Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Topps Redemption Filled... But Not In A Satisfying Way

In February 2013 I pulled a 2012 Strata Signatures Clear Cut Auto Relic Bernard Pierce rookie card from a blaster box, pretty cool considering that they are 1:445 retail packs. Pierce wasn’t a huge hit but the Ravens had just won the Super Bowl so there was some interest in him so I was happy. I submitted the redemption and waited, assuming that a backup RB wouldn’t have too long of a wait on the redemption but I was wrong, It has now been 2 years, 5 months and 1 week.

Recently I have been going back and forth on calling Topps’ customer service and requesting a replacement but I really wanted a Clear Cut Auto Relic rookie card, when Topps released them in the 2012 Strata Football release they were a bit of a game changer.

I received a medium sized, well packaged cardboard mailer the other day. I thought it was a set I had purchased from a dealer and because I stopped checking on the redemption status I wasn’t expecting anything from Topps. I didn’t even look at who it was from when I tore in to it. After unwrapping it from the bubble wrap this is what fell in to my awaiting hands.

Of course I had to remove it from the Topps top loader because what is the point of having a relic card if you cannot touch the relic and hold the card that was in the hands of whoever signed it. These cards are thick, nearly the depth of an iPhone 6. Now that the acetate cardboard is in my I can finally relax because this was my last redemption with Topps so I can put that to rest.

I want to touch a bit on Bernard Pierce the man.

This guy came in to a decent Ravens team in 2012 and was part of the Super Bowl XLVII winning team. His first season he rushed for 532 yards backing up Ray Rice. In 2013 he was Ray Rice’s backup again and dropped to 436 rushing yards on a Ravens team that went 8-8, by 2014 he had stepped up to the starting role when Rice was suspended and then cut by the team. As the #1 back he had only 366 yards rushing and 13 yards receiving. He had proven that he is definitely not a starter type.

This past March he was pulled over for speeding and was tagged with a DUI to boot, the Ravens cut him that morning. He was claimed off of waivers by the Jaguars the next day where he is currently listed as the #4 RB on the depth chart coming out of the Jags OTA camps.

Considering that he may soon be unemployed it seems conspicuous that he suddenly has time to fulfill his contracts with Panini and Topps, something he has ignored for the past nearly 3 years. I guess being broke and out of work gets someone to reconsider taking a pay day from card companies to sign his name.

Now let me segway from there to a more important fact regarding the character of Mr. Pierce. It has been noted that he is having someone else (multiple people?) sign his autographs for both Topps and Panini. Both companies have refused to respond to the claims, which is something of a concern. When you see that he only has a couple of official autographs in 2013 & 2014, and they are stickers, you know that the companies realize it too. Here are a couple of examples to show the varied signatures that have appeared on his cards:
I believe the 2012 Leaf Valiant, 2012 National Treasure and 2012 Strata Jumbo Relic #/15 all to be real. The "B" and "D" in Bernard and "P" in Pierce all appear to be similar plus these are all on-card autographs and rather limited so they were probably signed in front of a company rep.


These I believe to be fake with my favorite being the 2012 Finest (first one down) where he apparently forgot his own names and signed it wrong with a "B.B". To add to the obvious "I don't care" attitude of his ghost signers the seller is adding to the humor of this whole situation by listing the card as an eBay 1/1 and asking $99 BIN.


So now here I am sitting on a cool auto-relic card of a mediocre player who will probably spend 2015 on the Jaguars practice squad with what may or may not be a fake signature. But hey at least Topps fulfilled their end of the deal by sending me the card. What I find funny is that the card says that it was signed in front of a Topps rep, I wonder how that would hold up in court? Though I will say that the "B. P" on my card does look similar to the Pierce autographs that I believe to be real, I may be one of the lucky ones.


  1. I really like the Strata autos. Finally got my hands on a Gregory Polanco a few months back.

    Glad your redemption filled even if the signer is of questionable character.