Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Times Record News: Al BaseballAsk Babe: More questions for the Babe
April 14, 2004

Dear Babe: I have an autographed Indianapolis Colts NFL jersey (No. 28) from Marshall Faulk, who I understand autographs virtually nothing. It is absolutely authentic. It was bought through a friend whose son-in-law was a former Indianapolis coach. Faulk was persuaded to offer it up for a worthy charity event in Southern California. The signature is on the back of the jersey on the number 28. Since Faulk is generally regarded as one of the best all-purpose backs of all time, I am guessing that this jersey will have some long-term value if not an immediate one. I am also presuming that since it was autographed when he was playing for his original contract team, it will be unique and have increased value. Finally, I also understand that much of memorabilia is about perceived value so I would appreciate your comments. I am considering selling it to an interested collector.

- Michael Gorgol, Londondery, N.H.

We can agree on a few of your points and then we'll have to agree to disagree on some others. You're right on the money about Faulk being a tough signature to obtain. Mike Breeden, a Sports Collectors Digest columnist and autograph expert, said Faulk rarely signs at shows or privately. For a while he was actually refusing to sign items that pictured him as a Colt, but Breeden is not sure if that's still the case. "The value depends largely on whether or not the jersey is an official licensed one," Breeden said. "These days there are bootleg jerseys floating all over the place. I see way more bootleg ones than licensed ones at shows. A licensed one would go for about $200-$250."

A game-used jersey would sell for at least five times that amount. More than likely the jersey is authentic, but unless you were there to see him sign it, there's always the chance someone else wrote his name on it - no matter who procured it. While there are certainly far fewer Colts jerseys with Faulk autographs, they are, in my humble opinion, much less desirable than a Rams jersey. He made his name and won a Super Bowl with the Rams.

There's no way to predict future value. If there were, I'd be on a Pacific isle sipping lunch through a straw instead of showing up to work every day.

Dear Babe: My dad has a complete set of 1992 Donruss baseball cards and it is still sealed. He says it is worth about $300, but I say it is worth more. What do you think?

- Jessica D., Mt. Shasta, Calif.

Are you sure we're talking about Donruss baseball cards? The 788-card set lists for $4-$10. You could probably buy one for a few bucks at a show. There isn't even one rookie card of note in it. The only set from 1992 that is worth anything is the Bowman set, which Beckett and Tuff Stuff list for $150-$200 thanks to rookie cards for Mike Piazza, Carlos Delgado, Manny Ramirez, Chipper Jones, Mariano Rivera and Pedro Martinez.

Dear Babe: Quite a few years ago, I came across these two cards of Honus Wagner (images attached). One has a number on the back, the other doesn't.

- Charlie Adams, Georgetown, Mass.

I don't think it makes a difference if the cards have a number or not. These are just reprints of Wagner's famous T206 card. A quality reprint might be worth a dollar or two, but finding a buyer won't be that easy. I would guess that at some point someone produced the reprints and numbered the sets hoping to convince folks that they were more valuable than they actually were. It always sounds so nice to say, "limited to just 2,000 sets."

(Babe Waxpak is written by Bill Wagner and is a feature of the Record Searchlight in Redding, CA. If you have a question for Babe Waxpak, include your full name and hometown, the card number, year and manufacturer or send a photocopy. Please do not send cards. The address is: Babe Waxpak, Box 492397, Redding, CA 96049-2397 or e-mail babewaxpak(at)redding.com.)

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