THE SPECIALISTS COLLECTIBLES COLUMN: Review of new TNA Trading Cards from TRISTAR - from Hulk Hogan to Sam Shaw
Apr 19, 2013 - 3:12:35 PM
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By Michael Moore, PWTorch Collectibles specialist
In Brief: TRISTAR's latest TNA cards offer autographs of everyone from Sam Shaw to Hulk Hogan.
Topps and TRISTAR seem to be on the same schedule, releasing their newest WWE and TNA products around the same time each year. TNA Impact Wrestling Live! Is the latest offering from Houston-based TRISTAR, and is very similar to the company’s last few TNA products.
Each hobby box contains 20 and packs and offers three autographs, one memorabilia card, two parallel cards and one short printed card. Each box is guaranteed to contain at least one card with multiple signatures, all numbered to 99 or less. Some cards feature as many as 10 or 12 autographs on one card. Boxes are currently selling for about $85-90 online, or slightly more at your local hobby store.
TNA Impact Wrestling Live features single, dual, and quad memorabilia cards, 18 in all. Cards M1-M5 include a piece of a shirt worn by Jeff Hardy behind a die cut window featuring a letter from his last name. All five cards put together spell out “HARDY.”
Cards M6-M10 are single memorabilia cards that contain swatches of t-shirts worn by Hulk Hogan, Sting, Kurt Angle, Austin Aries and Chavo Guerrero. Cards M11 and M12 are dual memorabilia cards of Tara and Jessie and Chavo and Hernandez. Cards M13 and M14 are quad memorabilia cards; M13 features t-shirt pieces worn by Hogan, Sting, Hardy, and Angle, while M14 features swatches of various items worn by Knockouts Gail Kim, Mickie James, Miss Tessmacher, and Velvet Sky.
The final four cards in the set are autographed memorabilia cards of Hogan, Hardy, Gail, and Sting. There are also Impact-sized variations that feature oversized swatches of material that take up nearly half the card.
The autographs feature between one and 12 signatures per card. Everyone in TNA from Sam Shaw to Hulk Hogan has signed for this product. A complete checklist is available at TNAWrestlingCards.com.
TRISTAR has dropped the cost of its TNA hobby boxes from the last few products, which is a great move. TNA Ten and TNA Reflexxions came out at more than $100 per box, which is simply too much for a box of wrestling cards. Many who would never think of spending $110 on a box will gladly spend $85, especially since many of the larger, more reputable online dealers are offering free shipping.
Early TNA memorabilia cards stood out because of the different types of materials used. While TRISTAR has started using more t-shirt swatches in its products, there are still unique materials used, such as Tara’s fishnet stockings and Hernandez’s khaki shorts.
TNA wrestlers have been adding inscriptions to some autographs since the first set from TRISTAR in 2008, which collectors love. This set features some cool inscriptions, such as Jeff Hardy adding “TNA World Champion” and Austin Aries signing “TGMTEL.”
The autographs feature some cool pairings, such as Christopher Daniels and Kazarian, Chavo and Hector Guerrero, Bobby Roode and Austin Aries, and Sting and Jeff Hardy. There is a triple autograph of Hulk Hogan, Brooke Hogan, and Bully Ray that captures TNA’s top storyline of the last several months.
TRISTAR has been flooding the market with autographs of the same wrestlers for five years now, and it’s really starting to show. On April 18, an eBay search for “TNA Live auto” returned 105 results. Of those, only one sold for more than $100, and that was a Jeff Hardy inscribed autograph numbered 1/5. Only four autographs sold for $50 to $99.99. Most cards (64) sold for less than 10 bucks each, and that included many dual and triple signatures.
There could be several reasons for this. TRISTAR may have short-printed many of the bigger names (Hardy, Hogan, Sting), making them harder to find. It is also possible that collectors have had their fill of the big name guys and are only interested in filling their collections with lower-priced wrestlers whose autographs haven’t yet been mass-produced (Austin Aries, Kenny King, and Joey Ryan).
TNA Impact Wrestling Live! is also full of autographs that collectors simply don’t want. Most collectors would groan at the thought of pulling a Wes Brisco/Garrett Bischoff dual autograph. Sam Shaw, Christian York and Jessie Godderz just don’t have any name value. Sarita and Rosita are extremely talented women, but haven’t been on TV in months. And has Winter even worked for TNA since 2011?
TRISTAR has really brought down the secondary market value of autographs of some of TNA’s top stars, such as Sting, Kurt Angle, and A.J. Styles. All three of those men have been included in every single autograph set since 2008, driving down prices. Sting’s signature from 2008 Impact, TRISTAR’s first TNA product, held pretty steady for $80-120 for quite some time. Now it’s pretty easy to find a Sting autograph for under $40.
Hardcore collectors have been furious with this, but others see it as a blessing. Not everyone can afford a $100 Sting autograph, but $40 is manageable. Thanks to TRISTAR, more collectors than ever have access to affordable wrestling autographs.
The decrease in price is a huge plus. It’s almost impossible to find a decent box of baseball, football or basketball cards for under $100. So, $85 for a box of cards guaranteed to deliver multiple autographs, a cool memorabilia card and lots more may catch the eye of collectors who might not otherwise give it a look.
What are your thoughts? Have you cracked open a box of TNA Impact Wrestling Live? How did you do? If you’re avoiding this stuff, why? Send your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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