Another First By Upper Deck

7 10 2009

Check out this very rare 1995 Upper Deck SP Top Prospects Michael Jordan autograph. It’s special for many reasons, including the fact that it’s Jordan’s first ever pack-inserted certified autograph. It’s also extremely limited. Sports Collectors Digests estimates that only 20 copies were printed.

For the Michael Jordan super collector, it’s a must-have item. You can own the several dozen Jordan autographs released by Exquisite but taking a quick glance on eBay, those are a dime a dozen. Maybe not in price but availability. This 1995 release is extremely limited and comes from a time when autographs were a bonus, not a guarantee.

Other noteworthy autographs in 1995 Upper Deck SP Top Prospects include; Bob Abreu, Nomar Garciaparra, Andruw Jones, Derek Lee, Scott Rolen, and Vladimir Guerrero. Autographs were inserted once in ever 31 packs or about one per box on average.

Jordan's first autograph


If Only Cards Looked This Good

15 09 2009

I’m not a fan of basketball but can you imagine pulling a card like the one you see below? The amazing artwork for this Michael Jordan piece along with two others was created by Shepard Fairey and can be seen on his website.

Unfortunately, it’s not a card but signed prints being sold by Upper Deck Authenticated. The first offerings will be on Thursday, September 17th and are signed by both the artist and Jordan and will be limited to just 50 copies. The pieces are priced at $4,499.99.

A basketball fan can dream, can’t he?

(thumbnail leads to a full-size scan)

Jordan Bulls-50

Insanity over a Pristine Jordan rookie!

19 08 2009

I won’t get too deep into this subject because I am not a Michael Jordan fan, basketball collector, or a supporter of grading services in general. To those who grade your cards, more power to you and your collection. Now, take a look at a 1986-87 Fleer Michael Jordan Gem Mint 10 which sold for $7,000+. Not bad, right?

The very same rookie in Buyback form and with an autograph hit eBay and sold for a very respectable $8,200+. If I were a Jordan collector, this would be the Holy Grail of my collection, not the regular Fleer copy. The Fleer original can be had for a few hundred dollars if you can find a trusty seller and don’t mind a card that’s not graded. Gasp!

Now, have a look at this Fleer Jordan rookie graded by Beckett, which received a Pristine 10. With 8 days left in the auction it has over 40 bids and is pushing $60,000 dollars. The seller even added an image of the Beckett the card was featured in. One can only imagine how much kickback Beckett will get from this sale.

Assuming the card keeps getting bids and somehow reaches $100,000, is there really that much difference from that card and a BGS graded copy that sold for well-under $400 dollars? Yes, there are minor imperfections but isn’t collecting about enjoying the player on the card and not the technicalities?

Is the card with the sharpest corners and perfect centering really worth that much more?

That’s one UGLY card!

13 08 2009

Take a look at this ’97-’98 Team Skybox Michael Jordan parallel. I love the 90’s but even I can’t defend this over the top, ugly parallel.

The card in question is serial numbered to 50 copies and is one of the most desired Jordan inserts, ever. It recently hit eBay where it garnered 20 bids and a final selling price of $1,625.99.

Who said Exquisite wax busters were the only crazy ones?

Biggest Fish in the Bay – June

2 07 2009

(The Biggest Fish in the Bay is a monthly guest column by Kory B.)

2003-04 Upper Deck Glass – Jordan/LeBron Dual Auto Jersey #/10

Final Price $45,000 – Date of sale: June, 19, 2009

What recession? Are you kidding me? 45K? That just boggles one’s mind. For 5 grand more than an ’09 Cadillac CTS you could have had this card. I wish I could say more about the card, but it is just such an outrageous price.

LeBron has been a phenomenal player and all, but he has yet to win anything. I do really like the black Jordan jersey. Those were pretty cool back in the day. You knew the Bulls meant business when they threw on the black jerseys.


2003-04 Upper Deck Exquisite – LeBron Gold Auto Patch #/99 BGS 9.5

Final Price $24,223.23 – Date of sale: June 21, 2009

Apparently, LeBron collectors are freaking loaded. Who buys a card like this? Unless LeBron wins an ungodly amount of championships, I can’t really see this card increasing in value much. This is truly an “I want this card” purchase.

LeBron is incredibly skilled, and I think he’s only going to get better, but basketball is still a team game. So, the real question is do you want a little tiny piece of jersey with some scribbling next to it, or do you want this for a fraction of the price?


1952 Topps – Michey Mantle PSA 4.5.

Final Price $12,855.55 – Date of sale: June 30, 2009

Short prints are every one’s favorite! The legend goes that Topps dumped a large number of the last series in the Atlantic. The rumor coupled with Topps’ reduced print run in anticipation of a lower retail order produced a short printed card. So even though the company didn’t produce a short printed card solely for the sake of it being short printed, Topps achieved the same final result.

Overall, I’d say this is the second most well known card in all of collecting next to the T-206 Honus Wagner. I know it’s the first one I circled in my Beckett at a value of $52,000 when I was 5.

Despite the ending price, the seller had the nerve to demand $60 dollars for shipping!

Metal Universe could save The Hobby

30 06 2009

While many refuse to acknowledge the fact, the truth of the matter is that collecting is at an all-time low. With prices going through the roof, designs getting worse and worse, and a recession in the mix, it’s no wonder why many have been walking away from collecting in droves.

The truth is, despite all the brands being released monthly, not many products are taking risks. Even two of the most popular brands of the past few years, Allen & Ginter & Masterpieces, have become somewhat stale. The year that game-used relics were introduced and certified autographs became common, The Hobby went into cruise control.

Don’t get me wrong, a well-done relic/autograph will trump any card most of the times but as we collectors know all too well, those special cards come once in a lifetime, if they do at all. Most of the times we pay $80-$100 or more for a bunch of lazy designed base cards, a couple of plain jersey swatches, and a sticker autograph from a 25-year old prospect.

I challenge all collectors to bust an old school box of any mid to late-90’s Metal Universe brand to see what collecting truly could be. Every single base card is designed specifically for the player, meaning even the “commons” have value to those who love collecting.

The inserts & parallels are beautiful and despite being considered junk wax for lack of relics and/or autographs, still bring in some serious cash on the secondary market. Recently, the Michael Jordan parallel you see below which is #’d to 50 copies brought in close to $1,700 dollars without the help of an autograph or jersey.

Collectors still want old school

23 03 2009

Although it is still very early in the collecting season, I would have to say that 2009 Upper Deck SPx has been the most disappointing product I have seen so far. It’s bland, uninspired, and so run of the mill it would not surprise me if the product is D.O.A. a week after its release.

Meanwhile, 1996 & 1997 SPx continues to live on in the Hobby thanks to the secondary market. If you recall, the first years of SPx featured holographic photographs, a small but well-done amount of parallels, and best of all, ultra-rare on-card autographs of the game’s all-time greats like Dan Marino, Ken Griffey Jr., and Michael Jordan.

Just recently, a 1996 SPx autograph of Michael Jordan sold on eBay for a whopping $1,025 dollars. See, collectors do care about the old school just as much as they do brands like Exquisite. At the end of the day, the truth is that design is what really matters. If you can fit an autograph, a memorabilia relic, and a serial number all on one card and still make it look great then you did your job.

Upper Deck, if you don’t lose your M.L.B. license in 2010, consider resurrecting holograms even if it’s just for an insert set like Topps did this year with Turkey Red. Really, at this point I don’t think there is much to lose and you just might be surprised with just how many current and former collectors you make very happy.

You can see what 2009 SPx will look like HERE.