Anyone who has collected baseball, or for that matter any sports cards, over the past few years has probably seem, heard or even pulled a “Relic” or “Jersey” card from a pack. Jersey cards are by definition: a card containing a piece of material taken from a jersey worn by a player or athlete. While the introduction of these cards into products was originally a great idea and very unlike anything ever seen before, nowadays these cards are seen as common place in boxes of cards.
The reason for most of the “meh, who cares” attitude toward Jersey cards is because of how the card companies have been getting the jerseys from the players and how they have been classifying what the jersey material is. Lets look at different jersey cards to see what I mean.
The most popular jersey cards are game-used or game-worn jersey cards, meaning that the material is taken from a jersey worn by the athlete in an actual sporting event. Pretty cool eh? It means that Joey Votto actually wore the jersey during a MLB game and has since passed it on to the card companies to chop up and insert into cards!
Next is event-worn, which come from jerseys worn by the subject at a photo shoot or other non-athletic event such as autograph signings or public appearances. This is becoming more and more popular for companies because they can have events like “Rookie Premieres” where they have all the rookies for the upcoming season show up at one place and have them autograph a bunch of cards and also “wear” a whole bunch of jerseys that they can now say are “Event Worn”. While kinda lame, it is still a jersey the player actually wore…for a minute or two.
Finally there is game-issued, which are taken from jerseys issued to the player but never actually worn in competition if worn at all. This would be like if a team orders 10 jerseys for Todd Frazier but he only wore 5 of them through the season the other 5 are “game-issued” and can be sold by the team as such. These jerseys have no connection with the player other than their name on the back and the card companies can purchase them for less than “game-used” ones.
Over the past few years there has been a flood of “event-worn” jersey cards, so much so that the “game-used” cards are going up in value while the “event-used” ones are dropping. Which leads to a discussion on whether the “event-used” cards should even be used at all. Most collectors are just happy to have a few more cool looking cards come from their box of cards that they don’t care where the jersey came from. But on the other hand there is a large group of collectors that are getting tired of them and would love to see them go away. Possibly being replaced with more autographs or fewer “game-used” cards to help them retain value.
Either side of the argument make compelling points but for the mean time card companies don’t seem to be backing off production of the jersey or “relic” cards because of some of the unique items that they have been able to use in these cards!
Give this video a watch to see what I mean:
Interesting stuff eh? It is amazing what they can do with t-shirts, towels, shoes and jerseys!
So where do you stand on the relic card issue? Like them? Dislike them? indifferent?
Let me know what you think by commenting below!!
-Joe the Card Collector-