Matt Suoja: The sports cards of nowDo you remember opening up that pack of baseball cards hoping you would get your favorite player.
By: Matt Suoja, Lake County News Chronicle
Do you remember opening up that pack of baseball cards hoping you would get your favorite player.
Picture it in your mind.
Now picture yourself scratching off a $500 lottery ticket.
See the connection. Well, if you don’t collect cards then you probably don’t.
The sports card industry, for the most part, is like gambling.
Long gone are the days where you could buy a pack for less than $1 and you would get a stick of gum to boot.
Now, for a decent pack of cards, you will have to plunk down between $8 and $10 and you don’t even get the gum. There are some packs (that have just five cards in them) out there that could run you $500 or more – about $3,000 if it’s LeBron James’ rookie year.
Granted it is probably a lot more thrilling now knowing you could land a “white whale” worth thousands.
You may ask “How is a new card worth thousands?”
Cards that fetch that big of a price tag, need to be very unique. Some cards have pieces of game-used jersey on them that are very dramatic, such as the entire “M” from the back of Joe Mauer’s jersey.
Another example of a premium card would be a Babe Ruth cut signature (usually from a cancelled check), or any cut signature from one of the early presidents.
Some may ask, how these can they be authentic?
These signatures are verified by the card companies. I’m pretty sure they are real because the card companies risk far more by selling fake autographs, compared with profits.
One other example was sold in May. Not only did it have a cut signature of Abraham Lincoln on it, but also a lock of his hair (I’m curious as to how they know that’s really his hair). It sold for a staggering $17,500.
Usually these ultra rare cards are limited to say … one.
That’s right, there are really cards out there that only one copy is made. This isn’t even an uncommon occurrence. Many times manufacturers insert printing plates, of which the cards were printed off of. Those too, are considered one-of-ones. There are also many other different types that I will not delve into here that also qualify as the “elusive” one-of-one.
The sports card industry is moving into a direction that I don’t like, but I think I’m going down with the ship.
That’s right, I too, am a victim of the industry.
Cards are not just for kids and the manufacturers know it.
Why else would packs of cards be so expensive now?
Matt Suoja is a reporter with the Lake County News Chronicle. E-mails can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.