30 Day Baseball Card Challenge

Monday, April 1, 2019

Mistaken Identity

Pranks and practical jokes have never really been my thing, which is why April Fools' Day isn't really something I look forward to.  However about a week ago, I purchased a card and figured this annual celebration dedicated to jokes and hoaxes would be the perfect time to show it off.

2010 Donruss Elite Extra Edition School Colors Autographs #1

Back in October of 2010, Panini confirmed reports that Magic Johnson autographed stickers were erroneously applied to some of their Jordan Swagerty cards.  This case of mistaken identity caused quite the stir back in the day, because it exposed a chink in the sticker autograph's armor as well made collectors wonder how an error of this magnitude could even take place.

Whether it was positive or negative, this story brought attention to our hobby and more specifically... Panini Corporation.  In fact, some collectors even questioned whether or not this was done on purpose as a publicity stunt.  Personally, I doubt it, since Magic Johnson signed stickers were definitely more expensive to purchase than Jordan Swagerty's.

At the end of the day, Panini offered collectors the opportunity to exchange their "error" card for a "corrected" version.  Anyone who did was given an exclusive Manny Machado card as well.  I'm not sure how many collectors took advantage of this opportunity, since at the time these "error" cards sold for much more than your run of the mill Swagerty autograph.

Back then I was still collecting basketball cards and the Los Angeles Lakers were my team, so this card was definitely high on my wantlist.  But I wasn't going to pay the insane prices people were demanding.

Almost a decade later, I was able to finally add this "error" card to my collection for a fraction of the price.  A seller listed the card for $24.95 or best offer on eBay and after going back and forth, he eventually accepted my $15 offer.

This isn't the first time I've purchased one of these "mistaken identity" autographed cardsA few years ago, I added this card to my Tony Gwynn PC:

2006 Exquisite Collection Dual Rookie Signatures #55

Before Panini's magical mistake, Upper Deck mixed up their Gwynns and accidentally applied Mr. Padre's signed stickers to his son's rookie card.  Need proof?  Here's a side by side comparison of father and son's signatures:

COMC Image

And just in case you aren't familiar with Magic Johnson's autograph here's another look at the Swagerty error card next to one of my Magic Johnson autographs:

Neither of these "error" cards will ever be in Billy Ripken's league:

1989 Fleer #616

Nor will they ever compete with these two mistaken identities:

COMC Images

But the Magic and Gwynn autographs are great conversation pieces and interesting additions to my Los Angeles Lakers and San Diego Padres PC's.  Plus they gave me something to write about on this day of celebration.

Happy April Fool's Day and sayonara!


  1. I didn't know about this, as I wasn't collecting then. Very interesting!

  2. Amazing. Not totally unexpected due to the nature of sticker autographs. I have never been that big on April Fools jokes. Maybe in Elementary School when it seems to be the most tolerated and expected. As I get older the more and more it just plain annoys me. Especially on social media. BTW I don't consider blogs social media, but technically I guess they are a form of social media. Heck the entire internet could be considered social media.

  3. I'm not a big fan, but do appreciate some good ones that are done.

    Mattel actually wound up releasing (sort of) one of their April Fool's gags. I know I bought one, but have no idea where it is now.


  4. Great April 1st post and great history lesson. That was a new one for me. Fun stuff.

  5. I'd never heard about this. Great post!

  6. I totally remember the Magic/Swaggerty mixup back then especially since I did a group break of 2010 EEE (which was a lot of fun to open). I'm glad you got an autograph of a legend for that cheap, but you're also right about it exposing some of the downsides of stickers (another of which is upside down placement!). Also, you and Night Owl apparently share a brain on the mistaken identity thing, which makes sense since it puts each of you in great company!

  7. Great use of today's unofficial holiday for a post. A Magic auto for only $15 is a steal.

  8. crazy magic mix-up! i have an upper deck auto with the right sticker (adam laroche) but the photo on the card is his brother (andy laroche).


  9. I would have kept the error. Who wouldn't want a unique card crossover and a magic auto

  10. I vaguely remember the Gwynn mixup but I had no idea about the Swagerty/Magic Johnson swap. I can understand how the Gwynns could get confused, but the other one is astounding.

  11. I love the Magic Johnson/Jordan Swaggerty cards. I understand the sticker autographs getting mixed up, but there is also a version with the manufactured patch that has an Arizona State logo. Has almost made me think that the whole thing was engineered by Panini.

  12. johnnys trading spot - thanks. i wish i could say i was organized enough to plan this in advance. it just sort of fell together.

    the lost collector - it was big news for a month or so, then it just faded in with other errors out there.

    captkirk42 - yeah, it's not my favorite day of the years. although most of my 8th graders aren't into it... i had to deal with at least a few in each period trying to catch me in a prank

    angus - gotta admit... that's pretty creative. i looked on ebay for one, but they aren't cheap. one sold back in february for $100

    bulldog - i learn a ton of stuff everyday from everyone else... it's nice knowing i was able to give back to you guys

    alex markle - thank you!

    dennis - hmmm... i wonder if i have any upside down stickers. i probably do and i didn't even realize it.

    collecting cutch - hard to pass up a laker's legend's signature for $15 + shipping. that being said, my limit was always $20 shipped. i like this novelty, but not enough to spend more than that

    gcrl - another reason against the use of stickers. cool card though

    parts of my past - i think most people did keep it. i wonder if that makes the machado they gave collectors a tough card to track down

    nick - yeah. different sports. different colleges. who knows. maybe the snorting bull is right and it was done on purpose

    the snorting bull - the manufactured patch card is the one i really wanted, but i could never find on in my price range ($20 or less shipped). i'd love to sit down and ask magic about this.