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Thursday, July 7, 2011

Is Beckett Relevant?

Yesterday, I'm Your Average Card Collector asked the question: Is Beckett really relevant anymore, or will it go extinct?

Well, yes and no.

When Beckett magazine started, and all through the 1990s, collectors didn't have access to the wealth of information the internet provides, especially current real market prices through sites like eBay. If I want to know what others are paying for the card, I just need to complete a couple searches and find my answer. Unlike fifteen years ago, there can be dozens of sellers offering the same card I'm looking for, and they're all instantly accessible. In the past, I would have to call up or travel to multiple stores and hope they would have what I want.

When Beckett was at its prime, there was no way of knowing what similar cards had sold for in the past, and if your card shop dealer was charging a fair price. The magazine armed collectors with the tools necessary to equalize the playing field.

Do the prices in the magazine match real sales? It depends on where you're looking. eBay sales rarely match Beckett high prices, but should they? The high book prices are meant to represent the highest retail prices one would expect to pay. I generally expect to pay somewhere around the low price in an environment like eBay. Plus, auction sites have added variables of excitement and timing which can cause the same card to sell for completely different prices within hours.

But what about the cards that don't sell very often? Data on those cards isn't readily available. I think the price guide is important for use as it was originally intended - as a guide. Sure, it's not so helpful with volatile prices, like rookies, but I think it's helpful for most cards. Do I use the price guide to be sure I'm getting a good deal? Not usually - I generally expect to pay a certain price range for different types of cards. But it comes in handy when I don't know enough about a set or player. Plus, the big books (both Beckett and SCD) are excellent reference tools when it comes to expected prices and details on rare sets.


  1. You bring up good points. Just like with many hobby oriented print magazines the internet has really put a hurting on them. Why wait for the latest magazine to hit news stands when most of the time the included information is now old news...thanks to the internet. All price guides are essentially are guides as you mentioned. I take the listed prices with a grain of salt. I rarely look at a Beckett let alone buy one anymore. Occasionally I'll look up a card if I pull something excited just to make sure I don't end up on short when trying to trade or sell it. The articles are a good read sometimes, but I don't want pay $10 bucks to read a few write ups. Too bad Beckett doesn't offer a non-price guide version of the magazine.

  2. All great points. Growing up, I loved reading articles in Beckett on new cards and super collections. However, I know get to read these every day on all of these excellent blogs. I pretty much just don't have a use for Beckett, but I understand why one would.

  3. I think the blogs have provided most of the content we would look for in the magazine, and Beckett publishes most of its minor content to its blog anyway. I keep an issue from within the past 6 months or so as reference, and until I wrote this post I totally missed the fact that Readers Write still exists in the magazine.