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  #1  
Old 12-18-2013, 12:11 AM
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Default Toughest signed cards possible

Does anyone know or have a list of the toughest signed baseball cards to have been obtained? The player only had a super short window of a year or two to sign a card before their death, like Ken Hubbs, Foxx '61


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Old 12-18-2013, 06:01 AM
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Since I am collecting a signed 1969 Topps set, I think Minnie Rojas. In 1969, he played the whole year out of the country, so you would not be able to get him in the states. In 1970, he was driving to Spring Training with his family and had a terrible automobile accident that left him paralized and killed one of his daughters. One person has told me he has a signed one, but I have yet to actually see one.
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Old 12-18-2013, 08:16 AM
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There are really two aspects to this: rarity of the card and rarity of the signature. If you want a signature on a specific card--like I collect signed exhibit cards--then even a relatively common signer can be hard to find. Jack Dempsey is the most common prewar heavyweight champ but I've never seen a legitimate signed exhibit card.
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Old 12-18-2013, 08:47 AM
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From my early collecting days, a '78 Topps Lyman Bostock and a '79 Topps Thurman Munson.
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Old 12-18-2013, 08:48 AM
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For some reason Ricky Wright will not sign his 1987 Topps card and apparently nobody knows why.
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Old 12-18-2013, 09:40 AM
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Originally Posted by slidekellyslide View Post
For some reason Ricky Wright will not sign his 1987 Topps card and apparently nobody knows why.
He probably has a stash of them somewhere for his family after he is gone.
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Old 12-18-2013, 09:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Exhibitman View Post
There are really two aspects to this: rarity of the card and rarity of the signature. If you want a signature on a specific card--like I collect signed exhibit cards--then even a relatively common signer can be hard to find. Jack Dempsey is the most common prewar heavyweight champ but I've never seen a legitimate signed exhibit card.

Good point, I would say not the rarity of the card, but just the signature on the card itself, like some of the examples mentioned.


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Old 12-18-2013, 10:39 AM
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Default toughest

This is sad but I got a 2009 UD signed by Nick Adenhart. I got it just before he left spring training in 2009 in March. It had about a 3 week window to be signed.
I need Cobb on 60 and 61 Fleer which are very tough and a few 61 Scoops that I do not know if anyone has- Cobb, Cochrane and Gaedel
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Old 12-18-2013, 10:43 AM
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Quote:
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For some reason Ricky Wright will not sign his 1987 Topps card and apparently nobody knows why.
Do you blame him? Just look at the thing...

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Old 12-18-2013, 11:09 AM
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Brian Cole, a Mets prospect, passed away in a car accident leaving ST in 2001. A few of his '01 cards came out about 3-4 weeks prior. They aren't widely collected but incredibly tough to find signed. His '01 UD Victory and UD Vintage (3-player with Grant Roberts and Timo Perez) lead the list, as well as his '01 Topps RC with Chris Wakeland and Jason Conti

It's been talked about here I think that Doug Flynn almost never signs his 1986 Topps card. He did sign a small quantity (5 l think) for charity and I believe they sold in the $500 range.

1987 Topps Al Pulido is tough because he was back in Mexico by the time it was issued.

Byron McLaughlin's 84 Topps is very difficult to find as he was on the run from the FBI when it was issued and fled the country soon after. I don't think anyone knows to this day where he is, though the rumor is he now lives in France.

Others that are rare due to the player passing away soon after the card was issued:

1989 Score/Fleer Donnie Moore
2002 Topps Total Darryl Kile
2003 Topps Total Dernell Stenson
1987 Topps Dick Howser

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Old 12-18-2013, 11:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mschwade View Post
He probably has a stash of them somewhere for his family after he is gone.
I'm sorry, but the stash of his cards (signed or not) would only be used as a table leg prop. Sorry if that sounds mean.
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Old 12-18-2013, 12:55 PM
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I'm sorry, but the stash of his cards (signed or not) would only be used as a table leg prop. Sorry if that sounds mean.


