I like autographs. During the 1970’s, I wrote a lot of letters, to athletes, movie stars, politicians, everyone I liked.
I love cards. No need to explain that at this point.
Autographed cards? I more than like, less than love. I have hundreds and hundreds, but I don’t pursue them with any kind of passion or goal, except…..
From 1997-1999, Fleer partnered with Sports Illustrated for base sets and inserts. Of course, signed cards were key. The 1997 set had a 6-card “autographed mini-cover” insert set with a stellar checklist – ARod, Ripken, Puckett, Mays, Frank Robinson, Aaron – but it’s the 1999 Greats of the Game autographed cards that piqued my interest.
The 80 card GOTG is a great smattering if superstars, stars, and cult heroes, and they’re wonderful. Actually, not all of them stand out. The basic look does nothing for me:
The cards that feature Sports Illustrated covers do it all. The white signature strip on the bottom, part of all the GOTG cards, stands out against the cover photo above. I went after this type hard, ending up with all of them (though there is one variation – Reggie has a “Mr. October” and an “HOF 93”). From Mays to McDowell, Ryan to Wynn, the players that constitute this smaller group tell the story, through SI, of the game from the 50’s through the 80’s.
For the autographed cards, the backs doubled as certificates of authenticity.
Prices are as wide ranging as the player quality, and, as some guys have died, formerly cheaper cards have popped. “The Bird” was once less than $10. Not anymore. However, the Campaneris, under the 1973 World Series cover, is out there for less than $10.
I do have some of the full bleed covers, as you can see here, but they don’t tug at me as much, though arguably aesthetically more pleasing. Some are from 1997, some from other years. All have an embossed stamp of authenticity, which adds to the overall look.
I loved these so much that I went after the football issue as well. I still need a few of those – Starr, Bradshaw and Montana – but they’re a bit pricey. If they were baseball, I‘d grab them, but I don’t care much about Joe Montana and never quite have the urge to pay $150-200 for the pleasure of having his autograph.