The Most Elusive Roberto Alomar Signature

1992 Donruss McDonald's MVP's Alomar Signature Card

1992 Donruss McDonald’s MVP’s Alomar Signature Card

1992 Donruss McDonald's MVP's Alomar Signature Congrat. Letter

1992 Donruss McDonald’s MVP’s Alomar Signature Congrat. Letter

If you are an autograph collector, especially for autographs on baseball cards, and you also like Hall of Famers, then the 1992 Donruss/McDonald’s Roberto Alomar signature card is something you may want to pursue. Not only is it Alomar’s first signature card, it is also one of the rarest. Back in 1992, Donruss and McDonalds teamed up to distribute four card packs of “MVP” cards. This set consisted of 26 regular cards (one player from each MLB team), a checklist card, and 6 “Blue Jays Gold” insert cards.

Randomly inserted into these 4-card packs was one of 1000 redemption cards good for an Alomar signature card. Only 1000 of these signed cards exist. They are very rare. In the last 5 years on ebay I have only seen the card appear three times. the back of the card has a hand written number beside a printed 1000, so the cards are serial-numbered.

1992 Donruss McDonald's MVP's Alomar Signature Card Encased

1992 Donruss McDonald’s MVP’s Alomar Signature Card Encased

It is hard to gauge a proper price for the card as I said due to it rarely showing up. But also because it is a Canadian card. Like O-Pee-Chee cards, many American buyers avoid cards printed outside the USA because of their thinking that they are all odd-ball cards.The first time I saw the card (2011) it sold for $100.00. The second time I saw it (2013), it listed at $300.00 but went unsold. The third time I saw it (presently), it has a list price of $499.95. Myself, I would think it’s worth around $100.00-$150.00. What would you pay for it?

The 90’s Master Set Builder Destroyer

1990s Signature Cards

1990s Signature Cards

Anyone who collected cards back in the late junk wax era will know the cards pictured above. Manufacturers had just started paying serious attention to how insert cards were affecting the marketplace. Once the 90’s hit and Upper Deck included a Reggie Jackson signature card in their High Series Boxes, all hell broke loose and it seemed every new issue had to include a famous player limited signature card.

Master set builders were just getting used to finding those elusive inserts, by either buying many more boxes than sanity would dictate, or look for ways to trade or buy from others the cards they needed. The worse inserts, speaking in an “ease to find and pay for” context were the signature cards. Every one, was offered and sold in the multiple hundreds of dollars. It made a master set builder on a budget cry because they saw the death of their style of collecting coming on them like a break-less train.

For me, it was when I stopped buying new boxes and began looking backward in time for my collecting fun. I focused on Hall of Famer cards and sets going back to 1981. I wasn’t going to pay 500 dollars for a card that was found in a pack of cards issued a few weeks earlier. Why do that when I could buy a nice rookie card of most Hall of Famers for the same or less of a price. I asked myself if I would rather have a Reggie signature card from 1990 (in 1990) or buy a nice copy of his ’69 rookie card. The decision was stupidly easy to answer. All my sets from the early 90’s are still incomplete because of the signature insert. Who would’ve guessed that that period of time was actually the calm before the storm. Soon relic, jersey, game-worn, 1/1. 5/5 cards would become the norm and the master set builder would disappear from the card collecting landscape, much to my chagrin.

Making Smart Choices, You Decide?

The 90’s was the decade that ushered in the Authentic Company Made Autograph. No need go to card shows across the nation to get a famous retired Hall of Famer to sign a card for you. Just buy hundreds of boxes of baseball cards and find a licenced signature card. Upper Deck was the first to impliment this gimmick to convince buyers to purchase just one more box of their product (or 10, or 50). But soon after Fleer and Score joined in. But Since Upper Deck started it, I decided to use their cards as an example of what is so stupid about the pricing on these signature cards. Well, in my opinion, stupid. I’ll Let you decide for yourself.

The first ever signature card came in 1990 Upper Deck High Number boxes and it was the autograph of Reggie Jackson. Below are three cards of the slugging Hall of Famer that are priced approximately the same. Which of the three would you want the most?

Reggie Jackson Cards

Reggie Jackson Cards

The second example I will use is 1991 Upper Deck High Series that had Hank Aaron as its signature card. Which of the three cards would you prefer to have?

