30 Day Baseball Card Challenge

Thursday, March 15, 2018

So Happy Together

How many of you still consider pulling a manufactured relic, a player worn memorabilia card, or a game-used memorabilia card a huge hit?  If you replied "yes" then I seriously envy you, because I miss the days of tearing into, seeing a common jersey card, and feeling like I just won the lottery.

These days, it's not uncommon to walk into a card show and find memorabilia cards sitting in dollar bins.  Heck you can head over to COMC right now and find plenty of memorabilia cards for under a buck.  Okay.  So most of these guys are Team USA players you've never heard of.  But there are at least fifty memorabilia cards of hall of famers for under $2.

From what I can see, it boils down to three things...

#1:  Card companies have flooded the hobby over the past two decades with so many memorabilia cards, they're no longer as special as they once were.

#2:  Card companies have been caught trying to deceive collectors, so trust issues have made us leery of what we're actually holding onto.

#3:  Card companies are constantly using vague certificates of authenticity which leaves collectors wondering if the piece of fabric is a game worn jersey worn by a player or a jersey purchased from Big Lots.

I know that there are a fair share of collectors who have lost interest altogether.  I assure you, that I'm not one of those collectors.  Memorabilia cards and manufactured relics might not be as appealing as they were to me five years ago.  However, I'll still pick up singles for my player and team PC's every now and then if the price is right.

What's my price range?  Here's a breakdown of what I'm typically willing to pay for manufactured relics, player-worn, or game-used memorabilia cards:

50¢ for Commons (ex. Ben Grieve and Rich Harden)
up to $1 for Minor Stars (ex. Eric Chavez and Mark Mulder)
up to $1.50 for Stars (ex. Jose Canseco and Bert Campaneris)
up to $3 for Hall of Famers (ex. Greg Maddux and Tony Gwynn)
up to $5 for old school Hall of Famers (ex. Warren Spahn and Whitey Ford)

I typically won't spend more than five bucks unless they're one of the all-time greats and even then, those purchases are few and far between.

But last month, a card I have been searching for finally popped up on one of my saved eBay searches.  As soon as I saw it, I felt as giddy as a little kid on Christmas morning and immediately sent the seller a best offer.

Here... check it out:

2001 UD Decade Game-Used Jersey #J-RC

The vendor listed it for $39.95 or best offer, so I asked him if he'd take $25.00... which is a crazy amount of money for a non-autographed memorabilia card.  He countered with $30 and after about 30 seconds of going back and forth... I accepted.

Obviously this is 6x more than I'd normally spend on any memorabilia card, but it's freaking Roberto Clemente and features a respectable COA on the back.  If that weren't enough, it's also from one of my favorite Upper Deck products of all-time.

Although this card isn't officially a short print, jersey cards were pretty tough pulls out of 2001 UD Decade.  They were inserted into 1:168 packs, which breaks down to 1 in every 7 boxes.  When you consider that there are 27 players on the checklist, the odds of me ever pulling this card is slim to none.

Bottom line is jersey cards aren't exactly what they used to be (in my humble opinion), but every now and then it's nice to add one to your collection and feel like you won the lottery.  $30 is a pretty expensive lottery ticket, but it was well worth it to experience that feeling.

What about you?

Was there ever a point when you were excited to pull a memorabilia card?  If so, do you still get excited?

Happy Thursday and sayonara!


  1. I still love them. Granted, not as much as base cards, but I am always thrilled to get a new one...or an old one new to me.

  2. Cool card! I didn't even know that there were any Clemente relics to be had.

  3. I enjoy pulling them. The manufactured stuff, not so much.

  4. I was all about chasing down memorabilia cards for certain superstars like Alex Rodriguez, Ken Griffey Jr., Sammy Sosa in the early 2000s - I would have gone bonkers if I actually pulled one.

    I would probably still get excited pulling a memorabilia card if it was an old timer like Clemente rather than the Mookie Betts or Nelson Cruz I pulled from a couple of Heritage breaks.

  5. Got my first relic ever last year in a box break. Have to admit that I felt underwhelmed from the beginning. It's a neat little thing in terms of how it was made but I have to admit that I just don't understand the appeal. Still, I'm keeping it since it's my first and a good reminder that these just aren't for me.

