Hobby Musings: Historic featuring rare signatures in upcoming releases
Fans of cut autographs of rarer players can often have a difficult time beating the long odds to find them in sealed packs and boxes. With that in mind, Historic Autographs has sought to help fill that demand with products like Kings and Originals that not only offers the autograph, but sometimes a vintage card as well. To find out more about what Historic Autographs has coming in a few weeks, I had the chance to catch up with company CEO Kevin Heffner. The following interview was conducted via email.
KS: Kevin, you have two new releases for Historic Autographs coming out soon. What more can you tell me about them?
KH: Historic Autographs is about to release TWO of our popular ORIGINALS series. First up is 2018 HA Originals, 1930s Series 2 – releasing October 12, 2018 – that features different players/cards than the Series 1 … some players are repeated (but with a different card used as the original card) so we could make sure that Babe Ruth was again in the series (this time as a 1/1 using his 1933 Sports King card). We also have Ty Cobb, Lou Gehrig and Jimmie Foxx multiple times in this series.
Our second Originals release will follow on October 17, 2018 with a new booklet design for the 2018 Historic Autographs Originals, Strip Card edition. This series is LOADED with huge names including Babe Ruth (4), Ty Cobb (2), Walter Johnson (2), Rogers Hornsby (3), Tris Speaker (8) and Eddie Collins (4) in a product with only 960 total boxes so the odds are in the favor of the collector to grab a big ticket player. This series will couple an original strip card with the players cut signature.
KS: The cards in Strips are a little bit unusual. What exactly are they?
KH: Strip cards were issued during the late 1910s and late 1920s by mostly unknown manufacturers, usually in uncut strips or sheets, thus the name. Many of the players in these series had few or no other cards. HA did use some of the Mayfair strip cards that featured “baseball position players” without player names, so that we could include Negro League players like Satchel Paige, Judy Johnson and Cool Papa Bell who had no cards produced for them during the decade.
KS: The autograph checklist is pretty outstanding, including Babe Ruth and Walter Johnson. Some of them are pretty tricky to find. How did you go about gathering all the signatures?
KH: As we do with all products, we search many different venues and auctions to find all the autographs and as with most of our products, there will be some very tough, rare signatures that many collectors may not have such as Wally Pipp.
KS: It’s not just baseball autographs in the checklist. Who else should collectors be looking out for?
KH: In the strip cards, collectors will find a handful of non-baseball names – but good names – such as Jack Sharkey, Max Schmeling and Gene Tunney in boxing, Gene Sarazen in golf and Johnny Weissmuller (of Tarzan fame after he was an Olympic swimmer).
KS: The presentation isn’t like Originals or some of your other products in that they’re not already encased. Why make the decision not to encase these?
KH: HA went with the booklet for the Originals, Strip Edition to showcase the card and autographs side-by-side. The presentation has received the thumbs up from most of those that previewed it at the National.
KS: Switching gears to Originals 1930s Series 2. Babe Ruth was the headliner autograph in Series 1. Who are the top names collectors should be looking out for this time around?
KH: Well, Babe Ruth does make an appearance in Series 2 but as a 1/1 along with the tough Jim Bottomley as a 1/1 – the keys that have more are Lou Gehrig, Jimmie Foxx and Ty Cobb but there are also guys like Pie Traynor, Goose Goslin, Al Simmons and Mickey Cochrane, plus many other HOFers.
KS: Like Series 1, you get a vintage card along with the cut autograph. Which cards do you use for Series 2?
KH: Same format but just different cards and/or players than what was used in Series 1. We did this to keep the collectors interested enough to try to complete both sets (checklists can be found on our website – www.historicautographcompany.com).
KS: You announced that there would be over 50 1/1s randomly inserted in the product. You typically don’t go this low with Originals print runs, why make the decision to switch gears this time around?
KH: We added the 1/1 for multiple reasons, most importantly we wanted to get Ruth in the product but essentially we wanted to add a long list of “tough” autographs that otherwise would not have been used. Guys that are just rare or who died young and are hard to find.
KS: Besides these two products, what else do you have coming out soon?
KH: Next up is 2018 HA Captiol of Baseball – a product centered the New York City dominance between 1949-1956. During this eight year run, (14) of the (16) teams that played in the World Series were located within the New York City limits and a NYC team won every year. Historic Autographs is honoring these great baseball teams with a two-series product that will include ALL of the players from each World Series roster – with each year having its own subset within the series. With rosters that were loaded with Hall of Famers and fan favorites, the Capitol of Baseball is cherished as much now as it was 60 years ago.
Series 1 will have the following teams (even year National League champions and odd year American League champion);
Every player in EVERY year has no less than five of each in the subset – so there are (10) total Jackie Robinson, (10) total Roy Campanella, (30) total Mickey Mantle, (20) total Joe DiMaggio, (20) total Casey Stengel, (13) total Willie Mays and (10) total Gil Hodges – and one of these players is GUARANTEED in EVERY CASE. Over 40% of the boxes will have Hall of Famers, not to mention those TOUGH autographs of men such as Stuffy Stirnweiss, Elston Howard, Don Bessent, Billy Cox, Carl Furillo, Jim Gilliam, Billy Martin, Joe Page and Hank Thompson.
Read more Hobby Musings from Kelsey Schroyer on Twitter: @KelSchroy75.