Hank Aaron Cards

Hank Aaron Cards

And the third example is from 1992 Upper Deck Low Series that used Ted Williams as its signature card. Which of the three would you prefer?

Ted Williams Cards

Ted Williams Cards

What I’m guessing is that most of you would choose one of the other two cards rather than the signature cards. Myself I would choose the PSA 6 Jackson, The Ungraded Aaron rookie, and the ungraded Williams rookie, which I would then send off to be graded (if it holds at NM it’s a $15,000.00 to $20,000.00 card).

Personally, I’m not a fan of autographs on cards. A signature on a card usually makes it ridiculously expensive. If I would get a player’s signature I much prefer it on a baseball or a photograph.

What do you think. Would you think the people who would choose the signature cards crazy, or no?

2015 Topps Archives Signature Series Baseball

2015 Topps Archives Signature Series Box Top

2015 Topps Archives Signature Series Box Top

I’m not much for recent cards. In my searches locally I have purchased cards from the early 2000s and I personally bought boxes of 2006 and 2007 Topps and Fleer products when I returned to the hobby at that time from a 15 year absence. But my concentration has been from 81-93 for set collecting and then good cards of HOF players during that era and earlier.

But when Topps came out with their first Signature Series boxes last year I was intrigued. I’m not much into collecting auto cards either, if I happen to pull one that’s cool, but I don’t chase after them. This product was Topps first buy back issue that was not used as inserts. It meant that you were guaranteed a signature card. Which for me, made a signature card more attractive.

2015 Topps Archives Signature Series Rollie Fingers

2015 Topps Archives Signature Series Rollie Fingers

For those of you not knowing much about this product here is a short description. Topps went out and bought back a bunch of their cards in the secondary market. Then they got a bunch of players (retired) to sign these cards. They sent the cards to the printer to stamp on a gold foil “Topps Archives 2015” logo and a serial number ranging from 1/1 to around 99/99. The players who signed these cards range from HOF players like Sandy Koufax (the main attraction for collectors), Ken Griffey Jr., John Smoltz, Rollie Fingers, and other non-HOF stars like Carlos Delgado, Shawn Green and Andres Galarraga. They then took the cards and sealed them in a plastic container (slabbed as it were) and attached a Topps Archives gold colored sticker wrapped front to back at the top right of the container.

2015 Topps Archives Signature Series Fred McGriff

2015 Topps Archives Signature Series Fred McGriff

Once Topps got the card together (signature, foil stamping, plastic encasement) they then put one of these cards in each box of the product. You buy a box, you get just one card. You buy a case, you get 20 boxes, or 20 signature cards. You will see a range of Topps and Bowman cards in the product ranging mostly from the 80s, 90s, 00s. Pulls I have seen have come from 1987 Topps, 1992 Topps, 1991 Stadium Club, 1994 Bowman. All these cards are actually worth pennies until Topps stamps and players sign them. You will not get any rookie card signatures here, not that you would actually want them as many would say the rookie cards are defaced with a signature on them.

2015 Topps Archives Signature Series Sandy Koufax

2015 Topps Archives Signature Series Sandy Koufax

When this product was released it was understood to be quite limited. When you pulled cards that were 1/1s at a rate of 2-4 per case you could see why. The SRP, to my understanding was 40.00, but many dealers held back the product from its initial release in order to raise the price later (I see greed still pervades the hobby). But I’m not sure why. Because in the end, I decided not to purchase a case or even a box of this product.

I waited and watched some case breaks on you tube and the pulls were nothing spectacular. I would have difficulty paying 40.00 or 50.00 on a 1992 Topps card of Andres Galarraga. In fact all the cards I saw pulled from cases, whether from HOF players or not are cards I already have sans-signature. For me it’s hard to get excited for a 1987 Topps star card even if it now has a signature and gold foil stamping on it. I have seen the card already for over 15 years already. It’s like dressing up a rat in a tuxedo. In the end it’s still a rat.

2015 Topps Archives Signature Series Nolan Ryan

2015 Topps Archives Signature Series Nolan Ryan

Probably the people who eventually pulled or will pull a Sandy Koufax or Nolan Ryan Signature might think the purchase was worth it, but my guess is everyone else will be yawn-struck.