March 11, 2022 - 12 min read
I use sports card data and some intuition to predict a price point for the first-ever VeeFriends Premium Trading Card set by Fanatic's new culture card brand, Zero Cool.
Gary Vaynerchuk has been busy the past few months.
He successfully airdropped NFTs now known as Book Games to people who bought 12 copies of his book Twelve and a Half back in August, he set up an exchange for those tokens, is rolling out VeeFriends Series 2, VeeCon is on the horizon (and he reportedly has some killer artwork associated with the NFT) and today, a VeeFriends Trading Card set was announced in partnership with Fanatics.
A few months prior, VeeFriends partnered with one of the most popular games UNO, which has a collectability element to it in that each box contained a special holo card, but this trading card set is on a whole other level.
The trading cards in this set have a very premium feel (reminiscent of Panini’s Flawless product) and are being released by the new trading card powerhouse, Fanatics, which acquired Panini and Topps and secured licensing rights for Football, Basketball, and Baseball trading cards.
Source: Zero Cool
Non-card collectors may not appreciate how valuable “first sets” are to collectors.
For example, a 2012 Gold Prizm /10 LeBron James is worth nearly $600,000. It’s not a rookie card (far from it, James was a rookie in 2003) but it was the first year of the popular Prizm set.
Zero Cool is Fanatic’s first culture trading card product, it’s the first VeeFriends product, the first NFT-physical trading card collaboration, the first Fanatics product to market and it is a really big deal.
On top of that, only 1,000 boxes (containing 10 cards) were produced.
200 boxes have been held back for promotional uses and insurance for accidental damages.
Fanatics is running a blind dutch auction. You submit a bid without knowing what others submit.
If you are one of the top 800 bids, you pay the lowest amount of that group.
I’m seeing so many questions about the value of the product, so let’s use some data to help us figure out a range this product could go for.
I waited to post this until the auction closed, to avoid any potential influence my analysis may have had. Now, we wait to see what the prices are!
Note this is speculation and prediction. The section is long, skip to the end to see where I think these will end up priced but be mindful that no one can predict the market! Also, be mindful that what I think doesn’t matter. What the market thinks matters. The process of looking at this data is the fun and educational aspect.
Based on the math, there are 10,000 total cards in the VeeFriends rookie card set and Fanatics inaugural set release.
That’s not a lot.
To put this in perspective, there are 573,014 2019 Panini Prizm basketball cards graded by PSA. 36,371 alone for Ja Morant, whose base Prizm (19,000+ copies) in a PSA 10 grade is worth nearly $300.
The 10,000 cards feature each VeeFriends character and there are different rarities, from /8, /5, /2, 1/1s, 1/1 autographs, and 15 1/1 original sketches.
As a reference, 5 of Gary V’s original sketches from VeeFriends were auctioned at Christie’s in October for $1.2 million. That’s more than $200,000 each.
Gary V already pulled one of the 15 cards in the promotional video announcing the product, leaving 14 left out of 998 boxes.
That’s a 1.4% chance of pulling a card with original artwork that, in the past for original VeeFriends characters, has fetched 6-figures.
Let’s look at some numbers that might help shed light on how the market will price this product:
Since this product reminds me of Panini Flawless, we’ll start with that. As the hobby has surged over the past few years, 2018 basketball has been one of the most popular products due to young superstars Luka Doncic and Trae Young.
1 Box of Panini Flawless Basketball from 2018 last sold for $10,000 in December of 2020 (A box from the 2020–21 set sold for $11,000 in January).
The rarest card from the most popular player in the set (Luka Doncic 1/1 Logoman) has already been pulled and the next rarest card previously sold for $205,000.
Note: I used Cardladder and Goldin Auctions to get this data.
It’s tough to use $10,000 as a price point because there were more secondary market data available for previous years of Flawless and sets like National Treasures. We don’t have any secondary market data on VeeFriends trading cards other than UNO boxes (which sold for a high of around $250 with just 1 chase card per box) and his original artwork selling at Christie’s.
The VeeFriends set has 235 base cards (22 of each with parallels), 33 Access Token 1/1 (these don’t get you access, it is just artwork from the access tokens in the NFT project) so all 268 characters in VeeFriends are featured.
There are an additional 15 original sketches, bringing our total to 282 unique cards in the set.
There are 33 1/1s for access tokens, and 6 1/1 parallels for the 235 base cards. In total, there are 1,443 1/1 cards in this set (based on my interpretation, Fanatics did not explicitly disclose this).
We aren’t sure about the distribution of cards in the packs themselves, but 1,443 out of 10,000 is 14.4%.
Each box has 10 cards, so in theory, each box could contain a 1/1.
Fanatics said that “the distribution of cards into sealed boxes is done through. fully-automated packaging process; no humans know what cards are in which boxes.”
If the automation did some sort of even distribution of 1/1s, it would make these boxes extremely attractive, as you’d be all but guaranteed a 1/1.
Characters matter and the Luka Doncic’s of this project are the 15 sketches, autograph cards, and characters like Patient Panda, Very Very Very Very Very Lucky Black Cat, Alert Ape, Empathy Elephant, etc.
19 characters in VeeFriends have sold for 40 or more ETH (depending on the price of ETH, those are all 6-figure sales).
If there are 19 top players (i.e. Luka Doncic’s) each with 6 1/1 copies, that’s 114 chase cards.
If there’s even distribution, that’s a 10% chance at cards that could fetch significant money in the secondary market.
Flawless, had about 4,000 boxes, had plenty of chase cards, but the rare cards valued highly on the secondary market were concentrated to a few players.
