Your Turn: What would you want to see in a memorabilia card?




By Chris Olds | Beckett Sports Card Monthly Editor

What hasn’t made its way into a memorabilia card?

That’s a big question that may not have many answers if you’re talking about the four major sports, but the possibilities elsewhere in the sports world — and beyond — are a bit more vast.

We’ve seen plenty make its way into cardboard in the past but for the next issue of Beckett Sports Card Monthly, The Game-used Issue, we’d like to know what you’d want to see cut up and put into a memorabilia card. Maybe you’d want to see more non-traditional but historically significant pieces such as the Hindenburg from 2013 Panini Golden Age above — or maybe you’d want to see more movie props or simple things such as game-used baseballs with stitching. Tell us.

Do some thinking, get creative, and perhaps we’ll award something interesting with some memorabilia in it to one or two of our creative responders.

Q: What would you want to see in a memorabilia card? It could be anything … sports or not.

Let us know in the comments below — and we’ll run a selection of the answers in the upcoming magazine.

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. J.R. 9 September, 2014 at 15:07

    In light of Daniel Nava’s beard card, some other DNA Relics I would love to see are Tom Selleck’s mustache, Chuck Norris’ beard, Brian Wilson’s beard, or a “bead” dual relic of Venus and Serena Williams, from back in the day when they used to wear those beads in their hair.

    I would love to see some more relics from the Revolutionary War, or some from Ancient Roman and Greek times.

    On the sports front, I would love to see some Negro League relics, more Harlem Globetrotters relics, and relics from the 1908 Olympic Hockey team!

  2. whattheheck 9 September, 2014 at 15:12

    1.) Athletes Fingerprint ( DNA fingerprint, have the athlete stamp his index finger on a card with an autograph below it, have a nice photo of the athlete on the card )

    2.) Game chewed Gum/ Game eaten snack wrapper ( alot of players chew gum, embed a piece of Derek Jeter chewed gum with an autograph below

    3.) Game used Wristbands in cards with autographs below or a booklet.

    4.) Celebrity Locks of hair

  3. Richard 9 September, 2014 at 15:41

    What I want is a company willing to stand by their material.
    Guarantee without any question that the item is from what they say it is and present information
    why it is so. I’m OK with the evidence being provided online, just put a link of the card.
    No generic guarantees that when all is said in done are meaningless.

  4. whattheheck 9 September, 2014 at 15:44

    1.) 2015 Topps Allen & Ginter Walter Whites Heisenburg hat

    2.) Athletes or Celebrities old Drivers licensees embeded into the card

    3.) Alex Torres 1st hat that was designed to deflect line drives from pitchers

  5. Marty Eckelberry 9 September, 2014 at 15:48

    I’d like to see a card with a piece of Neil Armstrong’s space suit.
    (If it hasn’t been made yet)

  6. Joe 9 September, 2014 at 15:51

    I wouldl like to see a real COA. That states exactly who used it, and when they used it. No more of this vague crap “not from any perticular game or event” That’s the main problem with todays memorabilia cards.

  7. whattheheck 9 September, 2014 at 15:54

    – Contracts signed between players and teams ( Veterans and Rookies right out of the draft ) the player would make a copy for himself of course.

  8. Ken 9 September, 2014 at 19:03

    I would like to see the “game used” cards note which game it came from and what the player did during the game.

  9. Mark 9 September, 2014 at 22:29

    A COA not signed by a dead man?

    I liked when Panini used to put a photo of the original piece on the back of the card.

    There is no reason not to include a game-used date for modern memorabilia.

  10. David 9 September, 2014 at 22:30

    How about a lens from Reggie Jackson’s glasses as a memorabilia piece? Or maybe a Reggie hand- written Mickey Mouse/Donald Duck autograph on his rookie card……………

  11. Paul Le Corre 10 September, 2014 at 00:11

    Instead in widering the actual memorabilia range, I’d rather try to track the one on each card.
    You’ll get for example a relic card and behind, it would be stated “cut from the jersey used in the june 18th ballgame against the XXX”.

