Friday, January 8, 2010

What The Hell?

President Barack Obama, only 1 year into his presidency, already has a whopping 403 trading cards bearing his likeness, according to By comparison, JFK, who is widely regarded as one of America's greatest modern Presidents only has 164 cards bearing his. Our first President, George Washington, has only 42, and Abraham Lincoln, 106.

Does anyone else find it absolutely disgusting that 3 of our greatest and most popular Presidents of all time COMBINED still find themselves on 101 LESS total cards than a guy who has only been in office for a year?

Barack Obama has more cards out there than Adam Jones, who has been a professional baseball player now for 4-5 years! Jones falls 58 cards shy of the Prez, with 345 total cards.

THIS news story inspired me to research the topic this morning. I just have one question America...


We don't have JUST a President, we have a celebrity, and personally I find it disgusting. Thank you modern media for further warping our perceptions of what a leader is and what a leader should be.

EDIT: To all those who are claiming the reason for this is that the other Presidents have long since passed on....

George W. Bush: 36 cards
Bill Clinton: 39 cards

Those guys both held the office of the President for 8 years. Riddle me that....

EDIT EDIT: This is NOT a political post. I voted for Obama, and still feel he is the best man for the job. It is however, a reflection of how warped our media has become, and how the card companies just seem to be following right along. Enough is enough.


  1. I don't understand your math... If Jones has 245 total cards and a train leaves the station traveling west and...
    How is that 58 cards short of 403? My head hurts...

  2. I forgot to carry the one and multiple the integer times 2. It has been corrected now. Thanks for pointing it out Troll!

  3. Well the other 3 guys are dead. A large majority of people were not living when these guys held the oval office. I don't expect there to be as many Cap Anson cards as Matt Holliday cards made in 2009. Cap isn't playing while Matt is. Life is a Holliday.

  4. Luckily, I haven't received any. If I do, they'll be burned.

  5. Beardy,
    thanks for pointing out/linking that story, i liked it mainly because of their excellant usage of the word kerfuffle... Long have I tried to work that into a blog

  6. A current popular figure verse dead people that most people show little interest in. I don't see the issue here. It would be akin to comparing current Jeter cards verse Lou Gehrig, pointless.

  7. Jeff,

    Geroge W. Bush: 36 cards
    Bill Clinton: 39 cards

    Still pointless?

  8. It's basically people's fascination with "new" and "celebrity." And that phenomenon has been growing at a rapid rate the last few years. But it's really no different than those who chase a hot, new prospect.

    Personally, I like to sit back and wait a thousand years and let moss grow on whatever person was popular a thousand years ago, and THEN get interested in him/her.

  9. Without touching on any politics I would say that, "It's just card companies cashing in on hype"

  10. I can understand your objection at the ever presence of President Obama. His image is super saturated. However, Topps is just supplying to what the public demands. Doing an ebay search for "obama topps" brought 187 items and scrolling through, more than half of the items (base, inserts, etc) have bids. Some items are at the 20-30 dollar level and they're just non-numbered SPs. So, from Topps and the market's perspective, Obama cards sell so they might as well make them.

    I know that when the presidential predictors and the Topps base election insert set came out, people loved them. The companies are simply trying to keep up with demand.

    Now, you can rail against the fact that Obama has more cards than W or Clinton. That's understandable, especially since the ratio is so one sided to Pres. Obama. Still, I think that your blog post betrays your anti-Obama feelings. Though he's only been in office for one year and he may be a media darling, it doesn't change the fact that there is an overwhelming amount of good will toward President Obama, both nationally and globally. Just because he is a global icon doesn't mean that he'll be a bad president. Obama himself can't choose whether pop culture embrasses him. Frankly, being a media figure and also being the first African-American president makes Obama a huge deal. How many cards have we seen about the "first" black ball player, Jackie Robinson? Why don't we see Moses Fleetwood cards at the same level?

    Maybe I can agree with you that there might be a market for dead presidents and therefore Topps should print more George Washington or JFK cards. However, your argument that Obama's numbers ought to reflect the same number of cards for W or Clinton is off. The resurgence in card collecting now versus Clinton's days makes volume different. However, coming back and issuing Clinton (lady killer) and W (worst president since Nixon) wouldn't make sense for Topps now. Why not capture the zeitgeist and capitalize on the current good standing of the Obama administration? There's not much value to make Clinton, Reagan, etc cards.

