Monday, February 13, 2017

Musical Interlude #3 - Two Different Worlds

My next selection on the personal jukebox is much closer to my present tastes.  Foreigner sits smack in the middle of the basic American rock-n'-roll genre.  They can be mellow, and they can be raucous.  They aren't quite metal, but I appreciate them just the same.  Agent Provocateur is a great overall album whose standout tracks, I Want To Know What Love Is, and That Was Yesterday, are right at the top of all-time great Foreigner songs. 

The choice for this post is the track Two Different Worlds, about a guy who has someone at home, but longs for the girl whose world is totally different.  Sort of the grass is always greener type of thing.  Torn between the established and the new.

It's like a collector who usually stays with mid to lower end products, but longs for that big hit of their favorite player.  "But jersey patches and autographs are way too expensive for my kind of budget, right?"

That's a logical assumption, but depending on where you shop, pricing for autographs, etc. can be wide ranging.  A lot of sellers seem to occupy two different worlds when setting their pricetags.  There are bargain sellers and there are those that only operate at full retail.

Once in a while when I'm perusing COMC or eBay etc., I'll do a search on different players and see what the cheapest and nicest autograph goes for.  Now I'm not trying for Mike Trout or Tom Brady, so there are limitations.  The player has to have a good many autographs across many different level products. My default guy is Kirk Cousins of the Redskins.  He's got 42 autographed cards up on COMC right now.

His most expensive ungraded ones (because grading adds an unnecessary 200%+ markup) are a couple numbered out of 75 and 50.  They are stickers and show him in his rookie uniform #12.  They're both right around 100 bucks.

On the other end of the scale, here's a 2015 with the right uni number, (also a sticker) for $25.  You could get below $20 if you pick one with him in his Michigan State greens.

What's the real difference between them?  Cousins signed each one basically the same way.  What is it that justifies the extra cost?  Aren't you just paying for the serial number stamp or a different color background?

Here's another example of what I mean.  Take a popular guy like Clayton Kershaw.  He's got 44 autos on COMC.  Skipping over the minor league and rookie combo ones, and finding the cheapest one from a big name company, you find this:

Granted, it's a logoless product, but isn't bad.  Kershaw is the type of star player that garners $60+.
On the other end, there are a couple from bigger products that are almost four times the cost:

Hockey is even crazier.  Hockey autos always seem to be the cheapest to me.  Here's the range of Alex Ovechkin autos.  His signature itself isn't much, but his caliber of play makes up for it.

What's the real difference here?

In some cases, the card is serial numbered much lower than others.  But the signature is the same. The rest is window dressing.  If you want an autograph of your guy, and don't hate the rest of the design, why pay so much more?  Bragging rights?  What you have is a legit signature of that guy either way.

As I researched this post further, I expected to find this to be more of a global phenomenon across most star players.  It really just applies to certain guys with certain conditions - lots of autographs out there in lots of different accessible products.  Some guys are gonna be expensive all the way around. And some guys just don't have a lot of high end stuff to get.  But careful shopping can lead you to find those bargains that you never thought possible.


  1. That's always blown my mind too. I guess it's not truly about the autograph, just how "rare" and special the card itself is and a case of "mine is better than yours." "You got his autograph? Yea, well I got his /50, superfracting rookie, die-cut, SP autograph!"

  2. COMC is really hit or miss, it seems. You get a lot of guys like me who are player collectors first, team collectors second, and whatever else hits me after that who want all the player cards -- and will pay accordingly.

    Still, I'm with you: if the goal is an autograph, what's the real difference here?