Ballad of the 2001 SP Authentic Tiger Woods

It's not really his "rookie" card since Tiger Woods had already been playing on the Tour for 5 years when  the 2001 Upper Deck SP Authentic golf cards came out, but it was UD's first swing at the sport. Owning the rights to market Tiger Woods autographs didn't hurt Upper Deck's position in the market, either.

Now, the 2001 SP Authentic Tiger autographed card seems to be the gold standard online. Prices have dropped a bit from the pre-knee surgery days, but they're still pricey. A PSA 10 SP Authentic Woods autographed card recently sold for $4000 on eBay. The same card was selling quite a bit higher last year. A PSA 9 went for $2885 and a BGS 9 for $2650, leaving the obvious impression that the 'gem mint' cards are being purchased strictly for their investment potential as the ultra-rare best of the best. In fact, it's likely those who are buying the '9's are also sticking them away in hopes of selling just after whatever milestone Tiger reaches next.

Average collectors can find them for less than $2000 ungraded or in lower professional grades. It's the autograph, of course, that drives the price up. It's not enough anymore to collect 'rookie cards' unless they're autographed. At least that's the mentality of the modern era collector. Kind of sad, but you have to admit the cards are pretty sharp.

Kind of surprising to see over 2400 golf trading cards on eBay right now.