Sunday, December 2, 2012

A Slap To The Face Of Hockey Collectors

Here comes another one of those stories that just makes you cringe as a collector.
According to the NHLPA, the Anaheim Ducks’ Devante Smith-Pelly used a stamp instead of actually signing his autograph for five different releases from Upper Deck and Panini. The releases affected are
Upper Deck- SP Authentic, Ultimate and The Cup
Panini- Contenders and Prime
The NHLPA’s Director of Licensing, Adam Larry, said “There wasn’t any bad intention on his behalf”. Really, he had no bad intention? You mean that he knowingly took money from both Upper Deck and Panini to sign autographs and never planned to actually sign the cards and this was no bad intention on his behalf? Where I come from that is considered fraud.
Panini’s versions were redemption cards and Tracy Hackler said only a handful of Smith-Pelly’s Contender autographs were shipped out (there are 3 currently on eBay) and none of his Prime autographs were shipped out. Panini is remaking the cards for him to sign and they have contacted the people who have already received their redemptions and will replace them as well as send the recipient a pack of Rookie Anthology.
Upper Deck is in a different situation because his cards were packed out so they are asking that anyone that pulls any of the affected cards to contact their Customer Care center: Call 1-800-873-7332 or send an email to

They have already begun the process of reprinting the cards for him to sign (I am assuming there will be a nanny watching over his shoulder this time) and once completed they will begin shipping the cards out as replacements to the collectors along with two packs of cards, I would guess probably from the set you pulled the card from.
I pulled these images of the stamped autographs from some of the auctions on eBay to get a side by side view; I am just surprised that nobody in QC noticed anything off here. These autographs are in nearly the same location on every single card, there are no differences in stroke, pressure, height or width changes. The only real noticeable changes are on a couple of cards where you can see the ink was wearing thin or the stamp had been re-inked and there was a splash of ink on the card.
On the positive side I have to say that Upper Deck has included some very cool patches in a insert that is #/249, usually multi-colored patches are only in smaller print runs and by the time you hit sets with #/50 or above you are usually stuck with those sweet single color jersey swatches.

Here are some of his stamped autographs from Panini Contenders that made it out to collector's hands.

Here are some of the cards that he supposedly did sign and you will notice there are slight differences in the signatures though I have a bit of a concern with the Ultimate Autographed Shield. This card goes the opposite way and is quite different from his other autographs. In fact out of the 15-20 real autographs that are up for auction I am hard pressed to find one that even comes close. If we know that this kid is not beyond using a stamp, including for other autographs in the Ultimate release, you have to wonder if someone else signed this card.

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