I discussed this card previously but wanted to touch on it again because it surfaced and sold a second time by the same seller. This time I won it. The main reason I bought this card was to get it out of the secondary market since its purpose is strictly deception. More on this in a minute. For now, here’s the sales data:
Sold: October 22, 2023
# of Bids: 34
Final Price: $464.88
Signed examples of this card were never officially released, which means they were never pack-issued. The reason being is that Donruss never received signed examples back from either of these players. That said, any signed examples of this card were done via the mail or in-person. There is no other way this card could be obtained signed. Period.
Now that that’s covered, let’s look at how this card was marketed on eBay.
Critique of the eBay Auction Description:
Title: David Ortiz / Frank Thomas 1998 Elite Back to the Future DUAL AUTOGRAPH/Auto
Description: This is broken down into segments and each is showcased below in gray boxes with my replies immediately below them.
This is the only correct version of this card that exists, and it is unlikely that another one will ever surface.
The description opens with a claim that this is the only “correct” version of this card. This is untrue as the correct versions are the unsigned versions since no other version was ever officially produced or released.
Backstory on card: With 1998 Donruss Elite Back to the Future Autographs, the first 100 serial #d cards of these cards were supposed to be signed by the players. However, those 100 cards were never returned Donruss so the signed versions of this card never got inserted into packs. The unsigned dual cards #d /100 were considered a redemption card, which could be exchanged for a different Frank Thomas autograph. (See photos for full write up on Baseballcardpedia)
While horribly written, the above statements are actually true but let me clean it up for you. The first 100 cards in the print run of 1500 (serial numbers 0001-0100) of the Thomas/Ortiz card were supposed to be signed by both players but due to problems obtaining Frank Thomas’ signature, Donruss was forced to issue these cards in packs unsigned but they could be redeemed for one of 100 signed copies of the Frank Thomas 1998 Donruss Elite #2 base card.
The dual Thomas / Ortiz autograph never existed and most of the first 100 serial #d cards were exchanged and destroyed.
Except this one. Serial #d 0021/1500
Then there’s the dubious claim about most of the first 100 serial numbered cards being exchanged or destroyed. This is questionable at best since there’s no way to back this claim up with any degree of certainty; it’s strictly conjecture. It’s likely exactly zero copies of the 100 cards were destroyed because they were marketed as redemptions. Destroying any number of the cards would’ve potentially gotten the company into legal trouble if it was found out that they weren’t able to fulfill their redemption promise. While I don’t believe all 100 were pulled and redeemed, I have no reason to believe any of them were destroyed. The final line is a lie that the seller admits to in the line above it.
Again, signed versions of this card never made it into packs. THIS IS THE CARD THAT WAS SUPPOSED TO EXIST. Frank Thomas and David Ortiz both signed this card and it is the only one in existence. PSA Authenticated BOTH SIGNATURES and graded them a Mint 9.
This statement opens with and admission that this card, with autographs, was never issued in packs, which implies it was signed after it was pulled. But again, the seller deliberately failed to state this upfront, which makes it intentional deception.
It is impossible to find any UNSIGNED versions of this card, let alone autographed by these 2 hall of famers.
The rest of the description is just marketing. Only one known to exist; read the write-up on blah blah blah. It’s just babble meant to deceive buyers.
Here’s something interesting, this is the second time this card was listed and sold by this same seller, which is highly suspect. I won this card and paid on 10/22/2023 but the seller waited until 11/3/2023 to ship it. That’s 12 days to think about how to get out of selling this card and relisting it a third time. Thankfully, the seller made the right decision and shipped the card. It’s the least they could do after attempting to deceive the market.
To see what’s currently on eBay from 1998 Donruss Elite Back to the Future, click here.
Out of respect to the seller, I waited to publish this article until after the eBay archive expired. While I don’t respect deception, I do respect people’s anonymity.