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Ray Lewis is not going to Disney World.  He's also not going to make any of you rich.  Of course the reason that the Super Bowl XXXV MVP is not going to be posing with Mickey Mouse or showing up on your Wheaties box has more to do with his actions following last year's big game, but even without his legal problems it's doubtful that his MVP trophy would make his rookie card prices soar.  First of all he's a defensive player and they never hold much hobby value, but would it have made a difference if he was a quarterback, running back, or wide receiver?

MVP & OTHER AWARDS

Historically the impact of winning a championship and being the most valuable player on sportscard prices This Ray Lewis Bowman's Best rookie might sell well this week, but it won't hold value for the long term. have been negligible at best.  Let's look at the Super Bowl MVP award as an example.  Recent winners have included superstars like John Elway, Emmitt Smith, Joe Montana, and Jerry Rice.  I'm sure we'll all agree that winning the trophy didn't make a major difference in their card prices.  Last year Kurt Warner topped off one of the best debuts in NFL history with the award, but after all of the other things he did it's doubtful that the MVP made that much of a difference in his card prices.

What about Larry Brown, Desmond Howard, Ottis Anderson, and Mark Rypien?  They all won the Super Bowl MVP in the past ten years.  Did anyone make a lot of money on their rookie cards?  I doubt it.  You might have been able to sell some right after the game, but give it a few weeks and I'm sure their names were off the buy/sell boards.  This trend follows in all major sports.  Michael Jordan had a spectacular career that included numerous regular season and postseason MVP awards as well as a couple Slam Dunk Championships, but do you really think that without those honors his cards would be worth that much less? 

RECORDS & STREAKS

As Cal Ripken Jr. approached the magical 2130 consecutive games played streak of Lou Gehrig the hype on his cards was unbelievable.  I had bought a whole folder full of them back in 1987 for nearly nothing and I had to decide whether to sell them in 1995 or hold them until he reached the Hall of Fame.  A friend of mine in the hobby made the best argument when he said that I might never see these prices again.  Breaking Gehrig's record was inevitable as was making the Hall, but the streak was now.  It was going to happen.  I sold and even with today's graded prices I'm still sure that was the best idea.

What would happen if the 2001 baseball season was winding down and one player was leading the league in hitting, home runs, and rbi's?  Last year we saw Todd Helton play with a .400 batting average into August and his card prices went wild.  It would be a major hobby event if someone won the Triple Crown or hit .400, but it could be short lived.  Just ask all the Mark McGwire investors.

HALL OF FAME

How many times have you heard people selling cards say "wait until he makes the Hall of Fame"?  Just turn on Shop at Home some night and I guarantee that at some point in the hour one of those loud guys will make a comment similar to that.  Guess what?  You don't reallyI made the right decision selling my 82 Topps Cal Ripken Jr. rookies in 1995 when he passed Lou Gehrig with 2131 consecutive games played. have to wait until they make the Hall of Fame.  Most big stars are definitely heading to the Hall for their sport so don't you think that dealers, investors, and collectors already know this?  I can't remember the last time I saw a card price really jump when a player made the Hall.  Autographed cards might be the exception to this rule as might cards and memorabilia of deceased stars, but otherwise the Hall of Fame factor is already figured into a player's cards almost from the point when his career ends.  The only benefit of the actual election might be a renewed interest in the player that makes for more sales, but the price increase from that demand will be short lived.

So what have we learned?  Investing in Ray Lewis rookies probably won't make us rich.  Selling Cal Ripken cards in 1995 and Mark McGwire cards in 1998 were not bad ideas.  There's no need to get excited just because a player is listed as a sure fire Hall of Famer.  And, maybe the most important thing to modern card collectors, watch the statistics.  If a record or a milestone is on the horizon there might be an opportunity for some good short term return on your sportscard investment.  Of course it's not all just about money.  Card traders are always writing me asking if a certain deal they are considering sounds fair.  If you're a fan of trading then you should follow these same rules and your trades could be better.  In all, remember to try and have some fun.  Finding out more about your favorite players should be something you enjoy as well as a tool to build a better sportscard collection.

ANDY
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