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Baseball Collectibles, Media Hype? Bring It On for Higher Prices

by Sandra Lee Stuart (07/22/08).

The baseball-card market can be difficult to predict sometimes, as I pointed out in my investment strategies .

Sure, factors such as a player’s statistics, team popularity and the card’s age all play a role in determining a collectibles’ value, but sometimes cards become hot for other reasons. Collectibles may go hot because of media hype. For one reason or another, the media gets in a frenzy over certain cards (typically error or rare cards), and the market for that card goes through the roof. Here are a few examples of cards that have benefited from the media attention.

1. Derek Jeter—How would you like to have Mickey Mantle and George W. Bush watching you to see if you can deliver that big hit? Thanks to the pranksters over at Topps, that’s exactly what the 2007 Derek Jeter baseball card depicts. Jeter is taking a swing while President Bush is standing in the crowd and Mickey Mantle is watching intently from the Yankee dugout. When this collectible was released in early 2007, it seemed as if every news outlet ran a story on it. As a result, it became the hottest card around, and eBay users went crazy for them.

2. Alex Gordon—It’s the card that should have never been. The 2006 Topps set jumped the gun on issuing hot prospect Alex Gordon’s Royals rookie card. There is a rule in place that prevents card manufacturers from issuing a player’s rookie card unless he made the 25-man roster or played in a major league game in the prior season. Alex Gordon didn’t qualify on either count. Topps caught the mistake and pulled the print from production. However, a few of the cards still made it out to the public. The media caught on to the story, and the card skyrocketed in value. Collectors got caught up in the media hype, and they were paying thousands of dollars for this rookie card.

3. Yuki Saitoh—The most recent card to capture the attention of journalists around the country is the 2008 Upper Deck USA set Yuki Saitoh card. Yuki Saitoh isn’t in major league baseball. Nor does he play for an American team. He is a member of the 2007 Japanese Collegiate All Star squad. The media is painting him as the next Dice-K, and collectors are hopping on the bandwagon. Some of his cards are fetching nearly $2,000.

What about you, the reader? Have you seen any collectibles rise in value because of the media attention given to them? Let’s hear about it in the comments.

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