Sticker vs. On Card

When I got back into the hobby I never imagined just how many autographed baseball cards I would end up with. I have pulled great autographs from players I loathe (Michael Bourne), to players I love (Ryan Braun) but the one thing that never crosses my mind is what format the autograph is on. My best-reviewed box of 2007 was SPx and they had on-card auto’s but my second-best reviewed box was Finest and they had sticker auto’s. I can honestly say that I could care less which one I pull as long as I got my autograph. So what’s the big deal with the anti-sticker auto movement?

One of the products from 2007 that included on-card autographs was Goudey. Now, I have yet to open a box but from the auto’s I have seen on eBay, in my opinion, the cards are just not as attractive as sticker auto’s. For example, check out Paul Konerko’s scribble autograph that takes up more than half the card or Derek Jeter’s auto that clashes with his photo. One is a complete mess and the other you might miss the first time around.

Of course, this is a personal preference subject so I am not going to sway your views in any way but perhaps me having O.C.D is the reason I choose sticker any day of the week. I like the idea of a sticker being placed at the bottom or middle of the card, encouraging players to sign in a designated spot. Also, the hologram ensures that there is no way to mistake that you just pulled an autograph out of your box or pack.

One reason that I hear often about why people prefer on-card auto’s is because the player has actually touched the card itself. While this may be true, I am almost certain the player probably touched the sticker, as well. Also, given a sheet of stickers instead of a card might save the player from scratching the surface of the card or dinging one of the corners, something most non-collectors tend to do. Let’s face it, only collectors know how to properly handle cards and I am guessing that a guy like Derek Jeter probably has better things to do than to collect baseball cards.

To each his own, I suppose. Personally, autograph format never plays a role in which product I select to buy. I am just happy enough to get myself one or two per box! That is a joy every collector should have a chance to experience.

So to card collectors reading this; what do you prefer and why?



  1. I prefer sticker. When it is on card by 75% of players it is haphazzard and sloppy if the signing area is not clearly defined. Stickers can be made to work with the card. That is one reason I collect signatures on 3×5’s and not cards themselves. You can make a cool display w/ pics you like and the 3×5’s.

  2. “One reason that I hear often about why people prefer on-card auto’s is because the player has actually touched the card itself. While this may be true, I am almost certain the player probably touched the sticker, as well.”

    Exactly. Who cares if the player touched the card. I want an autograph, not a fingerprint. I’ll take any autos I can get.

  3. Band aids are okay if a couple of basic rules are followed:

    1) The sticker is incorporated into the design of the card. Many early products with the stickers and most every Donruss set from back in the day simply had a sticker put somewhere on the base card to make it essentially a parallel of sorts. Topps and UD both seem to have this figured out now.

    2) The autograph must be contained on the sticker. There’s tons of really ugly autographs out there where the signature has run off the sides of the sticker. The end result is an ugly card no matter the design.

  4. The sticker looks better but kills the look of the card. I perfer the on the card better. But that’s just my 2 cents.

  5. I prefer the on card auto with the biggest reason being that I have pulled several sticker autos where the auto runs off the sticker. Plus I wonder if twenty years from now the sticker will start to come off.

    That Konerko is terrible. The Goudeys have even less prime signing space because they are smaller too.

  6. I like the on-card autos because it looks like I went to the park with my dad an hour early to watch batting practice and get a few players to sign, just like 1976 again. I don’t turn down the stickered autos, of course.

  7. I have to say I like on card as long as it’s in a good spot. One of the best looking auto cards I have is a Topps Gallery Felix Hernandez Penmanship and is just beautiful! But as with most cards I’ll take any auto I can get. My biggest pet peeve is I wish I could read most of them, I play a fun game with people and try to see if they can guess letters in either the first or last name for most auto’s! Try it some time it’s very amusing

  8. While im content with any auto I may be lucky enough to pull, i’d much rather have an on-card auto. Sure, the player “touched” both auto’s. But 1 is an auto’d card, and the other is an auto’d sticker stuck on a card. If you purchased an auto’d baseball of Jose, and when it arrived you noticed it was a clear sticker stuck to a baseball….would you be happy w/ your purchase? If one of those sticker auto’s was on a Pepsi can, would you consider it to be an auto’d Pepsi can? I would’nt…to me it would be a Pepsi can w/ a sticker on it. Just my 2 cents.

  9. I can’t recall the blog that I read this on, but someone was noticing their auto stickers are starting to peel up. Maybe he’s not caring for his cards like he should, but I have a feeling he is, since he has a card collecting blog. That really makes me think twice about buying sticker autos on eBay. I want my cards to last.

  10. the miller on the right is actually not too shabby.

    the reason I hate stickers is not necessarily the sticker itself, but because the stickers always get screwed up. I LOVE on-card. the only thing I could say against them is the fakes, but bad people are always going to try crap like that.

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