January 2020’s top-sales

Sometimes it’s just nice to record recent eBay sales to track trends over time. What’s at the top of the sales list this quarter? 1999 Silver Age & Legendary Artists.

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That’s it. That’s the whole post. Record sales captured for posterity. Happy Collecting!

Goodwin Champions Sketch Cards

[Note: now Updated w/ 2011-2012 Presidential Masterpieces].
Upper Deck’s annual offering of Goodwin Champions trading cards is different than most other card sets on the market. At it’s core, it may be considered a “sports card” set, but it’s also rich in history and art. Upper Deck’s first offering of Goodwin Champions was in 2009.

Upper Deck has been making sketch cards for years, starting with Disney Treasures in 2003, and Marvel Masterpieces in 2007. When they got to the 2011 offering of Goodwin Champions, they changed the entire industry. Instead of simple sketch cards, they commissioned mini-Masterpieces. The commissioned original, hand-painted images of all 43 Presidents, called “Goodwin Masterpieces Presidential Series.” The main artist was Jared Kelley, and each of the 43 presidents had 10 painted cards (for a total of 430 sketch cards). Super-Collector Matt Wheeler put together the only know set of all 43.

The following year, 2012 Goodwin Champions released “1888 Original Art cards.” Similarly, it was a set of 50 cards with 10 copies each (500 total cards) of legendary baseball players like Cap Anson and King Kelly.

 

The 2013 set moved to famous works of art, and called these new painted sketch cards the “Art of the Ages.” These were recreations of museum masterpiece paintings recreated in fine detail. There were only 298 total cards, each unique.

In a 2013 interview, Grant Sandground (the then Director of Product Development) said, “I have been involved in trading cards my whole life,” Sandground said. “When we saw the finished product come in, I could comfortable say they were the coolest cards I have ever seen. Internally, everyone who worked on this project, I don’t think I have ever seen them so excited. We were all pinching ourselves.” Upper Deck employed about 10 artists to create the Art of the Ages cards that included such masterpieces as the Mona Lisa or Creation of Adam – iconic pieces of art that people the world over recognize.

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In 2014, the Art of the Ages returned with original art cards that recreate classic paintings. Goodwin Masterpieces Art of the Ages continued with 300 new paintings. Some of the additions include Vincent Van Gogh’s Café Terrace at Night, Picasso’s Old Guitarist and Cezanne’s The Card Players.

In 2015, Upper Deck Goodwin Champions was originally slated to be the final release for Goodwin Masterpieces Art of the Ages Paintings. Up to 300 new cards were included, featuring new renditions of classic paintings from Claude Monet, Edvard Munch, Paul Gauguin, Camille Pissarro and Michelangelo.

After a couple of years of recreating famous paintings, 2016 Goodwin Masterpieces took a different approach. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland Painted Booklets were created. They include high-end pieces of painted artwork illustrating key parts from that particular book. The set has 21 cards that are arranged according to how the story unfolds. Each is numbered to 10 (for a total of just 210 painted cards). — Below shows the only set of 10 painted copies of “Chapter 1.”

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In 2017, after delving into Alice in Wonderland (in the 2016 set), this time The Wonderful World of Oz is featured. The full set again has 21 different cards, each limited to ten copies. Like sketch cards, the art is done directly on each card (only these aren’t sketches, but rather full-on paintings in booklet form). I know that at least two of the contributing artists were Antoinette Sajaf, and Ken Joudrey.

In 2018, following in the footsteps of Alice and Wonderland and The Wizard of Oz, next came The Jungle Book. Inspired by Rudyard Kipling’s book are Jungle Book Sketch Booklets (1:1,440) and Jungle Book Dual Sketch Booklets (1:5,120). The formula changed from 210 total copies to a ratio insertion (most likely increasing total production), and added “dual sketch” booklets which have twice the art. In the case of dual-sketch booklets, the information was on the back of the card as seen below. Plus Goodwin brought back “Art of the Ages” after a hiatus since 2015.

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I have found that the backs of the “Art of the Ages” cards are similar from year-to-year, but give details about the year produced and the exact painting being recreated. Here is a 2014 side-by-side with a 2018:

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In 2019, Upper Deck went back to their most popular formula one more time, this time using the book Grimm’s Fairy Tales as its inspiration. The stories were again used to inspire Sketch Booklets (1:720) and Dual Sketch Booklets (1:2,160). It’s notable that the odds have become more advantageous for collectors. And of course, they also brought back Goodwin Masterpieces Art of the Ages cards, which are all one-of-one artistic interpretations.

