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Bell Brand Dodgers Cards

Bill Wagner - Babe Waxpak by Bill Wagner, "Babe Waxpak"
June 8, 2005

Dear Babe: I have a 1962 Sandy Koufax Bell Brand card. He's No. 32.
Caleb Henderson, Moreno Valley, Calif.

Bell Brand produced sets of Dodgers cards in 1958 and from 1960 through 1962. Pretty interesting that the only year they missed was 1959 - the year the Dodgers went from last to first to win a World Championship. Unlike their predecessors, the 1962 cards were on better glossy stock and much less susceptible to grease stains from the potato chips. The cards carried the player's uniform number and Koufax was most certainly No. 32. The Standard Catalog of Baseball Cards from the editors of Sports Collectors Digest and Beckett's Almanac of Baseball Cards list his 1962 Bell Brand card in the $125-$175 range. The value drops to just $39 for a card in "very good" condition. The only way to differentiate between Bell Brand cards from 1960-1962 is the year of the schedule on the back.

Dear Babe: I have a 2004 Dealership Action Racing 1/24 Die-Cast Car - No. 8 Dale Earnhardt Jr. There were about 7,800 of them produced and they book at $80. The car is autographed by Dale Jr. I have the COA, which says only 288 cars were signed.
Paul Brackett, Redding, Calif.

I'm not sure what gets Da Babe's head spinning the most - trying to figure out all the different combos for die-cast cars or keeping up with all of the variations Donruss dreams up for its inserts. You noted the car itself lists for around $50-$80, so everything comes down to how much the autograph adds. Tim Trout, price guide editor, said Beckett Racing Collector doesn't list a value because the Certificate of Authenticity didn't come from the manufacturer. More than likely, Dale Jr. had a deal to sign a certain amount of the cars for a dealership or a group of dealers. Dale Jr.'s signature should add $125-$200 to the value of the car. Using Beckett's $50-$80 range, that would put a signed version at $175-$280 tops. The $280 is probably over on the high end, especially since your COA is from the secondary marketplace and not Action Racing Collectibles.

Dear Babe: I have eight Michael Jordan cards. They each have a year on them - 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1993, 1995, 1996 and 1997.
Annie Goodson, East Point, Ga.

You didn't give much to go on. One has to assume these are from a set that had cards from each of Jordan's years in the NBA. If that's the case, you're missing 1989-1992. That would add up to a 12-card set. If these are oversized cards, I'd guess they are from the 1998 Gatorade set that was one of the prizes in a bottle cap contest. Beckett and Tuff Stuff's annual basketball guides list the set at $25-$30 with individual cards at $3 each. These sets generally sell for much less than that in online auctions.

Dear Babe: I bought a Nolan Ryan plate about 20 years ago for the issue price of $100. Not until about five years ago did I realize Ryan signed the plate. I didn't get a COA with the plate. I bought it because I thought it was cool looking.
Steve Jones, Columbus, Ind.

Cool looking is a good reason to buy. Thanks to the promo info you saved, we know it's from artist Chris Paluso, and Ryan signed 1,598 of the Hackett American plates. There's absolutely no shortage of these plates, especially if he signed 1,598. And there are definitely plenty of Ryan signatures out there. I'd say you'd be lucky if it is still worth the $100 it originally cost. Plates - even those that are signed - are not that popular with sports collectors.

Dear Babe: I have a napkin signed by Sugar Ray Robinson.
Tony Sabo, North East, Pa.

The fact you got this signature yourself on a napkin eliminates any thoughts it might have been ghost signed, as was often the case. "Ray Robinson, due to declining health in later years, often times had items signed by family members. Many items signed during his 'prime' were also ghost signed," said Jim Stinson of Stinsonsports.com in Miami. He valued your Robinson signature at $75.

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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