2006 SP Legendary Cuts #BC-HY Hoyt Wilhelm -- Yellow Printing Plate
"You have received a printing plate trading card. On the front of this card is an authentic piece of the printing plate used in its production."
"Enjoy your card!"
This is what the sticker reads on the back of my only printing plate of Hoyt Wilhelm.
Frankly, one is enough for me.
Back when I still bought cards on Ebay, I was able to add this one to my then-budding Hoyt collection for around ten or fifteen bucks.
Don't get me wrong. It's a great piece, and I'm extraordinarily glad I was able to add a printing plate to my main player collection. (Just one of four total plates I own.)
It's just that I don't see myself ever shelling out that kind of money for a plate ever again.
If there's one area of collecting where card companies wasted a lot of potential, it's with printing plates.
I'm not sure exactly who first came up with the concept of inserting these into packs, or when that was.
Although I don't know for sure, I'd venture a guess that they were pretty popular during their early stages. The concept itself is actually pretty neat.
The actual plate used to produce all those cards can be yours!
It was a win-win for collectors and card companies. A neat piece for the average collector, and a few extra bucks for the card company, as I'm sure they just threw most of the plates out before the concept of inserting them into packs was conceived.
However, as with autographs, jersey cards, etc., what was once a good idea turned into an absurdly over-saturated market.
Companies printed four, six, or even eight different plates of each card, all representing various colors from the printing process. (My Hoyt is a yellow plate, although you'd never know it from just looking at it.)
While they may say "one-of-one", printing plates are usually anything but these days.
Last year, I was lucky enough to pull a Jhonny Peralta printing plate from my box of Topps Update. I looked at it for a couple seconds, then threw it off to the side with all the other cards.
By the next day, it was out the door, a "piece" of a trade I made soon after putting it up on my website. I never even had a remote thought about keeping it.
I love my Hoyt printing plate. But it shouldn't have take a huge name like Hoyt Wilhelm for me to get excited about one of these.
Unfortunately, it's the truth. I could honestly care less about 99 percent of the plates on the market right now, no matter how much I might want to feel otherwise.
As they say, the saddest thing in life is wasted potential.
Look no further than the saga of printing plates for evidence of that.