I have always said that I am a huge fan of Sports themed art work. Its always been something that I gravitate towards when getting autographs, and my collection continues to grow every time I have a chance. When I heard that Leaf was coming out with a product made completely of 1/1 sketches and art pieces, I was definitely intrigued. Not only intrigued because of the art involved, but also because of “artistic representation” of logos and player likenesses.
From the first few examples, I have not been disappointed.
2013 Leaf Masterworks Joe Montana Auto Sketch 1/1 – Wow, this is incredible.
2013 Leaf Masterworks Ichiro Suzuki Auto Sketch 1/1 – More of the above.
2013 Leaf Masterworks Barry Sanders Auto Sketch 1/1 – This is easily one of my favorites.
Over the last few years, Leaf has ventured into this territory before, sometimes coming out vastly ahead as they did with Manziel, other times looking like they were amateurs. This product had some stigma attached to it as a result, but I think it still worked out pretty well in most of the examples. Some of the artists took a very abstract approach, which turned out pretty awesome. Others, seem like the work needed to be a bit more polished for a product like this.
My complaints stem from the defined area for the signatures, as I wish there was more of an attempt to blend the stickers and autographs in with the piece. The way it is done in this case, draws the eye needlessly to that area. For the first time, the focus should be the artwork, not the autograph. Im also not happy these werent hard signed, but I understand the logistics of how difficult that would be. Can you imagine if the cards were hard signed like the goal line art cards? Although the autograph is a part of the value, if this is truly a showcase of the best of the best, autograph placement should be secondary.
Im interested to see how future “every card is a 1/1″ products shake out, as it is becoming more and more likely that a mainstream card company will try it. However, I think this type of an idea has a ton of potential as long as the work stays top quality. So far, from what we have seen, that looks to be the case.