José María Olazábal’s Most Valuable Card Is An N64 Game

José María Olazábal showcased on the cover of PGA European Tour for the N64 is another situation similar to when former college basketball star Jay Williams was the front man for NCAA 2K3 College Basketball on the Nintendo GameCube.

The main difference is this.  Jay Williams crashed and burned when he made it to the pros.  José María Olazábal on the other hand has had a long successful career in his given sport of choice golf.

Cards of Jay Williams are mainly used for kindling today.  Its a fair assumption to say that GameCube game is the only thing with his face on it that continues to hold any value.  Golf collectors don’t have much options when it comes to cards of José María Olazábal.  He only has (18) total cards.  Surprisingly none from Upper Deck given all of the golf products they use to make.  His rarest cards come from 2010 Leaf Sports Icons Cut Signatures Update and 2012 Sportkings.  Five out of his eighteen cards come from those two sets.  Each one is numbered one-of-one too.  Not the easiest to find.

When it comes to the world of golf cards, only a select few have a strong enough following to garner any real value.  I don’t believe José María Olazábal is one of those golfers.  If and when any of his one-of-one cards popup for sale, I highly doubt they would sell for much.  Despite being inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2009, and winning the Masters twice, this is just how things go.  Cards, even rare ones, of great golfers don’t always have the demand.  This is most likely why we haven’t seen a standalone golf product since 2014.  I’ve always enjoyed golf cards, found them fun to open, and wish they’d make a comeback.

PGA European Tour was released for the Nintendo 64 in 2000.  José María Olazábal already had his second Masters win, and made the box cover.  This game was released quite late in the N64’s lifecyle which resulted in not many being sold.  Sealed copies have been known to sell for $100-$200.  Some asking prices are even higher.  That’s a decent amount considering most sports games are rarely sought after for collecting purposes.

I know José María Olazábal is not the reason why this game is so collectible.  It wouldn’t matter who’s on the box really.  Things like this always catch my eye.

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8-Card Set Highlights The National’s Early Years

I love the National Sports Collectors Convention.  Its the show of all shows.  They don’t come any bigger and/or better.  I know its only February, but its never a bad time to talk about the National.

The 40th National Sports Collectors Convention will take place in Chicago this year 7/31-8/4.  I regret to inform you that I won’t be attending.  As much as I’d like to cover the show, see all of the cool stuff, and catch up with the awesome people, I don’t think its going to happen.  I’m from central PA, and its a good 12-hour drive to Chicago.  Flying is out of the question.  I want nothing to do with airports.  Atlantic City in 2020 seems like a better opportunity for me to get there.  If it was up to me, I’d have it in Cleveland every year.  That’s my all-time favorite location.

One of the most popular activities collectors like to participate in is going after promotional cards.  Every major manufacturer has something happening during the National.  Collectors (myself included) have been known to wait hours in line for those precious exclusive packs.

Today these promotional programs are all over the place.  That certainly hasn’t always been the case.  One of the earliest, if not the first promotional card set to be made for the National arrived in 1984.  The National got it’s start in 1980, and was held in the Los Angeles Airport Marriott Hotel.  By 1984, the show had grown and took place at the Aspen Hotel in Parsippany, NJ.  Only (8) cards are in this exclusive set.  They are Joe Collins, Willard Marshall, Larry Doby, Ed Lopat, Tom Gorman, Bud Harrelson, Bobby Thomson, and Gene Hermanski.  On the back of each card it states “5th Annual National Aug. 9-12, 1984” inside a black apple.  Beneath that it says “Sports Collectors Convention Aspen Hotel, Parsippany, NJ”.

I have a strong feeling those eight guys were the autograph signers for the National that year.  Back then that might have seemed like a lot.  Nowadays they’ll have eight signers all going at once, with a hundred more on the way.  “WE ARE NOW ACCEPTING ALL ACCESS VIP PLATINUM BADGES FOR RICKEY HENDERSON.”

Like a lot of cards from this point in time, they aren’t worth a lot.  You can easily find them for sale on the secondary market.  A complete set can be found for $10.  Its a neat snapshot of the National’s early years.

2018/19 Topps Chrome Premier League Soccer Image Variation Guide

Below is a handy, side-by-side guide for those collectors looking for the image variations found in 2018/19 Topps Chrome Premier League Soccer.  There are (5) image variations to watch for.  Each has a refractor-like coloring, and the CMP code on the back ends in #08.  Base cards end in #88.  Superfractor versions of these variations exist as well.  The five players these apply to are Harry Kane #1, Romelu Lukaku #22, Kevin De Bruyne #50, N’Golo Kanté #63, and Mohamed Salah #100.

Harry Kane #1

Romelu Lukaku #22

Kevin De Bruyne #50

N’Golo Kanté #63

Mohamed Salah #100

These Are NOT Jerry Rice Rookie Cards

“Montana connects with Rice.” and “Young throws to Rice.” are phrases that NFL fans from the 80’s and 90’s fondly remember hearing.  Jerry Rice will go down in history as one of the greatest wide receivers to ever play the game.  Heck, he was so good many consider him to be one of the best NFL players of all-time period.

Jerry Rice is another player who has one unanimously recognized rookie card.  That card comes from the classic green bordered 1986 Topps Football set.  It continues to be atop many of collector’s must-have lists.  Raw examples can be purchased for $20-$50 and under, while high-grade copies can run into the thousands.

Outside of his ’86 Topps rookie, there are a handful of other cards that people sometimes try and pass off as the main card you should have.  They’re authentic cards, but the untrained collector could easily be mislead.

