If there is one thing I think is vastly overlooked in set creation, is the use of signed parallels of the veteran base cards in a given product. Most of this feeling of mine stems from the ridiculous and terrible names that card companies give to the auto and jersey subsets, as well as the designs those names necessitate. Instead of having signatures of the cards that are just the product name and the player themselves, a lot of products leave base cards as base cards rather than capitalizing on some of the better designed portions of the set.
For once, I have to applaud Panini on this front, even though their signed veteran base cards are usually VERY low numbered and tough to come by. However, they do exist, and in a lot of cases, are the best looking cards of the sets they are a part of. National Treasures 2006-2008 had AMAZING looking signed base cards, even better when they contain auto and a relic. In 2009 they resorted to terrible looking base cards with even worse placement of the swatches and autos, so that was a fail in general. In other sets, including the early ones like Prestige, Elite and Classics, signed vet cards have been included again in 2010, which have garnered my interest in some of my favorite players and their autos.
Although Panini does offer a lot of what I am talking about, they still havent brought the potential to the level it has been with other products. Like with every veteran auto that Panini has, they are 100% NOT on card, and that is pretty disheartening in general. But with a set like 2007 SP Authentic Baseball, Upper Deck offered signed versions of a handful of the base cards – ALL ON CARD. They were unfortunately numbered incredibly low at 5 copies, but they looked amazing for what they were. There was no crazy name for the subset, no ridiculous splatter paint or odd designs. It was just the player, the team, the set name and an on card auto. In fact, so many people are looking for those cards that they sell for astronomical prices when they are posted.
Obviously the limitation is filling out the rest of the set when cost is spent on cards that don’t add any titles to the content or another set of odds to the pack wrapper. Even though I couldn’t care less if there is another subset like Down and Distance or whatever lame idea for a name they have, there are quite a few collectors who want those opportunities. With players like Adrian Peterson, and the other top names charging in upwards of 200 dollars a signature, many of the companies have to choose their battles. Its too bad that they don’t choose correctly a lot of the time, in my opinion.
Think about it. How fucking awesome would a hard signed version of the Chrome cards or the UD Masterpieces cards be for players like Brett Favre, Peterson, or even players like Aaron Rodgers, Peyton Manning or Tom Brady? Hell, I would even take stickers and not complain. The cards would be epic to say the least. For a low end set like flagship Topps or the Chromes, there is nothing I want more. I would BUY those products exclusively if there was nothing else than rookie and veteran autos inserted at a higher rate. Who cares if there is another jersey auto of a guy in a subset that makes no sense? There needs to be more signed base in my mind.
Of course, this is like saying I want a Mercedes for 5 dollars, because it aint gon’ happen. There just isnt a way that a company would stake a set adding more signed base cards, even though the success of Topps Chrome functions solely on people chasing signed versions of the rookie base cards. Its really too bad, as I think there is a tremendous opportunity to showcase a base set to collectors that throw the base cards in the common bin and never appreciate the design.