    That would definitively raise my interest in those cards which still sound too “fake” for me

  12. David Johnson 10 September, 2014 at 07:49

    I like the idea someone else mentioned about fingerprints. It has been done somewhat already (all the way back in 2000 with Fleer Showcase Touch Football), but if each card had a fingerprint on it (even if they were extremely limited to 10 copies) they would be really cool to get. If they used a different finger on each of the 10 cards, then it would make for a fun and unique collection to try to get all 10.

  13. James 10 September, 2014 at 09:43

    VERY surprised we haven’t seen many GUITAR STRING relics. How about a piano key relic?

    You know how there are tests to see if you fired a gun within 24 hours? They can test to see if materials/particles from the gun firing left traces on your body. How about a card that has particles/debris from famous guns that were fired within the presence of the card? Tape a bunch of cards to a Topps/Panini/Upper Deck employee and have them fire famous guns. Hopefully there’s some sort of “black light” technology that can be applied to the card to show the debris.

    It would be tough to determine the exact player that produced the relic, but every day hundreds of sunflower shells are spit onto dugout floors. It would probably have to be a team relic.

    Celebrities and Athletes use computers too! How about asking them for their old keyboards when their technology becomes obsolete? The “A” key on Arismendy Alcantara’s laptop would be a hit to chase!

  14. chrisolds 10 September, 2014 at 14:08

    I appreciate the thoughtful responses that aren’t complaining about semantics on card backs.

    Keep em coming.

  15. chrisolds 10 September, 2014 at 14:09

    “There is no reason not to include a game-used date for modern memorabilia.”

    Actually, there’s still far less specific game-dated material out there than there is the rest.

  16. Joe 10 September, 2014 at 15:39

    Chris I find it amazing that you would say that “Semantics on the card backs” If it isn’t such an issue, why than did the card companies go away from saying that the piece used or worn by that player was from an offical MLB, NFL or NHL game. That’s STANDING BY YOUR PRODUCT” Panini’s COA reads “the enclosed game-worn material is guaranteed by Panini” What the heck does that mean. Is that their COA. Topps reads that the piece on the front of the card is not from any particular game or event””. Niether statement GUARANTEES that it was worn by that player in an offical game. These “game used”pieces could be from anything. Date material would be best but at least say it is from an offical game. That’s not asking a lot. Stand by your products.

  17. Jason 10 September, 2014 at 16:40

    I’d be most interested in redemptions for full-sized memorabilia. Similar to the way Heroes of Sport did. With how cheap it is to secure game-used balls from MLB that would be a hit I think some would like. Bats, spikes, hats, pants, lineup card, base, locker plate, flag flying atop the stadium, the occasional jersey or BP jersey would be really nice.
    A lot of these could be used as a regular mem card too.

  18. Richard 10 September, 2014 at 17:08

    If it was just “semantics” then they would not have changed the wording.
    The wording was changed to give a pretense of standing behind memorabilia without having
    the legal liability for not doing so. Modern COA’s have zero value because they do not obligate
    the manufacturer to make good. They say an item is a game used item, but they don’t tie it
    to the player, but it’s “your problem” if you interpreted that an image of Babe Ruth on the card
    made you think it was actually a Babe Ruth piece of memorabilia as opposed to a stadium seat.

  19. Hector 10 September, 2014 at 17:40

    I would like to see Players Personal Belongings Cards or Redemption’s like:
    Player “Used Jewelry” Cards / Booklets (Example: Brake a Gold Chain into 10 cards)
    Redemption: You are due to receive a Hand Written Personalized Salute Card from Mike Trout
    Redemption: You are due to receive a Special Mystery Gift from Nick Swisher

  20. Paul Schenck 10 September, 2014 at 17:57

    I would like to see a piece of the Declaration of Independence on a card. That would be priceless..

  21. Nostalgia World 10 September, 2014 at 17:57

    I would like to see MOON ROCKS! That would be great for Allen & Ginter! How about pieces of an Original APPLE 1 or APPLE 2 computer?

  22. Cory Furlong 10 September, 2014 at 18:52

    What I have always wanted in a relic card. The exact date or dates the relic was used. Tying a specific date to a game / event used or historical relic. I think it would make the item more authentic and increase demand.

