I have always enjoyed adding signed index cards to my collection. There was a time when index cards were the backbone of collecting, being used for both in-person and through the mail collecting. But over the years more and more players refused to sign them, to the point that index cards of current players are almost non-existent. It’s a shame. Index cards, when done right, can be some of the most attractive pieces you can add to your collection. Still, there is lots of quality autographs out there on index cards, you just have to keep your eyes peeled.
But for a borderline OCD collector like me, index cards can have some drawbacks:
- People who used dying/stupid pens that cause terrible, streaky autographs. Why did people get so much done with felt tip pen? Or thin-tip sharpie? Come on!
- Bad ink or paper. Some autographs have simply not held up over the years. Bleeding or the yellow “haloing” effect around the autograph caused by bad chemical reactions between the ink and paper. Its a shame. Luckily, for most autographs, if this is an issue it already happened. If the autograph is more than a couple years old and you have not degradation of the autograph, chances are it won’t happen.
- Crap glued or stapled to the card. I am not thrilled when people did this, but can deal with it as long as the autograph has some distance from the graphics. When the autograph touches the picture, it gets tossed.
- Glue and stickers. There is no way most people could have known it at the time, but glue and stickers on the back of index cards can screw with the autograph on the front side. Its a chemical thing…the glue and the ink caused a bleeding effect that causes the autograph to get a “cloudy” look.
- Poor storage that caused creasing of the paper.
Anway. I recently had a chance to buy an entire collection of autographed index cards. Here is the description of the lot by the seller:
Autographed Index Card Early 2000’s Minor League Baseball MLB 500+ Signed Auto
I have two binders full of signed custom index cards. 500 ++ in total all from 2000’s time frame consisting of mostly all minor league baseball players. Pre MLB experienced! All signatures were obtained in person and guaranteed to pass any and all 3 Party opinionated companies. Quickly browsing through the binders I noticed some decent quality big leaguers past and current. Most of these Autos were obtained in or around the Reading Phillies baseball stadium minutes down the road.
There was not a list of players–which was risky. But the seller made it sound like the collection was not picked through. So that was good.
Quality…that was the risk. The seller posted a dozen pictures, and the autographs ran the gamut from near perfect to terrible. It was clear most had graphics added, but it also looked like most players signed in a good spot so that it was not going to be a deal breaker. There was yellowing on a couple cards. I asked about that, and the seller said the yellowing was limited to just one or two cards.
The biggest issue was the price. The seller wanted something like $350, which would be a great price if I was buying 500 quality index cards. But based on the pictures and the description it sounded like I was going to be throwing a ton away due to quality issues or the player selection.
We negotiated the price down a little. I sold some stuff on eBay. And I bought the lot. They showed up a couple days ago.
So now the fun part…seeing what I got.
So what am I looking for? My loose criteria:
- Decent player. Just have something interesting in the stat line that grabs me. Top 5 round pick. Great college career. Get to the Majors. I am really open to anything. I always think “Was there a point in this players career where I would have taken the time to write him a letter?” If the answer is yes, then I goes in the keep pile.
- Good autograph. I like bold, clean blue autographs. But I am fine with black. But no terrible bleeding or smearing. Streaky autographs are iffy.
- Autograph placement. If this autograph is touching a graphic…tossed. Bummer if its a good name.
I am going to be aggressive and say my goal is to find 250 cards in the lot worth keeping. So lets keep a count and see how close I can get…