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!