  23. chrisolds 10 September, 2014 at 19:03

    There are many reasons that the specific item is not mentioned on the backs of cards. One example? Deadlines and printing schedules vs. acquisitions. In some instances, cards have to be printed before an item even arrives. Consider that one company has produced something like 30,000 different mem cards in a calendar year — noting every single item in every card is not possible. In some cases, there is a need for X number of cards but that number has to be made up of x number of one type of swatch and X number of another. And there are many examples beyond this …

    Companies put a lot more detail into mem cards — i.e. images on the back — in the past because they were not making as many, too.

  24. Pete 10 September, 2014 at 20:28

    Hey Topps, how about a Triple Threads relic seat card of:

    Polo Grounds
    Shea Stadium

    While we are on the topic of Mets relics, I use to hate when Upper Deck would put a relic of a player on a card when he was with another team. For example:

    Seaver (White Sox)
    Santana (Twins)
    Glavine (Braves)

  25. Richard 10 September, 2014 at 20:29

    Chris, while there may not be enough time to note the exact game, it takes zero time to add a player’s
    name and type of material.

    Something like
    The piece of Jersey attached to the card is certified to have been worn by Frank Thomas while playing in an official major league game and is guaranteed by Topps to be authentic.

    When it comes to vintage players, there is plenty of time to do it right.
    Not naming the player = not guaranteed to be associated by the player and I simply assume that
    it has little or nothing to do with the player, even if it’s a bat knob or nameplate type card.
    Nothing prevents them from just using a store bought bat, or a bat that was made for the player, but
    never used.

    And if it takes making less of them to do it right, by all means, make less of them.
    I refuse to buy most memorabilia cards now simply because the COA is meaningless and the reality is,
    many other collectors think the same way. It’s like the sticker auto situation, enough people care that
    if you don’t give us what we want, we don’t bother cracking packs or buying them on the secondary market.
    from a game used bat

  26. Joe 10 September, 2014 at 20:53

    Chris, hear me. The dating on the card is not necessary. It would be cool but not necessary. However, clearly stating that the item was used in an offical game is very important. What the card companies have done is gave themselves an out. The jersey might not be from an offical game but from a photo shot event. Then tell me directly. The COA’s on the back of cards today are meaningless and worthless.
    Chris here’s an example. If Topps new they needed to produce 100 mem cards of Albert Pujols and the jersey never came in yet. What’s stopping them from printing the back stating “YOU HAVE RECIEVED AN OFFICAL GAME USED CARD OF ALBERT PUJOLS. THE JERSEY OR BAT WAS USED IN AN OFFICAL MLB GAME” Or if it’s a batting practice jersey then say it. If it’s a photo shot jersey then say. Why leave up to interpretation.
    If the card companies are 100 percent sure that it’s game used then there should be no problem. Maybe that’s where the problem is.

  27. Ben 10 September, 2014 at 22:11

    The deadlines on printing schedules is a really poor excuse. The card design should already be on a digital file and can be changed in minutes. Most of them print in the US. It’s not like they have to send everything to China.

    Complaints about the vagueness of the “COA” are completely legit. The novelty of having some random piece of cut up garbage stuffed in a piece of cardboard has clearly worn thin for some.

    At the very least, the season from when the jersey was worn could be noted.

  28. Ben 10 September, 2014 at 23:02

    Oh, and another thing. I’ll tell you what I don’t want on any mem or auto cards, a congratulations notice. This ain’t no scavenger hunt. It’s tacky looking.

  29. Mark 11 September, 2014 at 05:42

    ““There is no reason not to include a game-used date for modern memorabilia.””

    “Actually, there’s still far less specific game-dated material out there than there is the rest.”

    Given that most jersey swatches are not considered a value driver anymore due to overproduction, and the authenticity of many memorabilia pieces purchased by the card companies has been called into question in the last few years, here is the opportunity for the companies to make memorabilia a value for the customers again. I reiterate, there is no reason that jerseys and bats used for cards today going forward cannot be dated. I understand that past jerseys cannot be dated and past dated memorabilia is scarce, but going forward it is what I want to see as a value to collectors.

