Cardboard Wars – Sticker vs. On-Card

Recently, Upper Deck sent out a press release showing off a few of their recent card returns. There really was no reason for me to write a piece about it so I sat back and watched as other forums & blogs began spreading the word. The overall reaction to the 2008 Ultimate on-card (or swatch) autograph was the usual “bitching” you hear from collectors.

While I am somewhat torn on these cards (I don’t mind stickers one bit), I was shocked that so many were not happy that for once, the player “touched the card”. The word around the Hobby is that Upper Deck is making an effort for more on-card autographs but as soon as they try something different, it gets ripped to shreds.

So, it’s up to you to decide who wins this latest Cardboard War. Would you prefer a shiny, holographic Topps sticker autograph or an on-card, yet to be perfected Upper Deck autograph? I have brought two examples to show you the difference.

First up, a 2005 Topps Chrome Update Jay Bruce autograph with a “can’t miss” autograph sticker we have all grown to hate, despise or tolerate. I for one, love them especially when used in Chrome & Finest issues. Unfortunately, in this case it fails because of how large the actual sticker is compared to Jay Bruce’s mini-signature.

Below it you have the new 2008 Ultimate Jay Bruce with the autograph on the large swatch. Honestly, it’s not the most aesthetically pleasing but it is on-swatch which means Jay touched the card. Hmm, wonder why it didn’t turn to gold?

So, what’s it gonna be?

28 thoughts on “Cardboard Wars – Sticker vs. On-Card

  1. No sticker autos. Funny thing is that one of my favorite cards is my 2006-07 Finest auto draft suit Adam Morrison. The auto is on the suit, I didn’t realize it was the auto until I looked at it a while. Upper deck has some work to do though.

  2. Ya gotta go with the swatch – its just cooler. While pulling any auto is pretty sweet, you really have to prefer one that was handled by the player. the sticker sigs just seem to antiseptic for my tastes

  3. I’m voting for neither. Stickers are lousy, and that swatch signature sucks. Honestly, is it that difficult to get the players to sign cardboard?

  4. I’m with albuquirke. They’ve signed cardboard before, they can do it again. But the name of this game is choosing, so I’ll pick the swatch. Sticker autos, regardless of their look, are useless.

  5. Anonymous

    Honestly Mario, it doesn’t matter to me. But it seems you picked a really crappy sticker and a bad ass on card. It’s easy to decide between those two cards, but how about a decent looking sticker.

    Don’t let Corporate (UD) get to you brother lol…

  6. Personally, I think both look kind of crappy.

    I wanted a big name. It was either Bruce or Longoria and I am sick of Longoria right now.

  7. The Chrome is going to be the most desirable of the two in 5 years but I’m going to throw out the book and say the swatch. It’s pretty unique. Right now at least… we may see a rash of jersey signings soon if this catches on just like we’re seeing letter cards everywhere now.

  8. Don

    STICKERS STINK!!! I love the new UD stuff that is on card. Stickers are not autographed cards. They are what they are. They are signed stickers applied to cards. Autographed cards should be ON THE CARD.

  9. I’m going to go with the sticker. Who really cares if the player handled the card, a sheet of stickers or a scrap of fabric for 0.1 seconds?

    I want something that looks nice for my collection. I’d generally prefer an on-card autograph, but the signature on the sticker looks better than the one on the fabric.

    Maybe folks that get jerseys or caps signed can tell me: how does a signature on cloth hold up over time? I’d be afraid that the ink would start to bleed into the fabric after a few years, and it would look even worse than it does now. Every so often, you’ll see that on some of those cards that feature the cut-up baseballs.

  10. Jeff W

    Both are equally poor examples. While I prefer on card some stickers look great, depending on design etc. Of these two, I don’t know what I’d pick. I knw I’d never pay for them. You want sweet, my Luis Aparicio Flashbacks Heritage on card auto is awesome.

  11. jl

    All I can say is 1996-1997 Donruss Signature series, on card autographs of the best players of the game. These cards are classic on card signatures. The stickers I get give the authentics to the signature, but if from previous blogs this is the card companies getting lazy and sending the players the stickers to sign, shame on them.

  12. jl

    The UD ultimate signature looks like a signature on toliet paper. Signature blured and looks unprofessional

  13. Bryan

    I would prefer on card autos, but that patch signed card isn’t that great.
    I like the on card autos on the Masterpieces sets.

  14. Zack

    I prefer the simple on cardboard autos. Another problem with the stickers is, the companies sometime have the stickers not centered on the card.

  15. I don’t have a preference. I like on-card autos when the spot reserved for the signature is blank, making the signature easy to read. I have an 04 Bowman Estee Harris auto that is almost impossible to see because of where it’s signed.

    As for stickers, the only ones I don’t like are the blank clear ones; to me, those look like the player signed a piece of Scotch tape. If you’re gonna slap something on my card, make it shiny and reflective! Bonus points if its integrated into the design.

  16. Ben Armstrong

    It was me as Anonymous, didn’t realize it would show up that way. I’ve got a couple on cards and a lot of stickers. The oncard obviously makes it seem more personal; but, I really don’t care that much. It’s just like the GU, which very rarely is a piece used in a game. Probably just something he put on and then took off.

    Mario, I also sent off the cards for charity today. Be looking for those in the next few days.

  17. thekswiss

    EAZY, the swatch auto I hate the 05 topps design anyway and I personally think swatch autos are cool.

  18. You make a big point that the guy touched the swatch, but how exactly can you be certain, and how do you know he didn’t probably touch the sticker, too?

    (I mean, somebody had to apply the sticker, no? Is that left to the company? I’m sure he probably touched a few of the stickers, just by virtue of handling)

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