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Oops!... I Did It Again – I Bought Another Beckett Baseball Price Guide

January 8, 2009

by William Szczepanek

No.  I don’t think I did what Britney Spears did. As I have related in the past, part of my algorithm for determining “The Greatest Baseball Card Ever” is based upon the values stated in the Beckett Baseball magazine.  See previous article.

Britney Spears - Oops!... I Did It AgainOops! I did it again.  I bought another yearend issue of the magazine to check out values for Topps baseball cards from 1952 to 1974. For the third year in a row the values have changed little.  How can that be?  It doesn’t make sense.  When am I going to learn? Others have. See Voice of the Collector: The Anti-Beckett.

To Beckett’s credit, in the Dec/Jan2007 edition most of the values for the venerated 1909 T206 had significant changes in value, exclusively in the up direction. In 2008 these values did not change.  In 2009 the values for these cards again changed, primarily in the down direction. This era of card collecting is not my forte’, so I don’t know the reason, but can assume that there is a valid reason for the price changes. The rest of the current magazine is largely a reprint from two years ago except for more recent cards.  Oh, some card values have changed.  A handful of higher priced cards went up further. A number of cards changed in value from $125 to $120, maybe this is a new rounding point.  But, for the most part, this is the same magazine that was printed 2 years ago and the third edition in two years with primarily the same card values.

Beckett’s lawyers carefully crafted the caveats so they cannot be held responsible for the accuracy of their data, and remember, the magazine is to be used only for reference purposes.  Fair enough.  And they do give ranges in pricing, so I’m not expecting perfection. Now, please explain why more than 99% of the values never change from year to year.  Don’t tell me that the cards from the 1950s and 1960s are not significant.  From a collector’s perspective they are the last of the ordinary cards with significant monetary value.

Unlike certain AAA securities which suddenly have no value, I don’t believe that Beckett is misrepresenting the values, but this is the age of the computer and information regarding card sales is accessible.  Given this, I would expect that values could be quite accurate within a certain tolerance and would change moderately from year to year.

It does appear to me that the price (U. S. $10.00 | CAN $14.99) for the magazine is overstated, but I’m sure Beckett has done extensive research on how to price its magazine.



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