As many of you know, Lonely Road Books published a deluxe Limited Edition and a deluxe Lettered Edition of Blockade Billy by Stephen King. They looked something like this (click on any of the images for the full gallery on the LRB website):
Many collectors already know that Stephen King autographed his first-ever baseball cards as his way of signing these special editions, which I thought was very cool, but what no one outside a small group knew until now is that there were actually two different baseball cards created for King. Here’s how this unique and unusual collectible item came to be:
After running the baseball card idea by King, who loved it, we hired a local shop to custom-make a uniform and baseball cap for the fictional New Jersey Titans. These items were shipped down to King in Florida and we waited to see what happened. A few weeks later, the results of a photo shoot arrived.
We narrowed the photos down to one image and Kate Freeman Design went to work, creating two versions of the card. The first version used the original photo of King exactly as it was taken. The second version used the same photo of King, only he was photoshopped into a stock photo of Wrigley field. (We didn’t want to use a photo of Fenway because that seemed a little clichéd given King’s well-known affinity for the team, but we did want something that evoked an earlier era of baseball.)
Here are the two versions of the card before Kate finished aging them a bit:
We ran the cards by the folks who needed to approve them, and no one could pick a favorite because everyone liked both of them for different reasons. In the end, we printed both designs because the book is about a baseball player with a secret and we thought it would be fun for this special edition to also have a secret or two of its own.
Approximately 25% of the “original photo” cards without the baseball field background were sent out to customers with their books, making it the rarer version of the two.
Here is a photo of one of the signed cards: