One thing about the hobby that is inevitable is the amount of greed that runs rampant once a beloved athlete or celebrity dies. Within minutes of the news breaking, seemingly dozens if not hundreds of collectors start listing certified autographs on the secondary market for exorbitant prices. This is a calculated move used to take advantage of long time fans/collectors and those hit with nostalgia looking to buy something of that now deceased personality. Unfortunately, most times these tactics work perfectly and there is no more perfect of an example than the tragic death of Kobe Bryant and what happened to his card prices for the following 12 months.
A term like beloved is probably not one you’d use to describe Terry “Hulk Hogan” Bollea. For decades now, wrestlers have spoken out about how selfish and self-serving Hogan was in the wrestling industry. His reputation had hit new lows even before his now infamous racist rant and sex tape hit the mainstream media. All this was happening just as Hogan was dealing with perhaps the nastiest divorce imaginable and after his son, Nick, was involved in a reckless driving accident that left his best friend brain dead. The world was piling on Hulk Hogan just as his health took a turn for the worst. Since 2009, Hogan has endured 17 surgeries, including having spinal fusion and a fake hip installed.
It’s been over a decade since Hogan’s world turned upside down and while the WWE has forgiven him for his sins, it appears most fans have not. In 2021, you either love Hulk Hogan or you absolutely hate his guts and nothing will change that. Collectors, however, are a more forgiving bunch and have welcomed their childhood icon back with open arms. Now, with Hogan pushing 70, there are new reports that his health is in serious danger and it comes from none other than fellow legend, Ric Flair. Hogan even posted a photo recently showing off his weight loss, which he claims to be at his high school weight. The life of a steroid user is not long, just ask Macho Man Randy Savage and the Ultimate Warrior.
I will say this, the wrestling card market has exploded in the past few years, specifically thanks to lifetime WWE jobbers, Matt Cardona and Brian Myers, two wrestlers who host a toy figure podcast which has now heavily ventured into wrestling trading cards. Forgotten wrestling sets that once sold for pennies on the dollar have soared in prices and certified autographs, especially those hard-signed, have hit all-time highs. For example, I once turned down and offer to buy a 2006 Topps Allen & Ginter Hogan autograph in 2009 for $250 because that price seemed outrageous. Today, there are no recent sales and just one copy is available with an asking price of $1,500.
Hogan’s first official autograph issue from 1998 Topps WCW/NWO has completely dried up. Wrestling collectors have finally realized how important this set was, perhaps 23 years too late. If you can track down a Hogan, be prepared to pay anywhere between $800-$1,000 and you better hope to find a certified, graded copy because all this new attention has attracted the attention of scammers pushing forgeries and making a killing. For those looking for a Hogan autograph who aren’t willing to pay a rent payment’s worth, look into Tristar, Leaf and Upper Deck, as all three manufacturers have produced Hulk Hogan autographs. The only catch is that most of them feature sticker autographs.
If you were a daily reader of The Baseball Card Blog, known as Wax Heaven back in 2008, you wouldn’t be faced with this problem. Hell, if I had just taken my own advice thirteen years ago, I would have purchased the entire set myself and used the profits I could have made in 2021 to finance a brand-new home for my family. Hey, hindsight is 20/20, especially when it comes to trading cards. My point is that if you are still a Hulkamaniac at heart and want to add a Hogan autographed trading card to your collection, the time to act is now because from the news that is making the rounds and even the man’s own Instagram posts and cryptic tweets, time is quickly running out.