  30. John 11 September, 2014 at 12:32

    I think the cards should have QR codes on them to indicate special types of cards. Just recently I got a David Ortiz Tops Chrome refractor 2013 that has a flag/banner in the background that is Red White and Blue. I looked in my Beckett and there is a variation of the card that has a “flag” in the background. On the Beckett website the David Ortiz 79B card is the same as the one that I have but other online sources say the 79B card is the one with an American flag and Ortiz doing a Black panthers type of gesture. Hence the source of my confusion as to which card is 79A or 79B which could all be solved by putting a QR code on the back of the card. All it would take is one scan with my QR reader and it goes straight to the manufacturers website that can have a listing of all the cards. Makes collecting as a hobby easier and prevents people from selling fakes.

  31. AE 11 September, 2014 at 12:33

    I have a Beavis & Butthead card that’s also a scratch & sniff of the urinal. Instead of the urinal or man stench, how about that of fresh cut grass or the smell of bubble gum, popcorn, beer.

    How about a dreaded redemption for a card of a player with a recorded message that you pick. Get him to say anything you want. A true 1/1.

  32. Ken 11 September, 2014 at 12:40

    Chris Olds’s Oakland Athletics hat cut up into a Fans of the Game relic auto card :/.

    I kid, good sir. Good idea for an article. Like seeing these responses.

  33. Paul Angilly 11 September, 2014 at 12:45

    Chris – you asked us what we want. I’m 100 percent behind those who say, we want a guarantee that the material in the card was game-used during an official game. That, to me, is far more important than what’s in the card, how many colors it has or anything else. At this point, I’d rather get a plain white swatch that could state it was from a specific game than get a booklet card with 24 multicolor patches and other material, but have it say “not from any specific event.”
    That shouldn’t be that tough – especially if, as you say, the card companies are paying “truckloads of cash” for these items. Any serious collector would not buy a game-used jersey without assurances that was really used during a game. Like others have said, I don’t buy any game-used mem cards unless they state that the item was used during an official game. And with companies like MeiGray Group tagging game-used items as they come off the field and then selling them, there’s no reason card companies couldn’t buy from MeiGray and then state on the card back exactly when the item was used.
    Except for one thing – that’s not how the card companies do business. Instead, they make deals to buy material as cheaply as possible, not caring that the items might have come from practice or preseason or “event-worn” instead of actually game-used. I’m sorry, but they can make the mem cards as pretty as they want, with muiltiple multi-color pieces, but if it doesn’t say on the back that the item(s) were used during an official game, I’m not interested.
    Chris – again, you asked what we want. Please don’t dismiss these complaints as simply “complaining about semantics on card backs.” You may not care, but there’s a whole lot of collectors out there for which this is a very big issue. And, it’s what we want to see when it comes to memorabilia cards.

  34. Steve 11 September, 2014 at 13:21

    Personally, I have a love for coaches and stadium artifacts. There are a lot of great coaches out there lacking memorabilia cards, (Ditka, Parcells, Walsh, Shula, etc) and id love to see more memorabila sets focusing on the minds behind the players. They all wore jackets, hats, pants, and shoes! It shouldn’t be too hard to hunt down a few of them. My personal favorite is the Bear Bryant houndstooth hat card. If they can get that into a card id love to see what else they could cook up.

    I would also like to chase after stadium memorabila sets, especially defunct stadiums from the past. Stadiums are constantly being remodeled, torn down, and added on to, potential memorabilia is everywhere! And on the topic of quirky, I’ve never seen a game used bench card, or a down marker or kicking tee. The possiblites are endless!

    Thanks for doing the game used issue every year. I love memorabilia and this is my favorite issue to read! Steve

  35. chrisolds 11 September, 2014 at 14:10

    Paul: I actually asked what people wanted to see put INTO their cards … but we’ll survive.

