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Barry Larkin Cards and Memorabilia Guide

Barry Larkin

Date of Birth: 4/28/1964

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

1987 Donruss Barry Larkin RC #492

Barry Larkin Cards and Memorabilia Guide 1

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.

1987 Fleer Barry Larkin RC #204

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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.

1987 Topps Barry Larkin RC #648

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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.

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Autograph Guide

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


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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:

  1. The entire signature is typically written on a steep angle of about 60 degrees.
  2. The letters "B" and "L" are over-sized.
  3. The letter "B" has open loops, the pen lifts and then starts the letter "a."
  4. A single letter "r" is discernible that flows into the letter "y" which is bisected by the tail of the letter "B."
  5. The letter "L" is very flamboyant with a big loop at the top.
  6. The remaining letters are very clear.
  7. He often uses an inscription of his jersey number "11."

Signed Baseballs

Active Listings for Barry Larkin Signed Baseballs

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Signed Bat Pricing:

Active Listings for Barry Larkin Signed Bats

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Signed Photograph Pricing:

Active Listings for Barry Larkin Photographs

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Other Resources

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Ryan is a former member of The Cardboard Connection Writing Staff.   His collecting origins began with winter bike rides to the corner store, tossing a couple of quarters onto the counter and peddling home with a couple packs of O-Pee-Chee hockey in his pocket. Today, he continues to build sets, go after inserts with cool technologies, chase Montreal Expos and finish off his John Jaha master collection.

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