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Thread: Fathers...Know your kids baseball card collection??

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    Fathers...Know your kids baseball card collection??

    This maybe the biggest gaffe in the card industries history... Quite a Find. I'm looking through my cards for this set right now.

    This card costs 'cause you aren't supposed to have it'
    By Darren Rovell
    ESPN.com

    Alex Gordon has yet to play a single game in the major leagues and yet his rookie card is the hottest in all of baseball, selling for as much as $2,550 in recent weeks.

    Is Gordon the Kansas City Royals' next great player? Could be. But that isn't why his card, which is No. 297 in Topps' 2006 set, is worth that kind of money.

    The piece of cardboard is worth that much only because it never should have been produced in the first place.

    Last year, in part to reduce confusion in the marketplace, the Major League Baseball Players Association ruled that card manufacturers could make rookie cards only of players who either made the 25-man roster or played in a major league game the season before. Gordon didn't qualify either way. After he led Nebraska into the College World Series, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2005 draft didn't sign his contract -- including a $4 million signing bonus -- until late September.

    Whatever you do, don't let mom throw this card away.

    "At the last second, we realized we had made a mistake, so we pulled the cards, destroyed them by cutting out the photo and then destroyed the plates," said Topps spokesman Clay Luraschi.

    But a fan named Jeremy Troutman pulled five of Gordon's cards on a shopping trip in his hometown of Wichita, where, coincidentally, Gordon is playing Double-A ball for the Wranglers this season.

    "I went to Wal-Mart, bought two boxes, and got two in the same pack," Troutman said. "So I bought seven more boxes and got another three in the same pack."

    Troutman, whose story first appeared in the Wichita Eagle, opened 1,000 packs to find his five cards. He sold all five of them to different collectors for a total of $5,761.79.

    Troutman had the right idea. The Gordon cards are believed to exist only in the earliest shipped packs, many of which went to Wal-Marts across the country.

    But before you raid your local Wal-Mart in search of a bonanza, you should know that the odds of a payday like Troutman's aren't in your favor. Fewer than 20 of the Gordon cards have shown up for sale on eBay, leading some in the collectibles industry to believe that the card is as rare as they come. Luraschi is confident that fewer than 100 cards got out.

    A few weeks ago, Jason Mauk, owner of the card store "In The Zone" in Hagerstown, Md., purchased one of the cards from the wholesaler who provides boxes for his store. After hearing the story, Mauk paid $1,000 for it. He then put it up on eBay and sold it for $1,425.

    "I've sold thousands of cards online and I've never had 2,000 hits on one auction like I did in this case," Mauk said. "I've never had 100 people put a single auction on their watch list like I did with this card."

    John Schulteis, a 28-year-old from Mission, Kan., bought one of the Gordon cards from Troutman for $895. Schulteis, who buys to sell, currently has the card up for auction.

    "The fact of the matter is that Topps is the most collected brand out there, and this card ruins it for people in that they won't be able to have it in their set," Schulteis said.

    The last major error of this magnitude in the trading card industry happened in 1989, when a Fleer card featuring Billy Ripken was released that carried an obscenity clearly written on the knob of the bat Ripken was holding. Fleer's attempted cover-up created more than six versions of that card, but the original remained the hottest property, selling for hundreds of dollars at the time. Today, that card can be had for $5.

    Some think the price of the Gordon card is worth more than other error cards because of his great potential as a player. In his first full season as a pro, Gordon is batting .326 with 6 home runs and 12 RBI with the Wranglers.

    "If he turns out to be a superstar, the price can be sustained for a long time," said Rich Klein, price guide analyst for Beckett, a collectibles publisher. "If he's a flash in the pan, people will still remember it, but they won't care as much."

    But Schulteis doesn't agree that Gordon's star potential is much of a factor in the frenzy.

    "The fact of the matter is that Topps is the most collected brand out there, and people won't be able to have a complete set without getting this card," Schulteis said. "The scarcity of the card means much more than the caliber of player this guy is or does become."

