With more downtime lately…and more to come, I have begun to get the Cubs baseball card collection more organized.
My Cubs collection extends past baseball cards and into autographed baseballs, pocket schedules, and ticket stubs. I also pick up the occasional Bobblehead and try to find any other unique Cubs items.
The focus lately has been to sort my Cubs cards. It has been difficult over the two-plus years to keep up with organization as more Cubs baseball cards arrive than I can sort. Sorting by player has been the goal, along with team sets. As I began the big sort, it felt like I was going nowhere.
All along I have wanted to keep player binders of the top Cubs stars, and my favorites. Guys like Javier Baez, Kris Bryant, Ryne Sandberg, Ernie Banks, etc. That is how I have been sorting and as I have been adding Baez cards to Trading Card Database I have begun to pick off cards I need for that collection.
Using the Fetch Rewards app, the goal has been to buy an Ernie Banks rookie card at the end of the year. I have already accrued enough eBay gift cards to pick one up, so I can go on a shopping spree later this year and pick off some other Cubs items. Without further ado, here is my ten most wanted Cubs cards.
#1 – 1954 Topps Ernie Banks rookie card
This has been at the top of my most wanted list since I began the One Million Cubs Project. As time went on, it became more apparent that I wanted this to be my millionth Cubs baseball card. But as I approach the halfway point it seems that I should absolutely have this card in my collection sooner.
On occasion I will do an eBay search to find the “perfect” Banks rookie card. By perfect, I want it at a good price and graded or authenticated. Moreso, I want one in poor condition like PSA 1 or PSA 2, but I want it to look nice in that condition. Low grade cards can vary dramatically, so I am looking for a “clean” low grade. I have seen them, they do exist. As for good price I would like to keep it under $200. So, I will keep shopping and if one pops up I’ll pull the trigger.
#2 – 2013 Bowman Chrome Kris Bryant Autograph
During the past couple years the prices on the Kris Bryant 1st Bowman Chrome Autograph have dropped substantially. At the height of Bryant’s hobby popularity during his Rookie of the Year and National League MVP seasons these cards topped out around $600-700.
Today, you can pick them up in the $200-300 range, though $300 was the lowest price on eBay as of this writing. That is much more easy to swallow than the premium from 2015 and 2016.
#3 – 2015 Bowman Chrome Gleyber Torres Autograph
Much like the previous card, Kris Bryant’s Chrome auto, the Gleyber Torres is seemingly at peak numbers. Torres was first a Chicago Cubs prospect who was dealt to the New York Yankees as the centerpiece of the Aroldis Chapman trade.
Did the Cubs overpay for three months of Chapman? Maybe. But the end result was a World Series trophy. Torres was still two-three years away from the big leagues and the Cubs had that whole 108 year drought going. I’ll take the trophy over Torres.
The lowest buy it now priced Torres first Chrome auto is listed for $500 on eBay. I really like the potential Torres has, so that may be a steal of a deal moving forward. With his potential combined with the New York Yankees market it could be much farther out of my price range than current prices, but I’ll take that chance.
#4 – Chicago Cubs Superfractor (Any Player)
In reality, my white whale Superfractor would be Javier Baez. His Topps Chrome rookie Superfractor recently sold on eBay at auction for the cool price of $10,500. That was actually far less than I had projected the auction ending.
My caveat for a Superfractor in my collection is that it be a 1st Bowman super. There are some Bowman Platinum and non-1st available at reasonable prices, but I am holding out for the real one. Unfortunately, it will likely have to come from opening a box because even though it is #4 on my list, it’s not something I’ll be throwing money at any time soon.
#5 – Chicago a Cubs Season Ticket Book
Tickets? Not a baseball card? You read that right. At some point over the last couple years I fell into an eBay rabbit hole while searching various Cubs-related cards and memorabilia.
I came upon an unused season ticket book. It was from the 2013 season in which the tickets were baseball card-themed. It also coincided with a large Archives-type stadium giveaway set. I was searching eBay this past weekend and it appears there’s at least one unused 2013 season ticket book priced at $100. There’s also a 2016 season ticket book for around the same price.
#6 – 1887 Allen & Ginter Cap Anson
Likely the whitest of white whales for me. I love history. Obviously, I love baseball, so pre-war cards are among my favorites. Allen & Ginter is one of my favorite baseball card releases each year and I do not have an original from the 1800’s.
The main reason an original A&G eludes my collection is because they are not too common, and what is out there is a little pricey. Only three originals are listed for sale on eBay at the time of this writing. Two of them are listed for $5,000, while a PSA 2.5 is the lowest priced at $3,500. So…I’m going to have to live with a reprint on this one.
#7 – 1952 Globe Printing Visalia Cubs
Last year I began researching the Chicago Cubs minor leagues, which dates back to 1922 and the Wichita Falls Spudders. It eventually developed into a Cubs Minor League Encyclopedia project.
Coverage of some affiliates was tremendous, while other affiliates lack any type of coverage to be found online. The Visalia Cubs are a part of the latter in which its local newspaper did an outstanding job covering the team.
In one of my online searches for the Visalia Cubs I unearthed a 1950’s set that was a stadium giveaway. The set was produced by Globe Printing and there were Visalia Cubs cards made in 1952. I have not been able to find any checklist or any of the cards for that matter, though this blog shows an image of a Max Milton card.
#8 – Ryne Sandberg Oddball Rookies
Early on this project I had several Cubs wants on my list. Two of the items were oddball Cubs team sets from the 1980’s – 1983 Thorn Apple Valley and 1982 Red Lobster.
Through the years I had acquired a card or two from each set in collections I had purchased. But I never had a complete Cubs team set. One night I found both partial sets together for a buy it now price of $12. Sold! The only card missing from each set was the Ryne Sandberg rookie.
To this day I have not gone out of my way to complete those two sets. Realistically, these two cards are probably the lowest priced on my top ten, so at some point I’ll go shopping for them.
#9 – 2009 Bowman AFLAC Kris Bryant Auto
The Bowman AFLAC set features the top high school baseball players in the country. Several MLB superstars have appeared in this set.
Kris Bryant was in the 2009 set while a standout baseball player in Las Vegas, Nevada. At one time I had picked up the non-auto version of this card graded PSA 10 for $50. Close to his hobby peak, and before my Cubs baseball card hoarding, I flipped it for $150.
Now I don’t have the card in any form, so I may as well go big and pick up an autographed copy at some point. The non-auto versions are not serial numbered, but do have a blank space where it can be autographed. There are several after market autographs for sale on eBay. The original autograph from the set is serial numbered /235 and the lowest priced card on eBay currently sits at $500.
#10 – 2010 Bowman AFLAC Autograph Uncut Sheet
Along the lines of Bowman AFLAC, this is a unique item I saw at a table at the 2019 National. Javier Baez was in the 2010 Bowman AFLAC set. Fortunately, I have the Baez autographed version in my collection. I picked it up for $50 during his big league slump a few years ago. Now the card is listed for $250-300 on eBay.
The 2010 set features several big name stars. Along with Baez, it has Francisco Lindor, Jose Fernandez, and Dylan Bundy. The uncut sheet (autographed) was for sale for $500 and I didn’t see it until the final day of the National. Maybe that was a good thing not seeing it earlier and blowing my whole baseball card budget.