Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The dreaded ebay 1/1

One of the more amusing ebay slams is the frequently derided "ebay 1/1." This never gets old for me, probably because I have a natural aversion to marketing/advertising and am always on the lookout for the insincere (sorry, it's the journalist in me).

The various dances that ebay sellers go through to promote whatever they are selling is alternately annoying and entertaining. And the fact that some have succeeded in getting collectors to buy the old "1/1" line is really, frankly, horrifying. But I still laugh at it because it's so ridiculous.

For those who don't know, an "ebay 1/1" is when someone claims a serial-numbered card is a "1/1" even though it is not marked/stamped as "1/1" by the manufacturer. They claim that it is a "1/1" because the card is  the only one of its kind -- serial numbered 1 out of 100 or some other "desirable" number, a player's uniform number or some other nonsense.

I don't condone this selling behavior, but I have to admit I have actually been jealous of collectors who have been able to land serial-numbered cards that were stamped as No. 1 out of however many versions of the card there is.

In all my born days, I have been able to pull just one card that is stamped as the first version of the card.

It happened in the summer of 2008, not long before I started this blog. I was in a card shop in Buffalo and grabbed some packs of Allen & Ginter. Not long after, I pulled the above silk card of Jermaine Dye, numbered 1/10.

I noticed the first number right away. I don't know if I knew what an ebay 1/1 was at the time. And I confess that I thought it was pretty cool.

That fact -- and the fact that it is the only time I have ever pulled a silk card (stop looking at me with pity, you people with card shops on every corner) -- are the only reasons that I have held onto this card.

Almost five years have gone by and I have never pulled another serial-numbered card in which the first number was "1."

Then this past weekend happened.

I received several packages.

One was a single card from Twitter trader @wrdart.

When I made the trade, I had no idea what the serial number was on the card. I didn't even look. But when it came out of the envelope, the number jumped out at me.


Then, when I thought I had that out of my system, I turned to a package sent to me from David of Tribe Cards. It was his loot from his 182 Days of Packs ripfest.

You'll see most of the cards from that package some other time, but I needed to show this card first:

I don't know if you can see it, but right on the second "d" in Dodgers on Matt Kemp's jersey is a shiny, gold-stamped "1" next to the slashy thing and a "99."


So, how about that?

After almost 5 years of not coming across another card serial-numbered as No. 1, I pull out two on the same day.

I guess I can try to trade that Jermaine Dye silk card now.

Or even better, throw it on ebay as a 1/1.

Nah, I wouldn't do that.

But it'll always be No. 1 with me.


  1. The silk is really cool. I have never pulled any silks or cloths (though a couple have come through my possession), but I don't get much hobby stuff. I think the only 1/xx I ever pulled myself was some prospect auto that never amounted to anything in one of those rare hobby boxes. I've gotten my hands on one or two others though, and at least a couple last cards in a print run. They certainly aren't worth paying extra for (well, maybe for a jersey number), but they are pretty cool to own (especially in higher print runs, 1/10 is a 10% chance, 1/250 is not so much with the decent odds). :)

    PS: Holy crap James Loney lead a team in RBIs once!

  2. I only have one 001/xxx, a Brandon Morrow from '12 Bowman - it was not advertised as a 1/1, thusly selling for .99 and shipping.

    I see it a lot with the player's jersey numbering. Ugh.

  3. What's even worse than that is the "1/1?" which basically means a manufacturing defect, like when Topps doesn't put the foil stamp on the card.

  4. What is the numbered Upper Deck Team Card? I know they had numbered Gold cards that year but your card looks like the normal silver.

  5. I agree. I think it's so dumb. Once I was feeling rather salty after a long day, and emailed three different sellers telling them that their card wasn't really a 1/1. They didn't care.

  6. @AdamE ~

    It's a gold-foil card. It's a little difficult to tell on the scan.