I made a mistake in my analysis of 2011 Bowman Platinum in my previous post. 2011 Bowman Platinum is not selling for $19.99 a pack but $19.99 a blaster. So that really screwed up my analysis.
I guess the best way to articulate what I wanted to say was this. In 1989, Upper Deck with the advent of the $1.00 (though they may have initially been .89 cents)pack, the value that collectors received from the cards was disproportionate to the price. Basically, (though collectors did not know it at the time) collectors were receiving probably 50 cents or less worth of cards for the 1 dollar they paid.
This was happening before 1989 (but collectors did not know it at the time) but the difference was more minute. In 1987, I recall buying 36 packs boxes (540 cards) of Topps Baseball for about 11 or 12 bucks. Wrigley Wax recent look at set prices for 1987 Topps had the average price on ebay going for $8.00. So in the long run collectors lost out a few bucks buying these cards (How I thought a Barry Bonds, Jose Canseco and Cory Snyder rookies were going to make me rich.).
In 1989, the gulf between the value of the cards and price just began to expand as Topps, Donruss, Fleer and Score started to push high cards in the early 1990s that are worth nothing compared to what you paid for. It has been that way ever since for probably every set made. Buying cards became more like a lottery trying to find the one big hit. Thus, the prices of packs of gone up but not the actual value of the cards you receive in the packs. It was probably in the mid 1980s when collectors were last receiving full value of cards for what they were paying for.
Since, card manufacturers were selling cards that were worth a lot less than people were paying for they decided to make more sets. They have also capitalized on the lottery obession (States do it), as most every one has those lottery winning fantasy. Thus, card manufacturers began advertising the BIG HITS you could get in a box. Thus into the 2000s, card manufacturers were making 75 baseball sets a year hawking the big hits. This was making a lot of collectors who were left without a chair (a big hit) unhappy.
Two things have happen in the last two years I felt has helped the collector. The exclusive agreement with Topps and and the promotion of Steven Strasberg and Bryce Harper. I felt for the first time in years that the gap between what collectors paid for the cards and what they are worth had closed a little. When you buy a pack or blaster of 2010 Bowman and you got a Strasberg (an ordinary base card), you felt like you were getting real value for your money (still no where near the one to one value/price ratio from the mid 1980s). The same goes with Bryce Harper. If you buy a 2011 Bowman Platinum Blaster for $19.99 and pull a $8-10 base card of Bryce Harper at least it would make you feel a little bit better about what you paid for.