Inkworks cards are popping up in droves on eBay, in fact I’ve already made a purchase from someone I suspect got their hands on some Inkworks stock. It was a fairly tough card, yet immediately after I won my auction the seller listed six more of the same card.
Unfortunately I’ve seen similar sell offs in the past. . . FPG, Sportstime and several small manufacturers liquidated in the 90s. . . which was also a time when companies like Comic Images had been known to ‘dump’ product directly on the market. What happens at the end of the day? Some products recover, some partially recover and the rest never recover.
There was a time when FPG (premier manufacturer of art-based sets) autographs, boxes and case toppers were hard to find. . . Then the company went under and most of their product could be bought by the case for $5-10 a box. Unfortunately a lot of this product is still only worth a couple of bucks a box. The Inkworks situation is different though — the product tends to appeal to a broader audience — it’s more like Sportstime, who produced more mainstream sets than FPG did. When Sportstime went under a MASSIVE amount of backstock was sold to dealers, which wound it’s way on to the secondary market. It seemed like a lot of the FPG backstock was in sealed product, but the Sportstime backstock contained thousands of autographs — cases of Baywatch, for example yielded only 1-2 autographs at most, and when the product was live the autographs were expensive and hard to find. . . yet when the company folded the market was flooded with autographs — Yasmine Bleeth signed 2500 cards for the set, and apparently not that many of ‘em made it into the boxes. Today Baywatch autographs sell for mostly about $1-2 each. . . even David Hasslehoff’s autograph — which was limited to only 200 signed recently sold on eBay for under $15.
The question is how to you survive. . . It certainly will be ugly to watch the prices of the cards you may have fall in value. . . perhaps they’ll recover in price, but perhaps not. . . You can collect some solace in the fact that there is a good chance deals will be out there to be had. . . Unfortunately it’s impossible right now to know what a ‘deal’ is. . . The cards I bought for $20 might be relisted in a few weeks for $15, or $10, or even $5. . . that all depends on how many need to be absorbed back into the hobby — the seller might have hundreds of these that they’ll be selling for the next few years, or they might run out of them after they sell the next 6 they have listed . . . Without knowledge of what exactly is coming it’s impossible to know what to expect. You could ask sellers how many they have for sale, although you may not get an answer, and of course you can watch auctions for specific information — like the seller of the Iler autograph stating there were 340 signed — he won’t run out of those for a VERY long time. The only thing you can do in a case like this is make sure you are buying cards at a price you are happy with, and try to enjoy the ride.