I’ve never been a huge fan of cutting up signed documents or vintage game-worn jerseys to make baseball cards. That’s never been a secret.
You like ’em? I’ve got nothing against you. To each his own, I suppose. I’ll even admit a few of them are really little mini works of art. If you can force yourself to believe that the cut-up jersey was falling apart anyway.
I also respect the card companies’ rights to do what they feel is necessary to sell products, but if you had told me 15 years ago that the concept would become the backbone of the modern card market, I would have laughed.
Surely true baseball fans and collectors would never support destroying historic sports memorabilia so ‘everyone’ could own a sliver of it, would they?
Yes they would.
They’d buy cases, hoping for a ‘hit’. They’d pay hundreds of dollars for a cut signature card on eBay, when the original document –still intact–wasn’t worth that much. In some ways, it’s kept the modern card industry alive. Just plain cards weren’t enough anymore.
Or so we were told.
The swatches of the 90s gave way to more sophisticated, more vintage pieces as time went on. Anything was–and is– fair game. Babe Ruth bats. Mickey Mantle uniforms. Jackie Robinson jersey buttons.
Abe Lincoln’s hair.
But I digress.
The ‘cut autograph’ craze has resulted in numerous signed documents being purchased and the autographed portion shaped to fit inside the frame of a card. Sometimes, a large flowing signature gets clipped.
The grading companies would call it ‘trimmed’.
But it had to fit on the card. The autographs had been purchased for packaging. The checklist had been announced.
Several days ago, this post on another site brought up some potentially embarrassing flaws in the cuts being advertised as authentic Presidential signatures on a couple of hobby products, one of which is trying to make its mark in a crowded field.
We’ll let you decide the merits of what’s offered and whether you care, but it’s quite plausible to say that acquiring real autographs of US Presidents might just be a little harder–and expensive–to do than some in the industry once thought.
Who really is walking around with a showcase full of Marty Van Buren letters in 2009 anyway?
Fake autographs on cards isn’t a new phenomenon either.
Autograph buying should always come with a healthy dose of skepticism anyway, whether slabbed or not. Clubhouse boys and professional forgers have been fooling fans for years. Unless you saw it signed, there’s a chance it’s not real (and if you did, that still doesn’t mean it’s going to get the authenticator’s blessing–but that’s another story)
There’s something about cutting up a Dick Nixon letter that has an autopen signature and sticking it in a pack of baseball cards that just feels right on so many levels. Call it poetic justice. Call it a sign from above that baseball cards should be about…well…baseball.
I do feel for the kid who pulls one and later finds out it’s not real because at that point, we’ve lost a collector–probably for good. And the hobby can’t afford that right now. But then, when some of those packs are $1,000 and up, kids aren’t the ones buying them.