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We all have collecting regrets. Sometimes it’s a lopsided trade you thought was good at the time. Or maybe you jumped the gun and sold too low. Many times, regrets come from passing on something only to never find it again. And sometimes, disappointment comes simply from settling. Ever since Upper Deck started making Ken Grifey Jr. autograph cards, I wanted a Ken Grifey Jr. autograph card. I’m guessing most any collector thought the same. Even if you weren’t a fan, you still had to respect his game.

I’m really not sure how you could not be a fan of Grifey back in the ‘90s unless you were like my grandpa and had weird, strict rules about hats and how they should be worn.

Through all of my pack busting, I’ve never pulled a Ken Grifey autograph — Jr. or Sr. But a while back, during Grifey’s dark years just before the twilight of his career, I did buy not one but two of his autograph cards.

The first came from 2004 Upper Deck Etchings, a one-and-done product that didn’t return in 2005. he other was a buyback of a his 1995 SP card. Both have Grifey’s majestic penmanship. I don’t remember exactly what I paid, but it would have been under $50 each.

Both cards are nice, with a signature from not only one of baseball’s all-time greats, but one of my all-time favorites.

And yet, I was never totally happy with either. Great cards? Absolutely. Cards that I wanted in my permanent personal collection? Not exactly.

I spent years trying to convince myself otherwise but I never could. Why? Because I compromised on what the strict standards I have for key parts of my personal collection to save a few dollars for the reward of instant gratification. And I could never get past that nagging feeling that I’d compromised to have something right away rather than waiting a little longer for what I really wanted. I settled.


When I’m searching out big autograph cards for my own collection, I don’t usually have an exact card in mind.

But I do have some criteria that such a card must fall under. And that’s likely the case for many of us who are pursuing something but there are options. This might be which Rookie Card to go with, condition of a vintage card or any number of possible card collecting avenues.

I could never get past that nagging feeling that I’d compromised to have something right away rather than waiting a little longer for what I really wanted. I settled.

It starts with price. If it’s way above my means, I don’t even consider such a card. In the case of Griffey, that eliminates the majority of possibilities. And that’s fine. For me and my collection, it’s the autograph and the card that matter most, not the serial number or high-end provenance.

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Sports Card Monthly January 2019, 20 Great Cards of 2018, Foreign Intrigue, And More......