Sports Collectors Daily

Notes: Heritage Nicknames, Bullpen Agent Dies; Junior Autographs for $3

2018 Topps Heritage boxes have been popping up at retail outlets just ahead of Wednesday’s official hobby shop and online release date.  Among the early pulls was one of the short-printed Shohei Ohtani autographs, which was quickly placed on eBay for a hefty price.

There are nickname variations, too, with a few already pulled such as “Thor” for Noah Syndergaard, “Mr. Miami” for Manny Machado and “Carnita” for Rafael Devers.

Walmart exclusives include the Decals that were inserts in the 1969 Topps set while boxes found at Target might have Transogram-style cards.

Topps NOW took advantage of Russell Wilson’s Monday appearance at Yankees camp to create a card.

There were autographed versions made which sold out within a half hour on Topps’ website Tuesday but you can find both signed and unsigned versions on eBay.

Word from author Kevin Nelson that John Ferreira, the FBI undercover agent for Operation Bullpen has died.

Ferreira helped bring down the massive autograph forgery ring that made headlines around the world in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Dozens of people were charged and convicted in connection with the case through which fans and collectors are believed to have spent over $100 million on fake autographs and bogus trading cards.

Ferreira, 63, died February 23, in Honolulu.

Prior to working at the FBI, Ferreira was a sports card shop owner in Florida and an avid collector.  

Nelson’s book, Operation Bullpen, told the story of the forgers and the federal investigation that led to the arrests.

If you could snare Ken Griffey Jr. autographs for $3 a pop, how many would you buy?  That was the price back in 1989, when the teenager appeared at a Cincinnati area card show along with fellow prospect Mark Lewis.  We ran across this old ad for the show that appeared in a local newspaper.


Of course, in today’s dollars it would be about $6 which still seems unfathomable considering Griffey was already considered a can’t miss superstar.