  6. I still enjoy getting relic cards as I'm not really one for autographed cards. Sure, auto cards are neat and all, but for me, I get more joy of pulling a relic card out of a pack, than an autograph.

  7. I like your buying prices, they are realistic. Unless of course you do a bulk buy. I drop down to .10-.25 per regardless of the players when buying bulk. I have some coming up in my card show posts.

  8. UD Retro was so great and that Clemente is a beaut.

  9. I still get excited for jersey/bat cards. I buy so few packs that it's still a rare pull for me.

  10. I pick up 100 yen ($1) relics whenever I can. You guys are spoiled in America with your card shows! I don't usually pay a lot for them, though, unless it's very low-numbered, and that's usually for my type collection or a player collection. I do find myself paying more for non-baseball relics depending on the subject.

  11. In my limited ripping since returning to the hobby, amazingly I've pulled 3 autos, but no unexpected relics--I did get a relic from a blaster of 2016 Holiday which guaranteed a hit, plus Manu-relics which were guaranteed as blaster bonuses. I have bought a bunch of relics, mostly at 3/$5 or less, although I've paid more for guys like George Brett and Tom Seaver. I do still dig them if they're good players and the price is right. Manu-relics I don't really care for.

  12. I don't recall ever getting one in a pack but I can count the number of packs I buy in a year on one hand so that's not surprising. What I DO recall is going to my first big card show after getting back into the card hobby and finding a dealer who had a Marichal game used jersey card as well as a Tony Oliva one for $5 each. I hadn't dealt with them at that point and was very impressed. I ended up buying the Marichal.

  13. I rarely open packs anymore outside of my annual Super Bowl prediction so I don’t come across pulling relics often but overall I no longer get excited about plain jersey cards.

  14. You are right about the hobby being flooded with manufactured and relics, they have lost some of their excitement. Remember when US first seeded jersey cards in their 1996 set? It was unheard of. Fast forward to today, I do get a kick out of pulling relics, but I like the non-jersey relics more...bat, base, hat, shoe, helmet, etc...but Topps just seem to cater to those much anymore.

  15. I really love this topic. Back in the late 90s when Jersey Cards were holy grail pulls i DREAMED of pulling one. Never thought in a million years I'd ever own a single one. I remember my friend pulled a Terrell Davis 1999 UD Game Jersey out of a single pack from TARGET (1:2500 packs) and i was INSANELY JEALOUS. Heck my first game used pull wasn't even a jersey, it was a Steve Young Ovation A Piece Of History Game Used Football card and i was beyond excited! My biggest pull in that era was a Vince Carter Genuine Coverage WARM UP (not even jersey) card during the height of Vinsanity. Card used to be a $350 at the time because mem cards used to mean something. Then companies first started to make odds easier (1:2500 to 1:288 to 1:72 to 1 per box etc) and it totally watered the market down. Look at all the early 2000s stuff in most sports. A lot of the products "major hits" was the promise of game used card or two. With the exceptions of the more established products like SPX SP Authentic etc..the majority of those products have little value thanks to the overproduction of game used. It's sad to see that those hits are annoyances with simply little value (unless its a patch card) and can almost be treated like regular run of the mill insert cards than something special. I also hate that companies still try to use these cards as main selling points when these cards in this era havs so little value. I honestly wish mem cards would be eliminated for a while..but I know that'll never happen. Sorry for the long read Fuji!

  16. I still love them. Zip does as well. Just yesterday she picked up a Baines double relic.

  17. Manu-relics don't count. "Player-worn" usually means football guys at the rookies premiere put on five jerseys at a time for 30 seconds, so they shouldn't be more than a buck or two.
    Real game used relics that are actually from the guy in the picture are becoming harder to find, or at least verify. The vague disclaimers that Topps and others put on the backs make it hard to even think it's from the pictured player. I realize they've been burned and are covering themselves, but give us some clue as to what you think the piece is from...
    I've pulled some nice relics from different boxes over the years and will keep those of players I like. It's also fun to trade ones I pull for other players I like, but it doesn't happen as often any more.

  18. I think I am in the minority here, but I don't get excited much at all with them. I guess mainly because I don't open product that contains them. I could see that changing someday if BBM started including them in sumo sets....they used to in the day. That Clemente card is pretty sweet though. Congrats!

