Friday, November 26, 2010

What's Your White Whale?

1996 Upper Deck SPx Anfernee Hardaway Tribute Auto 239/300                                         Upper Deck Authenticated COA

The endless pursuit of that elusive item referred to as a "White Whale" is what gets a collector's heart pumping. I recently ended my nearly three year search for this '96 UD SPx Anfernee Hardaway Tribute Auto'd card, and thought it would be fun to find out what are some of the white whales that other collectors have and/or are currently chasing?

As for my white whale, "it's a beaut Clark". Yep, Thanksgiving is over and I just watched National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. I'll spare you from anymore Christmas movie quotes for now and get right to the card. With a print run of only three hundred, this card is fairly rare. Also, once a Hardaway fan gets a hold of the Tribute Auto, they rarely let it out of their collection. There's good reason for this. Upper Deck's SPx line debuted in '96 and the early SPx card designs are highly regarded by collectors. These were die cut sets that featured hologram technology on every card. No matter what the sport, it's always fun to bust open a box of the '96, '97, or '98 SPx products.

During the mid to late 90's, Hardaway was one of UD's most important spokesmen. Behind The G.O.A.T., no one was more important to UD's basketball product than Mr. Hardaway. Because of this, UD and UDA featured Hardaway in many sets and UDA products. One of those featured cards was the '96 UD SPx Hardaway Non Auto'd Tribute card inserted into pack at a rate of 1:95. UD also inserted a Michael Jordan Record Breaker card into packs at a rate of 1:75. Since it's such a cool looking card, I included it here in the post for your viewing. UD also inserted trade cards into packs that could be redeemed for the corresponding Jordan or Hardaway auto. The Hardaway Trade auto is an auto'd version of the SPx base card and can be seen here. Although the Trade auto is nice, the Tribute auto is a bit different.

The Tribute auto was not available from packs. Actually, the only way you could obtain the card was through Upper Deck Authenticated. UDA is simply UD's memorabilia division. These three hundred Hardaway Tribute auto's were sold to collectors through UDA catalogues and the scarce brick and mortar stores. As previously mentioned, I've been searching for this card for almost three years. Since that time, I've only seen three of these for sale. The first did not have the matching COA. The second sold for well above my price limit. The third is the card you see in this post. Like I said, Hardaway collectors don't let go of this one. It's been at the top of my wish list for a longtime, and I was finally able to add it to my collection recently. I'm certainly excited about catching my whale, but that also means the next whale is being hunted.

So that's my white whale story, what's yours? I would love to hear about any white whale you've caught or are currently chasing? Happy collecting and… "Enjoy Every Bounce of the Ball".


  1. My white whale is a an early 1960's green base Dodger bobblehead. They're pretty rare. I've bid on a few on ebay over the last few years, in various conditions. I plan on getting my hands on one in 2011.

    BTW, not to get off the subject, but when I was at my parents place for the holiday, I got my Elton Brand Buffalo Braves bobblehead out of the closet. I think I may post it soon. I know you're from Buffalo, so you might find it interesting.

  2. Another great post Charles... I'm glad to see you've caught your white whale. My whale for the longest time was the J.J. Hickson autograph out of the 08/09 Topps Signature set. It's the shortest printed auto and set builders made it difficult to acquire for a reasonable price. Eventually, I picked one up, so now my set is complete.

    Now... I'm on the hunt for a 1997 Pinnacle X-Press "Metal Works" card of Greg Maddux. I have the gold and silver versions... now I just need the bronze.

    What about you? What's your newest white whale?

  3. @ DB, Good luck with your quest. I look forward to seeing the Buffalo Braves Brand bobblehead. I love anything Buffalo Braves!!!

    @ Fuji, it's always cool to find that last piece to finish a set and JJ is putting up some very solid numbers there in Cavalier land.

    As for my my next white whale, there are two. One is the Michael Jordan '97 UD SPx ProMotion card to complete that set. I have the other 4 in the 5 card set. The Jordan is usually available 2 a month, I just can't get my self to bid on it. It's a bit outside my price range. I think it's one of the best looking Jordan or basketball cards ever made. My second is the Bo Jackson/Brian Bosworth Exquisite dual auto #'d/35. Two were listed on eBay last month. I offered one seller $40 the first day is was listed and he emailed me back that he would send the invoice, but never did. The other sold for above my price range.

    The chase is half the fun. Thanks for sharing guys and happy collecting!!!