Sunday, May 29, 2011

Cal Ripken, Jr. Test / Proof Cards

1990 Donruss
Aqueous Test #96
Cal Ripken, Jr. PSA 7

Many people have not heard of the Cal Ripken, Jr. test cards that exist.  A test card is simply a test of a machine or process by a baseball card manufacturer.  Often, these test cards are not intended for release to the public and are usually just meant to be seen by employees.  In some cases, they make it out the back door and into collector's hands.

Here are some of the more sought after Cal Ripken, Jr. test cards:
  • 1982 Fleer Test
  • 1986 MSA Jiffy Pop Promo
  • 1990 Donruss Aqueous Test
  • 1990 Donruss Blue/White Test Issue
  • 1992 Donruss Super DKs
  • 1993 Select Chase Stars Proofs
  • 1995 Fleer Extra Bases Game Test Samples
PSA has recently decided to authenticate the 1982 Fleer and 1990 Donruss Blue/White Test Cards.  I just sent my cards in for review and hope to have them encased soon as "Authentic" or possibly even graded!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

My New Favorite Cal Ripken, Jr. Card

1998 Kenner Starting Lineup
Cal Ripken, Jr. PSA 10
Sale Price: $36.58
1915 E106 American Caramel
Ty Cobb SGC 60
Sale Price: $14,770

I recently won a 1998 Kenner Starting Lineup PSA 10 card on eBay and I have to say it is my new favorite card.  It reminds me of a Ty Cobb card from long ago.  The Cobb card has been cited as a favorite by many due to his "boyish" pose and I would have to agree.  This Ty Cobb sold for a hefty $14,770 several years ago at auction.  I was able to acquire mine for a paltry $36.58.  I'd say that was a pretty good deal!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

1983 Wichita Eagle-Beacon Card Checklist Part #1

Today I went through the first 3 rolls of microfilm for the 1983 Wichita Eagle-Beacon newspaper cards.  It appears the cards weren't advertised as "bubblegum-less" and "clip and save" until later in the year.  There also weren't any notable players, with the exception of Xavier McDaniel who went on to play in the NBA.  Here is the checklist for 1/1/1983 - 2/15/1983:

1986 Fleer #72
Xavier McDaniel PSA 10 RC
Ernest Patterson - College Basketball Player
Mike Farmer - College Basketball Player
Turner Gill - College Football Player

Rich Falk - College Basketball Coach
Gregg Schmidt - College Football Coach
Cory Koch - High School Basketball Player

Karl Kliewer - College Basketball Player
Lisa Hodgson - College Women's Basketball Player
Mike Bonczyk - High School Basketball Coach

Jenny Vogts - College Women's Basketball Player
Dick Schumacher - High School Basketball Dean of Coaches
Rod Foster - College Football Player

Steve Stipanovich - College Basketball Player
Ron Meyer - High School Basketball Player
Eddie Smith - College Basketball Player

Dean Smith - College Basketball Coach
Gary Carrier - College Basketball Player
Xavier McDaniel - College Basketball Player

Barry Stevens - College Basketball Player
Troy Weeks - College Wrestler
Les Miller - High School Wrestler/Football Player

Saturday, May 14, 2011

2005 Fleer Bankruptcy Auction

In 2005, Fleer went bankrupt and liquidated everything to help pay off its creditors.  The company itself ceased operations and the brand was sold to Upper Deck for $6.1 million.  However, there was a big auction on September 9th, 2005 at a New Jersey Radisson Hotel where many unfinished and unique items were sold directly to the public.  Even today if you look on eBay you will see many items claiming to be from Fleer's bankruptcy.  In particular, various eBay sellers list Fleer Press Plates they claim to be from the 2005 bankruptcy.

Alleged 2005 Fleer Bankruptcy Auction Press Plate

I've seen many auctions on eBay like this for Cal Ripken, Jr. Fleer Press Plates and I can only assume there are many more for other players.  Here is a quote from the auction shown above:
"We purchased a large collection of printing plates at the show on 2005 July.  We are breaking up the collection and piecing them out every week. I think it blows out from Fleer Factory!"
The problem is, I reviewed the auction listings for the bankruptcy in its entirety and there were no Press Plates to be found.  This eBay seller claims to have purchased a large lot in July though, not September.  Is it possible there was a card show where these plates were auctioned off?  I've never heard about that anywhere, including the calendar of events on Fleer's bankruptcy website at  There is only mention of the preparations for the upcoming September auction at the Radisson.

In any case, there is no evidence of any Press Plates in the actual bankruptcy auction listings found here: 2005_Fleer_Bankruptcy_Auction.pdf.  You can view detailed listings of each lot at Randy L. Fridkis Auctions, LLC.

Based on this information, I would strongly lean toward these eBay items not being legimate and would stay away from purchasing them.

Status: Most Likely Fake

1983 Wichita Eagle-Beacon Card Research

1983 Kittle / Payton / Strawberry 3-Card Panel
I've started work on cataloging the 1983 Wichita Eagle-Beacon newspaper card set.  What makes these especially interesting to me is that it contains athletes from all major sports, both professional and collegiate.  I looked all over the Internet for information on these for quite some time and couldn't find anything.  Every once in a while there would be an auction on eBay for one, but nothing I could really make a checklist from.

Just this week I found the Kansas Historical Society and their huge collection of old newspapers on microfilm.  I figured all was lost though since I couldn't go to their library.  So I contacted my local library and found out about inter-library loans.  I now have three rolls of microfilm on the way from the Kansas Historical Society to my local Fort Worth library.  It will take a while, but I will eventually have a full checklist and images of every panel in the set.

Cal Ripken, Jr. Single-Card
These "cards" appeared every Monday in the sports section of the newspaper.  Apparently, readers could vote for the players they wanted included in the set.  I don't know if Cal Ripken, Jr. is featured in the 1983 set, but I do know he is featured in sets from later years.

With three players featured every week, that would be a total of 156 cards (52 weeks x 3 players/week).

The 1984 set will be interesting to catalog since it features a 1984 Michael Jordan card with him as a Tarheel, pre-dating his earliest known basketball cards.  This Jordan card recently sold on eBay in excess of $150.

1984 Michael Jordan 3-Card Pane
The primary goal in cataloging these items is to eventually get them listed in one or both of the major baseball card guides (Beckett and/or Sports Collectors Digest).  I will continue to report back on my progress with this set.  It should be a long road!