Monday, June 16, 2008

Card of the Day: 1997 Topps Uncut Sheet

Uncut sheets of sports cards have been used ever since the beginning, but not too many collectors can probably claim that they own. And sadly, not too many probably care to.

These sheets are used by the manufactures when they produce cards. Pretty much every single card produced starts out on one of these in a factory somewhere. The most famous factory uncut sheet I have personally ever seen was at the 2007 National Card Show in Cleveland where an expert collector had a 1953 Topps uncut sheet with several Hall of Famers, including Bob Feller.

This sheet of 1997 Topps has at least Derek Jeter, Bernie Williams and Roberto Alomar, but I can't decipher too much further than that.

However, smaller sheets are also used by other card entities. Sports card magazines like Beckett and Tuff Stuff has included different uncut sheets in their magazines are promotions.

Hostess and Kellogg's used to have uncut sheets of cards on the back of their packaging and mint condition versions of the vintage ones can command quite the dollar.

And the last well-known uncut sheet I can think of off the top of my head is something a lot of kids probably have had at one time but didn't even notice or keep.

In each issue of Sports Illustrated for Kids, there is a nine card uncut sheet of various sports stars. While these cards are perforated and meant to be disconnected, I would still say it is a small uncut sheet.

Uncut sheets of cards are very unique collectibles. However, there are several advantages and disadvantages of collecting and/or buying/selling them.

The sheets contain anywhere from two to hundreds of cards and give collectors a look at a wide variety of cards from one set without have to flip through a box or pages in an album.

Finally, uncut sheets make a great conversation piece if you display them in your card area, recreation room or other sports area of your home. Even non-collectors may be interested in knowing what you have there on the wall wuth all those players. Hard to say if that will make a collector out of anyone, but it never hurts to start a hobby conversation.

Sheets with prominent rookies or stars on them can also be worth quite a bit because super collectors of those players will pay a premium to add a new collectible of their favorite player to their collection. Many auction listings for uncut sheets will talk about how a certain rookie card is on it. Like this one with Jeter rookie on it or this one with Ken Griffey Jr. and Greg Maddux. However, that one looks a little warped at the top which leads me to the disadvantages of collecting these big pieces of cardboard.

As I just said: that 1990 Topps auction there is warped. Over time, these flimsy pieces of cardboard from the 1950s-early 1990s will naturally warp. Water damage can also be a factor in that. And, unlike the smaller regular cards, if you drop a sheet, you are almost certain to damage the corner of edge. A sheet will fall faster than a card will and also weighs more so more force will be taken when it hits the floor.

Sheets are large which means they can be difficult to store. If a sheet has 100 cards on it, it will be 35 X 25 inches in size. You can't pin too many of those to your walls because you will quickly run out of room, and if you put just a few in a box that size, the box you put them in will take quite a bit of space in the attic.

Transporting a sheet to show someone or sell it is also not the easier task. A car ride is bumpy and your sheet may shift a lot in the seat or trunk on the way to wherever you may be heading if it is not really protected well. Shipping a full sheet through the postal service or UPS can also create worry in the buyer and seller. We all know that the postal service isn't the most careful industry in the world, and when dealing with a large, fragile package like that, it can cause some knots in the old stomach.

So while uncut sheets make for unique collectibles, you have to be careful if you want to get into the business of collecting and/or selling them.

Is there anyone out there who has quite the collection of uncut sheets?


Anonymous said...

Yes. I have a solid collection. I have about 12 uncut sheets. 8 are fully framed and hang in my "bar/pool room".

It is quite interesting how...for several years now....I have been trying to find an expert value on a single sheet, let alone the collection.

The so-called "online experts" literally say $5. Or even $15. And my personal favorite...."Not much because you have to spend more on the sleeve to protect them".

Funny thing really can't find any uncut sheets for sale. I have NEVER seen any like mine. Mine even have handwritten dates and signatures on them from (I assume) the printers or QC people at the printer.

I think mine, and all uncut sheets, are AWESOME and worth plenty. I have mine on Craigslist for $4,500 EACH. No takers yet...but they aren't leaving my hands for $5.00 either.

Unknown said...

I have an uncut sheet of 90 Upper Deck Michael Jordan cards from 1997. It is in a floating frame so you can view both sides of the cards without causing any damage. Don't know the value if any at all. It hangs in my 11 year old sons room.