really just one of five. You know that right? See, chances are your card has a parallel version within the product and had a similarly numbered card last year as well. In addition, there was one the year before, and the year before that as well. That same triple patch auto numbered one of five bounty you so covet, adore, and/or want probably has another card just like it in another brand of the same year as well.
The proliferation of autograph cards has come to the point where it parallels the over production of the junk wax era of the late 80's, the game used jersey saturation of the late 90's and early 2000's. The sheer number of autographs being signed by legendary Hall of Famers across all sports is so staggering that every newly released sports trading card product devalues the price of those autographs.
With the rate of frequency that players like Joe Montana, Wayne Gretzky, Dan Marino, Gordie Howe and players of their equal, sign autographs, and assuming they all live another 20 years minimum (excluding Gordie Howe but it honestly wouldn't surprise me either) the laws of supply and demand will with have snowballed, rendering their autographs virtually worthless in stature to their athletic accomplishments.
We saw something similar recently happen with Shoeless Joe Jackson game used cards. Once the only bat card in existence of the shamed former White Sox player, the 2001 SP Legendary Cuts card commanded upwards of $500-$600. Fast forward seven years later when Donruss released Sports Legends in 2008 with their very own Shoeless Joe game used card and prices for both cards have yet to return to those values.
In both circumstances, autographs or rare game used cards, their are obviously other forces at play including a lengthy and deep recession. I understand that card companies are in business to make a profit and have no moral obligation or fiduciary responsibility to conduct business in a manner that preserves secondary market value. Unfortunately at the same time, we as collectors have reached a point in The Hobby where, collectively, we have little interest in the cards themselves other than the hits. It's a problem the card companies created and we perpetuated and the only winners are the manufacturers. For the most part, what we collect today will never hold its market value, let alone appreciate.
That goes for autographs of iconic and revered Hall of Famers who continue to sign sticker, after sticker, after sticker flooding an already saturated market. Don't believe me? Take a good, hard, objective look at the trends you see on completed auctions on eBay. Hundreds and hundreds of cards undervalued.
A sad state of The Hobby that will only get worse.
Collect what you like and not what you think will be valuable, because in the end, 90% of what's in your treasured "collection" isn't going to be worth squat.