Given the fact that over the last 7 days, there have been 133 sales of VeeFriends at an average price of $43,223, I don’t think we will see a number that high in terms of price per box.
Gary V himself said in his Discord not to get distracted by games or cards, that VeeFriends Series 1 was still where the focus should be.
Anybody spending close to the amount of a VeeFriend would probably just opt for the VeeFriend instead(especially since VeeCon tickets will be art and Gary said he’s “not fucking around” with it).
I don’t think the original artwork cards would sell for $200,000, given that it’s not original artwork from VeeFriends Series 1 and it’s also not on a global stage like Christie’s, but I do think we would see serious five-figures for those cards.
As far as base cards go, Ja Morant is one of the hottest NBA players right now, but his base Prizm Rookie PSA 10 has over 19,000 copies and is worth $289.
My pure guess is that VeeFriends base cards for common characters would cost $500–$600 on the secondary eBay market, but most early listings would start at $3,000 (around 1 ETH, which is the price that VeeFriends mini drops were a few nights ago before increasing to 2 ETH).
If you look at a 1999 Charmander 1st edition (population 816) it is worth $1,256. There were only 151 Gen 1 Pokemon, but the supply of their trading cards was much higher.
In the case of VeeFriends Trading Cards, each character will only have 43 cards. Note: the math doesn’t seem right here. With 235 unique cards, 22 bases per card, and 21 parallels, the math adds up to over 10,000 cards. So take this particular piece of data with a grain of salt.
If we back into it and say that the boxes wouldn’t go for more than $40,000 (at that point, why not just buy a VeeFriend?), consider that 2018 Flawless goes for $10,000, but had 4x the supply (that would leave us at $25,000) and the fact that Book Games, with 125,000 supply is priced at .4 ETH ($1,000 — this product has 125x less supply but no utility).
That leaves us with a suggested minimum price point of $1,000 and a maximum price point of $40,000.
The average of those is $20,500, which would be a $16.4 million market cap.
VeeFriends Mini Drops (1,200 items) have done 581 ETH in volume, or about $14.52 million with 30% more inventory.
70% of $14.52 million is about $10 million, which would price the boxes at $12,500.
Let’s pause here.
The market for NFTs is much bigger than the trading card market. Will people use NFT parallels to price the boxes? I’m not sure, but it’s worth considering.
If this is seen equal to a VeeFriends mini drop, then prices could very well push $12,500, but again, I don’t think the secondary market will be as large as is for the NFT market.
Lots of people bought ETH early and have “free money” to play around with NFTs but not so much in trading cards since it's bought and sold in fiat currency.
Let’s use one last NFT comparison:
Think about book games (the value of which was less clear at the beginning).
The project has 125,000 tokens, which means 1.5 million books were sold in the window the offer was valid.
At $25 per book, that’s $37.5 million.
But, there are 21,500 owners of VeeFriends and only a maximum of 800 people can purchase the trading cards.
$37.5 million divided by 800 is $46,875.
At this point, we still have our suggested minimum $1,000 price point. Would you rather 1 book games token for a 26% chance to mint a VeeFriends Series 2 or a 1% chance at pulling a card that could sell on secondary for say $50,000?
On the flipside, that 1 book games token could mint a VeeFriends Series 2 that could also push $50,000 or possibly even more given the way the NFT market has been (but unlikely given VF1s cost less than $50,000).
There are a lot of complicated dynamics here, and to top it all off, the general sentiment from traditional sports card collectors is not necessarily positive for NFTs, so I don’t think we will see trading card collectors with big pockets flocking to this set.
My last piece of analysis is the fact that you could still purchase 5 of the same frame book game tokens for a chance to mint a new VeeFriends Series 2 character for about $5,000.
Given that Series 1 is at a ~16 ETH floor, it may not be surprising to see new Series 2 characters have strong floors after mint.
Given the way the NFT market has been, I’d have to think $5,000 is the absolute max here (because why wouldn’t someone buy 5 of the same book games frames even if they have a bunch already) but would expect a price point between $2,500 and $3,500.
Some people got angry at Discord users claiming they bid $5,000 (or another high number) as a way to deter interest. My pricing theory is nothing more than that. A theory. And, I waited until the auction was over, so you can’t get mad at me :)
A lot of people are worried about whales purchasing 40 boxes of cards. I don’t necessarily think NFT whales will jump right in here. It’s much easier to spend 3 ETH than it is $7,500 and the trading card market is different.
I could be very wrong here — Gary has some die-hard fans, and some own many, many VF1. I just think because this is a new product (which could be an amazing positive in some contexts, but also a negative in the context of Zero Cool not having a track record yet) that even Whales would temper their pricing.
Because again, why spend $200,000 for 40 boxes when you can snag VF1 NFTs?
I’ll write a detailed article about buying/selling/holding as there a lot of dynamics at play there.
In the sports card world, people will watch every single box break that’s public and try to refactor odds and if big cards are pulled, it makes a big price difference for boxes.
Frankly, if the remaining 14 original artworks are pulled and sold, it may dramatically reduce the price of boxes.
Seasoned collectors in trading cards often advise not to do breaks, rather purchase the cards you want in secondary, but because the supply is so low, it makes this a tough call.
I do think that base cards of lesser-known characters will be very affordable in a few months. The first ones to hit the market are usually the most expensive.
I also think if you can hold an unopened box for 30 years, you may be one of the few who do it (but again, if most chase cards are pulled, it would affect value).
More to come on this front.
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