When Topps introduced “1 of 1” sketch cards in their baseball products last year, collectors went on a frenzy. It’s clear from seeing some of 2009’s sketches that Topps upped the ante quite a bit and has arguably produced some of the best art in sports cards that has ever done.
Below is three examples of card companies hiring artists to work on baseball cards. Given only the funds for one, which would you go after? Judge on whatever means most to you; rarity, overall design, book value, etc.
Which of these artists is the King of Baseball Card artwork, if any of them.
Artist – Peter Max
Product – 1997 Topps Gallery
Seeded into packs of 1997 Topps Gallery, these Peter Max cards sell for considerably low prices by today’s standards. Of course, that’s for the regular versions. Topps also seeded hand-signed cards of Max, serial numbered to just 40 copies (link).
Artist – Dick Perez
Product – Diamond Kings, Topps
Baseball Hall of Fame’s official artist has been creating wonderful baseball card art since the mid-80’s and most recently has worked in Allen & Ginter and Topps Chrome.
Unfortunately, most of his early work with Donruss is considered “junk” due to mass-production but several of his 2007 Topps Turkey Red Cabinet cards are signed and hand-numbered, giving it an exclusivity that 1988 Donruss never could (link).
In case you missed it, Wax Heaven interviewed Mr. Perez last year.
Artist – Brian Kong
Product – 2009 Topps
While today’s sketch cards produced by Topps are true “1 of 1” rarities, let’s face it… in 2009 that gimmick does not really go as far with most collectors as it once did back in the late-90’s.
Just imagine how many “1 of 1” cards Topps, Donruss and Upper Deck produce every single year. You are looking at thousands of “one of a kind” cards that can sell for less than $10 dollars unless it’s a super hot prospect or features a game-used relic and/or autograph.