Local businesses that sell collectibles like comics, video games, sports memorabilia and posters are about to get caught in the draft – and they’ll be glad they did.
“With COVID and the pandemic, a lot of our community retailers have lost business,” says Jessica Meyer, co-owner of GoCollect, a Charlotte-based tech company that provides subscribers with price guides for collectibles. “With our company’s campaign, we want to give back to the community by creating an opportunity for local vendors.”
The business, which Meyer co-owns with her husband, founder and CEO Jeff Meyer, has concentrated primarily on price guides for comics, but now the company is expanding into video game and concert poster guides. To highlight the new poster guide, GoCollect is teaming with the Charlotte Hornets to give away 2,500 posters featuring Hornets players on five consecutive Saturdays in April and May.
Coinciding with the concert poster guide launch and the Hornets poster giveaway, Go Collect is also relaunching and revamping their website on April 17.
Drawn in through social media and other marketing efforts, fans will register for their poster online in a process loosely patterned after the NBA draft, and they can pick up a poster each week for five weeks starting April 24. And of course, GoCollect has added a bit of that exclusivity that collectors thrive on into their campaign.
Partnering with artists Le Beau Underwood, Giovanni Timpano, Matt Leunig, John Chanthana and Owen Murphy, the company created five different posters that spotlight the Charlotte Hornets. Curry calls the posters masterpieces – and some of these artworks harbor unique features that may raise the eyebrows of Hornets fans and collectors alike. Among the 2,500 are several special edition versions of the posters, which could be worth a lot of money in the future.
“You could be one of the lucky persons who are handed [a] special poster that’s autographed by all players, each within the artwork,” GoCollect President Tiffany Curry says.
The draft randomly determines who will be the owners of the special edition Hornets posters.
The giveaway is more than just a promo for the Hornets or GoCollect’s new price guide; it’s designed to encourage customers to shop at local retailers. Winners will be announced each Saturday and each will be instructed to pick up their poster at one of seven Charlotte businesses that cater to collectors: Repo Record, Charlotte Sports Collectibles, Glory Days Apparel, 704 Shop, CLT Find, Hornets Fan Shop and Heroes Aren’t Hard to Find.
Curry hopes the giveaway campaign, with its chance of winning a special edition, will reinvigorate retailers still reeling after a long year of quarantines and public safety measures.
“It will help [retailers] leverage our media and our relationship with the Hornets,” she offers.
“Most, if not all, of our retail partners, were closed last year for a period of time due to COVID,” adds Jeff Meyer. “Some of the businesses have been able to pivot online, but there is something tactile and personal that collecting needs in order to exist.”
That said, Jeff believes Charlotte is a promising market for collectibles with room to grow.
“The market in Charlotte is strong across a number of collecting genres,” Jeff says. “However, in terms of high-end collectibles, there seems to be a lack of available items compared to the demand for them.”
GoCollect’s website data specialist Josh Robbins –– who for full disclosure has been a contributor at Queen City Nerve –– notes that the success of the popular comics convention HeroesCon, put on annually by longtime Elizabeth comic book shop Heroes Aren’t Hard to Find, shows that Charlotte has a strong foundation for a growing collectible market.
Collecting for fun & profit
Jeff Meyer launched GoCollect in the Chicago area in 2010, drawing on his passion for collecting, particularly Golden Age comics (1938-1956). Meyer, who was working for a web development firm at the time, started the company to provide a service for comics collectors to make informed purchases.
“This allows for users of the price guide to track the value of comics on a daily [and] weekly basis, similar to stocks,” Jeff says.
“Outside of the passion for collecting [there is] this notion of collecting as an investor,” Jessica Meyer offers. “What we’re seeing is it’s more profitable than the stock market.”
Collectibles have seen exponential growth during the pandemic, she says, in part because people who couldn’t go to sporting events started stocking their man caves with memorabilia.
“COVID ignited the market on the internet,” Jeff says. “The shift socially went from, ‘Here’s where I am and who I’m with’ to ‘Here’s what I have.’”
In 2018 Jeff and Jessica Meyer moved from Lindenhurst, Illinois, to Charlotte. Jessica says following the Charlotte Hornets, of which Michael Jordan is the majority owner, made her feel at home.
“As you know, Michael Jordan is big [in Chicago.] We’re big fans of the Bulls,” she says.
The Meyers fell in love with the Hornets, got season tickets, and their son started playing basketball. When the Hornets Venom GT, the NBA 2K League affiliate team of the Charlotte Hornets, was launched in 2020, GoCollect became a sponsor for the esports team.
“We decided to launch the sports team with our concert poster guide as well as the revamping of the website,” Jessica says. The collaboration on the poster campaign has solidified the company’s relationship with Charlotte’s NBA team
What’s hot, what’s not
“Comics are hot,” Jessica says. “They’ve been hot. They will always be hot.”
Jeff adds that Pokemon cards and video games are also wildly popular. Oddly enough, old games like Nintendo and Sega are big with collectors, Jessica adds.
Maybe it’s not so odd, says Jeff. Nostalgia is a big factor in what’s popular.
The paradox is that items created for a purpose other than collecting — concert posters, movie posters and video games — are popular with collectors, in part because few extra copies of the items were made. Conversely, items made expressly for the memorabilia market can bottom out and fizzle.
“Everybody got Beanie Babies and got so excited about them and collected them,” Jessica maintains. “Now you can find them everywhere.”
The motivation for collecting is often emotional, Jessica posits. There’s often a memory motivating a person to hunt for an item, whether it’s being presented with a family heirloom, or going with grandpa to pick an item at a convention, fairground or a flea market.
Something stirs the collector and they want to find more. For Jessica, the collector is just as important as the collectible.
“It’s really the storyline,” she says. “We look forward to learning more about our collectors. What makes [people] want to collect a particular item?”
She and GoCollect may find out part of that answer soon, when collectors begin signing up for Hornets posters, hoping to snag a special edition.
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