It’s a sad day when a collector’s best chance of pulling an autograph of a baseball great comes from a Donruss/Panini or Topps “Frankencard” cut signature. Before settling for a cut autograph or a sticker, don’t forget about the many still intact on-card autographs from the likes of 1993 Pinnacle and 1982-’83 ASA which featured on-card autographs and serial numbering long before anyone else.
The mere fact that these cards are considered “oddballs” is the reason they sell for relatively cheap prices compared to a Topps cut auto monstrosity but don’t be fooled by the forgotten brands. Get these cards slabbed and authenticated and you will find yourself with a little bit of cardboard and baseball history all in one beautiful, long forgotten card.
Along with Joe DiMaggio, ASA produced serial numbered, on-card autographs in set form of players like Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, and Mickey Mantle. They all came from the mind of Renata Galasso, one of the first baseball card entrepreneurs, who began collecting in her college days and was a legend by the late 80s. She began her business in the 70s selling Topps sets and made it into the late 90s.
As for the absolutely gorgeous Mantle autographs, you had two options: a 72-card set #’d to 15,000 for $12.99 or the 72-card set with a Mantle autograph for the low, low price of just $24.99. Using an inflation calculator, that price is just $60.52! Not bad for a Hall of Famer autograph and 72 licensed baseball cards. Suddenly, 2015 Donruss Baseball doesn’t look so great.