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PCR #210  (Vol. 5, No. 14)  This edition is for the week of March 29--April 4, 2004.

 by Mike Smith
"Dawn of the Dead" review....H.G. Wells "Things to Come" (1936) on OBC....Goodbye J.J.
 by Andy Lalino
Whitewolf Games....Wizards of the Coast
 by Joshua Montgomery
The Great Battle of "We the People of the US" and Free Speech
 by Dylan Jones
Dating Sims
 by Clayton Smith
Collecting in he New Millenium - Part 2: Sports Cards
 by Brandon Jones
Scooby Doo 2....WizKids/Hero Clix
 by John Lewis
We Must End This Now!...Going Ape....Passing On....Meet The Beatles, Part 11
 by Mike Smith
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Splash Page

Collecting in the New Millennium – Part 2: Sports Cards

There’s nothing like the smell of a card shop. Nauseating, maybe to some. Intoxicating, NO, not without the gum. Addicting, most likely. I am addicted to card collecting – football cards in particular. Sure, there are still is love for my childhood heroes of the 70’s and 80’s, but a lot has changed.


Of course, we’re capitalists. The fossilized sticks of gum are extinct and a single pack of cards can retail for double digits. To fully understand the hobby, you need a translation guide: foil packs, hobby versus retail packs, rookie cards versus extended rookies and the multitudes of insert cards. There are memorabilia cards featuring jerseys, autographs, balls, shoes, and even the parts off of a NASCAR.

So, be tolerant of my football bias (that’s a debate for another time) and I’ll try to give some examples in the other sports, but we probably will need to add a forum on the message boards.

10. The Icons still rule: Favre, Rice, Ripken, Bonds, O’Neal and Bryant

This isn’t a surprise, but few people realize the HUGE gap between the few star players and the other “all-stars”. A player like Cal Ripken has had a strong collectible “value” but once he broke the “streak” for consecutive games, the Ripken cards went through the roof -- likewise for Bonds and his 73 homers. So, be prepared to shell out some huge cash for Rookie Cards of the “old iconic”, all-time great players of your favorite sport.

9. Who are there guys?

Forget the all-pro players or the future Hall-of-famer. The sports card industry has a pathetic passion to “attempt” to cash in on the next “big” thing – the Rookie Card.

I remember that there was Topps, Donruss and Fleer. Of course, that was baseball and you had to be lucky enough to live near a Majik Market that carry more than one brand. For the 2003 season, there were 52 Brands from a hand full of companies. Yep, 52!!!!

Moreover, baseball fervor creates ridiculous prices for players that may never make it out of the minors. Ever heard of Brien Taylor or Delmon Young. The rookie fever drives prices and companies insane. For instance, a Byron Leftwich Playoff Contenders Rookie card, which also features his autograph, will run you $200-350. Why? Because they only made 169 of them. How about Arlen Harris, Mike Sherman, Brock Forsey, or Ty Warren – no clue? Me either, but their similar rookie cards go for $20-25.

Insane? Yes it is.

8. How far will twenty bucks get you?

You can drop an Andrew Jackson on the rookie card of an obscure player as I just mentioned. Of course, with 52 brands to choose from, go buy a whole box of those same players on eBay for the price of the one Playoff Contender.

With companies creating serial numbers on cards, there is now a published volume of that particular card or line of cards. Sometimes there’s 2000 made, sometimes it’s only five and the price reflects that. So, how would you like to spend your cash?

A Topps Black version of Michael Vick numbered to only 150 or a Jerry Rice Ultra Platinum numbered to only 100?

See where I’m going.

By the way, it should also be obvious that you may open hundreds of pack and never find these extremely rare cards. God Bless the eBay.

Leaf Limited Cards. (Left to Right) J. Unitas regular, T. Holt bronze, L. Coles silver
7. Hall of Fame doesn’t mean Hall of Fame prices.

Defensive players in football get no respect. Neither do small market players. Jeremy Shockey cards are more than Reggie White, Ray Lewis, Derrick Brooks, Warren Moon and Shannon Sharpe. You can get two Kevin Garnett cards for a Kobe Bryant and if you collect retired players like Moses Malone or Rick Barry – you can tons for that Peter Gammons twenty.

6. Beware of the parallel.

Imagine the exact same with a different logo or color sequentially number to different quantities. Leaf Limited cards are numbered to 999 with a bronze version numbered to only 150. The picture is the same pose, but with a bronze sheen. Add a silver (# to 75) and a gold (# to 25) and you get the complexity. In this case, there’s even a platinum numbered to only one of each card.

5. Jersey cards are a must.

Buy a players jersey (or pants, game ball, a bat or bleacher seat), cut it up and imbed the pieces into cards.


Nearly every brand has some sort of jersey “line”. There is a premium if the swatch has multiple colors or a seam.

4. Dead player’s autographs – you may not want to know.

If there’s money to be made…

You can get authentic Babe Ruth or Joe DiMaggio autographed cards. Check it out.

Official documents exist of these players and have been purchased, mutilated and put into a card. Divorce papers, envelopes, cancelled checks and other legal documents or the source of the rare autographs. I guess collecting famous divorce cases isn’t going to catch on afterall.

Check out eBay auction: 2797016697.

3. Big Money… and I mean big!!!

A couple of Tom Brady rookie cards to the current hot list, costing you $150-400 apiece. Various SPx (its just another brand) rookies (Carson Palmer, Rex Grossman) join Leftwich on the hot list with $100-250 rookie cards. Don’t forget those hard to find, numbered cards, which will cost you mega-bucks.

2. Beckett is running the show.

I find it a conflict of interest, but the mainstream price guide also sells cards.

People ask me all the time what something is worth, and I use the Beckett price guides. They are in the local 7-Elevens and Wal-Marts.

1. So what?

Have fun!!!

Remember putting cards in your bicycle spokes? Ever trade two Terry Bradshaws to get a Joe Namath? Has it really changed – sure. But it’s still fun, just much more expensive and complicated.

"Splash Page" is ©2004 by Brandon Jones.   Webpage design and all graphics herein (except where otherwise noted) are creations of Nolan B. Canova.  All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2004 by Nolan B. Canova.