Now that Topps is back, I am curious about a few things. Aside from the obvious questions about whether or not sticker autos are going to continue to be the focus of their brands, and whether Triple Threads is finally going to get an overhaul, I want to know if they are going to start a fight against cards like this or this.
Basically, over the last year, Topps rookie premiere autographs have become one of the biggest source of fake autos in the business. In fact, the fakes have become so prevalent, that real ones have become the super-minority in the market. Look at this search – almost every one of these cards is fake. PSA has even started grading the fakes as real! At that point it becomes obvious that very few people have even a clue as to what is happening. When it comes to this type of situation, there is almost no way a buyer can tell the authenticity of the card they are buying without being an expert.
A few months ago, before Topps left and re-entered the market, they promised that every one of the Rookie Premiere autos would now be serially numbered in their sets to prevent fraudulent cards from being sold. It didnt at all help any existing situation, but it was a start. Then when they left the Football market, things were put on the back burner. Now that they are back, I want to know if they are going to hold true to their promise.
See, Rookie Premiere autographs are some of the most quickly produced cards on the market. Although the design is determined months before the rookie premiere in May, the signing and printing of the cards is completed in a matter of hours. First the players arrive and head straight to the Topps photo area the night before Topps’ day at the premiere. After the photos are taken, the pre-designed template is photoshopped over the picture and sent to a local LA printer. There, the cards are printed, cut and sent back to Topps before they hit the field the next morning. The players sign as many of the cards as possible during the station to station schedule, and Topps supposedly then destroys all extras. Obviously, that didnt happen, or we wouldnt have this problem. Now, this is saying that every one of these fake cards is coming straight from Topps back door as we have seen a few times with other sets. It could also be a printer problem, as I could easily see Kevin Burge and his associates paying that local printer to print more cards.
If the previous problem is addressed as Topps had declared, it will be even easier to determine the fakes that dont look like a five year old with pen signed all the cards. Who knows though, we may still have problems if Topps doesnt hold true to their end of the bargain.