    PS. Love the blog, Beardy, and thanks for the comment on mine. When we going to trade again?

  11. Beardy,

    You're right. You should be afraid of the math.

  12. Pop- I do not have any anti-Obama sentiments. As a politician and a President, he is wonderful. I have a problem with him being worshiped by the media and his image being marketed mindlessly to the masses.

  13. Beardy, you know better than to look out for the mindless masses. Remember all the so-called error cards put out by Topps? Guiliani with the Red Sox? What about the terrible atrocity of those baseball scout autograph cards? What about those god awful Rip Girl cards?!!

  14. Yeah man, that stuff sucks too, but Topps, and Topps alone is to blame for those atrocities.

  15. I don't know...I think if the consumers didn't go ape-nuts for the gimmicks, the companies would stop. Like if the collects stopped buying Gellman's hated Triple Threads, or if no one had bought the "error" Jeter/Bush/Mantle cards, then those concepts would have faded away. We have to blame ourselves...but this is aside from the Obama-mania. People love Obama and his likeness on items. If I could buy an Obama handgun and leave it for Javaris Crittenton, then maybe I could be suspended from work.

  16. Thanks Pop, I am having a horribly busy day at work, and that made me shoot coffee through my nose. It stings a little.

  17. I don't really care how many cards Obama has, but too many of them have landed in baseball sets. If I wanted political cards, I'd buy American Heritage or the Obama set that came out a year ago.

  18. Think of our country like a McDonald's.

    When you get cold fries( money) what do you do?

    You go to the cashier ( our Government), and you complain about them.

    A majority of the time the cashier will give you a hot batch. Its not like he, or she cares about your hot fries It's just part of their job. The cashier then goes to the fry guy ( The Federal Reserve), and a fresh batch made.

    After you get your hot fries you eat them, and all is forgotten, because after all you love Mcdonalds.

    After all its not McDonald's fault your fries are cold its who ever is in charge of the fries.

    The next time you go back you get a different cashier, more cold fries, and the cycle repeats itself.

    After your next visit you decide you want to talk to the Manager (President). He promises your fries will be hot from now on, and you believe him, because after all he is the President. He also tells you that unlike the cashier and the fry guy he really cares about Mc Donalds, and most importantly you.

    The cycle repeats itself, but over time things get worse. First your fries (taxes) then your Big Mac ( savings), and now your beloved apple pie( job).

    One day you get this crazy idea, and you tell the Manager you want to talk to someone above him. He happily gives you this information, because after all his job is to keep the cycle going.

    The customers behind you don't like all this questioning, because they like the manager, and even after promising to turn Mc Donalds around they still think he is doing a great job.

    After all the President ( manager) isn't really in charge of Mcdonalds. We all know this, but we dare never question it.

    Thats because McDonalds is a Corporation, all Corparations are owned by the Central, and World Banks. Do not confuse these banks with your local banks. Your local banks borrow from the Federal Reserve which is also a privately owned Corporation, and is not a part of the Federal Government.

    These Banks control not only Mc Donalds ( U.S.A), but also Burger King ( Canada), Wendys ( Europe), and Taco Bell ( Mexico). They also own the media, and the news faces on your television.

    Big Macs ( wars), Quarter Pounders ( poverty) , and Whoppers ( unemployment) all play a major role within a corporation, because without them there is no revenue. Without revenue Central Banks do not exist.

    Obama ( manager) is the face of the Corporation. Somewhere along the line he sold his soul, and was told to keep the curtain closed.

    This is history, and economics my friends.

    The last president to try to pull it open was Jefferson after he campaigned on the foundation of a Federally backed currency. Then Lincoln who desperatly needed funds for the Civil War went against the Central banks, and issued a Federally backed note also known as the Greenback.

    Tragically the last real President of the U.S.A was John F Kennedy who never survived to fulfill his promise of putting Federally minted coins back into circulation.

    The Jefferson, and Kennedy cards are scarce, but the Lincoln cards popped up about the same time the Obama Corporation cards.

    I was really angry about that... I have never been so insulted by a card in my life.. Its was a slap in the face to every American History collector I know.

    What a shame..


