Rookie Card Year: 1987
Investment Rating: 6.5
Even though Barry Larkin cards aren't going to make anyone rich, his election into baseball's Hall of Fame ensures his hobby legacy. The 1995 National League MVP, Larkin isn't your standard Cooperstown inductee. He hit over 30 home runs just once and failed to break the 100 RBI plateau. Yet his consistency, strong defense and speed made him a perennial spark for the Cincinnati Reds. A 12-time All-Star and three-time Gold Glove winner, Larkin helped lead the Reds to a World Series Championship in 1990 versus the Oakland Athletics.
Barry Larkin's first card came in the 1986 Sportflics Rookies box set. It's perceived as being too obscure to be regarded as his true rookie card. As a result, Larkin's rookie cards are found in 1987 Donruss, 1987 Fleer and 1987 Topps Baseball. All three sets are hugely over-printed, keeping prices very low. Even professionally graded gem mint and pristine copies of these Barry Larkin cards are within reach for collectors on a tight budget.
From an investment perspective, the best rookie options are the 1987 Fleer Glossy and 1987 Topps Tiffany Barry Larkin cards. Better still are later Barry Larkin cards featuring a certified autograph. Although there are around 400 different autograph cards, not a lot pop up anymore. Autographed Barry Larkin memorabilia, particularly photos and baseballs, is also popular with collectors, although there's not a ton of it out there either. Because so many people have Hall of Fame autograph collections, interest in his signature is on the rise. Prices are bound to follow.
Barry Larkin Rookie Card Checklist
A simple but attractive card, the black borders make this card somewhat tough to keep in top shape. However, the huge print run has ensured there's more than enough to go around, keeping prices low.
The blue border doesn't mix well with Cincinnati's team colors. The result is a card that has a nice, albeit generic, photo but isn't able to hold it together. As far as 1987 baseball cards set go, Fleer has emerged as a favorite, but print runs smother any potential value gains. 1987 Fleer Glossy is tougher to find and slightly more valuable as it was only available in factory sets.
Collectors seem to either love or loath the wood-grain 1987 Topps Baseball design. As far as value goes, like Larkin's other rookie cards, raw versions can be found for a buck or two. The best option, however, is his 1987 Topps Tiffany card. Available only in factory sets, the upscale card is much more limited than any of the other 1987 Barry Larkin cards.
1987 Topps Tiffany #648 Barry Larkin Reds ISA 10 GEM MINT
1996 TOPPS FINEST BARRY LARKIN REFRACTOR REDS
BARRY LARKIN 1996 ZENITH #19 ARTIST'S PROOF BGS 9.5 GEM MINT
1990 Donruss Learning Series #51 Barry Larkin PSA 9 Mint
Barry Larkin Autographed Memorabilia Buying Guide
Below you will find examples of what an authentic Barry Larkin autograph looks like. This can be used as a first point of reference for determining the legitimacy of autograph memorabilia, but is not a substitute for having your items authenticated by a well-respected professional autograph authentication company. Some of the trusted sources within the sports memorabilia market include the following companies: PSA, JSA, Steiner, Tristar and Mounted Memories. Click on any of the images below to view full size photos.
Cut Signature Exemplar
Barry Larkin Key Signature Attributes: An authentic Barry Larkin signature will exhibit several distinguishing characteristics. Regardless of the type of item or when it was signed, look for the following signature features:
- The entire signature is typically written on a steep angle of about 60 degrees.
- The letters "B" and "L" are over-sized.
- The letter "B" has open loops, the pen lifts and then starts the letter "a."
- A single letter "r" is discernible that flows into the letter "y" which is bisected by the tail of the letter "B."
- The letter "L" is very flamboyant with a big loop at the top.
- The remaining letters are very clear.
- He often uses an inscription of his jersey number "11."
Signed Bat Pricing:
Signed Photograph Pricing:
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