Sometimes You Eat the Bar…

I have very few card collections given my limited resources and space, but I did decide some time ago to begin collecting on-card Royals autographs. It’s been a blast so far trying to track these things down and this is the latest addition to my collection. To view the cards currently in the collection, take a look at the Gallery or the other posts in this series. I’m working on getting a legit want list together on my trade page but, in the meantime, if you have any on-card Royals autos that it looks like I don’t have, don’t hesitate to drop me a line!

Pure Italian gold.

Prospecting ain’t my game. I’m a team collector with very specific constraints. If it’s a Major League card with an on-card Royal on it and it’s numbered to 50 or higher, I want it in my collection. So I’ve got all these eBay saved searches. I did a bunch of research and have batches based on names I found on Beckett.com, COMC and wherever else that identify players who appear in Royals uniforms with on-card autographs. Johnny Giavotella is one of those names. His only auto so far is a 2009 Bowman Chrome deal that I figured would only cost me one eBay ($.99 plus shipping…. still trying to get that unit of measure to catch on) to get each of the rainbow I needed.

Turns out Johnny is a bit of a name in the Royals system. I wasn’t into collecting when he was drafted in the 2nd round back in 2008 as a solid-hitting, somewhat-speedy infielder. So after seeing a gold refractor sell for about $28, I picked up the next one I saw for $25. It’s way more than I usually spend on a single card, and I usually wait until a handful of data on sales come in so I know if I’m getting a good deal or not. But in this case, I had just started my Royals on-card auto collection and I was excited to add a gold refractor to it so I jumped.

I’m not the kind of guy for whom that sort of impulsive buying usually pans out. Which is exactly why I don’t often do it. But, in this case, Johnny got called up to the Majors in August of last year and had a hot start. The next two gold refractors I saw sell went for $65 and $60 respectively. It always feels good to see you made what appears to be a reasonable choice when you weren’t being reasonable to begin with. Now, I’m not saying those prices will stay up. There are lots of decent MLB regulars whose gold refractor autos sell for less than $60 and Johnny, who started 2012 in AAA Omaha and is playing well, may very well not be the next Troy Tulowitzki. But still, I’ll enjoy my little victory over the secondary market while it lasts. Incidentally, I just saw one sell for $31, so I guess the ceiling is coming down on these puppies already! Noooo! Let me have this, world!

Too bad I can't see the mini-golf course behind these batting cages!

Incidentally, I also happened to grab and xfractor of the potential Royals 2nd baseman of the future. It cost me $10 and hasn’t seen the jump in price that the gold has. Of course, I get the impression that xfractors may be the least popular of the refractor versions. I can see why- the weird blockiness doesn’t really add anything to the base auto (which I picked up a million years ago) or the refractor (which I’ve yet to grab). In Royals land, the blue refractor is the one to get, though there seems to be a lot of popularity surrounding the blue refractor. Anyone have a favored refractor? If they were all limited to the same number of copies, I’d take the blue any day of the week. Does anyone out there actually like xfractors? I haven’t done nearly enough research myself to figure out what the multiplier is on value for these things (and Beckett seems to choose arbitrary multipliers anymore) so I’m open to some info!

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