Saturday, September 27, 2008

Rickey Henderson Collectible Coins

It's been awhile since I've done a "collectibles" post, and a new acquisition prompted me to put this one together. These posts tend to take a lot longer to write than others, but they are always my favorite!

Over the years there have been quite a few coins and medallions produced featuring Rickey. I've included all of the ones in my collection below, but would welcome feedback from other collectors about any others that may exist out there.

This coin is the most recent Rickey collectible I've obtained. It's one that I've never seen before, don't know anything about, and would appreciate any help that any readers may provide. The gold colored coin is about 1 1/4" across, and only about 1/32" thick. It's a pretty light coin, and looks like a token that you might use to pay for the batting cages. The coin commemorates Rickey's single-season stolen base record from 1982, but it's unclear if the coin was produced at that time, or at a later date.

On a slight history diversion, Topps inserted their first set of metal coins in the 1964 set. The coins above are actually in my personal collection, and were given to me by my dad, who actually collected them at the time (which I think is so much cooler than picking them up on eBay!).

Topps released another coin set in 1971, took a fairly long break, and then released a set each year from 1987-1990. However, these coins weren't inserted in packs of baseball cards, but were included in separate coin only sets.

Rickey was included in the 48-coin 1987 set, but for some reason, was excluded in the both the 1988 and 1989 sets, which had been increased to 60 coins. You can buy an entire box of the coins (as seen above) on eBay right now for $20.00.

Rickey was added back in to the 1990 60-coin set, the last year that Topps would produce them.

Not only was Rickey included in the 1990 coin set, but his coin was featured on the wrapper, as well as the side of the box that the packs came in.

In 1990 Bandai released a set of Sport Stars Coins with Rickey included in the set. These coins are about 1 1/2" across, 1/8" thick, and fairly heavy. These came in a pack with two coins (one visible, and one bonus coin). The back of the coin is copyrighted "1990 Bandai," and includes both the MLB and MLBPA logos. I've actually never seen an unopened package with Rickey visible. The scan above is taken from the web to show an example of the packaging.

In 1992 Bandai once again released a set of coins, with only slight variations from the 1990 set. Bandai must have lost their license with MLB, but still maintained the one with the MLBPA, as the front of Rickey's 1992 coin is exactly the same as the 1990, with only the A's logo removed from his hat, and the A's logo in the corner replaced with the MLBPA logo. On the back, similar changes have also taken place. This coin is copyrighted "1992 Sports Stars Collector Coins," with no mention of Bandai. On both years coins, they managed to spell Rickey's name correctly on the front, only to spell it "Ricky" on the back!

These coins could be purchased in three different sets, with the Rickey coin appearing in the upper right corner of the "blue" version (the others were black and red). I'm not sure if these were available in individual packs like the 1990 coins. Interestingly enough, Beckett recognizes the 1992 coin, but not the 1990 coin, which did actually have an MLB license.

Along with the trading card that always accompanied their figures, Starting Lineup included a "special edition collector coin" along with the 1991 release. The silver coin is about 1 3/8" wide, and is actually fairly heavy. More information about all of the Rickey Henderson Starting Lineup releases can be found here.

The next coin is my collection, the 1998 EnviroMint bronze coin, actually already warranted a full post of its own, but I'm including the picture here for completeness. More information about the coin can be found in the previous post.

The final coins are actually Rickey Henderson smashed pennies. The one on the top features a running baseball player and says "Most Stolen Bases," with "1,231" and "1997" on the sides, reflecting Rickey's total steals at the time. The bottom penny says "All-Time Stolen Base Leader" with "May 1st" and "1991" on the sides, he date he broke the all-time record. The picture includes a sliding ballplayer with #24 on its back, above the number 939.

This last penny isn't actually in my collection, but is one that I found while doing some research for this post. This site actually seems like a great resource for anyone attempting to collect baseball related smashed pennies. The penny includes the same diving ballplayer, only this time he has on #35 (I do appreciate the accuracy). This Rickey coin says "Breaks Stolen Base Record" on the bottom, with "August 27" and "1982" on the sides. It's interesting to note that the running ballplayer on the first penny above is actually used on a few different coins (Hank Aaron and Ty Cobb for example), but the head first slide pose on the bottom two coins seems to be unique to Rickey.


Derek Granger said...

Brad - the first coin on this blog is a 1982 Feisel Commemorative Coin. I don't own one, but know there is one in an unopened original pouch.

ManOfSteal said...

Thanks Derek! I did eventually find out about the Feisel coin, but have never seen an unopened one. Definitely something that doesn't pop up often.

Renie said...

Great coins! I like to search such rare coins with metal detector in my region. I've been finding a lot of interesting things.