We trust that card companies are cutting up actual game worn jerseys of players pictured on cards. We trust that the people we trade with online will send their end of the deal. We trust that card companies aren't sending loaded boxes for Beckett to review. We trust that card collectors aren't trimming, coloring, or modifying cards without our knowledge. We trust that card companies are going to fulfill their redemption cards to the best of their ability. We trust that our pack pulled certified autographs are real. We trust that our local card shops aren't searching packs. We trust that collectors and people within our hobby aren't upgrading their plain swatch jersey cards into extravagant patch cards. We trust that eBay dealers and other online card dealers are being honest when describing a card's condition.
But can we really trust through the mail (TTM) autographs?
Let's preface this by stating that I have zero knowledge on this topic. In fact, I'm not even sure I have ever sent an athlete an autograph request. But I know several people who have.
So to those collectors, I ask the following questions:
1. Are you pretty confident that your cards are being signed by the actual athlete?
2. Do you ever worry that they're being signed by family members or friends?
3. And what about autopens and rubber stamps?
4. How often have you seen athletes use these?
You're probably wondering... what's your obsession with TTM's? Well... yesterday, I showed off some of the autographs I recently purchased off of a trusted friend. Sadly, two of the cards were revealed to me by JediJeff as being "rubber stamp" signatures. After going back and looking at the autographs, it's pretty obvious that The Wizard of Oz didn't sign these cards. The signatures are identical and there's no flow in the ink (if that makes sense).
Anyways... that made me curious. Where did my friend acquire these autographs? And how many of these autographs were obtained in person and how many were TTM's?
He told me that most of them were acquired in person at Candlestick Park and the Oakland Coliseum during the 80's, but a few were obtained through the mail (including the Smiths).
But where does that leave me? Should I assume they're all fake, even though my friend says they're real? Should I destroy them, so others won't be duped? Should I start a new collection of autographs I'll never know the authenticity of? Oh Ozzie... look at the dilemma you've presented me.
I guess worst case scenario... this situation is just another healthy reminder that there will always be doubt in this collector's mind about an autograph's authenticity... unless of course, I've actually witnessed the athlete signing.
Happy Monday and sayonara!