    JANUARY 8, 2010 8:41 PM

  19. Earth to mojo??? What the heck are you saying?

  20. At least...I don't have to see McCain's jowls 403 times.

  21. I want to see a Ronald McDonald card. Or at least a Grimace. Maybe the Hamburglar.

  22. Bush and Clinton tend to be more polarizing then looked highly upon. You can't make cards for a scandalous President, and one who probably broke many constitutional boundaries and expect them to be popular.

  23. If you were prospecting Obama's cards last year based on his projection, and his current performance you would currently have way to many Ben Grieve's on your hands. Look at the Nobel as the R.O.Y award.


  24. Great idea Mark LMAO,

    The Hamburgler, could be Henry Paulson. Every time I think of that crook I think of last years senate hearingsll when all he could do was tremble, and mummble when asked a question about the staged financial crash.

    The Ronald card would have to be Ronald, because no one knows what Rothchild, or Rockafeller decendent is currently running the show.

    Im sure Obama has a good idea.

  25. Jeff, "polarizing" is a state of mind. There are plenty of people in this country that would disagree, and that is the beauty of America.

    Aren't you the same Jeff that said earlier that no one cares about George Washington & Abe Lincoln? They're only 2 of the most important historical Americans of ALL-TIME

  26. I had to channel my inner Kanye for that one.

    I'm a let you finish!

  27. Historical relevance doesn't equal current interest is the point I am making Beardy. Any president is of great historical importance, doesn't mean people want their cards. Obama has a large draw of most people either by his linguistic skills, diplomacy, politics, or being a new face after a terribly regarded one. If you are going to argue historical importance as the basis for production, why don't we have sets full of Hitler, Stalin, Napoleon, Gengis Khan, etc. We don't because no one gives a shit about them, at least enough or to the point of collecting things of them.

    Whether Obama is historically more significant then any other president (and arguably he is, politics aside) he has cards made because there are enough people who like/want them to merit it. Just like anything with politics, the people who don't like it will cry louder then those who do.

  28. A very interesting story about a presidential baseball card. The interesting thing about the story is its from 1990. Thats right they were making presidential cards in 1990. Well sort of. Thanks to a narrow minded collector the slang gimmick was created ( god I hate that word). It wasn't a gimmick then it was a VARIATION.


    January 9, 2010 1:10 PM

  29. Jeff- Don't you have to be popular in order to be elected President to begin with? We are on the same side here, and I am not trying to knock Obama in any way, shape, or form. That being said, there are people out there who think that Dubya was the greatest President ever, and probably wish there were more cards of him available, so they can add them to their collection. Don;t try to say those people are in the minority, because the dude was a 2-term President. You have to be pretty popular to be elected twice. I didn't vote for him either time, and don't want his cards, but you best believe there are people who do.

    It's not just about historical importance, but popularity, as you said. Ask any American who the greatest President of all-time is. I'll bet you they name someone with less trading cards than Obama.

    Popularity is a matter of opinion, and just because yours is different, doesn't make you the majority, even if you are in this case.

  30. Yes Bush won two terms (by small margins and arguably lost the first time) but 2004 popularity doesn't equate to 2010 popularity. They are making whats hot now, not 6 years ago.

    I didn't vote for Bush either (I wasn't old enough to vote, but I wouldn't have voted Bush personally), but I'm not blind. As corrupt as I might think he was, I also know he was a very charismatic likable person. But that doesn't mean his actions over time makes his charisma lose a bit of luster, including the collectability of his things.

    Compare it to the ratios you find of team cards. There are a much larger amount of Yankee and Red Sox cards produced then say Diamondbacks or Orioles, because they are the most demanded and popular. If another big franchise became as big as those two markets, you'd see the amount of their card produced rise. Right now Obama is the current big franchise, so he gets a step up in production over the others. You might not personally like it either because you just hate political cards or don't care for Obama, but for the card companies it makes perfect sense.

  31. Bush did lose the first time. That was the first election I voted in, and I was pissed about the whole thing.

    I gave the TOTAL cards for each President, so being popular in 2010 doesn't matter. The hobby was going strong from 2000-2008, and there are still only 36 Dubya cards.

