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McDonald's Hoops Cards Not Unlike the Regulars

Bill Wagner - Babe Waxpak by Bill Wagner, "Babe Waxpak"
February 21, 2005

Dear Babe: I have two sets of 1992 McDonald's Hoops USA basketball cards. Can you tell me anything about them? Nobody seems to have information.
Thomas Mallone, Bradford, Mass.

Thanks to Beckett's annual basketball guide, Da Babe has lots of information - probably too much. The simple answer is that the 70-card set lists for $25. Sixty-two of the cards were available nationwide, including the 12-card subset of the original Dream Team. The other eight cards are Chicago Bulls players (minus Michael Jordan, who has regular and Team USA cards). The cards were part of a promotion with customers getting a four-card cello pack free with an Extra Value Meal or for 49 cents each. There were some 20,000 instant win cards that entitled the holder to the entire 70-card set. In addition, after the promotion was over, the excess cards somehow made their way into the secondary marketplace. That's another way of saying these aren't that rare, which explains modest values. Jordan's regular card (No. 6) and his Team USA card (55) book at $4 each. Nothing else tops $1.25. I suspect online values to be between $5 and $15 with the Dream Team subset possibly bringing $5 or so. One note, as far as I can tell, there is no difference between the McDonald's cards and the regular Hoops cards from that year except for the numbers. There are no McDonald's logos.

Dear Babe: I have a Willie Mays Topps card (No. 150). It's in very good condition. I also have a Willie Mays (300) that is in fair condition. It has a wood-grained border/background with the lower right of his picture "rolled" up. He is with San Francisco. I say it is in fair condition, because somebody pasted a stamp type sticker on the back over the cartoon area of some player with the Washington Senators.
Doug W., Grand Island, Neb.

The wood-grained card is from 1962. Mays' card for 1963 is also number 300. Beckett and Tuff Stuff list the card at $150-$250. However, if the back is damaged, I would say that 10 percent of the high value would be the best you could expect. I guess that's another way of saying that the value probably drops by at least 90 percent because of the damage, even if the front is perfect. The other card is from 1961. Even though it is older, it lists for $60-$100.

Dear Babe: In 1969, I celebrated my 10th birthday by receiving a very special telephone call. I remember my mother answering the phone and turning to me to say, "It's for you." After saying hello, the voice on the other end asked if this was Jimmy McCabe? I said yes. The man then said, "Jimmy, this is Johnny Unitas and I want to wish you a happy birthday." I was floored . . . a birthday call from the great Johnny U. He said he was going to send me a special gift. A few weeks later, I received a white football signed by the entire 1969 Baltimore Colts. I found out some years later that my father was dining with Unitas and Lou Michaels the night he called.
Jim McCabe, Forty Fort, Pa.

Great story. The 1969 Colts went 8-5-1 and finished second to the Rams in the Coastal Division of the NFL's Western Conference in the year before the league merged with the AFL. The football is worth $200-$400.

Dear Babe: I have a baseball signed by Ted Williams and his son, John Henry.
John Foster, Nashua, N.H.

This one surprised me, especially since I checked with Phil Castinetti of Sportsworld in Everett, Mass., a suburb of Boston, who ended up in the middle of a mess and some legal action thanks to John Henry. In the end, Castinetti prevailed, but he became just another person on a long list of folks who had little use for the late son of the Hall of Famer. Castinetti had not seen one of these baseballs until recently. John Henry's signature does hurt the value, but not as much as one would think. The ball is still worth $300-$400, Castinetti said. Single-signed Ted Williams baseballs are going for $400-$500 these days. If by chance John Henry didn't sign right under his father's signature, the ball might be worth a little more if it can be displayed as a single-signed Ted Williams ball.

Dear Babe: My father purchased a signed Chicago Bulls basketball with the entire team's autographs from 1990-1991 - the first championship. It was spray-painted gold before the signing.
Dennis Larson, Alpharetta, Ga.

The basketball is worth around $1,000, said Brian Marren, vice president of acquisitions for the MastroNet Auctions in Chicago.

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About the author
Bill Wagner is a veteran journalist with 37 years in the newspaper business as well as being a former Army combat correspondent in Vietnam. He developed the Babe Waxpak sports card column in the 1980s and took over authorship in 1993, expanding into sports memorabilia and autographs as well as answering questions on cards.

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