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… And there you go … the evolution of Upper Deck’s Goodwin sketch cards. Good luck trying to collect ANY of them, because they will probably cost you a pretty penny. What will Upper Deck cook-up for us in 2020? We will have the actual release in May 2020, but it looks like: Aesop’s Fables Sketch Booklets (1:640), Aesop’s Fables Dual Sketch Booklets (1:19,200). I’m not seeing any Art of the Ages this year, but the odds on those dual sketch booklets looks challenging. Happy Collecting! (@Sketchcards on Twitter)

Hero Initiative sketch cards

From 2009-2014, the best kept secret in the sketch card industry was the Hero Initiative membership bonuses. Starting at just $29, you could have received a sketch card from a legend like Dan Jurgens or Jim Valentino. If you aren’t familiar, the Hero Initiative is the first federally recognized not-for-profit organization dedicated to helping comic book creators, writers and artists in need, and for five years they had “memberships” that included sketch card bonuses.

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After a quick Google search, I found the earliest example on ComicArtFans with a post date of February 2009. If there was a prior year, I couldn’t find it. In 2009, the HERO logo was grayscale.

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Every year the lineup of contributing artists changed, but between 2009-2014 you can find samples from: Alan Kupperberg, Chris Ivy, Jason Howard, Scott Koblish, Scott Rosema, Bob Wiacek, Phil Hester, Don Perlin, and Tone Rodriguez (to name a few).  

As recently as 2014, some members were still being sent John Romita Sr original art. For only $29, that must be like hitting the lottery. — NOTE: the HERO logo on the front of the card changed to blue in later years.

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Then, without warning the program was over, and Hero Initiative found a new way to generate donations. They are a great non-profit doing great work. I still support them, but wish I had a time machine. Congrats to all the donors from earlier this decade. Happy Collecting. — @Sketchcards (on twitter)

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Help me Launch a KickStarter

In the future I hope to launch a sketchcard-pack KickStarter. My goal isn’t to make money (at first). I want to launch a brand that people trust. A lot of people have told me that a successful launch starts with great subject matter. I think I have that covered, but don’t want to spill-the-beans yet. What I need help finalizing is the price point based on my costs. Please help me brainstorm:

I want to start with a 200 pack goal. Each pack has one sketch card (very basic & to-the-point).

The artist contract would be simple: Hire 21 artists to draw 10 cards each (200 for packs, plus 10 for replacements). Each artist would be mailed 12 blank cards. They could immediately keep 2 for Artist Proofs. Each artist would be paid $50 ($5.00 per card; on top of the 2 AP’s), which would be paid immediately upon return of the sketches. [Total Cost so far is $1050].

I would pay shipping of the cards both ways, assuming $4.00 per package, that’s $168. [Total Cost so far is $1218].

I would include shipping of the completed packs to Kickstarter backers, which I again assume is $4.00 each x 200 packs = $800 [Total Cost so far is $2018].

I would like to create a website with detailed information (which I would manage myself), and hire a graphic designer to make the sketch cards, packaging graphics, and a website banner … which I am estimating at $250 [Total Cost so far is $2268].

Kickstarter charges 5%, and their credit card company charges another 5% for $300 [Total Cost so far is $2568].

Materials would cost me:

  • $125 for packs the sketch cards will go inside.
  • $150 for envelopes to mail to the artists and to the backers.
  • $100 custom stickers/graphics for the packs.
  • $50 semi-rigid top loaders & penny sleeves for every sketch card.

[Total Cost so far is $2993].

Figure an extra 10% for miscalculations and overages, and we are at a grand total of $3300. That’s $16.50 per pack.

I also really want to create a promo card (for reasons I’ll explain in a minute), so I’m guessing we can commission an artist $75 for the art ( … they can keep their original art, and we can use the scanned art for the promo card + Kickstarter campaign). I then print promo cards for another $75 … [Total Cost so far is $3450].


Now here are the backer price points (prices include shipping):

  • $5.00 for a promo card only (limited to 100)
  • $17.00 for a pack (w/ 1 sketch card)
  • $50 for 3 packs + the promo card (limited to 100)

Per Kickstarter … a backer can only buy-in at one tier. They can not buy 100 packs, thus eliminating “dealers.” — IF we reach our goal of $3450 (a break-even sell-out), then we could open up “stretch goals” (like adding more artists).

