I actually think Greens did well because of hype. Once the hype train starts rolling, everyone jumps on board and increase the prices.
Same happend to
Chronology Canvas autos. A few guys were going to war to complete sets. Everyone and their mothers jumped on board and the hype train took off. Once the set guys were done, they all levelled off.
Certified Greens. You had a bunch of guys going to war to pick up players for their PC. Everyone and their mothers once agian jumped on board and the hype train took off. Once the player collectors were done getting what they needed, they all corrected themselves in price.
Topps red Turkey. You know the game on this. All it took was 1 person paying crazy prices to get what he wanted for everyone to jump on the train. Once he stopped buying the craze went away.
03 Extra Exquisite Kobe jersey. All it took was 1 person to hoard them. Paying top dollar to get any and all EE he could. Paying $1000+ on them. Everyone was after one. Members were bidding $1100 and losing out. Once he stopped, what happend? $500 can easily get you one now!!
Why cards do well is more to do with hype and following than it has to do with appeal. The ugliest cards in the market place bring in top dollar because of hype and rarity. Nothing to do with design. Some of the best designed cards dont sell well. Some of the best photography on cards action shots (Stadium club) dont sell well.
As for recycled design? Its bound to happen. THe box is limited with 4 corners. Just like music, it all gets sampled and recycled.