Must be one expensive table you have there
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Old 12-18-2013, 03:27 PM
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Good thread, hope it keeps on going and would love to hear Stinson and Simon chime in…

I have seen a 1969 Topps Minnie Rojas (not mine) so at least one exists.

A few more to add…

1990 Leaf Kelly Gruber (will sign anything else but not this one)
1976 Topps Mike Miley
1977 Topps Mike Miley (might be impossible, he died Jan 1977)
1961 Topps Duke Maas (when offered sells > $1,000)
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Old 12-18-2013, 03:48 PM
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1981 Topps and Donruss Steve Macko are fairly tough. He passed on Nov 15 1981.
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Old 12-18-2013, 08:48 PM
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1981 Topps/Donruss reminded me of Win Remmerswaal, pitcher briefly for the Red Sox who has lived the better part of the last two decades in an asylum in The Netherlands. I believe he had several strokes (likely from heavy drug use) and is incapable of signing. I saw an 81 Donruss in dried up blue sharpie that honestly looked awful on eBay years back and it sold for well over $200.

Another toughie and a common name on 1986 Topps want lists is Ramon Romero. A pitcher for the Indians, he disappeared to the Dominican about a year after the card was issued. Romero is in the 1986 Donruss set as well, but it's his Topps card most collectors are after. On one of his many Dominican Republic private signing trips, collector Dave Cameron was informed that Romero had died (perhaps even was murdered) in NYC years ago. His death hasn't been "officially" confirmed though and most websites do not list him as deceased.
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Old 12-18-2013, 10:02 PM
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I believe that 1993 versions of Steve Olin and Tim Crews, both killed in spring training, are hard to find.

I also dont believe that David Wells signs cards of a certain team, Jays maybe?

Also, re Doug Flynn and the 86 Topps. Johnny Bench put him on the spot to sign those for charity at an event. He didnt want to, but was completely called out by him on the spot, and felt bad saying no.
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Old 12-18-2013, 10:33 PM
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I'd kill for a signed donnie moore 1988 slu
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  #18  
Old 12-18-2013, 10:37 PM
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Has anyone ever seen a signed 1954 Topps Howie Fox? He got stabbed to death at a bar in San Antonio in Fall 1955.
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  #19  
Old 12-18-2013, 10:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cooptown View Post
I believe that 1993 versions of Steve Olin and Tim Crews, both killed in spring training, are hard to find.

I also dont believe that David Wells signs cards of a certain team, Jays maybe?

Also, re Doug Flynn and the 86 Topps. Johnny Bench put him on the spot to sign those for charity at an event. He didnt want to, but was completely called out by him on the spot, and felt bad saying no.
Quite right on Olin and Crews. Crews moreso as he was a tougher signer and had only two 1993 issues, Fleer and Pinnacle. I think the Pinnacle may have even been issued after he passed. Olin was a very good signer both in person and TTM and there are more '93s of him out there than you might think.

Wells used to only sign Jays cards, and wouldn't sign cards from other teams. He said he only signed his cards for his sons. I believe he does not sign any cards any more, even at paid signings. He didn't start this until the early 90's so his earlier cards aren't hard to find.

Funny that Bench was the one to call out Flynn. Johnny isn't exactly accommodating to autograph requests himself!
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Old 12-19-2013, 08:09 AM
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I think the 1964 Topps Giants Clemente and Farrell are pretty tough to find signed.
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Old 12-19-2013, 08:33 AM
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I am working on getting the 1976 topps set signed by everyone and besides Mike Miley passing in January of 77, Danny Thompson and Danny Murtaugh also passed in Jan of 1977. There is a 76 Miley on eBay for an unreal amount,a few Thompsons that all look different and I did see a Pirates TC signed by Murtaugh that went for over $250. Also, Mike Marshall and Andy Messersmith don't like to sign at all so their cards can run $100-$200.
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Old 12-19-2013, 10:39 AM
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Default 64 topps Giants

I have a Farrell and have seen a half dozen or so over the years- also seen a few Clemente but above my budget
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  #23  
Old 12-19-2013, 12:04 PM
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Not hijacking the thread but I can throw a fairly tough football in the mix, Shane Curry on his 1991 Pro Set update. Shortly after the card was issued he was fatally shot in an off season altercation. His card came out in the mid to late season, so the window for signing wasn't open very long.
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Old 12-19-2013, 03:31 PM
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No hijack at all…I'm interested in seeing what tough signed cards are in all sports. I'll throw in a hockey one here.