Six different cards come to mind that fit this mold.  The first two are from ’87 Topps.  His 1,000 Yard Club and Receiving Leaders cards both commemorate accomplishments made the previous year.  Just because the card celebrates an event that took place the year his most recognized rookie comes from, doesn’t make it a rookie too.

1987 Topps 1,000 Yard Club #2

1987 Topps Receiving Leaders #228

Second, are four cards released by McDonald’s in 1986.  These could only be obtained at certain McDonald’s restaurants in the San Francisco area for about four weeks.  Each week during this promotion a different colored tab was offered.  Scratching off the tab would unveil a coupon offer.  Regionally issued cards like these often aren’t considered to be true rookies.

1986 McDonald’s 49ers Black Tab #80

1986 McDonald’s 49ers Blue Tab #80

1986 McDonald’s 49ers Gold Tab #80

1986 McDonald’s 49ers Green Tab #80

These Cards From 1984 Are NOT Dan Marino Rookies

At one time you could think of a player, and instantly one iconic rookie card would come to mind.  Nowadays that doesn’t happen.  Active athletes today have so many rookie cards to choose from.  For example, if you asked a group of collectors to write down a single Tom Brady rookie card, you’ed get various correct responses.

In my opinion, the further back we go the easier it is to identify a player’s true rookie.  That’s just how it goes when there were fewer manufacturers and products being released.  Its very possible for someone to have one unanimously regarded rookie, while at the same time having other cards issued that same year.  He’s far from the only one, but Dan Marino is the first person I think about when it comes to this setup.  Trust me.  There are lots of others.

Dan Marino’s true rookie card is #123 in the 1984 Topps Football set.  As far as football rookie cards from the 80’s go, this one is atop the list.  That card is his only rookie.  Despite that, eight other Marino cards can be found from 1984.  They’re a mixture of subsets, inserts, stickers, and promotional pieces.  Its very common for sellers to label them as rookies though.  I don’t like to see that.  Someone who doesn’t know any better could easily think they’re getting a good deal on an actual Marino rookie.

1984 Topps Instant Replay #124

1984 Topps Passing Leaders #202

1984 Topps Instant Replay #355

1984 Topps Glossy #3

1984 Topps Stickers All-Pro Foil #132/#144

1984 Topps Stickers #222

1984 Miami Dolphins Police #9

1984 7-Eleven Discs #E15

Mickey Mouse Turns 90 – Here’s His Rookie Card

When you hear the name “Mickey” and the words “rookie card” in the same sentence, most people are going to think of that famous #7 who played for the Yankees.  It makes sense they would.  Mickey Mantle is one of the most notable and collected sports figures.  His cards have fetched millions.  That 1951 Bowman rookie card is an icon of the industry.  So are many of his other cards.

What if I told you twenty years prior to Mickey Mantle’s rookie card, another Mickey was already making his cardboard debut.  Of course I’m talking about Mickey Mouse.  I believe he’s a bit more well-known around the world than that Yankee guy.  Mickey Mouse is right up there with the McDonald’s Arch and Nike Swoosh as far as most recognizable symbols go.

In 1928 Mickey Mouse made his public debut in the short film Steamboat Willie.  It was a total hit.  Animated short films eventually turned into full-length features.  Everything snowballed from there bringing fame and fortune to Walt Disney.

Disney is the king when it comes to merchandising.  They’ll slap their characters on anything if they think it will sell.  Three years after being introduced to the world, Mickey Mouse received what is now considered to be his rookie card.  Drawn by Floyd Gottfredson, this premium was made available during the May 27, 1931 Mickey Mouse comic strip.  In that particular story, Mickey had his picture taken.  Fans of his could get a copy of that picture if they wrote in during the “High Society” story line.  This is the card they’ed receive.  It measures 3-3/8″ x 5-3/8″.  At the bottom it reads “Gobs of Good Wishes, Mickey Mouse” and “Me too, Butch”.  As you can see, Mickey’s streetwise friend Butch is standing in the background.

Very few of these cards exist.  When they do popup, the asking price is usually in the thousands.  Another card featuring both Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse was released in 1931.  That one comes from the Wills Cinema Stars tobacco card set.  Its much more common though.

Mickey Mouse celebrates his 90th anniversary this year.  His 1931 First Newspaper Premium Picture Card takes us back to a time when he was fairly new and just beginning to make an impression on the world.  Truly an interesting piece of history.  Four more years would have to pass by until Mickey Mouse’s 1935 Gum Cards would be released.

WARNING: Missing Autographs In ’18 Panini Illusions Football

Last night while browsing through the card topics of the day on Twitter, I came across something interesting.

Apparently some of the cards coming out of 2018 Panini Illusions Football contain Panini’s autograph certification message on the back, but lack the actual autograph itself.  Contacting Panini wondering how you can get your autograph hasn’t brought the happiest of news either.  According to those who have talked to Panini on this, you won’t be eligible for an autograph.  These cards were never intended to be autographed, but somehow received Panini’s COA printed on the back.  Its an error.  Some of the players this has happened to include Baker Mayfield, Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger, and Randy Moss.  Just doing a quick search on eBay shows even more.  From what I’ve seen, this error applies to the Living LegendsIllusionists, and Mystique inserts.

Please be aware of what you’re buying.  It wouldn’t take much for a scammer to forge a signature on the front, and attempt to pass it off as the real thing.  That COA easily opens the door for people to do this.

You have to admit that its pretty ironic that something like this happened with a product called Illusions.