The first couple of installments of the ‘Butters Blog’ have mainly focused on the financial elements of the sports card hobby. However just like everyone else, my motivations are anchored by the genuine enjoyment I get from collecting sports cards I love! With that being said, I thought it would be an appropriate time to talk about some of my absolute FAVOURITE cards in my collection (in no particular order, there’s no favourite child!).
1. Ben Cousins & Nic Naitanui Dual Signature, Optimum 2021
Starting off BIG, this was the card that arguably drew me into collecting sports cards! Having only been involved in trading cards for 18 months, and a staunch West Coast Eagles supporter for 10+ years, a Cousins-Naitanui Dual Signature was a massive personal drawcard! So much so, that a young naïve Butters forked out a big sum of money to acquire the card only a few short months after release. In hindsight, I probably could’ve bided my time a little while longer to wait for the right deal. But you don’t see too many pop up for sale, so maybe it wasn’t the worst decision after all! Love the card design and the two signatures compliment each other perfectly. Won’t ever be leaving my collection, and will always be a reminder of the beginning of my card journey!
2. Lance Franklin Platinum Rookie Die-Cut, Dynasty 2005
One of the big surprises when entering the AFL market was how affordable Lance Franklin card prices were compared to his public perception! Like let’s not beat around the bush, ‘Buddy’ is most likely the last entrant into the 1000 Goals club and a Top 3 influential player of the modern era. So when I found out that his Draft Pick Signature was only worth $350-400, it was a touch confusing. However after doing my research, I knew that Franklin’s Platinum Rookie Die-Cut from Dynasty, was a card that needed to be a centerpiece in my collection! Being only numbered to 130 and being part of a 17 year-old release, it was a mission to try and find an available copy. Which is a healthy reminder that the cards we may see an abundance of today, might be near impossible to find in 5/10/15 years down the track. But alas, I did finally find a willing participant to part ways with their ‘Baby Buddy’ which so happened to be a low-numbered variant as well!
3. Caleb Serong Draft Pick Card, Select 2019
We recently released an article on the Card Authority website which outlined the different styles of collecting members of the community can participate in! One of the collecting routes mentioned was the ‘Player PC’ option, where you try to collect every card produced of a particular player, or collect specific numbering. My ‘Player PC’ currently is Caleb Serong! Long story short, I placed a small bet on Serong to win the Rising Star in his rookie season (gamble responsibly), before I had actually started collecting sports cards. So when I entered the hobby I knew that Serong was a player which I was keen on collecting, but just so happens he’s quite popular with a lot of other collectors! I’ve been quite lucky to pick up a decent amount of his ‘Jumper Numbered’ cards, however his 2019 Draft Card, which was only produced to a mere 66 copies, was something that has evaded me for quite some time. The Draft Card sets from previous years is also a personal chase of mine so fingers crossed they all eventually surface. But it's crazy to see how in only a few years, those cards have gone from being produced in the 10’s to being produced in the multiple 100’s!
4. Sam Walsh Red Parallel, Future Force 2017
People often proclaim stuff like ‘I never thought I would ever own this card’ when acquiring their ‘Grails’ but honestly, this is a card I never thought would own and for the purchase to make sense! The 2017 edition of Future Force has been retrospectively viewed quite fondly, which is completely understandable. It was a ‘perfect storm’ of a release, with supreme draft crops from 2017 & 2018, plus being a great speculation product to refer back to in the years to come. But just like how Nick Daicos was ‘the guy’ in 2022, when I entered the hobby in 2021 the big craze was Sam Walsh! People couldn’t get enough of him, and whilst there is still a strong baseline demand for his cards, the pandemonium is less intense. Either way, getting the rarest card of the best player from a release which had been and gone many years ago, was always going to be a tall order. So I’m glad it’s been ticked off and now leaves me with only a few players left to finish collecting that Red Parallel Set!
5. Gary Ablett Jnr Base Card *Hand-Signed*, 2003 XL
To round out the Top 5 cards in my collection, I’ve chosen something sentimental and a card that probably doesn’t carry much currency, but a favourite nonetheless! Gary Ablett Jnr is probably the best footballer I’ve ever seen, so when I went to a local card fair and was trawling through a random box of hand-signed base cards I knew I had to pick it up! The corners may be dinged, and the signature slightly smudged, but it’s a GEM MINT 10 in MY heart. It makes you wonder whether hand-signed cards will ever be worth anything in the AFL market? I can understand why people do it, with some card designs better than others to attempt it with, e.g. Blank Canvas. But it’s never really seemed to catch on, maybe as the hobby grows so will the interest in that type of card? Who knows, all I do know is that I love my ‘Baby GOAT’ and it will stay in my collection probably forever!
So what do you think? Decent Top 5? Let me know which cards in your collection are your all-time favourites!