Every second of every day a trading card is sold on eBay.
This week Bob Means, Director of Trading Cards at eBay joins the TTMCast to discuss the hobby, the recent Mint Collective show in Las Vegas and what eBay will look like to collectors and sellers in the future.
Means spends time reflecting on the extraordinary growth of trading cards in recent years.
“In 2020 we did $2 billion in trading cards. We did $2 billion halfway through 2021. It’s certainly slowed down this year but I’m totally pleased with how things are going,” he said. “We still see a lot of visits. We still see a lot of new people coming into the category. There’s definitely a younger audience for trading cards than some other collectible categories. Sports trading cards are kind of age resistant.”
On the show, Means also talks about shows and other hobby events and about some of the technological advances that eBay is working on for buyers and sellers.
This week’s TTMCast Giveaway
This week we continue with our give away of an autographed copy of Sam McDowell’s new book Sudden Sam the Rise, Fall and Redemption of Sam McDowell.
TTM Tip of the Week
Requesting an autograph through the mail can be confusing at times. There will be times when you get your card returned but it will not autographed by the athlete. Often it is because the player requires a donation and you have failed to include one or simply sent the wrong amount. Other times it’s because the player refuses to sign a card for a variety of reasons. My podcast co-host Drew Pelto has compiled a list of players, the cards they won’t sign and the reasons why.
|· Al Nipper: 1985 Donruss; photo is Mike Brown|
|· Andy Hawkins: any Fleer cards; only signs for family|
|· Archie Bradley: 2012 Topps Heritage Minors, 2012 Bowman Platinum; photo is J.R. Bradley|
|· Bo Jackson: 1990 Score bat and shoulder pads; copyright issues with the photo|
|· Bob Montgomery: 1975 SSPC; unauthorized card|
|· Butch Metzger: 1991 WIZ Mets|
|· Carlton Fisk: 1991 Score Record Breaker|
|· Chone Figgins: Seattle Mariners items|
|· Craig Biggio: bats; had several game-used bats stolen, and will no longer sign ANY bats|
|· Dan Gladden: Sports Illustrated cover if already signed by Greg Olson|
|· Danny Jackson: 1985 Donruss; photo is Frank Wills|
|· David Wells: Any cards other than Blue Jays ones; only signs others for family|
|· Dmitri Young: 1993 Upper Deck; doesn’t like photo|
|· Doug Flynn: 1986 Topps|
|· Ed Glynn: 1983 Fleer; photo is Bud Anderson|
|· Fernando Rodney: 2007 Topps, 2009 Topps Tigers Team set; photo is Roman Colon|
|· Floyd Bannister: 1985 Donruss; photo is Tom Seaver|
|· Gary Pettis: 1985 Topps; card depicts his brother Lynn|
|· George Hendrick: ONLY signs Rays and Cardinals items|
|· Greg Swindell: 1991 Studio; photo is Tim Costo|
|· Gregg Zaun: 2006 Topps; photo is Jason Phillips|
|· Hanley Ramirez: 2006 Topps 52; photo is not him|
|· J.C. Romero: 2011 Topps Update; never played for Yankees|
|· James McCann: 2016 Topps Heritage|
|· Jim Morrison: 1981 Topps; doesn’t like the photo|
|· John Hiller: 1966 Topps|
|· Keith Hernandez: Cleveland Indians items charged a premium; did not like his time playing there|
|· Kelly Gruber: any Leaf cards; only signs for family|
|· Ketel Marte: 2016 Topps Heritage|
|· Kevin Romine: 1989 Fleer; photo is Randy Kutcher|
|· LaTroy Hawkins: San Francisco Giants cards, insert cards, Japanese cards|
|· Luis Rivas: 2001 Bowman Heritage; photo is Jacque Jones|
|· Mark McGwire: will not sign items with Jose Canseco|
|· Mark McLemore: 1994 Score|
|· Mark Teahen: 2005 Upper Deck SP; photo is Chris Lubanski|
|· Marty Barrett: 2004 Topps All-Time Fan Favorites; claims some sort of contractual agreement TTM, but will sign through private signings|
|· Miguel Dilone: 1978 Topps if signed by others already|
|· Mike Cameron: 2004 Topps Gold Glove; photo is Randy Winn (will sign back)|
|· Oddibe McDowell: Cleveland Indians items|
|· Orlando Hudson: 2008 Allen & Ginter; photo is Alberto Callaspo|
|· Reggie Jefferson: 1992 Triple Play; photo is Stan Jefferson|
|· Rick Miller: 1984 Donruss; name is wrong on it|
|· Rodney Scott: 1982 Fleer; photo is Tim Raines|
|· Ron Gant: Will not sign items showing David Justice|
|· Ron Kittle: 1984 Topps gets charged a premium; fee goes to a charity|
|· Ruben Sierra: Oakland A’s items|
|· Rusty Greer: 1997 Skybox Metal Universe; wrong photo (will sign back)|
|· Sparky Lyle: 1976 SSPC; unauthorized card|
|· Steve Busby: 1975 Topps; signs but also writes “Not My Photo” on it, as the photo is Fran Healy|
|· Steve Garvey: 1982 Fleer|
|· Wes Chamberlain: 1991 Topps error; photo is Louie Meadows|
Most athletes’ mailing addresses are available on several TTM related web sites including SportsCardForum.com and SportsCollectors.net.
