Which would you rather own?

When I got back into collecting in mid-2007 I had a lot to learn in a very short period of time; memorabilia cards, parallels, super fractors, x-fractors, chiropractors, etc. One of the big movements in the hobby were the 1 of 1 phenomenons. Imagine you and your rich & spoiled neighbors collect Albert Pujols. He has every single one of his 2001 rookies while your collection is mostly Topps and Upper Deck low-end stuff. One day you both end up at the store and he buys an entire case of some $1,000 for 10 packs product and pulls thousands of dollars worth of cards, including a one of a kind Albert Pujols printing plate. You on the other hand put your life savings in a single pack of something relatively expensive and pull a mid-numbered Pujols. Who did better?

I opened exactly 20 hobby boxes last year and pulled exactly 3 one of one cards, all printing plates. Unfortunately, unless the player on the plate is Albert Pujols or Joba Chamberlain it really is no more valuable than a dull memorabilia card of some semi-star. What’s crazy is that cards #’d to just 1 are no longer that rare any more. If I pulled 3 in 20 different boxes, how many does the guy who opened 50 have? Also, would you pay $1,000 on an Albert Pujols printing plate #’d 1 of 1 just because no other collector will ever have that “card” AKA piece of metal? If you do, odds are he will have a chance of getting 50 more from products released that very same year. I for one don’t own one single Jose Canseco printing plate. Check out this .99 cent Jose Canseco printing plate on eBay. 1 month ago he had it listed for $499 on eBay Express. I guess he couldn’t sell that amazing 1 of 1 to any nut-job Canseco collector out there, and trust me there are plenty of them.

So to get back to the title of this blog…which one of these cards would you rather own? The one on at the top is a Pinnacle 1 of 1 printing plate that no other Ken Griffey fan will ever touch, the other is an Upper Deck exquisite that 24 people already own.



  1. “What’s crazy is that cards #’d to just 1 are no longer that rare any more.”

    Welcome to the world of economics. When everything is considered “scarce,” nothing is and price adjusts accordingly.

  2. Wow, this is an extremely good question. Truthfully, I’d have to go with the 2nd card. I’ve never even seen a printing plate before, but they look pretty nasty and being a one of one means nothing these days for the reasons you stated.

    It really is a commentary on just how much baseball cards have changed. I see people RIPPING through packs, not even looking or caring for the players they’re pulling to see if they get refractors, autos, plates, numbered cards, etc. The fun of opening packs is gone for them and it’s become a job. I think the # of 1 of 1’s, refractors, autos, patches, GU, should be drastically reduced in all products so the prospect of pulling them is cause for excitement, not “Boo, I pulled a Brian Buscher auto.” Fans and collectors should be excited to pull ANY auto.

    That’s why it’s nice to see you get excited to pull Andrew Millers, or White Sox cards blog pulling White Sox cards, or me pulling players off my fantasy team. It’s just nice to see that collecting haven’t completely turned from fan-dom and passion to greed for the 1 or 1’s, auto, patches, etc.

    Good post.

  3. Ironically, I am in the process of trading my last two remaining printing plates for something very big.

    You will know why irony will play a part if the trade goes down. 😉

  4. I don’t rip a lot of wax, so when I see printing plates on a checklist of a player I’m collecting, I just cross ’em out. To me, they don’t count as legit cards (originally because I figured there’s no way I was going to find one, or be able to afford it in the secondary market.) But you say they do show up here and there? Interesting.
    I’m with Dylan above when he says that jerseys, etc. have become passé. I get the ones that look good to me for the players I like, but I’ll never (be able to) get them all and am not trying that hard.

  5. Gotta say I’d take the auto/patch card in a sec! I’ve never pulled a 1/1 card in 20 years of collecting but have several */10 and */25 that I deem more valuable. Only want 1/1’s of one player he whom I collect the most… George Brett!

  6. I’m not a real big fan of printing plates either so i’d prob go w/ the 2nd card but that plate looks like a 90’s Pinnacle plate…which i’d take over a ’00+ plate anyday.

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