Collecting Thurman Munson

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Collecting Thurman Munson
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I have been collecting Thurman Munson memorabilia for about 20 years now.  While I won't claim to be an authority, I have a lot of knowledge about his collectables.  The overwhelming majority of items to be found are Baseball Cards.  There are over 1000 different cards featuring Munson, whether they are regular issue, short prints, regional issues, or games like Cadaco.  These don't feature any photos and are really only interesting to die hard collectors.  The biggest issue of confusion about Munson cards are all Topps related.  Topps Canada cards (OPC) have different numbers on them starting in 1977.  The fronts are also slightly different.  The 1977 OPC doesn't have the All Star tag on the front.  The 1979 OPC card actually says OPC in the front.  Three other cards worth mentioning are the cards Topps made for New York area Burger Kings.  The fronts are largely the same except for the 1977 card which doesn't have the All Star tag.  The placement of the autographs are also different.  The easiest way to spot the Burger King cards though are by looking at the backs.  The Burger King cards from 1977 through 1979 are all numbered #2.  These appear from time to time as error cards but they aren't.  Before eBay the regional cards were fairly difficult to get and a premium price was placed on them.  Now most of them are rather common and the prices reflect that.  Another big area of collecting for Munson are autographs.  BUYER BEWARE!!!!  The old rule of thumb was that Munson hated signing autographs and would go out of his way to avoid signing.  That is true to some degree but it is largely an urban myth.  While it is true that for the most part he didn't like signing at or during games, he did several New York area signings at malls and other events.  It also turns out that most of the team signed balls have his genuine signature.  Starting in the late 60's or early 70's the Yankees starting issuing 4x5 inch black and white photos.  If you wrote to a player requesting an autograph the Yankees sent these out.  In all my years of collecting I have yet to see one that is genuinely signed IF it has blue ink.  These were rubber stamped.  Yes, you can see an imprint on the back, yes they look like a flair tipped pen.  No, they aren't real.  If you compare several years worth, you will see that the same rubber stamp was used for several years.  Again, if it is a 4x6 inch black and white photo with an autograph in blue ink, you have a neat collectable but it isn't a real autograph.  Some of the very early Yankee issue photos didn't have an autograph of any kind put on them so if there is one, it may be genuine.  One word of caution- if someone is selling a Munson autograph and will not give you a money back guarantee, don't buy it.  An independant authentification service helps but they can only say if it appears geunine.  Unless you saw it signed yourself, have a photo of the signing, or comes from a teammate, you can't know for sure.

If anyone is interested in Munson items please feel free to contact me.  Or if you are a Munson fan and like to share your memories and what you have in your collection, I'd love to hear about it.



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