1. Mike Webster Certified Autographs - A bright light can do a lot for market value. The recent media and Hollywood attention towards the concussion issues in the NFL has caused increased awareness on the subject. Awareness leads to market spikes should one of the key figures have memorabilia items on the market. It's not often that an offensive lineman gets any press. I and fellow NCAA lineman and FCB member @JBHoffman know all too well that our work led to fame for "play makers" who wouldn't have made any play if we didn't do our job. I remember Mike Webster for his grit and determination that led to 9 pro bowl selections calling shots and spotting blitzes as part of a Steeler team that won 4 Super Bowls. Future generations will remember Mike Webster as an autopsy and a warning to the dangers of high impact professional sports. That's too bad because Webster is probably the best ever to play his position. I am glad that his suffering was not in vain, and now steps will be taken to lessen the risk and look out for the health of the players. The attention surrounding the concussion issue has led to a HUGE spike on the very few certified autographs he has out there in the 1997 UD Legends set. It went from a bulk box 99 cent throw in card to a $140 conversation piece. PSA/DNA slabbed autographs are selling for $40 as well.
2. The same ole stuff from last weeks list. - One of the challenges of this list is slow weeks. With no baseball in session, an impending super bowl and basketball maintaining a status quo there isn't much risking and falling right now. While we are talking about basketball, let's dig into some of the issues facing that market. The departure of the Upper Deck company from pretty much everything was a huge blow to any collector who chased basketball, football and hockey cards. UD stopped the bleeding with NCAA licensed items providing some continuity for the SP Authentic and Exquisite product lines. In the end it wasn't enough keep them producing some of the best looking cards in the business as Panini America now owns the CLC licence that those products are produced under. Basketball cards have never and will never recover from the loss of Exquisite. The only thing that can save it is the Exquisite product line. No, you can't pass off Flawless as Exquisite even though it's a REALLY nice set. The only thing that the current NBA exclusive licence holder can do is to either buy the Exquisite name or hire Carvin Cheung, the brains behind Upper Deck's high end NBA and Hockey product, to create something similar. At this past years National I sat down with Carvin and spoke about the possibility of him creating something for Panini. This is an off the cuff, casual conversation that happened in August but as my recollection goes his statement was that it's unlikely because he wants to build something of his own. Yeah, he could come in and show them how it's done but then what? The risk of making something unique only to have it owned by a corporation who can dispose of you at any time taking your baby with them has to be sharp in his mind with what happened with Exquisite and UD.
3. Kawhi Leonard Contenders Autographs - A rising tide lifts all ships. It's not that the Spurs are rising, but in today's NBA to simply maintain for as long as they have is incredible. They kinda fly in the face of the other teams in the NBA opting for team play above everything. Any issues among players is quickly internalized. If you look at it, the Spurs are a lot like the New England Patriots. Greg Popovitch plays the Bill Belichick role, designing a system and managing personalities to near perfection. Your Tom Brady to Rob Gronkowski connection is Tony Parker to Tim Duncan and Leonard is your Julian Edelman. I do think that some writers need to slow their role, Larry Bird comparisons are a bit far fetched. Hey anything to shock your readers into clicking right? Speaking of both the Patriots and shocking titles to get your readers attention...
4. Rob Gronkoski Contenders Autographs - Rob is the greatest pass catching Tight end in NFL history. I know, Tony Gonzalez existed and was excellent for a long time. In a league based on fame instead of stats Gronk is already well past Tony. The championships back that up. The numbers might get there as well, he seems nearly impossible to stop.
Denver will get the chance today in the AFC Championship game and they plan to go in low and hard. Good luck with that, it's not as easy as it sounds. Easy is what his rookie autographs are as in easy money. Recently a PSA 10 copy of his contenders rookie auto sold for $375, up almost $100 pre-playoffs.
5. Julian Edelman 2009 SP Authentic Autograph /999 - Feels weird talking about Gronk without talking about his bro Julian Edelman. As pointed out to the world by Funny or Die the entertainment value of this bromance is off the charts. The relationship certainly starts on the field, as one of the risks of paying too much attention to Gronk almost certainly means that Brady to Edelman will grind you down 13 yards at a time. Slot receivers typically don't get much hobby love, but with the New England team all bets are off. A SP Authentic autograph that would have cost you $80 before the playoffs will run you $120 now. Good luck snagging one, as everything up right now is in the form of best offers.
6. Delvin Perez Autographs - It's time for me to really get in there and lick boot. Let's pucker up and talk about a Leaf (Razor) card. Someone please alert @bobloblaw and [MENTION=1948]Leaf[/MENTION] that this is going down so we can have like 2 pages of debate where 20 used to be back in the good ole days. This spike is all about a players pre-draft stock as presented by amateur baseball pundits like Keith Law. Law said that Perez was head and shoulders above his peers in the 2016 Puerto Rico show case with all 5 tools on display. Look for his autograph price to improve at the draft, especially if he manages to go to one of the better market teams in the top 10 in Atlanta, Cincinnati, Philly or Chicago. Also can we take a second to talk about how the patch autograph set in the Perfect Game set by Leaf is everything that the old Aflac autograph cards could have been? Brian, just find a way to get rid of that sticker and collectors will be even more on board. As for these patch autograph cards, the spike hasn't happened yet but keep a close eye on this auction as it might just set the pace.
7. Donald Trump Fans of Ali Autographs - These have actually been way up for a while as the attention on Trump has been high for the entire campaign. The man who wants to "Make America Better" has seen his autographs spike from $40 when the product was live to the $150 - $300 it would take to get one now. Personally if I still had one (I busted at least 15 cases of Leaf Ali back in the day) I would sell it so fast your head would spin.