As a writer, I’ve produced over 3,000 articles about baseball cards, the card industry, and sometimes even Jose Canseco. At times, pieces simply wrote themselves. The words flowed and my hands magically moved across my keyboard with ease. Unfortunately, the past two weeks have been tough. Life is great but when it comes to #TheHobby, I just had absolutely nothing on my mind. My Twitter feed was as active as ever but I struggled to come up with new content. My trusty, worn out soapbox was gathering dust. Thankfully, inspiration hit me like a brick thanks to a Tweet:
This is definitely hobby desperation. pic.twitter.com/Xg136X5zJx
— CollectorEmpire.com (@autobilia) August 16, 2019
It took me a moment but once my eyes registered the image, I knew exactly what to write about. It was a product by TRISTAR that haunted my entire life as a collector in 2008 and left me with a bad taste I can still remember to this day. How bad was Tristar Signa Cuts? Well, I’d rather go on a private flight with Cory Lidle as my pilot or party with Jose Fernandez on a speed boat in Miami than to ever look at this abomination again. What’s even worse is that I actually spent money on not one but TWO of these monstrosities attempting to pass themselves off as “baseball cards”. I don’t just feel shame but actual disgust for throwing my hard-earned cash down the drain.
When it comes to Tristar Signa Cuts, I don’t even know where to begin. At one point, the company had sponsored my blog, Wax Heaven, and provided me with several products for review purposes. I was intrigued by their TNA Wrestling releases even though the cards felt incredibly cheap and the parallels looked like they had actual glitter on them, I kid you not. No Refractor technology, just glued on glitter. It was sad but they at least were making an effort and their unlicensed baseball products were not half-bad. Unfortunately, they took a major wrong turn with Signa Cuts and never recovered.
What’s so bad about Signa Cuts, you ask?
- Cutting up an old baseball card to make a new baseball card is a mortal sin
- Possibly the worst “autograph” checklist in the history of baseball cards
- Seemingly 75% of cuts came from “Junk Wax”-era cards
- Many of the “cuts” came from index cards!
I guess the real question is how much money went into this product? From the looks of it, they just bought huge eBay lots of in-person, non-certified autographs and paid Beckett Media, a company that is no longer reputable in the grading game, money to slab their Frankenstein-like baseball cards. Were these cards certified by Beckett Media to be “authentic”? The answer is probably YES. Does a company trying to survive in a dying industry (print media) want to ruffle feathers of a manufacturer doing major business with them by calling out fakes? I DOUBT IT.
My guess is 95% of those cut signatures are probably authentic but there’s a whole lot of wiggle room for forged and altered autographs that we may never know about. Clearly, most collectors could not care less because this product was pretty much DOA from the moment it hit card shops. It was at least until tonight, never to be seen or discussed again. I stopped collecting in 2009 but made a small comeback in 2017 only to see that Tristar had left the trading card business. All I can say to that is, T-H-A-N-K Y-O-U.
Looks like TRISTAR is responsible for those awful Hidden Treasures boxes you see at Walmart that gives you a chance for a Babe Ruth signed baseball but leaves you with a Mike Gallego auto and a kick in the nuts.
The more things change, the more they stay the same.