I think I've identified a "ghost whale"... you know, a white whale that might not actually exist.
Regular readers know I'm nuts for the Topps Retired product line. And Kirby Puckett is one of my favorite guys to collect, so his autograph in 2003 Topps Retired has been a holy grail of mine for a while now.
But I'm beginning to suspect that the card doesn't exist, and hopefully this post (and reader response) can help settle it.
To start at the beginning, Topps Retired Signature Edition debuted in 2003 and Kirby Puckett was listed as an autograph signer in the marketing materials and even on the bottom of the hobby box (above), though key to note is "this list is subject to change" small print attached. He was among the Group B odds group (Group A being the toughest pulls, and Group G being the most common), with a stated print run of 75 base Kirby autographs and 25 serial-numbered refractor parallels. This is common info provided on card checklist sites like TCDB, Beckett, and baseballcardpedia.. So according to that, there should be a total of (100) '03 Retired Kirby autos out there.
Sadly, Mr. Puckett died on March 6, 2006 after years of failing health, though he has other on-card certified autographs through 2004 on the market, so it's certainly possible he signed '03 Retired cards.
Does anybody have this card, or could at least share documented proof that it's out there beyond a text checklist?
Please let me know. Thanks!