    Like the Ripken card, other versions of the Gordon card have emerged. One version has the photo missing and so just includes the thin card borders, and it has been selling in the $30 to $50 range. A full Gordon card that just has his name on the front and a blank on the back has sold in the $100 to $200 range.

    What does Gordon himself think? He was shocked when he first heard about the value of his card.

    "One of my buddies said he searched the card online, just as a joke to see how much I was worth," Gordon said. "And he told me, 'Your card is selling for hundreds and hundreds of dollars.' I thought he was joking. It blew my mind."

    So far, Gordon hasn't come into possession of any of the valuable cards, but he says he does a double-take every time he signs an autograph to make sure he stays on the lookout for one.

    And he certainly isn't complaining about the error.

    "Topps is helping to get my name out there," Gordon said. "I should send them a thank you card or something."


    BASEBALL CARD ERRORS
    • 1969 Topps Aurelio Rodriguez: picture of team batboy Leonard Garcia
    • 1981 Fleer John Littlefield: picture is reversed
    • 1985 Topps Gary Pettis: picture of Pettis' younger brother
    • 1987 Donruss "Opening Day" Barry Bonds: picture of Johnny Ray
    • 1985 Donruss Tom Seaver: picture of Floyd Bannister
    • 1988 Topps Al Leiter: picture is Steve George
    • 1989 Upper Deck Dale Murphy: picture is reversed
    • 1989 Fleer Billy Ripken: obscenity on bat knob
    • 1990 Donruss John Smoltz: picture of Tom Glavine
    • 1990 Donruss Juan Gonzalez: picture is reversed
    • 1990 Topps Frank Thomas: has no name on front
    Last edited by It8ifyifitsgrif; 05-02-2006 at 05:27 PM.
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    Just The Big Picture macro's Avatar
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    Re: Fathers...Know your kids baseball card collection??

    The last major error of this magnitude in the trading card industry happened in 1989, when a Fleer card featuring Billy Ripken was released that carried an obscenity clearly written on the knob of the bat Ripken was holding. Fleer's attempted cover-up created more than six versions of that card, but the original remained the hottest property, selling for hundreds of dollars at the time. Today, that card can be had for $5.
    Prospectors should pay particular attention to that last sentence. Closets across America are filled with baseball cards that cost too much when purchased in the late 80s and are almost worthless today.

    Help stamp out, eliminate, and do away with redundancy.

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    breath westofyou's Avatar
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    Re: Fathers...Know your kids baseball card collection??

    • 1990 Donruss John Smoltz: picture of Tom Glavin
    • 1990 Donruss Juan Gonzalez: picture is reversed
    I have those

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    Churlish Johnny Footstool's Avatar
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    Re: Fathers...Know your kids baseball card collection??

    • 1985 Topps Gary Pettis: picture of Pettis' younger brother
    I thought it was the bat boy.
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    The Boss dougdirt's Avatar
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    Re: Fathers...Know your kids baseball card collection??

    Another good one they are missing is the 1995 Carlos Beltran and Jaun Lebron rookie cards, where each player is shown on the others card.

    On Jay Bruce's Bowman rookie last year it says he was drafted by the Braves, when obviously he wasnt.

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    Baseball card addict MrCinatit's Avatar
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    Re: Fathers...Know your kids baseball card collection??

    If I recall correctly, righthander Bob Uecker posed for a couple of his 1960s cards with the Braves batting lefthanded.
    Nobody noticed.

    About a year after the infamous Ripken card was released, Pacific Cards released a set of cards from the short-lived Seniors League. Craig Nettles' brother Jim was in that league. He struck a pose remarkably similar to Billy's - his bat also had an obscenety written on the end.

    That 1989 Fleer set with Ripken was remarkable in its collection of errors. Two Tigers had the backs of their cards reversed. A Tiger pitcher had Alan Trammel in the background adjusting himself (this was corrected).
    This lead to an "error craze", in which collectors began more actively searching for errors and those corrections. The craze dropped fast the next year, when it seemed almost every card had an error, which was eventually corrected.
    Last edited by MrCinatit; 05-03-2006 at 07:00 AM.

