Is the 90’s Holy Grail Losing Steam?

15 09 2009

While there were many great baseball cards produced from 1990-1999, not many reached the level of Upper Deck’s Mickey Mantle / Ken Griffey Jr. dual on-card autographs of 1994. While Mantle was known to sign just about anything he could get his hands on, just a few card companies had the smarts to include them in their product.

So while Mantle has only appeared in a few select Upper Deck & Score products from the 90’s, Ken Griffey Jr. has had a much different fate. Much like cards were overproduced during the late-80’s and early-90’s, not many have signed more autographs for card companies than The Kid which means the market is completely flooded with his certified autographs.

It doesn’t help that Junior is likely playing his final season (.219 avg.) and has already tarnished his legacy by hanging on for much too long. Not even a broken down Mantle put up such miserable numbers in his final season in 1968. So if there is some way the dual autograph has lost a bit of mystique, it’s certainly not because of Mickey Mantle.

Need further proof? Check out this Mantle-only version of the card that sold for $375 dollars. The very same card minus the Mantle auto with Griffey Jr.’s signature didn’t even crack $100 dollars on September 10th. With just two days remaining, the dual autograph version is closing in on $500 dollars with ten bids.

According to “book value”, the card is worth $1,150.

Mantle - Griffey


Mantle, DiMaggio Not Worth $14,000

13 09 2009

A lot of people I speak with in The Hobby seem to think I have something against “high-end” products. The truth is, I am envious of those who can afford all those releases. My only issue with them is that so many times you don’t even come close to getting your money’s worth in terms of secondary value or content.

One of my favorite happenings in collecting is going through eBay and watching those who plunked down a small fortune on Exquisite or some other product trying to make their money back. One current example is the collector who owns this 2005 Upper Deck Ultimate Mantle/DiMaggio/Jeter/Mattingly quad auto numbered to just one copy.

As far as I know, it may be the first time those four legendary Yankees (err, I mean 3) have been featured on one card with autographs but it’s certainly not a one of a kind item nor is it worth the $14,000 the seller is hoping to get. For starters, you can find Derek Jeter & Don Mattingly certified autographs for around $100 dollars combined.

Now some may think Mantle and DiMaggio’s signatures are a rarity because they died before the Hobby fully embraced the pack inserted autographs but not exactly. Mantle has more than one on-card certified autograph thanks to Score and Upper Deck and DiMaggio has an on-card Pinnacle autograph. On a good day you could win both those cards for under $500 dollars.

Question: Why did U.D. place Jeter & Mattingly on the front?


A Shocking End to A Jumbo eBay Auction

7 09 2009

To many collectors, the game-used relic is a dead & tired concept. Just take a look through eBay’s Completed Listings to see how many sell for under one dollar or simply don’t get bid on. It was bound to happen when collectors became greedy and demanded certain guarantees per box.

While the average relic doesn’t do much for some, patches are a completely different story. It’s hard to find any collector who would complain about a game-used patch but even I was a little shocked to see the final selling price of this 2005 Sweet Spot Classic Mickey Mantle Jumbo Patch.

The card, which features a beautiful photo of Mantle on a great Upper Deck design nearly hit three thousand dollars. While I love the card, I personally would have much rather gone with a 1991 Score on-card autograph of The Mick for just $300 dollars. Heck, for around the same price you could have even picked up Mantle’s rookie card!

If you’re looking to test your luck, you can find unopened boxes of ’05 Sweet Spot Classic on eBay in the price range of about $150-$185 dollars. Just be warned, there are a lot of signatures from the product that sell for well below $10 dollars. In fact, the Jumbo patches consistently outperform the autographs.

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!

I have seen much better days…

15 06 2009

Hello, I’m a Mickey Mantle autograph from 1991 Score.

As you can see, I have been forsaken by my owner. In the early to mid-90’s, I was a big deal. Today, all anyone ever wants to talk about and collect is high school kids who have not even seen one Major League pitch or faced a single batter in “The Show”.

Did you know I hit over 500 home runs in my career? Despite this, one of my brothers recently sold for just $406 dollars. Can you believe that? Meanwhile, this card which features a stinkin’ sticker autograph of some kid who is just 16 years old almost cracked a grand.

…and they said Mickey was an alcoholic.

Anyway, it’s no secret I have lots of brothers and sisters. The thing is, the industry got real lazy and cheap about a decade ago and decided to use sticker autographs on 95% of releases. What that means is while you obsess over a 16 year old’s sticker scribble, I am the absolute real thing.

What’s worth more to you? An unproven kid’s scribble or a legendary, one of a kind Hall of Famer’s faded on-card autograph? Yeah, stupid question. In 48 hours, I haven’t even cracked six dollars yet.

Thanks for reading,

-1991 Score Mickey Mantle

Baseball Heaven in a Polaroid

30 03 2009

I know what you’re thinking. Despite what it looks like, this photo is not of Mario Alejandro at a Menudo tryouts back in the mid-80’s. It actually a photo that is being sold on eBay of a kid posing next to a very young Jose Canseco.

According to the auction, it was taken approximately 24 years ago. Judging by the mop on Jose’s head, I’d say he’s about right. This Polaroid was clearly snapped before Jose broke into the Majors, won the Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player awards, became the richest ball player and a superstar. Still, one has to wonder what is up with that miserable look on his face.

The seller also has a Polaroid with the great Mickey Mantle which has an autograph and is up to $51 dollars with less than 3 hours left. Hurry up and bid before Razor or Topps jumps on it and puts it into a Cut Signature Superfractor “1 of 1” and destroys a beautiful autograph of one of the greatest players of all time.

Oh, and Mickey Mantle too.

Walk away from the box of Sterling…

19 02 2009

These days if you’re looking to add a Mickey Mantle autograph to your collection you have very few options. You could plop down thousands of dollars on a Frankenstein card like this or try your luck with an in-person autograph on a vintage release.

Sure, Score has some very nice on-card Mantle autographs but some of them leave a lot to be desired. Thanks to legendary sports artists, Dick Perez, there are actually some amazing on-card autographs that many collectors have forgotten about or flat out don’t know they exist.

Perez Steele made its debut in 1979 and featured classic baseball card designs and many of the game’s greatest players like Mickey Mantle, Ted Williams, Stan Musial, and Hank Aaron just to name a small few.

Today, these cards are only available through the secondary market and always sell for much less than “1 of 1” Frankenstein cards from Triple Threads and Sterling or sticker disasters like 2008 Prime Cuts (fast forward to 3:52 in the video).

As for the Perez Steele line, you can find a complete gallery HERE.