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The "rookie card" phenomenon.

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scott elkins
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Post by fisherboy7 Fri Jan 25, 2008 5:27 pm

Seems like the rookie card phenomenon really took on some steam in the 80's with the '52 Mantle craze and eventually it carried over to our beloved prewar card niche as well. (Funny that the '52 Topps Mantle isn't even his first card anyway). I understand the appeal of owning a player's first card. It's neat to see a fresh faced Hornsby on his E135 or a young Ruth on his M101-5.

But is that enough to make these "rookie" cards significantly more valuable than the other cards of these players? And if value is put aside, are you a fan of rookie cards over other cards of a particular player? If so, why?

Obviously "rookie" cards from a rare minor league set like the Balt. News Ruth/T210 Jackson, or from a rare set in general like the E107 Matty, are exceptions. But what if the player's first card is from a set that's not particularly rare at all?
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Post by scott elkins Fri Jan 25, 2008 6:07 pm

I remember that "Rookie Card Craze" of the 80's as if it were yesterday Ben. Lucky for me, I sold all of my Mattingly Rookies when they peaked to a dealer in NC. That was another memorable day, b/c it was the day my father said he would never question me by saying I was wasting money on cards again (after seeing me sell these Mattingly R's I got out of 35 cent packs for $40 each).

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Post by ItsOnlyGil Fri Jan 25, 2008 8:34 pm

To me, a player's minor league card is one prior to his MLB rookie season, therefore can not be accurately considered his rookie card; but certainly can be considered his 1st, 2nd, etc. card.

I can understand an increased value placed on a rookie card, because it could be a nice way to portray a lifetime record holder - with his rookie + last card. But of course, that would result in similar emphasis on his last card. However, what we are seeing, imo, is overly significant focus on a player's rookie card; resulting in a considerable cost impact. This does not appear warranted. The difference in value between a player's rookie card and his others has grown for decades now. I wonder when it will begin to contract. Maybe after collectors lose interest in t206 back variations - which is another interesting phenomenon.

I like the Beast's rookie card. machine He sure did not look very beastly at first.
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Post by scott elkins Fri Jan 25, 2008 8:57 pm

Almost forgot to answer you question Ben. YES, I do believe there should be a premium for Rookie Cards personally. Also, in this competitive country, people always like to be first. So, naturally, when people collect something, they tend to place a higher value on the 1st of whatever they are collecting.

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Post by sabrjay Fri Jan 25, 2008 9:25 pm

Always thought the whole rookie card thing was stupid. This is epitomized, as Ben pointed out, the 52 Topps Mantle being called his rookie card and cards of minor leaguers being called rookie cards.

I did take full advantage of the market and financed much of collecting with sale of new cards. I remember doing a show at the Oakland Coliseum in 1987. I had 3 cases of unopened 1986 Donruss wax that had Canseco's rookie. I already had 5 or 6 singles and the going price at the start of the show was $20-25. A lot dealers were pissed at me because I wouldn't sell any Canseco's or wax boxes before the show opened to the public, even though they were willing to pay $25.

When the show opened, I priced the first one on my table at $30 and didn't last 10 minutes. I kept bumbing the price $5 with each card I sold. The price finally leveled out at $50. The one thing that really stood out about the show was that I sold all 3 Bob Boone rookies I had and bunch of other Boone cards. This was to a bunch of different people, not just one or two collectors.

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Post by nolemmings Fri Jan 25, 2008 9:28 pm

if value is put aside, are you a fan of rookie cards over other cards of a particular player? If so, why?

Not me. I try and collect cards from a player's prime, when it depicts the same face, stance, etc, that opponents saw, respected and/or feared. Also, in my imagination anyways, these were more coveted by kids and collectors of the time because they represented who was "hot" then. Young green-horn photos, lithos, etc of a guy who had not yet made his mark and who was probably in large part ignored at the time are interesting when all is said and done, and I understand the hoopla somewhat, but I am no rookie fan.

I am a collector of m101-4/5s. I will have to pay mid five figures or more to get a Ruth card to complete the set, just because it is considered his rookie card by most. By the same token, the m101-4 set contains Joe Judge's rookie card, one of more than a dozen sets to include him if you count back variations. Judge was a very fine player who had a long and successful career. Do you think anyone gives a hoot about the rookie card of this guy? So all things being equal with set scarcity, no short-prints, etc, the rookie craze affects only the star players and is in that sense a bit of an aberration, IMO.
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The "rookie card" phenomenon. Empty Love the ROOKIES!!!

Post by the-illini Fri Jan 25, 2008 11:19 pm

I love rookie cards, especially from some of the less-collected sets

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