Bob Lemke cards

Collector score: *** (3  Stars)

Of all of the various home-made cards, the ones made by Lemke are by far the most interesting and attractive. Lemke is unquestionably the laureate of the homemade card craft.  But, sadly, his cards are still worthless, because they are made on an inkjet printer.

Book value for cards produced on an inkjet printer is zero, because:

1. The print run never ends.  They may be reproduced forever, by anyone with an ink jet printer.

2. The ink used in inkjet printers degrades quickly, and these cards will not last long enough to acquire any age-related value.

However, where else are you going to get a football card of Bill Cosby?

Bob sells his cards (reluctantly, it seems) for $12 each.  He’s a professional card historian, formerly the editor of the Standard Catalog of Baseball Cards, and a publisher in his own right.  Semi-retired, he now writes a blog about his favorite thing in the world: Baseball cards (along with a little bit of football).

His cards are true “Cards that never were” as they are all in the format of existing card sets, mostly vintage Topps and Bowman designs.  It’s not easy making an authentic-looking 1954 Topps for a player (Bobby Thomson) who didn’t appear in the set that year. Two photos and a logo on front, 3 cartoons on back, plus a signature.  This is challenging work, and no one is better at it than Lemke is.

Also, there is no effort by Lemke to conceal the fact that these are new creations, home-made using an inkjet printer.  He does not do any significant “marketing” of his work, and does not operate an eBay store.  His work is a hobby, done purely for his own satisfaction.


It is difficult to assign a collector score of 3 stars to cards which are technically worthless.  I do so only because Lemke issues cards that you cannot get any other way.  They are perhaps worth something as a type of folk art.

However, there is no sound basis for assigning any collectible value to these type of cards.  Anyone who has one can simply scan it and reproduce an unlimited number of them.  Also, as the ink begins to deteriorate, the cards will eventually go away.  They should last perhaps 6-10 years in an album before the fading becomes noticeable.

As nice as they are, they are worth nothing as a collectible sports card due to that fatal flaw. However, they are interesting and very nicely done.

PRICING: If you own one or more of these cards, and wish to sell it, how much should it go for?  Assuming you’re going to be honest about it, you can’t really sell it as a collectible, because it is new, and because it is only temporary.  So it becomes a modern reproduction, an “objet d’art” if you will.  As with all art, it should be priced based on aesthetics and whatever similar items are selling for.  There are people who buy these cards all the time, apparently knowing exactly what they are getting. In describing the item, I would advise that you avoid two terms:  “rare” and “collectible” because inkjet-created cards are not rare, since they have a print run which is open-ended and can be easily reproduced by anyone.  And, as mentioned above, they will not last long enough to be collectible.

About card hog

I've been collecting baseball cards since 1965, when I would chew on them instead of the horrible bubble gum inside. All of these cards are from my private collection.
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