answer for me five years ago. I loved the Packers so I had a pretty awesome personal collection of Brett Favre at the time. When Favre left the Packers in 2007 I was at a loss of what to do from a collecting standpoint. Do I continue to collect Brett Favre even though he is no longer part of the Packers? Or do I get rid of all of my Favre cards for Aaron Rodgers cards and stay true to my team? As most collectors would agree, these are very difficult questions when you find yourself at a crossroads in your collecting.
Many other collectors have been faced with this problem when Randy Moss, Chad Ochocinco, Terrell Owens, Michael Vick, Vince Young and many other great players have been traded or moved in the NFL. I started thinking how this kind of problem could be avoided from a collecting standpoint. There had to be a different way to collect where my investment wouldn’t be harmed if and when the players I was collecting switched teams. And then it dawned on me that you can protect yourself by collecting collegiate cards.
You may ask why a college team? And the answer is simple. No matter what Brett Favre will always be a Golden Eagle. And even though his legacy was a bit tainted in the pros, you generally don’t feel that way about his collegiate cards.
For all of you Titans fans out there, do you still want to collect Vince Young? The answer is likely a resounding, “NO.” Now if we asked Texas Longhorns fans out there if they still collect Vince Young even though he was traded the answer would likely be a resounding, “YES!” He will always be a Longhorn. He bleeds burnt orange. There is no taking away the amazing memories you have of him as a member of the Texas Longhorns, no matter where the NFL may take him.
And you can see that value differential frequently in the pricing for certain the cards. A Matt Leinart card with the Arizona Cardinals likely won’t be worth much. But with the USC Trojans, you’re looking at a very viable collectible that fans want of a Heisman Trophy winner. Even cards of players who never panned out in the NFL are in demand to college collectors. Jason White for example on a University of Oklahoma card will always be collectible to Sooners fans.
Then there are cards of players who perform well in the pros, but there is just a greater demand for their college collectibles because of the rabid fan bases for the program. Take a look at Ndamukong Suh for example. His Detroit Lions cards sell okay, but there seems to be a much greater demand for his Nebraska cards because of how passionate Cornhusker fans are. In more than a few instances, if a player comes from the right program, his college cards will have more value than his NFL cards.
There are a couple other benefits to collecting college. There will never be a labor dispute that will jeopardize the season where we see that happen in the pros all the time. Also, collegiate cards are not as mass produced as NFL cards so because they are scarcer, that should also help their value over time. So much of collecting is all about supply and demand and with a short supply, the demand increases.
I have come to the realization that by focusing my collection on a college program instead of on the professional organization, I can build and experience a much more enjoyable and more stable collection!