Reflecting Back on 2006 Topps #297 Alex Gordon

Back when 2006 Topps was released, I bought several jumbo boxes as I do every year. It is fun for me to put my annual Topps base set together and to study each card as they work their way into my set notebook. Generally, after opening one jumbo box of Topps I am practically guaranteed a complete set or at least close to it. However, after about six jumbo boxes I began to realize that there was one card missing! Number 297. Who is #297? Why is it missing? I realized that I must have this card because without it there would be a gap in my notebook and my set would not be complete. So then I had to look it up on the internet to find out if other people were having the same problem as I was. After my research it appeared that everyone was having same problem. Why would Topps do this? Why would they omit a card in their set and cause so much frustration amongst set collectors worldwide? After many concerned collectors contacted Topps, Topps announced the reasoning behind card #297. Topps stated that they produced #297 of Alex Gordon, a rookie card for the Kansas City Royals. However according to MLBPA rules for rookie cards, because Alex Gordon had not played in a major league baseball game, Topps should not have been allowed to make a card of him. So, Topps had to quickly pull every Alex Gordon card out of their production. In order to do this they did several things. The most common thing they did was they cut out a big square in every Alex Gordon card that was ready for production. Here is what that card looks like:

Some of these cutouts made there way into packs and some collectors claim their set as complete with one of these cutouts. Although Topps tried to destroy all of the Alex Gordon cards, a few full card versions made their way into packs. Two other versions that made their way into packs are known as silver blank fronts and gold blank fronts. It's obvious that Topps tried to do everything they could to abide by the MLBPA once the error was discovered. However, some collectors believe that Topps did this intentionally to increase their brand awareness.  Here is a picture of the gold blank front:

As a long time collector, I wanted to make sure I obtained one full version for my set. I didn't want a cutout or blank front version, so I knew I'd have to pay a lot to own one. However, there was a certain famous celebrity that was paying HUGE money for the full card version and was buying them in quantities. At the beginning, these cards were selling for $1,000-$1,500 on average. The famous celebrity paid $10,000 for a rack pack with an Alex Gordon card showing on front. After watching several of these cards sell for over $1,000 each, I began to realize that there was a seller that had a bunch of these cards. I contacted the seller to find out how he received so many of these cards. He had at least 25 that I knew of. He never contacted me back. I'm not sure where he got these. Maybe an ex-Topps employee? Who knows.

Here is the full version that I have in my set:

After a month or so, the celebrity quit buying these up and thus the price went down a bit. I ended up winning one on EBay for $400. Now in my opinion, my 2006 Topps is complete. Hopefully, I will never pay this much again for a current year base card.  Today, you can find a full #297 Alex Gordon for $150.  Turns out that there are more of these cards available than first thought.  Initially, it was reported that only 50 cards were inserted into packs.  However, there is another similar story of something that occurred in 2008. Stay tuned tomorrow to hear about that!

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