Actually, I had Kobe Money.
For those of you that don’t know what I’m talking about, I sold the second greatest card I’ve ever found in a pack of cards (the first has not been revealed, and would not go for as much money) about a year ago. It was a 1997/98 Kobe Bryant Skybox Premium Star Rubies #31/50. Snipes overtook snipes which overtook snipes and the price climbed by the second as the auction neared closing. Andy and I laughed in amazement as the final tally reached slightly above $2,600. Not bad for a card that’s listed at $600 in Beckett (but that’s another post).
What did I do with that windfall of cash? Well, most of it went to help pay for my share of the wedding. Still, I had to keep some of it for selfish consumerism, so I decided to set aside $450 of it to put back into cardboard. My goal was to hit several key areas of my collections that were lacking.
Unfortunately, I didn’t get to spend all $450 on cards. It ended up being only $194.18 and the rest had to go to other bills. Granted, I have bought things on ebay since, but in my mind they’re not related. Maybe I should relate them, but I still want to keep the bigger chunk of theoretical money reserved for bigger purchases. I’m thinking I may take $125 from my tax return and at least spend half of what should be left, but I’m not sure yet. Otherwise, it’s going to credit card bills.
You guys don’t want to hear about that. You want to see the cards. Or maybe you don’t, but I’m going to show the nearly $200 worth of cards! I’ll start with the least expensive (all prices listed will include shipping) and work my way up to the most expensive card I’ve ever bought.
Carlos Marmol 2010 Topps 206 Framed Relics Piedmont – $2.99 – I believe the Piedmont version is the most common. Sadly, there is also an Old Mill and Polar Bear relic variation that is still needed to complete my 206 relic set. I don’t know if they’re all pants cards, but I’ll assume yes.
No, I didn’t buy these. Along with my 206 pants piece were a few extra cards used as packing material. Not only is that awesome, but it also turned out to be more than random throwaway cards. These are 2010 Topps 206 SPs my friends, and a nice smattering of Obak. I’d say I got my money’s worth just from these. I don’t need a single one, so if you’re building the set or a team set, like muttonchops, etc, let me know.
Carlos Marmol 2011 Topps Marquee Titanic Threads – $5.59 – I probably overpaid, because I got it shortly after the product came out. Still, I’m happy. Having a piece of jersey (could be pants again, doesn’t say) this large slightly compromises the structural integrity of the card. It’s a little droopy/saggy. Luckily toploaders exist and I don’t have to worry about the well being of my card. Ah toploaders: The jock strap/bra of collectibles. Ultra Pro, you can pay me later for your new tagline.
Kerry Wood 2007 Upper Deck Elements Clear Cut Elements Gold – $6.99 – This is the Gold version, distinguishable by the gold ribbons crossing horizontally. There’s a Bronze version /199 and Silver version, which is inexplicably numbered lower than the gold at /49, so I won’t be chasing that.
I kind of killed two birds with one stone here grabbing a jersey auto. I really like the Elements set, and even though the auto is a sticker, it still looks awesome on the acetate card. For under $10, I couldn’t go wrong.
Greg Maddux 2001 Fleer Platinum Nameplates – $10.99 – I’m reminded of an image I saw online a long time ago of a Georgia plate that read A55 RGY with the peach strategically placed in the middle. Hats off to that man. This is a damn thick card for such a dinky patch. Regardless, it’s my first Maddux patch, and the card is more unique than most. You have to dig the hand numbering on the back (that you can’t see here), too. #157/180 for those that are interested.
Tony Gwynn 2009 Press Pass Fusion Autographs Gold – $17.50 – I still need the Green /50 and the unnumbered Silver version of the autograph. Considering I paid less than a blaster for this on-card beauty, I don’t think they’ll be too expensive to pick up. This Press Pass release was pretty cool. If I was a more general card collecting type, I’d have bought a box. Those days are largely over, and it’s all about players now.
Tony Gwynn 2000 Fleer Mystique Fresh Ink – $19.35 – Yup, another Tony on-card auto for less than a double sawbuck. I’ve teased a couple times now when showing off Bowman cards that his signature there looks nothing like his autograph everywhere else. Here’s my proof! I bought this one first. After landing the Will Clark in the group break box a long, long time ago, choosing this Gwynn from the same set wasn’t a hard decision.
Frank Thomas 2000 SP Authentic Buybacks – 1999 – $35.00 – This was the riskiest purchase I made. SP Authentic had been doing buyback autographs for a while. This is the only one from 2000 that meets my collecting criteria: a buyback from the ancient 1999 SP Authentic set.
The reason I say it’s risky was I wasn’t 100% sure of it’s legitimacy when I bought it. Honestly, I still can’t be totally sure. As you can see, I have the COA card that came with. The auto looks an awful lot like other Big Hurt signatures I’ve compared it to. And the numbering on the card correlates with my checklists. For the price of his jersey number, I took the leap.
This is all I have to go off of. The problem here is that Upper Deck’s online database for these things doesn’t go back this far. I don’t see any evidence that anyone tried to peel the sticker or slap another authentication number on either card. Even with all this info in my favor, I have no real good way of knowing for sure. I might avoid buying buybacks like this again unless I can inspect it in person beforehand. My gut is telling me it’s real. Until I see another one with the same serial number, I’ll just assume it is. If not, then I guess I rewarded someone for a convincing fake.
Greg Maddux 2006 SP Authentic Sign of the Times – $95.77 – I know the scan is blurry, but I ain’t taking this out of its magnetic case. I don’t care if it is a sticker auto, it’s still my first Greg Maddux auto and also the most money I’ve spent on a single card to date. I knew I wanted my first to be low numbered, but that was the only limit I put on myself. One /50 (which is my low numbering threshold) would have been best, but I settled on the /75. I have to say, even though I was working with the $450 bankroll, I had a hell of a time setting my bid at triple digits. It’s a scary thought. The fact that multiple people went over $2,000 on my Kobe card is astonishing just from that mindset.
The overall goal was to get at least one autograph and a patch card for everyone I collect. After that, I was probably going to look into high-priced inserts if anything was left over. You can see I’m missing a few things. There are no Ryan Dempster autographs on my want list, since he hasn’t signed anything during his Cubs era, and I didn’t get around to the jersey (doubt he has a patch). Marmol likely doesn’t have a patch either, and I didn’t get around to an auto. I have plenty and they’re not too expensive, so it was low priority anyway. With Woody, I didn’t get around to searching for a patch.
I did get both for Maddux, but would have liked to get more. I was scoping out a couple cool Gwynn patches, but always got outbid. And for Frank, I was looking for another auto first before I had to reallocate my funds.
I’m very happy with my first round. I took my time with it and watched my alerts daily until something came along at the right price. The key was to not just go spend money because I had some, but to be smart and do my research and shop around. Once I win the lotto, then I can be slightly more reckless with my card buying.