  19. that is a great relic card. i am on the lookout for the burt hooton jersey relic from the same set, and was really pleased that someone like willie davis was included in the checklist when this set came out.
    there were certainly times when i was happy to pull any relic, and i've found some great ones in packs (including ruth, mantle, mathews, musial, wagner, even steve garvey) but the excitement has worn off these days, unless it is something really special.

  20. Your price list sounds about right, if you can find cards you like in that price range. Shouldnt be a problem though, especially with card shows and COMC. And I'd absolutely go over budget for that Clemente; I nearly paid about that for a 2007 Sweet Spot Roberto relic.

    Your point about oversaturation and vague COAs is spot-on. I'm very picky about what relic cards I buy anymore, and in general I'd rather spend my sports card budget on vintage and rookie cards than buy a box for $60 when the best card I could hope to pull is a $2 jersey from a photo shoot.

  21. Billy Kingsley - I feel like some of the greatest forgotten treasures are base cards from the past 25 years.

    Jon - Thanks. There are some pretty nice ones released by Upper Deck. I almost purchased another one to keep this one company, but the bidding got out of hand.

    Jeremya1um - I enjoy some manufactured stuff... it just depends.

    Laurens - Griffey relics still seem to hold their value... especially the Mariners stuff. Sosa is one of those guys who completely dropped off. I've seen his relics for less than a buck multiple times... and every time I buy them up.

    Nick Vossbrink - Totally understand. Sometimes I wish I weren't into them so much. It'd free up the budget to focus more on vintage and autographs.

    Adam Sanders - Lol. I just wrote this in response to Nick, but this time I'll write it into regards to autographs. Sometimes I wish I weren't into them (autographs) so much. It'd free up the budget to focus more on vintage.

    John Miller - No doubt. I'd buy any memorabilia card for a dime... and probably pay up to a quarter if I knew they were baseball cards.

    Roy-Z - One of my favorite UD products of all-time.

    The Lost Collector - I like the way you think. Definitely a positive outlook on them.

    Ryan G - Some are more spoiled than others. The number of quality shows in my area has dropped in recent years.

    Brett Alan - I think sometimes people get bummed out on manu-relics because they take the place of a hit. I try to look at mani-relics as inserts, which is why I enjoy them (if they're done properly).

    Commishbob - I don't bust many packs either, so the odds of me pulling a game used memorabilia card anytime soon is slim. As for Marichal and Oliva, I'd love to add memorabilia cards of either of these guys to my collection (if the price was right).

    Corky - Yeah... plain jersey cards have kinda lost their appeal with me too. Heck... you can even find nice patches for a couple of bucks these days.

    Colby Hopper - I wrote a post about my 1996 Gwynn jersey card a while back. Even those have really dropped in terms of value. As for non-jersey relics, I'd love to see Topps make game used hats or shoe cards. Anything except more plain white jersey swatches.

    Chris P - Congratulations on pulling that Davis (and the Young and the Carter)! Wow. Any of those pulls would be worth celebrating. I agree with your idea. Either Topps and Panini should take a break from producing them... or go back to making them tough pulls. Whatever they do, they need to stop flooding our hobby with them before its too late.

    Doe M.G. - This might sound crazy, but I actually get pumped finding jersey cards of Hall of Very Good members more than some of the more popular players. That Baines double relic sounds amazing.

    GCA - Yeah... I hate that it's gotten to the point where we can't believe what the card manufacturers are saying. And watching the video of that one football player putting on jersey after jersey after jersey made me sick.

    SumoMenkoMan - Not sure you're really in the minority. It seems like the hobby is pretty split. You've got people who love them. People who don't collect them. And people somewhere in between.

    gcrl - Wow. You've pulled a Ruth relic? That's pretty awesome! Best of luck on finding a Hooton jersey card. I've seen the autographed jersey version, but never the plain old jersey card.

    Chris - Those 2007 Sweet Spot Classics jersey cards are awesome! I've actually thought about building that set.

    1. Aw man, that's one I left off my Bat Around post. I AM collecting the '07 SSpot Classic jerseys. Down to the big money ones. Will have to do an addendum post and show off the ones I have.