Wednesday, November 6, 2013

New Beach Boys Trading Cards

Announced several months back, and now apparently starting to appear for sale, is a strange item: Beach Boys trading cards. Panini, who I always knew more for their sticker books (which are essentially sticker versions of trading cards), are releasing this set of trading cards based on the band, following a slew of trading card sets out there pertaining to just about every TV show, music artist, comic book, and other media product imaginable.

Above all else, this sort of thing is interesting because the Beach Boys, unlike Elvis or the Beatles, have not released a great deal of “licensed” merchandise over the years. Especially once you discount merchandise sold at concert dates, they have had far fewer items available as far as the usual fare: mugs, plates, statues, and so on. There have been a few Beach Boys tree ornaments over the years I believe, there were the licensed die cast cars released back around 1999, and a few other odds and ends. But rarely something like a huge trading card set.

Unfortunately, Panini is also following the pattern of other sets in introducing a huge amount of “chaser” cards; sub-sets of special cards randomly inserted into packs. This phenomenon started quite a while back, but it began with perhaps one or two small sub-sets of chaser cards. Even in those cases, it was nigh on impossible to collect all the chaser cards unless you either bought cases and cases of cards, or bought individual cards on the secondary market for inflated prices.

I’m sure this new Beach Boys set is typical of other similar sets. But it’s still astonishing that, according to one comment on the Smiley Smile board, this 120-card set ballons to around 800 cards once you factor in all of the “chaser” cards. Apparently, you are either guaranteed or are strongly likely to get the full 120-card base set if you purchase a full box (consisting of 24 packs, with 8 cards per pack). The various chaser cards are allocated based on an elaborate list of ratios of cards-per-pack or cards-per-box. You are guaranteed some amount of these chaser cards in each pack and each box. Further confusing is that packs and boxes are offered in two variations: Retail and Hobby. The former style of packs will feature “collectible guitar picks” as one of the chasers, while the latter instead gets concert-worn swabs of clothing from the currently-living band members. Apparently all other chaser sub-sets will be the same.

Most enticing is the sub-set that includes actual autographs from the living members. We already see fans paying upwards of $200 for a Jardine autograph card (news bulletin: a nicer, larger Jardine autograph can be had for far less; he used to send them out for free when he had a fan club!), and one person is trying to sell a Brian Wilson autograph card for nearly $500. These autograph cards are apparently the rarest; you could conceivably buy boxes and boxes of these cards and not get an autograph card.

A bit of confusion is reigning among the sub-set of Beach Boys fans who actually have any interest in buying these cards. It probably has something to do with the fact that these cards have, in my view, an unclear target audience. The typical collector these days who collects non-sports cards like this usually skews a little younger than the average Beach Boys fan. It makes sense there are a bunch of young hipsters collecting “My Little Pony” or “Walking Dead” trading cards and chaser cards. But even presently it appears Beach Boys fans online are only moderately interested in these cards.
Who is going to stock Beach Boys cards? Hobby shops can obviously either stock them or order them. But they are at this moment not so easy to find. A few re-sellers have them, but are charging seemingly inflated prices for packs and boxes (and that’s not even getting into the strange flood of individual cards flooding eBay) online. Apparently, there are reports that Target stores will be stocking packs of these. How possible it might be to buy a whole box is unclear, but Target may be the best (or only) bet for finding these cards if you don’t want to order online.

I checked a local Target store last night, and they did not yet have these cards. I have a box on order, but how quickly they will actually materialize has yet to be seen. I’m not trying to be cranky about these cards; I actually have just the right amount of enthusiasm for them, for me personally. I’m excited to get my hands on them, but I feel not strong drive to start buying boxes and boxes trying to chase every concert shirt swatch variation.

I was going to post more pics of individual cards, and the breakdown of all the insert/chaser cards, but that information is readily available all over the web, much moreso than actual places to purchase the cards. There are some fun looking cards out there. The compilers apparently were no afraid to use some shaggy, wonky 70's photos. All eras appear to be represented, from the fresh, clean early-mid 60's, to the 70's shaggy era, to the flourescent 80's, and so on, up to 2012.

No comments:

Post a Comment