For a Jose Canseco collector, 2018 has been one hell of a year. Topps Company, the exclusive card manufacturer for Major League Baseball, has produced one Jose card after another. Some have been absolutely brilliant, while others have failed to impress. For a guy who was once considered a pariah in baseball and was removed from Topps’ line-up for over half a decade, it’s great to see some consideration thrown our way.
For the most part, I’ve been busy picking up Jose cards I missed through the entire decade of the 90s but have also acquired several new 2018 cards including multiple autographs, parallels, and yes … even base cards. It appears the mass production of Canseco autographs and game-used relics over the past five years have completely shrunk secondary market prices and that’s great news for me. Or is it?
Lately, something else has been bugging me. Jose is days away from turning 55. For a man who abused Steroids for more than two decades and has had some public health problems, it’s safe to say he’s got another 5-7 healthy years ahead of him (if that). The amount of autographs he can sign in that time because he has no full-time job, could reach into the 25,000+ thousands.
Much like Pete Rose and Mickey Mantle before him, soon, Jose’s autographs will hit rock bottom. Sure, Topps will continue to produce low-numbered, even 1/1 cards signed by Jose that will hit 4-digit prices but everything else is starting to seem like a waste to this 28-year Canseco collecting veteran. Sure, some cards look great but there isn’t much that stands out from the past five years.
If you want cards that will hold their value, it’s time to go to past such as 1999 Fleer Mystique, which features Jose’s hard-signed autograph and serial numbering. That card, while not as fancy as some of Topps’ 2018 offerings, is now considered rare despite a 250-card print run. On eBay, there are no active auctions and just one completed auction. Now the 2000 Upper Deck Game Jersey inserts are a whole different story.
Upper Deck was a company ahead of its time and was the first to introduce both pack-inserted certified autographs and game-used relics into an MLB licensed product. These Canseco Game Jersey cards sell for dirt cheap despite an on-card autograph and a very respectable design that has aged well BUT finding a Game Jersey Patch is every serious Canseco collector’s dream and holy grail.
I’m not here to knock the new school of baseball cards. There are printing gimmicks today that would have blown the doors off anything Pinnacle Brands was doing in 1997 and I’d probably trade my entire collection to be able to own a Topps Superfractor of Jose Canseco but let’s face it, there’s just too much product being produced and it has devalued Jose’s stock on the secondary market.
Much like many collectors today who have stopped buying new product and gone to vintage, I can see the same trend happening to fellow Jose Canseco Super Collectors. It’s those late-90s cards that have survived 25+ years and had lower print runs that will hold and rise in value when Topps continues pumping out thousands of new Jose Canseco autographs and relic cards. I see the light, vintage collector. Sorry it took so long.
I’m not saying I am going to go cold turkey on 2018 cards but maybe it’s time for me to stop picking up everything that is being produced and save up for that 1998 Donruss Crusade insert I have been putting off for so long. I have picked up almost every single 2018 Topps Series 1 & 2 card of Jose … and trust me, there’s a lot … but have consistently balked when it was time to spend $100 on the Crusade.
What the hell was I thinking?!?