Let me just start by saying that the people involved with creating the Beach Boys’ trading card set in 2013 are nothing short of geniuses. Simply put, aside from Sir Paul McCartney, there is currently no one more important to music than Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys. Sure, he may not be a household name but to fans of his music and media critics, Brian is right up there with Beethoven and Mozart. Unfortunately for Brian, due to 30 years of bad decisions, lawsuits, awful ideas and more … the name of the Beach Boys has lost all its luster and when compared to the Beatles, looks like a cheap, unlicensed baseball card from the late-80s.
I don’t know the story behind Panini’s creation of this set but I can imagine it didn’t cost MUCH to get the remaining Beach Boys to sign a few thousand stickers. For starters, Mike Love, the second-most famous Beach Boy around has spent the past 15 years playing free shows at baseball stadiums and local carnivals with a smug smile on his face. Word is that before the 2012 Beach Boys reunion, he was taking in less than $10,000 per performance and that money was split between himself, the band who performs with him and the road crew. One has to wonder just how much Mike would demand from Panini to sign a few trading cards. Whatever Love charged, subtract 2/3 of it for Al Jardine, David Marks and Bruce Johnston. There is little demand for any of their signatures at the moment.
The true “white whale” of this amazing set is the several hundred autographs Brian Wilson scribbled on. From the looks of it, Brian signed approximately 700 stickers. This is just a guess, judging by the checklist I’ve seen. Despite how badly Brian signed most of these stickers, when the day comes that he passes on to the big gig in the sky, these autographs will SKYROCKET simply because they are certified. Almost half a decade since their release, they still sell all day long for nothing less than $200 on eBay. Despite the high print run, I can imagine these pushing $500 when that sad day comes.
As for the very sloppy signature found on these cards, Brian tends to sign a bit nicer when you catch him in person with ONE item. Once you hand him several hundred, like the Smile Box Set for example, you’re going to get illegible, awful-looking autographs. Also keep in mind the man is 75 years old and has battled through more demons in his lifetime than 5 or 6 of the most notorious rock stars, combined.
If you’re lucky enough to pull one of these cards from a pack or if you find one at a show for a reasonable price you will literally have the opportunity to own what is truly a piece of rock and roll history … even if it doesn’t look like much.