For example, I try to collect as many Cardinals and Rays autographs as possible. The Cardinals are my favorite team to follow, but also enjoy watching the Rays since many of their players spent time playing for my hometown Durham Bulls. I dabble in the Tigers and have a few other players I check in on, but the list of items going into my collection is not really all that wide. You would think that would still leave me plenty of cards to chase down, but it seems like Topps excels at having the same few players for each team sign for each product.
So, I ask myself somedays: How the hell am I going to get a certified, or highly reliable Tony Cruz autograph? I do not live in St. Louis anymore, he's not making an appearances in the Raleigh-Durham, or central North Carolina area, and I know Topps will not put him as a signer in a baseball product. It's not that I am singling in specifically on Tony Cruz, I am not. However, he's a useful role player on the Cardinals and has now been on the team for several seasons. It would be a nice addition.
This is an area where the Topps Vault can come in handy. Sure, Topps is not rushing out to make the first certified Tony Cruz autographed baseball card for a 2014 Topps product, I am sure the Cardinals will have Holliday, Lynn, Jay, and Craig, but since he has a card in their base set he has signed a card contract. Topps actually puts their invalid, out of date baseball contracts, up for sale in their Topps Vault Ebay Store.
Just this past week I was making my weekly stop in to check out their new items and ran across a sweet autograph of former Cardinals player, and current Cardinals employee, Kerry Robinson. This was probably my one chance to snag a certified autograph of the Cardinals, and fellow SEMO (Southeast Missouri State) alumni, unless Topps is coming out with a front office employees of Major League Baseball set. For $9.99 I picked it up.
I own a couple of these Topps contracts now, all really inexpensive. Robinson is just the latest addition to my collection, of a Cardinals player, I have found in the Topps Vault. For those not fimiliar with Kerry Robinson, he was originally drafted by the Cardinals and ended up on the expansion Rays (the 1998 Durham Bulls) and the Reds before returning to the Cardinals. Robinson played three seasons for the Cardinals from 2001 through 2003. He pinch hit for Mark McGwire in the last game of Big Mac's career and had this hit against the Cubs:
The Topps Vault is a great way to pick up a certified autograph of some really cool players. Now, I am filling in my Cardinals autograph collection and usually end up finding my autographs for less than $15. Better players can fetch high dollars, but sometimes you'd be surprised and can walk away with a solid Major Leaguer for between $20-$30. At the end of the day you will have a very unique collectable and a great item for your collection. I have actually thought about having one or two of mine framed for my Cardinals room.