Thursday, July 21, 2011

Hierarchy of Relic Cards

I've been hearing a common refrain through parts of the blogosphere lately.

Relic cards have had their run!  It's over!  Relics are the new base cards!  They're worthless!

Yeah, yeah.

For the collector who has bucks to blow, I see the point.  They used to be rare, chase-able, awesome.  Now they are in every product, thousands of them, most of 'junk' players.  The special factor has definitely worn off.

For collectors like me, who don't really buy packs or boxes and don't have the money to if we wanted to, the story is a bit different.  Sure, I still don't have any need for 10 different, poorly designed, plain white jersey cards of Stephen Drew.  But I would have a place in the collection for one nicely designed and colorful relic card of him!

And to get relic cards of older, all-time greats holds my imagination quite well, thank you!

Wow, I got off my planned topic quite quickly!  Here's what I really want to talk about.  There are a ton of different types of relic cards out there, especially if you consider all the sports.  Patch cards, jersey, bat, pants, warm-up jackets, ball, base, helmet, manupatch, shoe, ticket, floor, stadium wall, seat, jockstrap etc...

What is the order you like your relic cards in?  My list goes kind of like this (excluding auto's):

1. Patch
2. Bat
3. Multi-colored jersey
4. Unusual miscellaneous - shoe with stitching, ball with stitching etc.
5. Plain jersey
6. Non-playing piece - wall, floor, base, ticket
7. Manupatch
8. Other

For me, the way the card is designed and its look and feel are more important than the list above.  For example, if I like the way a plain jersey card looks better than a bat card of the same guy, I'll gladly go for the jersey card.  I just tend to like bat cards better in general.

This is one reason that I don't think the relic card is dead.  There are enough different kinds and variety in design that I think they can still make collectors happy for now.

How does everyone else feel?  All opinions welcome, I know how diverse we can all be!


  1. I don't know what I did with it, but at one point I wrote out a list of every possible item that had been used on a baseball card as a relic, and I was going to put together a type set of those. It never happened.

    Patches are certainly my favorite, if it's a nice detailed patch. One day I'll save up and buy a really nice patch card. Then would be unusual miscellaneous/other (catching gear, glove or other random used/worn item), multi-colored jersey (pinstripes don't count), bat, solid non-white/gray jersey, non-playing piece and plain jersey are about the same to me. Manupatches aren't relics in my mind, though I like some of them anyway.

    I have to agree that card design can make a plain jersey piece look nicer than a patch.

    I don't think relics are dead. I think people are just tired of seeing the same relics year after year. DLP was real good about getting some variety to their relics - Absolute Memorabilia is proof of that. I've said before, double/triple/quad swatches aren't exciting when they're all from the same item. Absolute had up to six swatches, usually different (home/away jersey, home/away pants, glove, shoes, socks, catching gear, wall, hat, you name it).

    Perhaps most Topps relics are dead. But there will always be a demand for new player relics, the nicer ones (by design or because they're patches), and of course retired players. I wish Topps would bring back their All-Time Fan Favorites set and hit a bunch more of those retired semistars and local stars that still don't have certified autographs and relics.

  2. I am kinda bored of the plain white or gray swatch. But, a jersey with a stripe or multi colored is pretty sweet. I wish there were more misc. relics out there. For example, batting gloves or shoes would be nice.

  3. For me it goes:

    Jersey with a stripe or stitching
    Boring gray/white swatch
    Ramdon color (like from All Star workout jersey or spring training)

  4. And agree with Spiegal...batting gloves would be cool. tired of plain old swatches...

    I'd also like to see more hats, wristbands, tape (from bats), cleats, buttons, etc. Jerseys are just getting a bit overdone and there are plenty of other items players use that can be chopped up,

  5. yah spiegel is right , its a bored one of the repeated colors and designs........

  6. ya me too agree with spiegel.its getting bored with old fashions and designs....

  7. Having missed the glut of relics from 2001-2006, I am not yet bored with relics at all. I do feel base cards are under appreciated and unlimited parallels are about done to death, but I still get excited to pull even a plain jersey swatch of a Rockie (or tradable player).

    My only concern with getting rid of jersey and bat cards is what is going to replace them. I don't want some silly reprint set or a parallel set with a jewel or a Crack the Code parallel being the "hit" of the box.

    I am probably one of the few collectors that likes the relics more than autos, so take my opinion with a grain of salt.