In the 1960s and 1970s hockey players were about the easiest IP autographs of all. I'm serious that just about ALL the players were obtainable, time and circumstances permitting.

However there was a guy who played for the St Louis Blues named Bob Gassoff. Mostly noted as an "enforcer" he was killed in a motorcycle accident shortly after the 1976-77 season.

Gassoff was an A-1 absolute d**k about signing autographs, at least when the Blues were in town to play the Seals. I was not able to obtain his autograph even once, and one time I was the ONLY one getting Blues autographs after the game.

He only has three cards but I imagine there are few signed 1976-77 OPC cards out there.
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Old 12-19-2013, 03:36 PM
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If I recall Aurelio Rodriguez wouldn't sign his 1969 Topps card since it is a picture of Angels batboy Leonard Garcia.

There are a few of those signed by Garcia, but I heard he stopped doing that too.

This is all third and fourth-hand, so if anyone knows for sure, please chime in.
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Old 12-20-2013, 07:59 AM
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Default Great thread

From the 50's and 60's sets guys that come to mind off the top of my head that are very tough are
Howie Fox
Curt Roberts
Hank Thompson
Jim Umbricht
Hal Bevan
Murray Wall
Jack Meyer
Sam Jones
Chico Ruiz
Dixie Howell(White Sox)
Rick Joseph

I will try and think of a few others
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Old 12-20-2013, 08:34 AM
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Default toughest signed cards

I will aaa to the '50's list, Bill Sarni, simply because he never signed.
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Old 12-20-2013, 08:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MooseDog View Post
If I recall Aurelio Rodriguez wouldn't sign his 1969 Topps card since it is a picture of Angels batboy Leonard Garcia.

There are a few of those signed by Garcia, but I heard he stopped doing that too.

This is all third and fourth-hand, so if anyone knows for sure, please chime in.
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Old 12-20-2013, 12:08 PM
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Does anyone have a signed 1971 Topps card of Gil Hodges? Did 1972 Topps come out after he passed?
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Old 12-20-2013, 12:56 PM
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.

. . . I will throw out there that the 1966 Topps signed Chuck Dressen card is a bear to locate, even though he did not pass away until August 1966. A second heart attack earlier in the season curtailed his strength, as well as his availability.
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Old 12-20-2013, 02:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mr2686 View Post
I think the 1964 Topps Giants Clemente and Farrell are pretty tough to find signed.
I don't recall where I got my Farrell. I got my Clemente in a Tony Carrifal(from PA) auction although I doubt it's authenticity. Unfortunatly sold the set 20 years ago. Building that was the most fun I've had in the hobby. Dick Stuart was the toughest for me and he was alive!


Quote:
Originally Posted by stewbacca View Post
Also, Mike Marshall and Andy Messersmith don't like to sign at all so their cards can run $100-$200.
Mike Marshall is doing a Chris Potter signing early next year for those that really need him.
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Old 12-21-2013, 10:11 AM
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Quote:
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I don't recall where I got my Farrell. I got my Clemente in a Tony Carrifal(from PA) auction although I doubt it's authenticity. Unfortunatly sold the set 20 years ago. Building that was the most fun I've had in the hobby. Dick Stuart was the toughest for me and he was alive!




