Placing it in Context: Co-Signers is one of the 1999-00 Stadium Club insert sets. Thirteen different players are matched up, two per card, to create this 26-card set. The design is balanced and elegant. Dark background, simple photographs of the players, ample space at the bottom to highlight the autographs so that they do not feel forced onto the card. The reverse parallels the design of the obverse with a brief dose of trivia below the photographs. (Although the Topps Authentic hologram could have been incorporated into the card instead of being overlayed as an afterthought.) If only Topps could show the same care and balance in the set structure itself.
The rarity of the Co-Signers cards is anarchy. The first eight are 1:3294 unless in HTA (Home Team Advantage) packs, otherwise known to everyone else as “jumbo packs”…then they’re 1:1332. These first eight are the only cards that feature Tim Duncan. CS9-14 are 1:2,202 or 1:882 HTA, CS15-20 are 1:733 or 1:294 HTA, and CS 21-26 1:550 or 1:220 HTA. The four groups are also identified as A, B, C and D respectively. Overall odds end up being 1:254 for hobby packs or 1:102 HTA. Unnecessary, over complicated, and unappealing odds! Especially when players cross from one group to another. How does this affect card CS16….?
The Card: Steve Francis and Shawn Marion, found here on card CS16, are also found in the more rare group A. But would anyone really care? The complicated odds above show someone trying to use Tim Duncan to “force scarcity” in particular cards. No difference in design, same players… Card CS16 is in Group C, and has the appeal of being a bit more rare than the most common of this set. But it allows collectors to acquire a Steve Francis and Shawn Marion autograph at a price discount that might not be found in groups A and B. The over-complexity of the set causes a catch-22 in value. Although this particular card is hard to locate, the value doesn’t reflect that. If you can find one, it will set you back about $40. A far cry from the $125 estimate in The 2001 Standard Catalog of Basketball Cards closer to when it was produced.
In Short: A very attractive card for any collection (as long as one forgets about the chaos of the seeding of these cards and the set itself).