August 9, 2011
Ichiro autos coming back to cards
When was the last time we really saw Ichiro autograph cards?
It's been roughly six years. One of the best players of this generation just hasn't put his name on cards - or even stickers - for quite some time, which left a gaping hole in the industry.
While at the National, Leaf announced it signed Ichiro to an autograph deal, which apparently cost a lot of money (link to Beckett article).
Why is this a big deal?
Since 2001, Ichiro has about 110 autographed cards, most of which are numbered to /100 or less. There just aren't as many Ichiro autos out there one would expect of a superstar player. This all comes down to price. For years, Ichiro has been way too expensive to sign, and pretty much still is. Leaf's Brian Gray said he had to blow him over with the amount of money he offered.
Currently on eBay, when you do a search for "Ichiro auto" there are 167 listings. Of these listings, probably less than 100 are for certified autographed baseball cards.
Consider when you put in Jeter or Pujols, you get 615 and 306 listings, respectfully. Of course, these listings don't just include cards, they include pictures, memorabilia and people who get creative with headlines.
The Ichiro autos on eBay aren't cheap.
Look at these several Ichiro cards, all on sale in the thousands of dollars range:
2004 Upper Deck Etchings auto/jersey /15
2005 Upper Deck Stars Signatures auto /25
2003 Ultimate Signatures /99
2002 Upper Deck Sweet Spot Signatures /145
For under a grand, you can still get SOME Ichiro autos
2004 Upper Deck Sweet Spot (non-numbered)
And, even the non-certified by card company autos going for several hundred like this and this one.
Completed auctions (here and here) have ended between $600 and $900.
Getting Ichiro back on cards is probably a good thing. The influx of Ichiro cards on the market might help lower the cost of other to help collectors get some of his stuff.
What do you guys think about the new deal?