2004 Topps "World Treasures" Pope John Paul II Autographed Card 1/1
This rarity has been featured in Sports Illustrated, The Tonight Show, USA Today, and other various forms of media in the past year. This "cut signature" card honoring Pope John Paul II, which originally was part of Topps' 2005 World Treasures series, has skyrocketed into one of the most sought-after and valuable trading cards in history since his recent death. In fact, the card featuring the pontiff's signature is the hottest card on the market, according to the June edition of Beckett Baseball. The World Treasures Signature Cards appeared in Topps' 2005 Baseball Series I (a subsequent "Power Brokers" set are featured in the just-released 2005 Topps Baseball Series 2), with 48 in all including the likes of presidents, kings, queens, Supreme Court judges, even dictators like Battista and revolutionaries like Che Guevera, and saints like Mother Teresa. The beloved Pope John Paul II's card is a one of a kind -- as are the others -- in that it depicts one of the most revered leaders in history in the highly unusual venue of a trading card. All of these cards are in vogue right now, as novelty items and with the added fuel of the actual signatures of these figures cut into the center of their cards. Cards measure approx. 2.5 x 3.5" and have a brown background of a map of the world, with the words "World Treasures" across the top in gold above the name of the figure. The pope's signature -- taken, as with all of the signatures in the series, from documents -- is on a light blue strip in black ink and rates an inspiring 9/10. To date, the card has generated the largest sum tracked for any of the 48 cards. By comparison, the card for King Frederick the Great has sold for around $3,500. One might even call the Pope's card the "Wagner" of world leaders, summoning up thoughts of the $1.26 million paid for Honus Wagner's 1902 T-206 card in 2000. Back of the card has a short bio of the Pope and an engraved "1/1" in gold at the upper right, denoting that the card was the first in the set. The Topps authentication sticker is at the lower left -- a critical component! Card is in NRMT condition and should be preserved with as much care as possible.