Mike Marshall is doing a Chris Potter signing early next year for those that really need him.
It's odd to me that Dick Stuart was a tough autograph...he really enjoyed the spotlight and fame.
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Old 12-22-2013, 04:13 AM
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Wow, thanks! This is awesome to read, please keep it going, I almost want some of these because of how unique and scarce they are


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Old 12-22-2013, 07:17 AM
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I know there's some out there on team baseballs etc, but does anyone own a Ross Youngs single signed baseball, card or photo? Team signed baseball I'm sure, but I would think 1 of those 3 has to be fairly tough. And I'm not sure if there was a card produced around his death or not that would make his auto on it that much rarer.
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Old 12-22-2013, 10:01 AM
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Since its' okay to cover other sports, I can throw out the near Holy Grail of signed MLS cards. From the 1999 Upper Deck MLS set, Jefferson Gottardi. He is pictured as a member of the Tampa Bay Mutiny, he was only with the club for a portion of the season and I think just made over ten actual appearances in the US. Injury problems kept him out a lot in Tampa. The MLS card set came out mid to late in the season, I was doing in-person auto collecting in the Tampa Bay area and he was long gone from the club by the time the cards came out.

He played sporadically a couple more seasons for South American clubs and then tragically developed ALS at a very young age and passed away (with medical treatment in Cuba, not exactly an easy place to have caught up with him either). I have never met anyone working on that set with a signed card from him. I recall one on Ebay going for a wild sum and it wasn't a particularly pretty signature.
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Old 12-22-2013, 01:32 PM
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Quote:
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It's odd to me that Dick Stuart was a tough autograph...he really enjoyed the spotlight and fame.
He disappeared for a long time. I had heard he was a little bitter about the whole "Dr. Strangeglove" comments and getting an ovation for picking up a hot dog wrapper one time. My first one had thumbprints and was a little smeared. I got it at the '89 National thanks to word of mouth from friends of friends. The story that went along with it was he did a show and showed up drunk, signed for about 10 minutes and left. He was non-existent and by sheer luck the same friend that help me get it was getting Reggie Jackson's autograph at a National Sporting Goods Association show in Atlanta and Dick Stuart walked up and Reggie seemed star-struck meeting the man that held the minor-league season home run record! My friend got a business card and I sent a couple '64 Giants, both returned personalized to me. He did one or two shows after that that I can remember. Part of the toughness of the card signed could be that it is an SP and a popular set? I don't really know if any of his other cards are tough signed.
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Old 12-22-2013, 02:03 PM
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Quote:
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He disappeared for a long time. I had heard he was a little bitter about the whole "Dr. Strangeglove" comments and getting an ovation for picking up a hot dog wrapper one time. My first one had thumbprints and was a little smeared. I got it at the '89 National thanks to word of mouth from friends of friends. The story that went along with it was he did a show and showed up drunk, signed for about 10 minutes and left. He was non-existent and by sheer luck the same friend that help me get it was getting Reggie Jackson's autograph at a National Sporting Goods Association show in Atlanta and Dick Stuart walked up and Reggie seemed star-struck meeting the man that held the minor-league season home run record! My friend got a business card and I sent a couple '64 Giants, both returned personalized to me. He did one or two shows after that that I can remember. Part of the toughness of the card signed could be that it is an SP and a popular set? I don't really know if any of his other cards are tough signed.
I don't think he was bitter about "Dr Strangeglove" and from some of the stories that I've read he spread the story about the hot dog wrapper himself...When he was in Lincoln he was so disinterested in playing defense that he would go out in the outfield and have his glove stuck under his armpit while he shelled peanuts....he also at times would barely move for a fly ball and if he let it go he would blame the center fielder for not going after it...the manager Larry Shepard got angry at him and moved him to first base so he would have to stay alert.

I know I'm biased, but he's such an interesting character that I'm surprised nobody has written a book about him yet.
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Old 12-23-2013, 08:23 AM
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Quote:
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I don't think he was bitter about "Dr Strangeglove" and from some of the stories that I've read he spread the story about the hot dog wrapper himself...When he was in Lincoln he was so disinterested in playing defense that he would go out in the outfield and have his glove stuck under his armpit while he shelled peanuts....he also at times would barely move for a fly ball and if he let it go he would blame the center fielder for not going after it...the manager Larry Shepard got angry at him and moved him to first base so he would have to stay alert.

