It used to be a no-no.
“You’ve got a nice rookie card and you want the guy to autograph it? It’ll ruin the value!”
Such was the attitude of the old school hobby.
Years later, it turned out those who had Mickey Mantle or Ted Williams sign some of their earliest cards were the smart ones. Autographed rookie cards, especially those of some of sports’ all-time greats, carry quite a premium. Interest has grown significantly in recent years with more collectors entering that segment of the hobby. In addition to deceased greats, signed rookie cards of living icons are in demand, too.
Among the headliners in the upcoming Heritage Auctions Monthly Showcase Auction is a collection of several high-grade signed sports cards. Among them is a 1969-70 Topps Lew Alcindor (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) rookie card with his familiar “Abdul-Jabbar” signature and seven hand-written inscriptions from the NBA’s all-time leading scorer, highlighting his pro and college accomplishments.
Carrying authentication from Beckett, it’s expected to sell for $6,000 or more.
One of the most popular basketball cards in the current marketplace is the Magic Johnson/Larry Bird rookie card from 1980-81 Topps–one that also included Julius Erving. The Heritage auction will include a copy signed in Sharpie by all three with an autograph grade of 10. It’s expected to bring at least $5,000.
Another multi-autograph card in the auction is a 2001 Topps Traded Gold of rookies Albert Pujols and Ichiro.
Others up for grabs when the auction opens next week will be a 1983 Topps card of the late Tony Gwynn and a pair of signed Ken Griffey Jr. cards: his 1989 Upper Deck and 1987 Bellingham Mariners minor league card, each carrying autograph grades of 10.
The auction will run from April 1-15.