The buyer who spent over $5,500 on a 1 of 1 2007 Allen & Ginter Fidel Castro autographed card last fall put it back on eBay last week, this time with anti-Castro slogans written on it.
Sports cards continue to mix with politics–even those that weren’t issued during this year’s Presidential race.
The 2007 Topps Allen & Ginter product included a single Fidel Castro card containing a cut signature from the man who has ruled communist Cuba for decades. The card generated only a ripple of publicity when issued, but it didn’t sit well with at least one eBay patron.
Months after buying it last October, the eBay seller with the ID markkali returned the card to the eBay auction block last week, this time with numerous anti-Castro references and statements written on the front and back.
The seller indicated he was attempting to auction the card to raise funds for the Center for a Free Cuba. eBay, however, pulled the auction approximately 24 hours later. The seller, who would not divulge is name or location, indicated in an e-mail to Sports Collectors Daily that eBay’s stated reason for ending the auction was not because of its content, but because it did not have an accompanying letter signed by the charity involved.
While acknowledging he was potentially destroying the value of the card, markkali indicated he was hoping to "send a clear message to Topps and other trading card manufacturers that they should refrain from glorifying mass murderers" and hoping "in my own way to destroying the all-too-pervasive lamestream media myth that Castro is a good guy". He also stated he was hoping to "raise awareness that political prisoners and journalists are still to be found in Cuban prisons, and promote the ideals of the American founding: that each and every human being — not just Americans, incidentally — intrinsically enjoys the inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."
Calling the anti-Castro sentiments he wrote on the card "improvements", the seller wouldn’t say whether he was hoping to gain widespread publicity for his efforts which he says are not aimed specifically at Castro but because of his own personal interest in promoting individual rights.
The seller also divulged the original listing was not timed to coincide with publicity surrounding Castro’s recent resignation as Cuba’s president.
Given the card’s already established value, some collectors believe it would have been better used in its original state, even if the intent was to raise money for efforts of a group such as the Center for a Free Cuba. Markkali told Sports Collectors Daily he had not heard from anyone opposed to his efforts.
"But even if I do, I don’t care what angry collectors think," he explained. "Some things are more important than a piece of cardboard; promoting individual rights for all human beings is one of them. Besides, collectors with proper morals shouldn’t be angry with me; they should be angry with Castro and with Topps."
The seller stated he would be attempting to obtain the letter eBay had requested through an acquaintance involved with the Center for a Free Cuba and re-list the card in the next couple of weeks.