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Beckett Game Notes: NBA MVPs, Pujols, Brady and Major Hockey Auction

by Beckett Media
May 19, 2005

Collectors Like Their MVPs Young

According to the July issue of Beckett Basketball, if you want to improve your stock in the collectibles market, you better do it before your 30th birthday. Last week, the Suns' Steve Nash became the seventh player past the age of 30 to be named MVP for the first time. Unfortunately for him, players who don't take off early in their careers have a tendency to lose impact among memorabilia collectors. The average price of key Rookie Cards for players who won the award for the first time in their 20s is $325.67. For players who won the award for the first time after age 30, that number drops to $51.67.

"The Rookie Cards of players who won their first MVP award past the age of 30 tend to be less than six times as valuable as those of guys who won the award in their 20s," says Beckett Basketball editor David Lee. "Now, there are some extenuating circumstances that inflate those numbers, like the scarcity of sets. Still, it's clear that the older winners - and we're talking about some all-time greats here - just don't have that intrigue of what they'll do in the future. Their careers have long been mapped out."

Key Rookie Cards For First-Time MVP Award Winners Over 30
Julius Erving - 1972-73 Topps #195 ($200)
Charles Barkley - 1986-87 Fleer #7 ($20)
Hakeem Olajuwon - 1986-87 Fleer #82 ($20)
David Robinson - 1989-90 Hoops #38 ($10)
Karl Malone - 1986-87 Fleer #68 ($50)
Steve Nash - 1996-97 Finest #75 ($10)

First-Time MVP Award Winners Under 30
Bill Russell -- 1957-58 Topps #77 ($1,000)
Bob Petit - 1957-58 Topps #24 ($150)
Bob Cousy - 1957-58 Topps #17 ($400)
Oscar Robertson - 1961-62 Fleer #36 ($400)
Wilt Chamberlain - 1961-62 Fleer #8 ($900)
Wes Unseld - 1969-70 Topps #56 ($50)
Willis Reed - 1969-70 Topps #60 ($50)
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar - 1969-70 Topps #25 ($400)
Dave Cowens - 1971-72 Topps #47 ($40)
Bob McAdoo - 1973-74 Topps #135 ($20)
Moses Malone - 1975-76 Topps #254 ($35)
Larry Bird - 1980-81 Topps #6 ($300)
Magic Johnson - 1980-81 Topps #6 ($300)
Michael Jordan - 1986-87 Fleer #57 ($800)
Shaquille O'Neal - 1992-93 Upper Deck #1 ($40)
Allen Iverson - 1996-97 Topps Chrome #171 ($60)
Tim Duncan - 1997-98 Topps Chrome $115 ($40)
Kevin Garnett - 1995-96 Finest #115 ($70)

Pujols: Red Hot

Beckett Baseball list of the top five sales of graded cards over the last year show that Cardinals' slugger Albert Pujols is as hot off the field as on:

1. 1986 Topps Traded Tiffany Barry Bonds BGS 10 - $25,100 March '05
The only one out of 688 submitted to receive a BGS 10. Slabbed in October of 2004, this card took a little over two months to reach the secondary market.
2. 2001 Bowman Chrome Albert Pujols BGS 9.5 -- $15,500 Jan '05
3. 2001 Bowman Chrome Albert Pujols PSA 10 - $12,600 Jan '05
One over zealous buyer purchased both cards listed above in the same calendar month, talk about some deep pockets.
4. 2001 Bowman Chrome Albert Pujols BGS 9.5 -- $12,100 May '05
5. 2001 Bowman Chrome Albert Pujols BGS 9.5 -- $11,000 June '05
When is $11,000 a bargain? Possibly now, when you compare the hefty sales figures above.

Invest in Brady

Patriot's QB Tom Brady's top Rookie Card has moved up or down in price 16 times since it was first listed in the January 2001 issue of Beckett Football. At $800, it is one of the most valuable modern era base cards in existence. It doesn't feature an autograph or a jersey swatch, but it's part of a historically significant product - SP Authentic.

January 2001 - $30
December 2001 - $60
January 2002 - $125
February 2002 - $135
March 2002 - $175
September 2002 - $150
November 2002 - $175
December 2002 - $150
February 2004 - $200
March 2004 - $300
April 2004 - $350
June 2004 - $400
July 2004 - $425
November 2004 - $450
March 2005 - $750
April 2005 - $800

Hockey Lockout Doesn't Discourage Collectors

The NHL lockout may have curtailed hockey card production for 2004-05, but it hasn't diminished the passion of hockey card collectors, or their willingness to spend big bucks to own a piece of their favorite players. The editors of Beckett Hockey have tracked a number of record-breaking sales over the past few months, but none more eye-opening than a card featuring swatches cut from jerseys worn by Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux that sold recently for $7,100, the highest price ever achieved for this type of collectible.

The card, issued as part of the 2004-05 Upper Deck Ultimate Collection, featured small NHL logo patches cut from the backs of jerseys actually worn in game action by Gretzky and Lemieux. Although "game-used" cards (collectibles that feature a swatch cut from a jersey, stick, glove or pads worn by a player in an NHL game) are fairly common in today's highly competitive - and creative - marketplace, the fact that this is the only such card in existence played a key factor in the success of the early-May auction.

"The final sale price really took us by surprise," says Al Muir, editor of Beckett Hockey. "Both Wayne and Mario have legions of devoted collectors, so any time a truly unique concept featuring either player - let alone both - hits the market, there's fierce competition to be the guy who can say, 'Yeah, I'm the one that has that card.'"

About Beckett Media
Based in Dallas, Beckett Media LP, an Apprise Media company, is the leading publisher of sports and specialty market collectible products in the U.S. Beckett operates (, the leading online destination for sports collectible enthusiasts, and is the premier publisher of monthly sports collectibles magazines. Beckett, considered the world's most trusted source in collecting, currently publishes 14 magazines. Its flagship title is the popular Beckett Baseball magazine. The company also operates Beckett Grading Services, the award-winning third-party professional sports card grading service. The company was founded in 1984 by Dr. James Beckett.

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