The overseas market for trading cards is a wild card for most of the manufacturers, something I find to be a bit shocking. Considering how things can play, it seems like a no-brainer to bring cards frequently to that region. Topps has done special Asia only product lines in the last few years, many of which have been very interesting. I can see why they would want to chase Ichiro, as he is literally the biggest name in Japanese baseball to this day.
Here are some of his prices from prior products:
In the past, Ichiro’s autograph price tag have limited the companies from getting on board at a level that would make him readily available for a large product run. During the first few years of his career, Upper Deck had him in a few products, sets that housed his most expensive cards.
Recently, Leaf had signed a deal with Ichiro that granted them access to his likeness and autographs for some of their biggest releases to date, including the first game used patch cards in a very long time.
Based on what we have seen with his cards in the past, Topps’ adding him to their stable is a very big deal. Not just because he has a valuable signature, but because of how many overseas collectors will want the cards and the products. There is no telling how much the deal is for, but you can bet it is a significant amount.
I would guess he will be a very limited autograph in any of the products he is used for, which means he will not be a card that many can afford to buy right out. Now that Topps has announced that Allen and Ginter will be the first cards, I would think that the price should go up as a result.
Again, this is big for 2015 products. Interested to see how it plays out.