Q&A – What Are The First Pack-Inserted Cut Signatures?

Not alive to sign? No problem.

Upper Deck introduced collectors to the first cut signature cards in 1999 Upper Deck Century Legends Baseball.

After obtaining authentic autographs (hopefully authentic) of deceased players, Upper Deck proceeded to “cut” the signatures off of those items. The signatures would then be inserted into cards much like a piece of jersey or bat.

The 1999 Upper Deck Century Legends Baseball – Legendary Cuts set consists of only (9) cards. Each card is a one-of-one.

Checklist:

  • Babe Ruth
  • Cy Young
  • Lefty Grove
  • Mel Ott
  • Roy Campanella
  • Satchel Paige
  • Ty Cobb
  • Walter Johnson
  • Jimmie Foxx

A few months after the release of 1999 Upper Deck Century Legends Baseball, Upper Deck released 1999 UD SP Signature Edition Baseball. Another round of cut signatures were included in that set.

Q&A – What Is The First Pack-Inserted Autographed Card? (Follow Up)

Have you ever heard of the 1976 Goof’s Pants Place Tulsa Oilers team set? After posting Q&A – What Is The First Pack-Inserted Autographed Card? this set was brought to my attention thanks to Breakout Cards and Chris Harris as it contains a few autographs.

In 1976 the Tulsa Oilers (Triple-A affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals) released a 26-card team set which could be purchased from the team for $5. Included within that team set were two autographed cards – Satchel Paige and Paul “Daffy” Dean.

Both of these cards predate the Reggie Jackson autographed card issued by Upper Deck by 14 years.

Personally, I still consider the 1990 Upper Deck Baseball High Series Reggie Jackson Auto #’ed/2,500 the first pack-inserted autographed card. The 1976 Goof’s Pants Place Tulsa Oilers team set was a regional issue, and not made available everywhere. A hobby pack, and team set are two different things.

Sports Collectors Daily has a nice write-up about this set.

Q&A – What Is The First Pack-Inserted Autographed Card?

The Upper Deck Company shook-up the industry when they released their first set of cards in 1989. Premium card stock, anti-counterfeiting holograms, and tamper-proof packs showed collectors that Upper Deck meant business. Taking the chance on making a young rookie named Ken Griffey, Jr. card #1 in the set also paid off significantly.

In 1990 Upper Deck turned up the heat again. The 1990 Upper Deck Baseball set consists of (800) cards. It was released in two separate series – Low Series #1-700 and High Series #701-800.

Inserted within the High Series packs of 1990 Upper Deck Baseball is a 10-card Reggie Jackson Heroes set.

To make things even more interesting Upper Deck got Reggie Jackson to sign 2,500 copies of card #9. This card became the first pack-inserted autograph. I’m certain some of these are still hiding in sealed packs just waiting to be pulled.

Upon this product’s release it was unheard of to pull an autographed card out of a pack. Today with a lot of products its almost expected.

What Does An Authentic 1988 Cal League Ken Griffey Jr. San Bernardino Spirit #34 Baseball Card Look Like?

A massive wave of new people entered the hobby over the last few years. Things that might be common knowledge for veteran collectors may not be so common for all of the newbies. Scammers are just waiting to take advantage of these naive new collectors. So many fraudsters have been exposed so far this year with many more on the way.

I recently watched someone spend over $100 on a handful of unlicensed/fake 1988 Cal League Ken Griffey Jr. San Bernardino Spirit #34 baseball cards. Its sad that this still happens.

Reinforcing the fundamentals of this hobby can’t hurt. Especially with all of the new people. Below is what you should be looking for if you’re in the market for an authentic 1988 Cal League Ken Griffey Jr. San Bernardino Spirit #34.

Authentic front
Authentic back

In the early 90’s an unlicensed version of this card began to surface. The overall layout and design is similar to the authentic version, but the dead giveaway is the different photo. As you can see there are two unlicensed cards floating around. Both utilize the same photo, but the text and placement of the text are a little different. The card number on the second example is a bit fatter as well. You never see these unlicensed fakes graded by PSA, BGS, or SGC because they aren’t authentic. The secondary market has been filled with them for years. You’ll notice they are always cheaper when compared to the authentic version. Its funny to see that one was pictured on a bobblehead in 2019.

Unlicensed front
Unlicensed back
Unlicensed front
Unlicensed back

Q&A – What Happened To The 2019-20 Topps Chrome Basketball Product?

Question: What ever happened to the 2019-20 Topps Chrome basketball product?

Answer: In May of 2019, Kentucky Wildcats guard Tyler Herro shared a picture on social media showing off some basketball cards he recently signed. What got collectors so flustered was the fact that they were Topps Chrome cards.

Prior to this picture surfacing, the last basketball product Topps released came in 2009-10. It got many people wondering if Topps was going to release some type of unlicensed basketball set. Topps usually doesn’t release unlicensed products, but with all of the hype around Zion Williamson you can’t help but wonder if perhaps they were thinking about giving it a shot.

Even though Topps doesn’t have an NBA and/or CLC license, its very possible they could’ve signed someone like Zion Williamson to an exclusive autograph deal. Upper Deck has a similar setup with Michael Jordan and Ben Simmons. This would have really messed with Panini who is the only manufacturer right now with an NBA and CLC license.

