The Problem With Sketch Cards

Besides the picture, what would you say is the most important aspect of a trading card?  How about the name of the player.  Sketch cards are usually found in entertainment products such as boxes of Star Wars cards, but this year Topps introduced sketch cards to sports fans in their 2008 Topps Updates & Highlights and Stadium Club brands.  I think some of them look really nice, and could be considered tiny pieces of art, but a lot of these sketch cards don’t have the players name on them anywhere.  This can get really confusing.  Collectors end up guessing who the player might be if the name or number isn’t visible.  Another problem I see occuring is that people are starting to manufacturer their own sketch cards for sale.  This is a problem because it can be hard to determine which are from Topps, and which are self-made.  Take a look at the cards below.

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At a quick glance, they almost look like they are from the same company.  The top card is of Gary Carter from Stadium Club, and the bottom card is a custom sketch of Sam Bradford.  If companies want to insert sketch cards into their products thats fine, but I think they need to find a more distinctive way to separate their cards from custom cards.  Perhaps placing them in an uncirculated holder and inserting them as box toppers.  This is why its so important to read the product description.  

3 Responses

  1. I think you’re making a little too much out of the “problem” of people producing their own sketch cards. All of the Topps ones have the company logo printed on them, and I imagine that they have something printed on the back to certify that you’ve just pulled an original Topps sketch card.

    I do agree that they should identify the player who is supposed to be pictured on the card though. I mean, I have several hundred different Gary Carter cards, yet when I saw that top image I never made any connection. 🙂

  2. The card backs themselves are also different on the Topps cards. It shouldn’t take much to identify a pack-pulled card from a commission.

    A lot of established sketch card artists in the non-sport end also have their own sketch card designs that have their name or a website printed on them.

    Like every other end of the hobby, collectors need to educate themselves before jumping in. I don’t see this as being any different from facsimile autographs on base card designs being passed off as the real deal or half of the “grading” companies out there.

  3. If that’s Gary Carter, then I should get into sketching cards. I can sketch, but half the time my final result doesn’t look like the person I’m sketching. That’s what happened to the Carter card. So, in other words, “I can do THAT.”

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