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Baseball Collectibles—Relic Cards Carry History

by Sandra Lee Stuart (07/08/08).

The baseball-card collectibles market has undergone major changes in recent years. The ups and downs of the market have made it difficult for some collectors to make wise investments. While some cards may not be worth as much as they used to be, many card companies are doing their part to provide some valuable collectibles in their sets. One highly coveted card is the relic card.

Baseball relic cards are essentially the same as a normal card with one major difference. The card contains a piece of game-used memorabilia. For instance, the card may have a tiny square of the player’s uniform affixed to it. Or perhaps the card company will place a piece of a game-used bat on the card. These relic cards come packaged in with a normal set of cards, and they have created a new trend in card buying. Go to any store that sells baseball cards, and you will probably see some card enthusiast feeling up packs of cards. They do this because the packs containing relic cards are slightly different in weight than the typical packs.

Personally, I enjoy relic cards not just for their value, but also for the fact that they’re like owning a piece of baseball history. If the card companies truly are placing game-used memorabilia on the cards, then you own a piece of material that was used to shape a portion of the game’s great history. Sure, it’s not the same thing as owning an actual jersey or a pair of game-worn cleats, but for the modest collector, it’s pretty close.

While most relic cards are fairly similar to one another, last year a set of three cards was issued that stood apart from the rest. Three George Washington DNA relic cards were issued by Topps Allen & Ginter. These DNA cards contained pieces of the first president’s hair. If you can get past the creepiness factor of having a dead person’s hair on your baseball card, the idea is actually pretty cool. In fact, I’m surprised Topps took the chance of some unknowing kid throwing the card away when it issued them to the general public.

At last check, the first of the three cards had been discovered by a collector in Arizona. It was placed in an online auction where it was set to fetch thousands of dollars. With the mainstream media frenzy this card received, you can rest assured Topps Allen & Ginter will have some interesting collectibles cards coming out in the future. Let’s hope the company doesn’t go with anything too creepy.

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