Here are a few of my recent TTM successes.
After being the franchise’s first ever draft choice in 1961, Bob Lilly spent his entire professional career in Dallas from 1961-74. He played on the Super Bowl champion team in 1971 in Super Bowl VI and was a 7-time First-team All-Pro during his career. He was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1980 and the College Football Hall of Fame in 1981. Bob Lilly continues to be a great supporter of the hobby and is a prolific signer. He signed his 1975 Topps card for me and returned it in about 10 days. He requires a donation of $5 for his signature and added the HOF ’80 inscription for no extra charge.
Pruitt was a star running back out of Oklahoma for the Cleveland Browns and Los Angles Raiders from 1973-1984. He was a 5-time Pro Bowler and a member of the Super Bowl Champion Raiders in Super Bowl XVII. He ran for over 5,600 yards during his career including three 1,000-yard seasons. Pruitt scored 27 rushing touchdowns. Pruitt won ABC’s Superstars competition in 1979. He was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1999. Greg signed his 1980 Topps card for me and returned it in less than 14 days.
Hrbek spent his entire 14-year baseball career with the Minnesota Twins. He played in the 1982 All-Star game and won World Series in 1987 and 1991 with the Twins. His 14 was retired by the Twins in 1995 and he’s a member of their Hall of Fame. He hit 293 home runs and drove in 1,086 runs during his career. He signed and returned his 1983 Topps card for me in nine days. He required a $5 donation.
Played Wide Receiver and kick off and punt returner for the Denver Bronco from 1975-83 after being drafted in the 4th round in the 1975 draft out of Minnesota. He was a 4-time Pro Bowler and member of the 1970’s and 1980’s All-Decade Teams. He tallied 267 receptions netting 4,369 receiving yards and 35 touchdown catches. He set a record in his rookie season returning four punts for touchdowns. He signed two of his 1980 Topps including his 1979 Record Breaker card for Most Yards, Punt Returns, Lifetime for me in about 10 days.
Nicknamed “House”, Rich Jones spent the majority of his professional basketball career in the ABA as a member of the Dallas Chaparrals, San Antonio Spurs and New York Nets from 1969-1976. He played his final season playing in the NBA after the merger with the Nets in 1976-77. He played in the ABA All-Star games in 1972-73 and 1973-74. He was a member of the 1976 ABA Champion Nets in 1976. Jones score over 7,500 points during his career. He signed his 1974-75 Topps cards (he’s #33 on the left of this card) and returned it to me in four weeks.
One of the fun things about collecting autographs is trying to complete multiple player cards. Leader cards, special cards and multiple rookie cards from the 70’s and 80’s all present their unique challenges. I started this 1980 Boston Red Sox rookie trio card by sending it off to pitcher Chuck Rainey. Rainey pitched for the Red Sox, Cubs and Oakland Athletics from 1979-194 winning 43 games during he career. He won 14 games as a member of the Chicago Cubs in 1983 after heading to the Cubs in a trade for Doug Bird. He signed his 1980 rookie card for me in ten days. I promptly send it off to Joe Finch and am awaiting its return.
Here are a few more athletes who are currently signing for free. I have had success with all of them in the past:
- Harold Jackson – Los Angles Ram and New England Patriots Wide Receiver
- Ron Gant – Atlanta Braves Outfielder
- Dennis Lamp – Relief Pitcher with the Cubs, Yankees and Red Sox
- Gary Peters – Pitcher with the White Sox and Red Sox in the 60s and 70s
- Mike Napoli – Catcher/1b with the Ranger, Red Sox sent C/O the Chicago Cubs
Have a TTM success story you would like to share with me? Please, send it me at [email protected]. If I use it in my column, I’ll send you a prize!