I mentioned it in the Rated-R Podcast and I will say it again. The industry has completely watered-down and destroyed the autograph value of many current and retired players of the game. The perfect example comes from a player I have collected for nearly three decades, Jose Canseco.
In 2007, I had around 700 cards but zero certified autographs because on eBay and in stores, they were just out of my price range for what I would pay for a single card. For starters, Jose didn’t have many autographs and the ones available never hit below $60 and usually cracked $70+ on eBay and over $100 at card shops.
Although I couldn’t compete with fellow Canseco “Super Collectors”, I was happy with my collection because I tracked all these cards down myself through hard work at card shops and shows and many of my cards had an interesting or personal backstory which made me love my collection even more.
By 2015, things had changed. Jose was back in Topps products and all three unlicensed card companies (Leaf, Panini, Upper Deck) began including Jose in their autograph checklists. That year, almost every single Jose card purchase was a certified autograph as I now had the funds to play catch-up.
Well, it’s now 4 years later and Jose has signed THOUSANDS upon thousands of cards and stickers and his value is at an all-time low. On eBay, his last 10 certified autographs have sold for $124.77 or an average of $12.47 per card with several going for well below the $10 mark. Assuming Jose lives another 3 years, it will continue to drop.
Don’t get me wrong, Jose’s extremely low-numbered autographs still bring in huge numbers but that’s only due to Tanman and the spotlight he has put on all Canseco collectors. He has essentially created a frenzy because while he is king on Canseco mountain, everyone wants to take his spot.
Meanwhile, one of the more expensive cards of Jose to sell recently doesn’t have an autograph on it, doesn’t have a game-used relic embedded in it, and is serial numbered to 10,000 copies. Oh yeah, it also comes from a company which no longer exists and from an era referred to as the “Junk Wax” years.
Yes, ladies and gentleman … 1991 Donruss Elite is back! So is 1991 Score, apparently. Although this card’s high sale price is helped by PSA’s GEM MINT 10 score, it is still pretty exciting to see a former hobby superstar insert deemed worthless by collectors barely out of the decade it was produced in, rule the secondary market once again. Why Panini America hasn’t bought these and included it in 2018 Donruss is beyond me.
For those curious, this Elite sold for $512.01 and was bid on 35 times.