Bull Case Bear Case: 2005-06 Upper Deck The Cup Alexander Ovechkin RPA (BGS 9.5)
May 5, 2022
Welcome to the latest edition of Bull Case Bear Case. As always, the goal is to give investors a clear, balanced view of both sides of the coin. Prepare to tackle the week with confidence! In this edition, we preview the 2005-06 UD The Cup Alexander Ovechkin RPA.
2005-06 Upper Deck The Cup Alexander Ovechkin RPA (BGS 9.5)
5/5 @ 2:30 PM ET
Incredible eye appeal. Withgem mint centering and a four-colored patch, this BGS 9.5 carries arguably the strongest eye appeal of any Upper Deck The Cup Ovi on the market today. The card has a BGS 10 for its centering and surface, both of which are often difficult to achieve with this series. The autograph is well-centered within the rectangular frame and also stays within the box. The Ovechkin cards from this set often display a clean signature unlike the signatures from Sidney Crosby, who had difficulty staying within the box. Additionally, while the card does carry a BGS 9.5 grade, the actual average subgrade is 9.63 which places it among the top graded examples within the total population. This is not the first Ovi RPA Collectable has offered to investors either. The platform offered the first ever fractional Ovi card, a BGS 8.5 graded example, on April 14, 2021, at a $40,500 market cap. Investors ultimately accepted a buyout offer of $55,000 with 84% voting to accept on a share-weighted basis.
Gretzky's goal record in reach. With 50 goals during the 2022 regular season, Ovechkin is not just 114 goals away from surpassing Wayne Gretzky as the all-time leading goal scorer in NHL history. Even in his 17th season, Ovi has shown no signs of slowing down and is expected to eclipse Gretzky's record of 894 goals within the next three seasons. For a sport that features a limited number of players who are recognized by non-hockey fans, becoming the all-time leading goal scorer will continue to preserve Ovechkin's legacy and maintain his place amongst the greatest the game has ever seen. Since entering the league, Ovechkin has lead the NHL in goals per season nine times and his 65-goal campaign in 2007-08 is still the most goals scored in a single season since the early 1990s.
Lasting legacy. Gordie, Orr, Gretzky, Lemieux, Crosby, and Ovechkin. The players who have demonstrated long-term appreciation in the collectibles market is essentially summed up with those six names. To the average collector, hockey is a sport with a limited number of investible stars, and while a new generation that includes Connor McDavid and Auston Matthews are seeing valuation spikes, the players with cemented legacies is limited to say the least. The 21st century has been owned by Crosby and Ovi and both players have developed a following that should carry through their retirement. Ovechkin also has his name etched into the Stanley Cup and the Capitals are still a dangerous team with the talent to make another title run in the near future.
Limited market data to justify the market cap. To date, there has only been one public six-figure Ovechkin card sale. That sale occurred in October when Goldin sold a BGS 9 graded example of this card for $105,780. That record card was #2 out of 99 while this Collectable card is #3/99. While this BGS 9.5 would appraise at a higher multiple, there has not been evidence to date that a reasonable multiple is more than 4x. There has not been a BGS 9.5 sold in 2022 and the last result via auction took place at PWCC in August 2020 for $49,100. Historically, the multiple for a BGS 9 compared to a BGS 9.5 is closer to 2.2x - 2.7x for a tri-colored patch and the lack of sales data to support a higher multiple could lead to slow fill and lackluster secondary market performance. To date, there has never been a public sale for a modern hockey card that has exceeded $200,000 and Ovechkin's record price has been surpassed by both Crosby and McDavid.
Russia's global image. In the days following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, attention within the sports world turned to Russian athletes to see whether or not they would condemn the actions of their homeland. The current conflict has put these athletes in a difficult predicament, as the world wants to see them speak out against the atrocities but their families remain in Russia. Over the years, Ovechkin has been vocal in his support for Vladimir Putin and his Instagram profile picture displays himself standing beside the Russian leader. In response to the Russian invasion, Ovechkin offered a vague "no more war" statement that failed to challenge the actions of his home country. While it can be debated whether or not Ovechkin and other Russian athletes hold any responsibility in calling-out their government, the sports media has taken an approach that has put Ovi and his countrymen in a negative light for their lack of impactful action. In the past month, articles from the Washington Post, New York Times, and USA Today have all called out Ovechkin for his continued support of Putin and with the western-world largely siding with Ukraine, the global image of Ovi could be impacted by something he has little control over.
Will hockey ever earn the respect it deserves? With no sale above $200,000 and only one that has ever cleared $160,000, modern hockey has continued to lag the rest of the sports world. There are even up and coming modern sports such as F1 that have had multiple sales clear $200,000 but hockey is a sport that has yet to realize high six-figure sales consistently in general, let alone within the modern era. The demand for hockey does not have catalysts like soccer does with the world cup either, which raises additional concerns about the sport's ability to attract a larger audience in the future. This coming weekend, the F1 tour is headed to Miami in what will be the biggest Formula One race on an American track to date. Later this fall, the world will turn its attention to the World Cup which should offer additional intrigue for the US audience since the red, white, and blue will be competing in the tournament. Both of these sports are seeing spikes in prices and could continue to gain momentum as they head into key events. On the contrary, hockey is in the midsts of their playoffs and beyond that, there is no catalyst on the horizon that is likely to change the hobby's perception of card values.
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