By Larry Canale
We’ve seen these sorts of big-time pairings before—trades where a stud slugger joins a team that already has a big-name hitter or two. The Yankees’ acquisition of Roger Maris in 1960 to join Mickey Mantle comes to mind. So too does the Yankees’ signing of Reggie Jackson to join Thurman Munson in the mid-1970s. The Yankees are at it again for the upcoming season, having added Giancarlo Stanton to a lineup that features last year’s breakout sensation, Aaron Judge.
Stanton and Judge are both stars of the collectibles market, too. Sellers on eBay currently have around 10,500 Stanton-related items for sale. The Judge inventory is even higher: more than 16,000 listings. Expect both numbers to spike upward as the 2018 season nears. Expect bidding competition to climb as well.
Prices softened a tad after the 2017 season ended, but we’ve still seen some big-money bidding going on. A couple of examples featuring each player:
• A 2017 Topps Heritage “Real One” card designed after the company’s 1968 set sold for $10,000 in a Buy It Now sale. Graded PSA 10, the card is signed in red ink and is numbered (in Judge’s hand) 68/68.
• A 2013 Bowman Chrome Orange Refractor signed Judge card with a grade of PSA 10 sold for $9,200 on 78 bids.
• A 2008 Bowman Chrome Blue Refractor “Mike” Stanton card fetched $4,900. The item had been graded BGS 9.5 for the card and 10 for the sig.
• A Orange Refractor of Stanton’s 2008 Bowman Chrome, this one graded BGS 8.5 with a 10 for the sig, brought $3,733.
ANGEL IN THE OUTFIELD… AND ON THE MOUND
Yes, the Los Angeles Angels signed the high-in-demand Japanese star Shohei Ohtani, who brings the kind of pitcher/hitter versatility we haven’t seen since, well, Babe Ruth.
If you haven’t been keeping up with the hot stove league, remember the name. Ohtani is that baseball rarity, a two-for-one pitcher/outfielder who projects as a starting hurler every sixth day and who also could get two or three starts in the outfield as well.
Ohtani is only 23 years old but has five years’ experience in pro baseball in Japan. His stats as a pitcher show a 42-15 record with a 2.52 ERA and 624 strikeouts in 543 innings. His hitting stats: a career average of .286 with 48 homers in 1,170 games—including 30 in the past two seasons.
There aren’t a ton of U.S.-made Ohtani collectibles yet, but you’ll find a smattering—including a hot Bowman Chrome card—and they’re selling for brisk sums. Consider these prices paid in recent sales:
• $3,801 for an autographed 2013 BBM card graded BGS 9.5, with a 10 for the sig. (BBM has been called the “Topps of Japan.”)
• $2,950 for a 2017 Bowman Chrome Orange Mojo Refractor graded BGS 9.5.
• $1,000 for a 2013 BBM card with a silver facsimile autograph (grade: BGS 10).
Here’s a card we haven’t featured in this space: a 1932 U.S. Caramel Babe Ruth card. It’s the last and most valuable card in a 32-card set that’s tough to complete, which accounts for the attention given to a high-grade example. A specimen graded SGC 86 (considered to be around a 7.5 on a 10-point scale) attracted 44 bids and sold for $17,200 in an early December auction.
The issue date of the U.S. Caramel Ruth gives it some marquee value, too: 1932 was the season in which Ruth hit his famous “Called Shot” during Game 3 of the World Series against the Cubs.
At the time, the Bambino was nearing the end of his storied career. As the reverse of card notes, he was 39 years old that season and had been a big-league since 1914, when he broke in with the Red Sox as a pitcher.
TOM TERRIFIC I AND II
Upper Deck’s 2000 SP Authentic card of QB Tom Brady continues to sell for prices upwards of $15,000. Two recent examples, in fact, sold within $100 of each other, with one coming in at $16,200 on 36 bids, the other at $16,000 on 56 bids. Both had been graded a perfect 10 by PSA.
Brady’s 2000 Playoff Contenders issue can go even higher, thanks to the card’s autograph. In late November, a PSA 8.5 specimen of the card touched off a bidding war—75 bids—and sold for $17,499.
Since “Tom Terrific” isn’t actually Brady’s nickname, we’ll rectify the situation with an item featuring the “real” Tom Terrific. In late November, a Tom Seaver Topps rookie card graded PSA 8.5 sold for $3,205. Strangely, another PSA 8.5 Seaver rook sold for only $2,100, and it was only five days after the first sale.
BRYANT I AND BRYANT II
Chicago Cubs star Kris Bryant makes an appearance on our Top 10 list on the strength of a signed game-used jersey he wore at least twice during the 2016 season. The one-of-a-kind piece brought a price of $18,500 on eBay in mid-December.
A pinstriped home #17 Cubs jersey, the item bears two inscriptions. Inside the “1” on the back, Bryant wrote “1st Home Opener 4/11/16,” with his autograph underneath, on the base of the numeral. In the “7,” he wrote “Game used” and “1st Home Run 2016 4/13/16.”
Another Bryant, Kobe, showed up just outside our Top 10 list when an ungraded but top-condition example of his 2004-05 Upper Deck Exquisite Limited Logos card brought $17,994. The card features Kobe’s sig as well as a game-used jersey patch.