Your Turn: How important is a card’s photograph?



By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

They say a photo is worth a thousand words, but how important is a photo in today’s sports card landscape that’s heavily populated by autographs and game-used memorabilia swatches (and plenty more)?

The arrival of 2014 Topps Stadium Club this week makes this question even more interesting as the 200-card base set is full of non-traditional photographs — a nod to the brand’s 1991 roots that included portraits tuxedo-clad pitchers and plenty of striking images.

The David Ortiz Presidential Selfie Card along with Barack Obama is merely a standard card in the set — and there are plenty of fun ones like it. (Go look up Evan Gattis, Ted Williams, Derek Jeter, Nolan Ryan and Lou Gehrig cards for some striking images.)

So, all that said, we simply want to know … does the photo make the card?

Tell us in the comments below and take our poll so we know how you feel about the topic.

Your Turn: Grade the photo editing in 2014 Topps Stadium Club

View Results

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Chris Olds is the editor of Beckett Baseball and Beckett Sports Card Monthly magazines. Have a comment, question or idea? Send an email to him at Follow him on Twitter by clicking here.


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  1. Paul Angilly 2 October, 2014 at 22:41

    It’s a tough question because so very few sets today seem to care about the photography. All I know is that seeing the Ortiz card here makes me want to get the full base set of Stadium Club this year. Back in the “old days” (which still seem comparatively new for someone like me who’s been collecting non-stop since 1975), sets like Stadium Club and Donruss Studio – even the inaugural 1990-91 Upper Deck hockey set – stood out because of their photos, but that was when people still cared about base sets. Some of us still do, but we seem to be more and more of a minority every year. For my part (and putting aside value), I’d take a card like the Ortiz or the Ted Williams from Stadium Club over a manufactured patch card any day.

  2. JonathanI 3 October, 2014 at 07:06

    My answer to the question in the title is, “Yes”. How one company does it in one set in one year is something totally different. Topps can’t go wrong. What are we going to do? Not buy baseball cards until someone else can make them?

  3. phillies_joe 3 October, 2014 at 11:23

    So, all that said, we simply want to know … does the photo make the card?

    Simply – No

    Not so simply…the photo plus the design (front & back) make the card. A great photo on a bad design or vise versa is going to be a card I don’t chase after. PC stuff it doesn’t matter as the thought there is accumulation of cards, though the stinkers are low on the want and price list. I also want my cards to at least have the player in thier sport uniform, not a tux or other fashion item. Not that those cards don’t look good, just my preference.

    Soap Box – a photo can be used in only one product year….if I have a main beef with the card companies this is it.

    As for Topps, excepting my complaint above, I think thier baseball cards have looked great the past couple of years

  4. Charlie 3 October, 2014 at 14:02

    I think it does matter. I’m considering collecting the Stadium Club set just because the photography is clearly so much better than the other sets Topps has.

  5. Dan 6 October, 2014 at 13:03

    The photo used is second only to the player featured on the card, and sometimes not even then. IMO.

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