Every now and then I’m asked “What is your favorite card?”  I am split in my mind 6 ways.  Is it my knob auto? Dynasty logo patch? Red Crusade? My custom that Jose personalized to me?  89 Topps gold border?  Wood Museum auto?  I’ve narrowed down my absolute favorite to a little under items in my collection seen here.

This got me to thinking.  What would be the absolute perfect card?  I guess for me, I don’t really know.  I have some ideas though.

Back story – A card with a fabulous back story is hard to beat.  I love the stories on the 89 Blue Chips, 90 Aqueous, 88 Topps Cloth, 90 UD Buybacks – any card with a mysterious / good story & history can many times beat an autograph or patch card in my mind.

Design – While a story completely trumps this for me in terms of desirability, the design is huge for me.  Ever since I have started creating my own cards, I’ve been more inwardly critical of cards that hit the market.  I sometimes look at cards now and say “UGH! Why did/didn’t they put foil on those cards?” or “What a horrible cropping job!  What were they thinking?”

Photography – This is especially true for cards nowadays when retired players oftentimes have the same picture over the course of 20 different cards.  A great, unique picture makes a card more appealing to me.

Scarcity – Having a feeling of being a part of an exclusive group (or the only person) that owns a certain card adds tons of desirability.  Like it or not, knowing that a card is coveted by others helps.

Player – (DUH).   It would be hard to call any card of Mickey Hatcher better than any card of Mickey Mantle….UNLESS you are a die-hard Mickey Hatcher collector.  In that case, the perfect card for you could definitely be a Mickey Hatcher card, when put up against ANY Mantle.

Autograph – In a world where players are paid to pump out hundreds of autographs on cards and stickers, some can get sloppy and thus affect the sale value of a card.  I’ve seen a wide swing of sales price between two cards just because a part of the signature was slightly off the sticker, (or heck, on sticker as some hate those), streaky, etc.  A good, clean autograph looks great, while a junky one can ruin the aesthetics of a card.

Relics – A nice patch can really set off a card, as can a nameplate, bat knob, etc.  These pieces can really make a card stand out nicely, compared to regular bat chips & plain swatches.  The whole idea of having a piece of a jersey or bat embedded into a card gave us collectors a feeling of being closer to the game.  When the market was flooded with them, the premium patches/knobs/etc. gave many of us the same feeling again … though at a much heftier price tag.

To me, the backstory and relic pieces used are most important, I think.  Unfortunately, these cannot be married together, as time is needed for a backstory and the premium relic pieces are fairly new to the game.

What is most important to you?  What would absolutely make you melt? Describe your perfect card!