These days, 95% of the autographs I purchase are hard signed and most of those are from that era.
One of my favorite sets is the 1998 Donruss Signature "Significant Signatures" set. Eighteen different players are featured in this set... most of whom have a plaque hanging up in Cooperstown, New York.
I started picking up singles from this set seventeen years ago, but didn't actually target this set until last year. That's when I discovered that many of these autographs could be picked up for less than $25. Last month, I purchased the Duke Snider... which was the final piece of the puzzle.
I'm proud to present my latest set completion...
The Berra was one of my original purchases from the late 90's. I held onto this card, along with a few others when I sold of my collection in 2002.
This is one of my favorite cards in the set, because he's the only Oakland Athletic in the set. Sadly, Hunter passed away less than a year after this product was released.
There are two variations of the Sandy Koufax, Ozzie Smith, and Nolan Ryan cards. Each of these players have a regular version and a "refractor" version. I won't even attempt to explain how each of these cards were distributed, because I've heard and read a variety of stories... and have no idea which of them is correct.
But as you can see... they are very easy to differentiate. I actually have two different "refractor" versions of the Koufax. One is serial numbered. The other isn't.
The Koufax is hands down the most expensive autograph in the set. I paid over $100 for each of the autographs pictured above.
Mattingly holds the distinction of being the only player in the set that isn't a member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
I have only purchased one pack of 1998 Donruss Signatures in my life... and I was fortunate enough to pull the Stan Musial. Unfortunately it was damaged. That card is the centerpiece of my Damaged Card PC and the card you see above is a replacement I picked up last year.
Like I mentioned earlier... there are two versions of the Nolan Ryan...
and two versions of the Ozzie Smith. As you can see, the non-refractive Nolan Ryan is the only card short printed to 1,000 copies.
Back in 1998, collectors who were fortunate enough to pull the Billy Williams card could send it in to Donruss and receive the Koufax "refractor" autograph. Donruss would stamp the Williams and send it back to the collector with the Koufax. If you look closely you can see the word "redeemed" stamped at the bottom of the Williams' picture on the back.
There are only two cards I'm still trying to chase down in this set. One of them is a "non-redeemed" Billy Williams autograph. And the other is a "blue ink" Catfish Hunter.
There are supposedly non-autographed versions of the Koufax, Ryan, and Smith... but I've never seen any of these, so I'm not going to actively chase them.
Well that's it for now. Thank you for taking a few minutes and checking out one of my collection's prized possessions.
Happy Wednesday and sayonara!