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Takeru Kobayashi's 2006 Topps Allen & Ginter autograph and (soon) Joey Chestnut


The 2006 Topps Allen & Ginter autographed baseball card of Japanese competitive eater Takeru Kobayashi.

He signed 200 copies of the card (right) which is worth $60 according to Beckett Sports Card Monthly. However, since that set is one of the most popular of the last decade, you can expect to pay more -- the only copy on eBay right now has a $150 price tag. (No worries if it sells or you can't afford it -- his unsigned version of the card in standard size, or tobacco-sized mini form, won't cost you more than a couple of bucks.)

The former world champion is the decided underdog in today's Nathan's International July Fourth Hot Dog Eating Contest (Noon, ESPN), after he lost last year to upstart American eater Joey Chestnut.

There isn't the luster on Kobayashi's card like there was during his reign of six consecutive championships -- he lost last year by three dogs, a burning loss that the biggest bottle of Pepto-Bismol can't take away.

In fact, Kobayashi's claim to be the only competitive eater with a baseball card ends later this month, too, as Chestnut will be included in this year's version of the baseball card set (left). The Allen & Ginter franchise is based on a set of 1880s tobacco cards which featured "World's Champions" in various sports and included some of the first cards of professional baseball players.

There hasn't been any official word on whether Chestnut signed cards for the upcoming set, which hits hobby shops on July 21, but you can bet your (hot dog) buns that he has.


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