The sell sheet for 2011 Topps Marquee highlighted a new autographed insert set called the "Museum Collection." Just 10 copies of the massive 120-card checklist, on-card autos, and each card would be encased in a metal frame. Admittedly, they didn't look too special in the mockup:
But once they went live, their appeal was instant and obvious. The gold frame highlights the auto space, and the shiny, refractive surface really pops. At the time, I was in the process of saving hard for a new house while rehabbing my current one, so I couldn't dive in as hard as I normally would have. I bought my first card, Joe Morgan redemption (story to follow), for $52.99. Then the next day, I bought an actual Frank Robinson. Then I had to slow down. A Ryan Braun followed in November, a Hanley Ramirez in December, but no more until November, 2012, after I moved into my new house. What I missed in that year I'm sure will haunt me till the end.
But here is what I have so far. After reactivating accumulation mode in November 2012 with a Mike Stanton (so glad I go that one), I have checked ebay and the other sites at least once a day, trying in vain to find all the ones I could, dealing with the different listing styles people have (using the word "marquee" or not, using "museum" or not, "frame" or "framed" and so on). I was stuck at 59 cards for a while but then a raft of them came my way, putting me currently at 63 with 1 on the way. My baseball collecting has gone way down in recent years, with Grady Sizemore being injured and Frank Thomas being retired, and my tastes have gone more towards quality than quantity. National Treasures Flawless and Museums are where my money goes, along with Magic, so I'm pretty happy to have reached this milestone.
Update: Just received #64 , Gordon Beckham.
I'm not sure exactly how many more are out there. One checklist I saw showed 46 cards as redemptions and I don't know how many actually got fulfilled. I have many of the ones listed as redemptions or whose existence is questioned on that list, but I know at least a couple did not make it. My first purchase, the Joe Morgan redemption, after a year was still undone, and Morgan apparently hadn't signed any cards for Topps since 2010. I asked for another Red from the same set, figuring I'd get Johnny Bench but I got Jay Bruce. I was strangely OK with that, as Bruce was pretty hot at the time. And I got a Bench eventually, but it cost a lot more than $53. Cliff Lee is another who I've never seen, but with just 10 redemptive copies, it could be out there.
A couple more details...
These cards seem to have been intended to be signed with a thin, silver paint pen. At least three of these cards were signed in blue ink rather than silver (McCutchen, Beckham, and Hunter). Some, like Aaron and Butler, were signed with a much thicker pen, which detracts from the elegance of the card, IMHO, but what are you gonna do? I imagine Topps sends the people a bunch of different cards and pens all at once. They probably have some instruction about what pen to use on which cards, but sometimes people screw up/don't care (See 2014 in the second post).
Being just 10 copies also leads to some weird distributions. After reviewing the checklist, there are quite a few I've not seen in years, if ever. But I have 3 Carl Crawfords, coming in rapid succession and diminishing prices a couple years ago. I recall at one point there were 4 Koufaxes listed on eBay, either BINs or auctions, but they were all priced out of my range at the time, including one at $1100 or so (auctions had been ending around $700-800). But even that one got bought eventually. Koufax is the big name I most covet, and the one I feel I'm least likely to get. Those copies must be locked into permanent collections, but I keep hoping.
I'll just throw this out. If anyone has any for sale or trade, whether I have them or not, I'm interested. I won't trade any from my set, but I have these dupes (plus one more Crawford).