- Using stickers allows the card company can gather a stockpile of various player’s autographs which allows the company to create an autograph set as they see fit without worrying about relying on redemptions in the off case of a player not returning their signed cards
- Using stickers allows the player to sign on their time frame
- Using stickers allows the card company has some freedom and control in how the autograph is to be placed on the card
I have two on-card autos from the 2001 Royal Rookies set. This shows the exact reason why sticker autos can on occasion be good. As you can see, Cesar Saba (on the left) signed on the #/5950 line, because of this the signature is small and difficult to see with the background. In the second card Brian Schmack (on the right) signed, as you would expect the player to sign, boldly across the middle in an area where it is easy to read. Had the company used stickers then the placement would have been uniform.
I am sure that there are other positives about using stickers, but I am hard pressed to come up with some right now.
Now on to the negatives (and I will keep this short so as not to ramble on and on):
- Using stickers causes the collector to loose the “touch-ability” that you feel when you pull an on-card autograph. You know that your favorite player actually handled the same card when they signed it.
- Using stickers can completely ruin the look of a set; for example take a look at the 2008 Topps Lettermen Football to see how to ruin an Adrian Peterson card.
- Using stickers allows scammers to remove a real sticker auto from a low-end card, wipe it and then create fake sticker autographs.
Basically, while stickers may be a good thing for the card companies to have in their arsenal the collector looses out in the end. If stickers are to be used keep it limited to the low-end product and the “Blaster Box” specials otherwise, the collector deserves an on-card auto.