Stockpiling Autographed Index Cards

Posted May 20th, 2010 by Tom Owens and filed in Fred Lynn, Joe Morgan

Here’s what this post is NOT about:

An index card can be a useful autograph tool. It’s too time-consuming or sometimes just impossible to find a card photo of a former player (although Internet searches are opening new horizons for making customized index-photo cards). Also, meeting a former player at the last second means a signed index card beats an autographed hot dog wrapper.

Additionally, an autographed 3-by-5 can be a swell consolation prize from a virtual non-signer. For TTM toughies like Fred Lynn (who may own a blue index card-making plant) or Joe Morgan who’ll offer nothing but one signed index card, this could be matted with a photo or more meaningful collectible.

What this post IS about:

My puzzlement over the collector who sends two blank index cards as “protection” for the card to be signed. No request is made to sign the 3-by-5s, just the hunch that an eager autographer will be inking anything sent by the collector. And, frequently, a collector does get three signatures while asking for just one.

Sure, things can get bent in the mail. Yes, some confused retirees autograph the plastic top loader the card is in. I get the theory of protecting a card.

I’m not criticizing. I’m just asking:

Is there some underground trade in autographed 3-by-5s I’ve overlooked? Even the “one of everything” type of collector might have little use for an extra identical blank index card. Clue me in, please.

But lastly, let me make one plea to all collectors who get one OR MORE signed index cards…

In light pencil, write down the name of who signed on the card’s reverse. Trust me, you may not be able to decipher the handwritten autograph a year (or even a DAY) from now!

What’s your feeling about including one or more extra index cards in your autograph request letter?

5 Responses to “Stockpiling Autographed Index Cards”

  1. Tony says:

    I have sent a few blank index cards on occassion, but usually I try to make a custom one. I don’t buy the “using them for protection” excuse. The majority of cards I have sent in the mail have come back with no problems. I really don’t have any need for a blank index card autographed. It’s pretty easy to find a picture of a player on the Internet. In person, a blank index card signed is ok if you have nothing else.

  2. Tom Owens says:

    Tony knows! Thank you for the “second.” And Tony’s got the inside track on customized index cards. Major League Baseball preaches to new players not to sign BLANK cards, to protect against forgery/identity theft/etc. Putting a signature atop a picture is allowed.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Thank you Tom Owens, for commenting that because I honestly was going to send some players index cards to sign because i was thinking of collecting the signed index cards.

  4. Tom Owens says:

    Years ago, I knew collectors would type headlines (with manual typewriters) on their index cards. Players would sign inscriptions relating to the details noted on each index card. Others would paste tiny mugshots onto the 3-by-5s. Take the time to dress up a 3-by-5 and more guys will sign! Simply sending more than one BLANK index card can say, “I’d like to have extras to trade and sell.” There are alternatives.

  5. Josh says:

    I went to staples and bought a ream of ivory card stock and had them cut it into 6 sections for quality cards. I always include some and ask them to sign them with different inscription or personalization if they want to. I think they would look cool if I ever had the money to by a 11 x 14 or 8 x 10 of them then I could make a nice frame with them in it but in all likely hood that won’t happen. Here is an example http://www.hollywoodcollectibles.com/catalog/images/autographed/memorabilia/sports/collectibles/authentic/Baseball/Framed/Jimmie_Foxx_3x5_Card_Frame.jpg

    Sorry for the late post.
    – Josh (Letters from Legends)

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