I know I'm biased, but he's such an interesting character that I'm surprised nobody has written a book about him yet.
Thanks for the insight! All I had were collector stories, which we know can come from nowhere! It would be nice if someone wrote a book while some of his teammates are still with us.
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Old 12-23-2013, 05:34 PM
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Quote:
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Thanks for the insight! All I had were collector stories, which we know can come from nowhere! It would be nice if someone wrote a book while some of his teammates are still with us.
I recently acquired a bunch of Chiefs game used bats from the batboy in 1956...I asked him about Stuart and he didn't have much to say other than he was quiet and hit a lot of home runs.
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Old 12-27-2013, 06:39 AM
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Wow, thank you all for the knowledge and growth of this thread, this is so unreal to learn about, a huge perspective from an opposite side of collecting


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Old 02-18-2015, 12:17 AM
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For some reason roger Clemens doesn't sign his 1987 donruss diamond kings card. I've only seen one ever.
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Old 02-18-2015, 07:02 AM
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Cool thread to resurrect!

I need one of those Rickey Wrights...87 Topps is probably one of the most collected autographed sets. Lotta collectors with almost no inventory. Just sucks that I would have to pay more for a Rickey Wright than a Sandy Koufax....if I could even find one!
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  #43  
Old 02-18-2015, 07:57 AM
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7nohitter 7nohitter is offline
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I love reading about players refusing to sign certain cards....like Kelly Gruber with the (90? 91?) Leaf set to artificially enhance his card's value when he does eventually sign for his kids.

I've read blurbs about why Wright won't sign, but nothing too encompassing.

I've never heard about Clemens and the '87 DK.
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Old 02-18-2015, 08:04 AM
polakoff polakoff is offline
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I just sold a 1970 Cal Koonce card in rough shape made out "To Pam" for $30 at auction on ebay. I was hoping to get the 99 cent starting bid. Had no idea his signatures were worth that kind of dough. Looked on ebay and I guess he has almost no signed cards. Any idea why?
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Old 02-18-2015, 08:45 AM
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For my 1953 Topps project the toughies are:

Howie Fox d.1955
Vern Bickford d.1960
Bobo Newsom d.1962
Fred Hutchinson d.1964
Cliff Fannin d.1966
Ellis Kinder d.1968
Vern Stephens d.1968
Don Hoak d.1969
Hank Thompson d.1969

Then there are quite a few guys who died in the 1970s and 1980s, including one (Luke Easter)who was murdered, and another (Herman Wehmeier) who died days before he was supposed to testify in an embezzlement trial. The the poster who was asking if Fox had signed his 1954 Topps, one of the other members here told he he saw a signed '54 Topps Fox sell for over $1500 a few years ago.
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Signed 1953 Topps set: 248/274 (90.51 %)

Last edited by egri; 02-18-2015 at 08:45 AM.
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Old 02-18-2015, 08:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hawaiian bam bam View Post
For some reason roger Clemens doesn't sign his 1987 donruss diamond kings card. I've only seen one ever.
I thought I'd read somewhere that Clemens also refuses to sign his rookie card, but I could be mistaken.
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Signed 1953 Topps set: 248/274 (90.51 %)
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  #47  
Old 02-18-2015, 09:12 AM
bbcard1 bbcard1 is offline
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Joe DeSa's 1986 Topps card is pretty tough. He didn't play in the majors in 86 and died in a car accident in december. Saw where one went for $125 recently on ebay.
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Old 02-18-2015, 08:24 PM
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Do not recall ever seeing a Maurice Stokes signed 57 Topps.
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Old 02-18-2015, 09:00 PM
Republicaninmass Republicaninmass is offline
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53b or 61 topps hal Bevan
59 Marcelino Solis
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SIGNED 1952 Topps
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  #50  
Old 02-18-2015, 10:53 PM
Hankphenom Hankphenom is offline
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Herman Hill 1970 Topps. He drowned that December.
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