    Steve: The Houndstooth card is a classic … but you can only get so many swatches out of a hat! (And there can’t be that many out there to be had … )

  36. Kelly Howerton 11 September, 2014 at 14:15

    All value of memorablia cards are really decided on /number produced and a little on the part of the uniform used. The solution to the game used card is the date. When was this uniform used? Was this Mike Trout jersey piece worn on a date he hit 3 home runs or something that he wore during a day he played a 0-5 2 hour game. Maybe the jersey piece was worn at a game you were at. This is were jersey card collecting needs to go next.

  37. Paul Angilly 11 September, 2014 at 16:18

    Chris … I guess what I’m saying is that what I want IN a card is a verified piece of memorabilia, preferably from a specific game or time period. I remember many years ago, Pacific made a David Legwand jersey card that specifically said on the back that the jersey was worn by him in an official game during the 1998-99 season. Well, the only game he played that season was the last game of the season, and I happened to take a trip to Nashville and was in the stands for that game, so I bought a copy of that card. I didn’t care that it was an all-white swatch. It was a piece of a jersey that he wore during the game I was at, which made it very valuable to me. So when you ask, what do I want to see cut up and put into a card, I’m saying what I want in a card is something that is known to have been used during an actual game, preferably with a date or at least a season (i.e. bat used by so and so during an official game in the 2013 season). In short, as Kelly states above, something that I can associate with a specific time in a player’s career.

  38. Steve 11 September, 2014 at 16:52

    But the scarcity would only add to the chase for those willing to collect them! It took me ages to hunt my Bear Bryant down, but it was well worth it in the end. (Only 108 exist if I am correct.) They have also released Tom Landry fedora cards in the past. But I would much rather have them release higher quantity jacket cards so that more people could enjoy coaches as much as I do!

  39. DDDD 11 September, 2014 at 23:07

    So some of us actually responded to the question ” what we would like to see in a mem card ” before it got into an argument about the date on the card.

    Were any of them creative enough for ” award something interesting with some memorabilia in it to one or two of our creative responders. ‘

  40. Matt 11 September, 2014 at 23:29

    I liked whoever said the roof of the old Metrodome.

    I’ve seen Tribute cards with eye black on it, but I don’t believe it was the actual eye black that a player wore during a game. If there was a way to get the actual stuff off a player and onto a card in decent condition, that would be super cool

    Stealing an idea from hockey, I think it would be awesome to see shoe/skate laces more often (keep the low numbering on them tho so they don’t get over saturated and too common)

    Button cards don’t seem to be in hardly any baseball sets anymore, it would be cool to see those in sets more often again (But again, not too many occurrences)

    I don’t know if this has been put into cards before or not, but seeing some locker room nameplates get into some cards would be super cool

    Finally, what about Gatorade? It shouldn’t be too difficult to make a leak-proof pocket in a card and put some of the leftover Gatorade from a game into it. That would be very unique

  41. Joe 13 September, 2014 at 21:30

    There are so many way to go if you really want to get creative. 1 thing these companies forget at times is there are still collectors out there who like some of the oddball & unique items even if it wont “Book High”.

    How about a card for each of the 2 guys who carry the Stanley Cup around with a piece of their white gloves the wear when touching the cup. Can call it the White Glove Treatment Card & have it “sealed” in Latex? the same material used in the gloves. Even better make it a “Rip Card” in that if you break the latex you can get the pull out mini built in the card (ok I am going overboard but you see the ways to take 1 simple idea!).

    Why not umpire cards with GU & that shouldnt cost companies big $$$. Yes some will complain but a lot of us will enjoy them. How about Broadcasters & their “Game Worn” Suit & Tie Cards (& dont tell me you wouldnt love a Vin Scully or Curt Gowdy Tie Card!)

    You can do the Casinos of the world with an actual Game Chip from the diff casinos in the card & differnt denominations (1-5-10-25). That would cost the card companies the face value or less of the chip.

    Or expanding on 1 of the above posters ideas. Take a personal item of a player but make it something the player is noted for. For example a Bernie Williams Personal Guitar Piece Of Card. Can break that down into strings ( Yes I read that above also :-) ) , Tuning Keys, etc. I think David Ortiz has a Diamond Earring so how about the Diamond in a 1/1 card? Michael Jordan Golf Club Card.