Alright, this is a rough brainstorm. Poke holes in my logic and show me what I’m missing. I’m on twitter @Sketchcards. Happy Collecting!


EDIT:

To do better by the artists, we could move packs up to $20 even, and pay artists $8.00 per card. Then … the backer price points (prices include shipping):

  • $5.00 for a promo card only (limited to 100)
  • $20.00 for a pack (w/ 1 sketch card)
  • $57 for 3 packs + the promo card (limited to 100)

 

 

A guide to Mars Attacks sketch cards

In 2012, Topps released the world’s very first Mars Attacks sketch cards in the set “Mars Attacks: Heritage.” Sketch Cards were found 1:24 Hobby packs, and 1:96 Retail packs.

A year later Topps released “Mars Attacks: Invasion” (2013). Sketch Cards got more complicated. Overall odds were still 1:24 Hobby packs, but there were now green logo & red logo. The red logo sketch cards are the base set. Green logo signify a rare “creator” artist. These creator sketch cards were found 1:3152 Hobby packs. Multi-card puzzles were also inserted.

In 2015, Topps released “Mars Attacks: Occupation,” but used Kickstarter rather than traditional distribution. A pledge of $80 got you one 24-pack hobby box of Mars Attacks: Occupation, and any applicable stretch goals. Inserted sketch cards again included both Red logo (common, green back) & Green logo (uncommon, red back), plus Creator, Throwback & Dual-Artist cards. — Oh, and what was the stretch goal? A special Judge Dredd/Mars Attacks Crossover Collector Pack that came with 20 cards, and 1 hand-drawn crossover sketch card (for an add-on fee of $50).

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In 2017, Topps released “Mars Attacks: The Revenge,” and went back to traditional distribution. Sketch cards fall one-per-box, but there are also “shaped” (die-cut) sketch cards in the shape of the Martian saucer, panoramic sketch cards that fold out, and multi-card puzzles. 

This month, Topps has a new Kickstarter: “Mars Attacks: Uprising.” The full campaign won’t start until February, but smaller sample wax packs are available now. If you pledge $100 you get one (1) sample pack plus a special exclusive Ed Repka autograph card and a full color sketch card. I found the below image via Google. Is this what the card stock will look like?

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… by my count that’s at least 13 different types of Mars Attacks sketch card stock. Good luck if you’re hunting one of each. COMC only has 6 different types currently for sale. — Did I forget any cards/sets? Let me know on Twitter @sketchcards … Happy Collecting!

UPDATE!

Some online friends pointed me towards some more sketch cards to archive for comparison … are we now up to 16 different types of card stock?

 

 

Sketch Card odds in Retail Stores part2

Many people think that trading cards are only sold in Hobby Shops or Online. Retail stores (like WalMart and Target) also sell trading cards with the chance of sketch cards. I wrote an earlier article on the subject here: RETAIL PART1. — New cards are now on store shelves, so here’s an update on current odds:

Topps Walking Dead Evolution was released in 2017, but still lingers on retail shelves. Hobby boxes included 1 autograph + 1 additional hit per box (I saw a case break that had 3 sketches out of 8 boxes). Retail odds are long … 1 per 33 blaster boxes.

Topps Star Wars Skywalker Saga is brand new, but still very similar to a lot of other Topps Star Wars products. Hobby boxes are also configured to include 1 autograph + 1 additional hit per box (I saw a case break that had 3 sketches out of 12 boxes; that 1:96 packs). Retail odds are again long … 1 per 307 packs.

In comparison, the Topps Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015) blasters have much more unlikely odds on sketch cards. If I am reading the type correctly behind the shrink-wrap, the odds are 1 per 22,682 packs. That’s a whopping 73x worse, thus proving that not all blasters are equal.

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Garbage Pail Kids are a whole different animal. The newest set is “Revenge of Oh, the Horror-ible.” It looks like there are three different sketch card possibilities, all with different odds, the lowest being 1 per 358 packs.

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2019 Topps Baseball series1 is not a sketchcard-heavy set to begin with. They are more of a novelty in sports products, so I always expect the odds to be long. A retail pack from a gravity feeder at Target lists the odds at 1 per 9065 packs.

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Lastly, the Topps Stranger Things retail blaster does not list sketch cards at all. I know they were available in Hobby boxes, but there is no guarantee at finding any in retail stores. — Good luck, hunting. — As always … if you have a sketch card question or idea, find me on Twitter @Sketchcards. Happy collecting!