Hobby Musings: Historic Autographs bringing out legends for Lineups – In a hobby world often dominated by rookies, it can be easy sometimes to lose the legends of sports in the shuffle. One company that has brought those legends to the forefront of its products though is Historic Autographs. Often featuring autographs of players like Babe Ruth in a wide variety of products, their lines like Originals help give collectors some easier odds at pulling a cornerstone autograph.
Historic Autographs has two December releases in Lineups and an Originals product featuring players from the 1930s. Lineups will offer collectors four autographs on each card, while Originals will offer a cut autograph and corresponding vintage card of the player. Both sets include autographs of Ruth among other high-end baseball Hall of Famers on the checklist. For more on what both products have to offer, as well as what went into creating them, I had the chance to catch up with Historic’s Autographs founder and president Kevin Heffner.
From Concept to Reality
KS: This isn’t your typical type of trading card product, even for your company. What gave you the idea to do Lineups?
KH: The idea came to me years ago when wanted to do a card booklet that had the starting 9 but the costs would have pushed prices out of this world between autographs and authentication for a 9-signature booklet – but the streamlined idea came to me when we put together the 2017 HA Celebrity Quads
KS: For fans who may not know, what does each card in the product entail?
KH: Each card will represent one of THREE different groupings from 50 of the greatest World Series teams – the 4 infielders, the 3 outfielders/manager or the pitchers/catcher card.
KS: A lot of good players and iconic teams are on the checklist. How did you decide the teams to include?
KH: We looked over all the teams from 1930 until last year and chose the teams based on popularity – win or lose – so that the names and collectibility were both at a premium.
KS: Do you have a personal favorite card in the product?
KH: I am a homer – I love the Philadelphia teams – but the 1930s infield card is probably my favorite because Jimmie Foxx is my favorite baseball player of All-Time.
KS: Were there any teams you were hoping to include but just couldn’t find a key signature to complete it?
KH: No. It took almost a year but we acquired all the signatures needed to complete the issue.
KS: Babe Ruth and Roberto Clemente are among some the top names in the product. They’re also not easy autographs to find. Overall though, who would you say were the hardest signatures to acquire for the checklist?
KH: Don’t count out the strength of Lou Gehrig or Thurman Munson but these guys are sometimes not as hard to find as guys like Mort Cooper and Jimmie Ripple.
Sourcing the Autographs
KS: Where do you find all the cut autographs for the product?
KH: We purchase autographs daily from auctions, online auction sites and personal sellers, plus we buy at shows.
KS: One thing you’ve always done is to have the autographs authenticated. Will that be the case with Lineups?
KH: Yes, every quad-autographed card will come with a full photo-match LOA from Beckett with each signature identified.
KS: You also have another product coming out with the 1930s Series I continuing your Originals line. How would you say Originals differs from your other products?
KH: This Originals is different from most because we are using several different card issues from the 1930s including 1933 Goudey, 1933 Delong, 1933 Sport Kings, 1934-36 Diamond Stars and 1938 Goudey cards.
KS: How do you go about acquiring the vintage cards to go with the signatures in the product?
KH: We gather the signature and cards for the Originals the same way we do for the Line-Ups.
KS: Babe Ruth is the marquee name in this release, but who are some others you think collectors should be keeping an eye out for?
KH: In the Originals, Ruth is the key but the series also has Mel Ott, Rogers Hornsby, Mickey Cochrane, Al Simmons, Pie Traynor and (27) other Hall of Famers plus sweet non-HOFers like Bennie Bengough, Moe Berg and a handful of guys that died prior to 1960.
KS: Something you’ve done on products like this before is include Loyalty points to be exchanged for other items. Will that be the case with both of these products and if so, any more information you can provide on them?
KH: As with all of our products, there are Loyality Points for every box (just send in the UPC codes) – 200 points for each UPC on these products.
KS: Once you have these two products on the market, what else is coming up for future releases?
KH: Well, this is Series 1 of the Originals, 1930s so Series 2 will follow with Lou Gehrig, Jimmie Foxx and Ty Cobb as headliners plus in 2018 we will release POTUS which should be one of the best US Presidential products ever seen on the market as well as our latest edition of the Civil War.
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