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    Churlish Johnny Footstool's Avatar
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    Re: Fathers...Know your kids baseball card collection??

    The 1979 Topps Bump Wills error and corrected cards were big deals when I was collecting back in the mid-80s.
    "I prefer books and movies where the conflict isn't of the extreme cannibal apocalypse variety I guess." Redsfaithful

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    Plays The Right Way Hap's Avatar
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    Re: Fathers...Know your kids baseball card collection??

    Prospectors should pay particular attention to that last sentence. Closets across America are filled with baseball cards that cost too much when purchased in the late 80s and are almost worthless today.
    For example....

    Dwight Gooden rookie cards....Darryl Strawberry rookie cards.....1977 Topps Rookie Catchers (Dale Murphy).....Bo Jackson rookie cards.....Jose Canseco rookie cards.....etc
    .

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    I hate the Cubs LoganBuck's Avatar
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    Re: Fathers...Know your kids baseball card collection??

    I have all of those hap. I have a card that used to be worth about $30 I haven't looked it up recently but can describe it. It is an 88 topps Eddie Murray record breakers card that had the record printed in white on the front. It was an error card I have no idea where to look now to see what it is worth.
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    Re: Fathers...Know your kids baseball card collection??

    Quote Originally Posted by macro
    Prospectors should pay particular attention to that last sentence. Closets across America are filled with baseball cards that cost too much when purchased in the late 80s and are almost worthless today.
    In 1981, card manufacturers Fleer and Donruss finally joined Topps with their baseball licensing agreements. The results were awful for the industry because all 3 companies simply "let the presses roll."

    I can't remember the exact stat about production numbers because they were so hush-hush, but it was ugly. It was something like: Number of baseball cards produced from 1981-1988 > All baseball cards ever printed prior to those years COMBINED.
    "Booing on opening day is like telling grandma her house smells like old lady."--WOY

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    Member Gainesville Red's Avatar
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    Re: Fathers...Know your kids baseball card collection??

    Do they still make Beckett magazines? I used to read those religiously when I was a kid.

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    Joe Oliver love-child Blimpie's Avatar
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    Re: Fathers...Know your kids baseball card collection??

    Quote Originally Posted by Gainesville Red
    Do they still make Beckett magazines? I used to read those religiously when I was a kid.
    Yep. Tuff Stuff, as well.
    "Booing on opening day is like telling grandma her house smells like old lady."--WOY

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    Just The Big Picture macro's Avatar
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    Re: Fathers...Know your kids baseball card collection??

    I also recall a card that depicted four rookies from different teams (circa 1977 or so) and one of the guys pictured had his named spelled "Bob Apodoco" when his last name was supposed to be spelled "Apodoca". He was a Mets pitcher. That and the Bump Wills error that Johnny mentioned were the first two I remember.

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    Baseball card addict MrCinatit's Avatar
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    Re: Fathers...Know your kids baseball card collection??

    The 1962 set included cards which had a light - but noticable - green tint. Those cards were later corrected.
    The 1069 set included a lot of cards which had minor errors such as background color or letter coloring - again, those cards were corrected.

    As for cards which dropped in value, one of the most extreme instances is the 1990 Score "Black and White" Bo Jackson. It depicted Bo in his football shoulder pads, a baseball bat over his shoulders.
    Early on, the Score set was hard to get, and the card was in great demand. Some were paying more than $30 for that card.
    Around July or so, Score mass produced the card - big time. By September, the card could be had for less than a dollar from reputable dealers.

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    Plays The Right Way Hap's Avatar
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    Re: Fathers...Know your kids baseball card collection??

    I remember being at OU in Athens when Gary Trent was a star basketball player and was drafted into the NBA in the first round. A fly-by-night card shop had several kinds of Gary Trent rookie cards for $2 to $5 apiece. This particular card shop was on Washington Street, directly behind the junior high school. Every junior high kid in town went there and got a Gary Trent card.

    These days, I would guess they are worth about a tenth of a cent each.
    .


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