Sports Trading/Collect Cards/Print runs


Hi Bob. I'm getting no where trying find out even ballpark figures of what card companies print runs we're. For example in you expert opinion, how many prints did they run of say 1989 topps or 1988 donruss.  Thx!  Dave

  My information on this is anecdotal. I have been involved in deals where we bought 800 cases(cases mean cases of wax packs of 720 packs or equivilant from one company) of baseball cards from Topps, Fleer, and Doruss. In the years 1988, 1989, 1990 and 1991. I do not consider myself or my associates anything special. I assume there were "big players" out there.
  The point of discussion would be. How many big players? 10 , 100, 1000? Say there were 100 "big players" who purchased 1000 cases. That would be 100,000 cases to that market. Then there are candy wholesalers.  I would guess there is one of those for every 1,000,000 population. Each one getting between 50 and 200 cases. That would be a possibility of another 50,000 cases. Then there would be the large retail buyers. Costco, and the Wal Mart like companies. The sales involved unit products and also "hobby" sets. These companies would buy in the range of 5,000 to 20,000 cases each. And there is probably 10 or more companies that buy in that quantity. So possibly another 150,000 cases.
 Now all of these come up to about 300,000 cases and in the neighborhood of 6 million of each individual card. Accounting this way seems to me to come up a bit low, I would have guessed 15 to 20 million of each card, but right now that does not matter. What matters is that of these years cards were produce in greater numbers than collector demand, and the overage was sold to "investors". When the investors tried to sell, there was no market as that market had already been saturated.
  I would like to ask you why these numbers are important to you.
Anyway, good luck.
 There is also the question of which companies produced more than the other. My feeling is that Topps dominated the field. In 1988 Fleer and Donruss made a huge increase in print runs, but I do not think they came up to the level of Topps. Again the telling factor is demand. The demand for any of these cards is far lower than supply.

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Bob Livingston


I can answer questions about Baseball, Basketball, Hockey and Football cards printed before 1980. Also I can answer some questions about pre-1980 Sports Memorabilia, autographs, and Unlimited Hydroplane racing and memorabilia. I also can answer questions about pathological collecting and hoarding. And questions about liquidating collections and hoards.


My brother and myself have been dealers and price setters in antiques, sport cards, Unlimited Hydroplane racing and local Pacific Northwest sports cards and memorabilia. We were owners of University Trading Co. and U-Trading Cards (In Seattle Washington) from 1980 until retirement in 2006. 35 years of experience as consultant with medical professionals for compulsive behavior and collecting. 20 years experience as consultant for insurance companies specializing in collectibles and sports memorabilia.

Washington State Sports Collectors Association

Pricing information on Baseball cards, Basketball card and Football cards was supplied to Jim Beckett by myself and my brother for inclusion in his price guides.

I have made hundreds of thousands of deals in the collecting field. And in so doing I have made lots of mistakes. I remember some of my good deals and all of my mistakes. General Education: St. Martins University 1979, University of Washington 1983, Ho Chi Minh University

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