It sold for over $27,000 in a Heritage Galleries auction less than two months ago. Now, the Upper Deck Legendary Lineups autographed plaque is on the block again..this time outside the hobby mainstream. Is it really worth more than that?
From Bill Madden and Michael O’Keeffe, "The Score" columnists for the New York Daily News….
Back in the late ’90s, Dan Jelladian made sports pages around the country after he testified before a federal grand jury investigating allegations that he conspired with Fresno State basketball players to shave points during the 1996-1997 season. The grand jury did not indict Jelladian or anybody else in the case, but the former pawn shop owner makes it clear those are not happy memories. "I would rather not talk about that," Jelladian tells The Score.
Jelladian is now the chief executive officer of FreeSell.com, an online auction house that hired an expensive public relations firm to pump up press coverage of a plaque it is offering for sale this month. The plaque features the signatures of nine Hall of Famers – including Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and Ty Cobb – and it was created to stimulate sales of Upper Deck cards. A special card was inserted in a pack of Upper Deck baseball cards, and the collector who found it redeemed it for the plaque.
"I have never seen a piece like this," says Jelladian, who believes the plaque should sell for at least $1 million. "It may be the most important piece of sports memorabilia in the world."
Autograph experts are still giggling over that one – the nine signatures could easily be purchased for less than $15,000 – and that’s being generous. The plaque’s Pie Traynor and Ted Williams autographs, for example, sell for $100 or less.
Still, the bidding – which continues until Thursday – has already passed $90,000.
"I don’t understand why people are willing to pay those kind of prices," says national autograph expert Ron Keurajian. "Like they say, there’s a sucker born every minute."
The auction referenced by the Post story is worth a read, if only for the creative salesmanship in the auction listing. It mentions a collector buying the piece at a "coin auction" in Dallas, TX. Not quite the truth, but apparently the buyer and Mr. Jelladian believe they can ‘flip’ the piece for more than the $27K they paid for it. If the $90, 000 bid is legit, they’ve already done it–even if it doesn’t move any higher. And, of course, all of the bidder IDs are "private".