The Beckett Blog

Evolution of autographs: Which ones do you remember? by Chris Olds

By CHRIS OLDS | Beckett Baseball

Imaging getting paid $20, $50 or $100 for a single swipe of a pen … for your autograph.

Collectors know all about the practice of autograph signings for cash — we see it all the time at shows. However, have you ever put yourself in an athlete’s shoes?

For a multi-millionaire, a private autograph signing might be work — if an athlete even bothers because, after all, time is money. (Meeting and signing for fans? That’s another story. Many athletes have no worries about doing those events — or signing for free if it’s the right place and right time.)

And, when you think about it, signing autographs is work in a different way, too. Can you imaging sitting down and signing your name 500 or 1,000 times with only a break or two?

Many collectors don’t — and that’s why they complain when they get autographs that look like chicken scratch. (To some degree, I understand why they sometimes look the way that they do.)

We all have heard about the “give-up graph” — and we all know about the checkmark autograph of former Houston Texans running back Vernand Morency — but there’s another type of autograph out there that has always interested me.

It’s the “early” autograph — the one where an athlete either hadn’t yet adopted a shorter version of an autograph or a rarer signature where we just don’t commonly see it on items signed in bulk.

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***NOW CLOSED*** FREE STUFF FRIDAY (4/2) — You have 14 chances to win this week by Chris Olds


We’re back with another Free Stuff Friday where we give readers the chance to win some cool stuff just by taking the time to answer a quick card-related question on

It’s as easy as looking up a number and giving is the answer in a comment. Here’s the rundown of this week’s contests…

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***NOW CLOSED*** FREE STUFF FRIDAY (4-2) Contest No. 7 — A 2009 Bowman Sterling Randal Grichuk autograph by Chris Olds

We’re back with another Free Stuff Friday our weekly ritual where we try and get some cool stuff into the hands of our readers just for answering some simple card-related trivia.

How can you win? Follow the directions below and answer the questions below in a comment right here …  it’s that simple.

Tips: Don’t try stuffing the comments box — we’ll check IP addresses — and make sure to include your name and email address so you can be contacted if you win. (Also note that you will see your comment on your screen after posting but that does not indicate its order of posting as it has not yet been approved. WordPress’ time-stamping of comments once all are approved will determine the winner.)

Get the question(s) after the jump …

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Examining MLB postseason’s potential on baseball cards by Chris Olds


By CHRIS OLDS | Beckett Baseball Editor

Now that the American League Central champions have finally been crowned, it’s time for us to examine MLB’s postseason potential on the things that matter most to collectors.

Baseball cards.

While just one of the eight teams who begin postseason play on Wednesday will journey all the way to the level of World Series champion, there’s plenty that could shape up successfully when it comes to baseball cards.

There are sure-things. There are under-appreciated players. There are, undoubtedly, a few stars ready to emerge this postseason.

Some of them are obvious. Some we’ll just have to wait and see about.

For now, though, we’ll examine one pitcher and one hitter from each squad that collectors should be considering when it comes to their cardboard.

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Angels rookie Nick Adenhart dies in auto accident by Chris Olds
April 9, 2009, 11:16 am
Filed under: Donruss, MLB | Tags: , , ,


Los Angeles Angels rookie pitcher Nick Adenhart was killed in an automobile accident on early Thursday morning just hours after he pitched six scoreless innings against the Oakland A’s in Anaheim. He was 22.

The right-hander from Silver Spring, Md., gave up seven hits, striking out five and walking three in what was his fourth major-league start. He compiled a 37-28 record with a 3.88 ERA in four minor league seasons before making his major league debut with the Angels last year, going 1-0 in three appearances.

Baseball America ranked him as the No. 1 prospect for the Angels this season. He had been ranked the No. 2 overall prospect in the organization in 2007 and 2008 and the 24th best prospect in all of baseball last year.

Adenhart has appeared on 237 baseball cards, according to the Beckett database. His Rookie Cards can be found in several 2004 sets. His only autographed RC is in the 2004 Donruss Elite Extra Edition set (card No. 355), which was limited to just 653 copies and is valued at approximately $100. Three other Adenhart autographed cards from that set sell for $100 or more.

Overall, Adenhart signed 57 different cards from 2004 to 2009.

Chris Olds has collected sports cards and memorabilia since 1987. Before coming to Beckett Media, he wrote about the hobby for the Orlando Sentinel on his blog, SportsStuff, and for the San Antonio Express-News and The Tuscaloosa (Ala.) News. Do you have a comment, question or idea? Send e-mail to him at