    PS I do agree about backing up the provenience of the piece ofs on the back

  42. Ken 14 September, 2014 at 06:21

    I would like to see a music product that felt similar to Dominion or The Cup. High end. These types of products are usually spread out or just done as random inserts in a few sets, or they’re part of a general novelty set. Topps American Pie and Pop Century come to mind. Famous Fabrics did a Music, Music, Music release, but it was all slabbed cards with no likenesses of the musicians. There have been Elvis releases as well, but all of these have a novelty factor. I would like to see a well-researched music product with on-card autos of both major and indie acts from every genre of music. My preference is rock. Concert-used, on-card relic autos of Eddie Vedder, Chris Cornell, and other major and modern stars on thick stock. Cut autos of Layne Staley, Janis Joplin, Kurt Cobain, Tupac, Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, etc. I am naming a few old-school acts, but the checklist should focus on hot young talent, too. I don’t think something of that magnitude has been done before.

  43. robert 14 September, 2014 at 16:23

    baseball lineup card, swatches of the champion t-shirts the MLB players wear while getting soaked in champaign when they win a division or LCS or world series, gatorade or powerade celebration bucket relics, chips of concrete or cut-to-relic-size steel chips from torn down former stadiums or current stadiums undergoing remodeling projects that have construction debris pieces that can be put in cards instead of sent off for recycling, home plate or pitching rubber cut pieces as I’ve seen base relics but not a home plate or pitching rubber relic, bats that were game-used from 1925 or earlier, swatches of jersey used from 1925 or earlier

  44. Jason K 15 September, 2014 at 18:19

    I like where people have gone here with the music subjects. I’ll take it a step further though and say that we need to do something to avoid getting terrible music included in the set (I would boycott any card company that includes a Chad Kroeger relic in a set). I’m sure the folks at the Rock and Roll HOF in Cleveland would be interested in licensing a set. and by only including HOF members you’ll eliminate getting a bunch musicians nobody cares about.

    On the sports side, I like a lot of the stuff said here. I’m not a basketball, soccer or hockey fan (so this may have already been done) but what about pieces of the nets? I know some female collectors would be all over a card that had the fly of a players pants on it (and as a collector, I think it would be cool if the zipper still worked on the card, like the Rolling stones album cover). Somebody else mentioned lineup cards (something I was going to mention as well). I like the coach/manager idea and the umpire idea as well.

    I think having info about the specific game is a little too much to ask. But, I don’t think something saying that it for sure was from an official game would be too difficult.

  45. Richard 16 September, 2014 at 16:51

    The music HOF might not have the rights to sell something with the images of the members, or it might
    be very limited.

  46. Ken 16 September, 2014 at 17:44

    @jasok and @Richard:

    “Licensing issues”:

    That’s why it would be a premium release at about $300 to $400 a box—to help pay for the pain of getting all the proper licenses from the myriad agencies, artists, photographers and labels, as well as making all cards on-card autographs. And there might be artists or music genres you don’t care for, but even then, if you pulled a famous artist, you could still resell it easily. I mean that this type of product would have “rookie” bands, or “up-and-comers” or “undiscovered” talent too. The base card set could help you discover bands you never knew existed. This is why it would need to be well-researched by people who have a pulse on the industry so that it’s not all just TV music show contestant types.

    Having new talent included would give some of the group-breakers and gamblers something to chase. Think of all the musicians that were red hot when they came out, but ended up being nothing more than one-hit wonders a few years later. This is basically the same thing as hot rookies in sports products who are nothing more than hype. Again, the set-up for this set would feel the same as ripping a sports product when it comes to allocation and chase/insert sets.

    Any memorabilia will do, but another idea for a music card I have is to have a guitar pick put into the card. It would look something like those dinosaur/nature relic cards that Upper Deck put into some of their past releases. Only instead of a saber tooth in the window part, you have an entire concert-used guitar pick. The card would also feature a photo of the musician, an on-card signature in the upper middle, and below that is the relic window featuring the guitar pick. For those musicians no longer with us, you would have dual relic/cut auto cards.

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