|* Greetings from Critique Club *
First of all, let me say that I remember this shot from the Affluence Challenge. I thought at the time that it was a unique perspective on the theme, yet certainly a plausible one.
I think that the composition comes across as cluttered - even though I understand that the intent was probably meant to be a "pile" of baseball cards. I say this because 1) the image is too small - you should always try to take advantage of the entire 640 pixel range, 2) because of the size, you don't have as much space within which to work & show your subject, and 3) the cards that are in the main portion of the image are not displaying appealing or enlightening sections of them. Just feet are showing in one, faces are covered, etc. By setting up the shot a little (and retaining the "cluttered" feel), I think you could pump up the viewers' interest. For example, having a more recognizable name in full view on top (not being a huge baseball fan, but still having a lifelong love/hate relationship with it, I don't recognize any of the players showing).
I think the sepia tones work well. The lighting is okay, but it looks like you could take more advantage of it with some more contrast & reduced backlighting (function) to bring out crisper details.
Not as good as I think it should be given the complexity of the subject. It appears grainy - and while this can be used artistically to establish an "antique" feel (especially with sepia tones), I don't think it works here.
I think you were probably penalized by many voters because they did not "immediately" relate baseball cards to affluence. It's easy to think - oh yeah, they come with bubble gum for $0.xx. Again, not to say that this doesn't meet the challenge guidelines, because I think it does. But if you want to have a higher scoring shot (some people do, some don't), then you want to make the subject matter correlate easily to the challenge topic with the majority of the viewers. The shot is okay, but I think with a little more work it could be much better.
Just my 2 cents...