I absolutely love the idea of buybacks. You take a usually worthless card, many times from the dreaded “junk wax” era. Have the player sign it, stamp it, and insert it into new products and suddenly you have what is perhaps the greatest card gimmick of all-time. I mean, look at the card below. It’s absolutely beautiful despite the player featured. I mean, are there any real Joe Giradi fans? The on-card autograph and low serial numbering makes this a, absolutely bad ass card.
There are many cards that have eluded me for my Jose Canseco collection. The truth of the matter is that I associate myself with being more of a card industry enthusiast than a bonafide collector. I rarely buy boxes and when I do, unless the card has immense value or it is a Jose Canseco, I tend to give it away. In my final year of the first run with Wax Heaven, I was given a complete set of 1/1 printing plates of Manny Ramirez by a card company. In return, I immediately gave them away in a contest.
So while I have the money to buy several high-end Jose Canseco cards, the truth of the matter is that I choose not to. I would much rather write about the next big card than to actually own it. That’s why after 25 years collecting one player I probably have 20 or so certified autographs out of several hundreds. The same goes with memorabilia cards. If they enter my collection, sure why not. Otherwise, I just sit back and wait until prices hit a reasonable point and with Canseco, they always do.
That’s not the case with the Donruss buybacks. These are top of the line autographs I simply have never been able to own due to insane prices Canseco collectors bring them up to. Yes, I did purchase a recent 1992 Leaf autographed buyback but when it comes to the leader of this card gimmick, Donruss/Panini simply own the market, hands down. I think people forget just how beloved non-Panini Donruss was in the 80s and 90s. In my opinion, they were way up there with Topps as the second most collected brand around.
For now, I will have to sit back and hope that Panini has more baseball products in store in 2015 besides the already announced and in production, Prism, which has Canseco in the checklist. Maybe if I’m lucky, Panini will go back to the well and re-issue another ’86 Donruss Canseco autographed buyback with a print run of 1,000 cards or something. I’m 35 years old with a daughter and a mortgage. There’s no piece of card board that will ever be worth a grand, in my opinion.
Especially not of a player whose biggest post retirement achievement is appearing on VH1’s Surreal Life.