Randy Cook was selling a variety of rare, one-of-a-kind, retro relics at the 30th annual Tristar Productions Summer Spectacular, held in June at NRG Arena in Houston.
Many featured Babe Ruth – be it autographed Ruth items or cards with swatches of Ruth-worn memorabilia. Cook also offered collectibles from others dating back to the Ruth era.
It’s always worth stopping by Cook’s selling area, at any show the veteran hobbyist is set up at – if only to ogle over the amazing artifacts.
But, it was a new, signed card that was the hit for Cook at this collector’s show. In fact, it was “the greatest conversation piece in my 26 years” in the hobby, Cook said. And the card wasn’t even a sports card.
It was, “The Donald.”
Yep, Cook was selling a Trump-signed card from the new Decision 2016 box, which feature 24 packs (6 cards per pack) and was selling for about $70.
Cook was asking $900 for the card.
“I’ve gotten so many comments about that card,” Cook said. “When I had it (for sale) at a Chicago show (in May), it was one of the most abused (collectibles) I’ve ever had, even from kids. Here (in Houston), there’s been more interest, general talk about the card,” which showcases Trump’s eloquent, flowing, distinctive autograph in rich, bold black ink, set against a white background.
Cook added, “I just thought it’d be a good piece to have out,” if only for conversation sakes.
Marty Davis of Marty’s Sports Card Exchange Superstore was selling boxes of Decision 2016 – and had only four boxes remaining with a couple of hours left at the show.
“It’s been a pretty good seller, but it’s mostly (filled with) base cards,” Davis said. “It’s a great idea, a good product, but just not amazingly good.”
Davis said that, if there were a hit per box, it would have been a much better product. Still, he said it has “sold OK, though would have sold better.”
Davis said the cards are very nice and overall labeled it “a very interesting product.”
The base set of Decision 2016, which was released in mid-April, has 110 cards covering the major players in the election. A total of 70 politicians are included on the checklist, and even spouses, influencers, and past Presidents and First Ladies.
Thus, the product includes Ivanka Trump, Joe Biden, Sarah Palin, Nikki Haley and John Kerry. “Future Stars” of the political scene include Joaquín Castro and Cory Booker.
Hobby packs come with exclusive high numbers that expands the base set to 135 cards.
Decision 2016 features the Republican and Democratic parties, as well as the Libertarians and Green Party.
Cut signatures in Decision 2016 include Trump, Hillary Clinton, Marco Rubio, Ben Carson and others. Some past Presidents also have cuts.
Hobby-exclusive Money Cards are the first to have shredded currency in them.
Brian Wallos is the creator of Decision 2016. He’s best-known in the hobby as the man behind the Bench Warmer line. Leaf is helping distribute the hobby version.
Davis said Trump-signed cards likely would sell for $500-700.
As for others who are or were in the 2016 Presidential race, Davis said signed cards of Hillary Clinton would likely sell for $400-500, Bernie Sanders for $150, and both Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz for $300-400.
Davis said signed cards of Bill Clinton might fetch $400, and a Ronald Reagan-signed card could claim $1,000 or more.
Davis said President Obama would be a highly sought-after autograph.
Which Presidents would carry the least clout on the secondary market when it comes to autographs? Davis tagged Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford.
Trump does, mind you, have a sporting background, and even is in a “sports” Hall of Fame.
In 1983, Trump purchased the New Jersey Generals for the inaugural season of the United States Football League (USFL). Before the inaugural season began, Trump sold the franchise to Oklahoma oil magnate J. Walter Duncan. Then, prior to the 1984 season, Duncan sold the team back to Trump.
Trump has operating golf courses in several countries, and he once almost bought the Buffalo Bills. Plus, “The Donald” has hosted several boxing matches in Atlantic City at the Trump Plaza, including Mike Tyson’s 1988 fight against Michael Spinks.
Trump is a World Wrestling Entertainment fan and friend of WWE owner Vince McMahon. He has hosted two WrestleMania events in the Trump Plaza and has been an active participant in several shows. Trump appeared at WrestleMania 23 in a match called “The Battle of the Billionaires.” He was in the corner of Bobby Lashley, while McMahon was in the corner of Lashley’s opponent, Umaga, with “Stone Cold” Steve Austin as the special guest referee. The stipulation for the match was, either Trump or McMahon would have their head shaved if their competitor lost.
Lashley won the match, and McMahon was shaved bald.
Trump was inducted into the celebrity wing of the WWE Hall of Fame in 2013 at Madison Square Garden.
Hobby happenings in Houston
Tristar’s 30th annual Summer Spectacular attracted about 4,500 collectors as the show signers included Carlos Correa, Ivan Rodriguez, Will Fuller and others.
Also signing: Dallas Keuchel, Rollie Fingers, Pete Rose, Drew Pearson, Ed “Too Tall” Jones, Randy White, Rayfield Wright, Will Shield, Jadeveon Clowney and Brian Cushing, among others.
What was selling on the show floor?
Here’s a look at some of what I spotted:
• Drew Brees-signed and framed black New Orleans jersey ($325).
• George Springer-signed and framed grey Houston Astros jersey ($275).
• J.J. Watt-signed and framed blue Houston Texans jersey ($450).
• Muhammad Ali signed and framed artwork ($3,500). Ali added, “After me there will never be another,” and the piece was signed in 1994, and came with a PSA letter of authenticity.
• A Bud Light Houston Texans neon light ($250).
• A University of Houston neon light ($275).
• Hank Aaron-signed pennant ($125).
• Mark McGwire signed baseball ($50).
• Karl Malone-signed basketball ($175).
• Troy Aikman-signed football ($250).
• Who wants a signed 16×20 photo? Here’s who was available: Shawn Kemp ($30), Dennis Rodman ($50), Lawrence Taylor ($60), Hulk Hogan ($50), Mike Tyson ($60), Earl Campbell ($55), Curt Schilling ($60) and Milo Hamilton ($40).
• Johnny Manziel signed and framed Texas A&M jersey, with two photos of the quarterback ($300). For that same price, you could claim a similar souvenir of John David Crow, Billy Cannon or Dick Butkus.
• Houston Chronicle collectible printer plates ($15).
• Drew Pearson rookie card ($20).
•Leroy Kelly signed Cleveland Browns jersey ($75).
• Jarrod Saltamanica signed minor league jersey ($60).
• 2009 Aflac All-American’s Game poster, featuring Bryce Harper and Kris Bryant, among others ($25).
• Mankind signed 8×10 photos were $20, the same price for a Scott Hall-signed 16×20.
• Old logo’d bags and purses were $15-$30.
• 1989 Upper Deck baseball card set ($40).
• Phil Mickelson-signed Master’s flag ($500).
• Jimmy Carter-signed baseball ($500). Bill Clinton for $700.