    I understand what you are saying, about ratios, and it is a good point. It does not however, change the fact that I am personally sick of pulling Obama cards from baseball/football packs. I don't know how many times I have to say that I do not have an issue with Obama. I voted for the man for fuck's sake! The first few cards of his I thought were cool, and my '08 Topps Campaign card of him is very much cherished.

    I know you've busted a bunch of wax this year. You aren't the least bit sick of pulling his cards? I've pulled more Obamas than Markakii this year, and that shouldn't happen.

    I'm no fool, I know the card companies are just trying to make a buck, but it's gotten out of hand. How do you feel about his image being used on that billboard in Times Square, to sell jackets?

  32. Honestly I've only pulled one or two of his cards this year (from Philadelphia football) since Ive bought a lot of 07/08 products with Masterpieces and Press Pass. Maybe in 2000-2008 the card companies just didn't like Bush either :P

    I thought the jacket billboard was a brilliant idea by the company, the picture was nice and he legitimately was wearing their jacket out of his own choice. I also understand the White House requesting it being taken down because it takes away from the prestige and seriousness of the Presidency. The company didn't do anything wrong and it sounded like they didn't have a problem with taking it down so, no harm no foul?

  33. Well I've pulled 8 or 9 of them now, so I guess it's pretty obvious what I should send you as a "tip" for all those Masterpieces short prints :)

    The ad looked cool, but I have a big problem with the Presidents image being used to sell things. It seems too tempting for businesses not to at least make an attempt, since this is the 3rd or 4th time that there's been a news-worthy story related to him, his family, and marketing. He is the leader of the free world, not a jacket model. After his time as President is up, he'd be well served to go into advertising. He'd make a fortune.

  34. Haha, did those Masterpieces cards arrive yet by the way? I'd assume they arrived by now, I'd hope.

    There are obvious conflicts of interest in using the President's image as advertising, maybe the office should have more legal control over how the sitting President's images are used when it comes to non news postings. From my understanding the company bought the rights from Getty Images, which is perfectly normal for companies and newspapers to do, but maybe sitting Presidential images should have some types of restrictions attached when it comes to their use outside of legitimate news stories.

  35. Yeah, they made it safely. I enjoyed the little bonus you threw in there as well. I'm going to scan and post it next week.

    100% agree with you on there being some sort of parameters in place for using the Prez's image in a non-news environment. I thought it was illegal to use the President's likeness for promotion, but that's probably wrong.

  36. I think the use of the Presidential seal, emblems, office and likenesses of those aren't allowed. I think regular pictures of him away from any official office symbols are fine, at least that is how I thought it worked. I could be completely wrong.

  37. Wow, I skip Beardy's Politbureau for one day and suddenly a debate breaks out! Use of the president's image is allowable and I don't see a problem with using it to sell stuff. Hell, the Franklin Mint and those terrible collector's plate producers have been doing it forever. I think that the McDonald's debater was interesting (thanks Mojo Hand) and has a great point about maybe limiting Pres. Obama to history specific releases. Thus, any of the heritage/T205 type releases, that's fine. Maybe just keep presidents' images out from base sets and modern/new design sets. Whatever, I've busted quite a few Obama cards from baseball boxes and I've never been pissed off about it. For me, personally, it was a great moment when the USA elected a black president and the cards are a reflection of the times. Throughout history, different events have been captured in collectables. I think I remember Seabiscuit was a hot item and had cabinet cards that were made bearing the likeness of the horse.

    Can you tell I've been drinking? Went to Abbey's Burger Bar in Federal Hill...Beardy, you've got to go. Such great beers on tap.

    Oh, and if we have McDonald's cards, how about SP Fry Guy cards? Or maybe a game-used McDLT Jason Alexander jacket swatch ( The hot stays hot, the cool stays crisp.

  38. I think a lot of people underestimate the huge role that politics plays in card collecting.


    Because politics, and economics go hand in hand. The folks that run our country also manage the way or monetary system operates ( or they are supposed to at least). If value your collection as much as I do you should always keep a close eye on the value of the dollar. Do you realize the value of the dollar has decreased 40% over the last 5 years.

    What does that mean? The value of your collection also has decreased 40% in the last 5 years.

    It sucks!!

    Just cause a card sells for dirt cheap on Feebay doesn't mean that card isn't valuable it just means that what it was paid for with wasn't as valuable.