A collector who pulled a dual autograph card of Tampa Bay Rays stars Randy Arozarena and Austin Meadows from 2022 Topps Definitive noticed something amiss.
The card appeared to be signed by the same person—and it was apparent that person wasn’t Arozarena or Meadows.
Topps acknowledged the issue on Friday via social media.
Since the issue first arose, several of the non-genuine autographs have emerged from boxes.
Topps didn’t indicate exactly what happened, but it’s clear the process of acquiring the signatures broke down somewhere. Were they signed by a frustrated individual who’d been put in charge of acquiring the signatures and for some reason couldn’t? Someone inside the Rays’ clubhouse? We don’t know.
Card companies acquire autographs for their products months ahead of time and in this case, the signatures weren’t witnessed by someone looking out for Topps’ best interests. No one inside the company noticed the signatures were bad and the cards wound up being part of the pack out.
The resulting embarrassment may cost Topps two to three dozen boxes of one of its best products (they’ve been selling for nearly $2,000) along with a corresponding number of replacement cards.
While Topps’ move is seen as generous, the Fanatics held company most certainly doesn’t want fake autographs lingering in the market—even if they become well known to collectors– so offering a strong incentive to return them was about their only option.
Collectors and breakers who pull one of the cards will actually come out with a pretty nice replacement package and a card that might have been worth $50 or so with actual autographs is suddenly one of the most sought after cards of the season.