Many months went by without hearing anything. During the 2020 Topps Industry Conference this product’s fate was officially confirmed. According to Topps GM David Leiner, the product doesn’t exist anymore.

It certainly gets the imagination going. What do you think a Zion Williamson Topps Chrome card would sell for? Especially when you see what Panini’s diet products go for. Can you imagine how the hobby would react to an online-exclusive Topps Chrome Sapphire Edition basketball product?

I truly believe an unlicensed Zion Williamson card made by Topps could give a licensed card from Panini a run for it’s money.

Card of the Day: Andrew “Rube” Foster 2001 Topps Chrome What Could Have Been Refractor #5

Q&A: What Is The First Baseball Card?

Question: What is the first baseball card?

Answer: The answer to this question can vary depending on how a person defines “the first baseball card”.  In my opinion, this 19th century game card is what I view as the first card depicting what looks to be some form of baseball.

Based on bat and ball drawings from the 18th and 19th century, baseball historians have dated this card to around the 1830s.  During that time, children’s educational card games were popular in both England and the United States.  The picture shows three boys – one at bat, another pitching, and in the background a boy looks as if he’s standing on what would be first base.  Several other cards came in this set, but none of them deal with sports.

I wish this card was talked about more often, but it just isn’t.  If it dealt with a specific player or team I believe it would be.  Rarely do they ever show-up for sale.  When they do, its usually with an auction house.  Not many examples are floating around.

Q&A: What Is A PSA Qualifier?

Question: Could you please tell me what a PSA qualifier is?  I see a lot of PSA graded cards with strange designations on them – OC, ST, PD, etc…

Answer: In short, a PSA qualifier allows for a card to receive a higher grade while having one major defect.  PSA qualifier designations include OC (Off-center), ST (stain), PD (Print Defect), OF (Out of Focus), and MK (Marks).  According to PSA “A “qualified” card is a card that meets all the criteria for a particular grade, but fails the standard in one area.”

For example, take a look at this Mickey Mantle 1961 Topps #300 graded by PSA a Mint 9 with an OC qualifier.  Other than being off-center its in really nice condition.  Without the qualifier it would probably be graded a 5.  As far as value goes, a normal PSA Mint 9 will always be better than that same card graded by PSA with a Mint 9 qualifier.  The qualifiers just allow people to own lower-quality cards while being able to retain that higher grade.

While we’re on the subject of graded cards I think its important to remind you of some things.  Grading in it’s current form is a complete sham.  Card grading has been corrupt since it all began with the world famous 1909-11 T206 Honus Wagner graded by PSA a NM-MT 8.  Certain people have been outed as receiving higher grades on their cards just because they have friends at the grading companies.  Better grades have been given due to the volume of grading individuals do as well.  Cards that are counterfeit, altered, and doctored have made it through the grading process just because they know how much publicity and/or money that high graded card will receive.  Its a total joke.  Grading companies, cosigners, card doctors, and trimmers are all in bed together.

Despite so much proof of all of this wrongdoing, very few people care.  PSA continues to have record profits.  As long as people are willing to spend large amounts of money on high-graded cards nothing is going to change.  They will all continue to look the other way because its a ride that nobody wants to get off.

Its difficult to look at a card like this and not wonder what might have been done to it in order to obtain that grade.

Here’s What Your 2019 National VIP Badges Look Like

I wonder if they’ve ever given any thought to randomly including autographs, relics, or vintage cards in these badges?  Honestly, people would probably complain “certain” people were getting the special cards.  Less than two weeks to go until the greatest show in the world celebrates it’s 40th anniversary.

Topps, Leaf, Upper Deck, and Panini all have VIP sets.  Don’t forget to check out my tips on how to get your name on the list to attend the Topps Q&A.

Good luck to everyone going!

Q&A – What Can You Tell Me About This Danny DeVito Autograph?

Question:  I know this isn’t a sports card, but what can you tell me about this Danny DeVito autograph?

Answer:  Cool card!  In 1992, Danny DeVito portrayed the Penguin in Tim Burton’s Batman Returns.  As a child, this was one of the movies I watched all the time.  For a film that was marketed towards kids, its quite dark.  That scene near the end where Penguin slowly walks out of the water bleeding to death sparked the attention of many parents.  I thought it was awesome.  Things like that are one of the reasons why the studio decided to go in a different direction for the next two films.  Batman Forever and Batman & Robin were fun to watch as a kid, but I can’t watch them today.  In my opinion, Batman and Batman Returns still hold up for me now.

Topps created a few different sets to go along with Batman Returns.  One of them being a Stadium Club set.  The unsigned version of this card originated from the Stadium Club set, but not the card containing Danny DeVito’s signature.

In 1993, Topps issued two sets based on Batman: The Animated Series.  They were split up between Series 1 and Series 2.  Despite not having anything to do with the cartoon, Topps randomly inserted these Danny DeVito autographs into Series 2 packs.  2,000 copies of his Batman Returns base card were signed.

I wish this card had some type of notation, foil stamp, or serial number printed on it.  Even though Danny DeVito has a complex signature, an unsigned base card and silver pen are all a scammer would need to attempt at making a counterfeit.  I think they’re a hard sell because of that fact.  An asking price for an example deemed authentic can be up to $250.  Its a great example of an early buyback autograph.

Oswald Cobblepot!