My Hesitence Over 2011 Leaf Ink Cuts

Featured Card: 2010 Topps Sterling Certified Cut Signatures #MPS-586, Pete Rambo

A week or so ago, 2011 Leaf Ink Cuts started hitting eBay. As was the case with the 2011 SP Legendary Cuts, I don’t have a whole lot of interest in the cards. Admittedly, the fact that they are not an MLB-sanctioned issue plays a role in this decision, but that rationale didn’t stop me from getting a complete team set of 2010 Upper Deck and most of the inserts. I think my biggest impediment was that I don’t feel like they are really Phillies cards because all of the Phillies cut autos just say “Philly’s Finest,” which actually means the player can either be an Athletic or a Phillie. Given the obscurity of so many of the players included in the series, a little research is necessary in determining which cuts are from former Phillies. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t mind owning of few of these autographs, but my financial restraints dictate that I carefully decide which items to pursue.

There is another issue at play: the authenticity of the autographs, which has been an issue ever since the card manufacturers started issuing cut autos. Compounding this, recent events regarding a Triple Thread Lou Gehrig memorabilia card make me that much more hesitant to purchase any card with a rare piece of memorabilia or autograph. In fact, it’s the obscurity of many of the players I’ve seen in 2011 Leaf Ink Cuts “Philly’s Finest” cards that gives me great pause. Here are a few of the Phillies who are currently available on eBay: Joe Bennett, Freddy Leach, By Speece, Howie Schultz, Paul Stuffel and Eddie Delker (note: links go to their Baseball-Reference pages). When you consider the length of the player’s career, the likely scarcity of his autographs, and/or how long ago the player died, I believe a certain level of uncertainty is understandable in regards to the authenticity of the auto.

Mind you, this didn’t stop me from collecting a few of the Certified Cut Autographs from the 2010 Topps Sterling issue. Mostly, the key difference between them and the 2011 Leaf Ink Cuts cards was that these cards were actual “Phillies” cards (though, I would have preferred that they at least have a small inset portrait picture of the player whose autograph was on the card). However, it’s unlikely that I will be adding any more of these cards to my collection either as very few of them are even showing up on eBay anymore. I have one other issue with some of the cut autograph issues I’ve seen, but I’ll save that for another post.


4 responses to “My Hesitence Over 2011 Leaf Ink Cuts

  1. Good points on why _not_ to collect these items. But at least for a few of the guys, I wouldn’t be too worried about authenticity. Paul Stuffel was a Whiz Kid (only for about 3 games or so, but still) and he seems to still do a fair number of autograph shows where he signs for about $15. Eddie Delker and Howie Schultz both died relatively recently, and I bought an Eddie Delker signed postcard that I am fairly sure is real only a few years ago for about $5 or $10. I think he signed a decent amount as well. The other guys do seem to have died before autographs took off, so there could be a question as to them.

    Amazing site, by the way. I just came across it last night when looking for some Phillies variations for my own collection. I really enjoyed your Parallel Dillema series, and I have faced many of the same issues myself. I used to think I was the most obsessive Phillies card collector I knew until I found your blog. I plan to be a regular reader now!

  2. Thanks for the info on Stuffel, et al. I don’t get to go to many card shows — especially those in the Philly area — so I know very little about the availability of autographs for those individuals. My perception of scarcity is based upon what I find on eBay and at the dealer sites I visit. If I have encountered certified autographs for any of the players mentioned in my post, they were so few and far between that they didn’t register in my memory.

    I’m always to glad to meet other equally obsessive Phillies collectors. I hope you continue enjoying the site.

  3. I also just found “The Phillies Room” based on a shout-out you gave it, and I posted a question there in response to a comment he had on the Roy Halladay card that is one of the bonus cards in the 2011 Topps factory set All-Star version. But since you are probably one of about 10 people in the world who could actually answer this….Do you have any idea of whether the 2007 Topps Factory Set “Holiday Edition Rookie Exclusives” card #17 of J.D. Durbin is a different photo from his 2007 Topps Chrome and 2007 Topps U&H cards? I would guess it is, but before I buy a second 2007 factory set just to get it (I of course didn’t buy the holiday set that year….), I’d like to make sure. Thanks for any advice you can give.

    The Topps portion of my Phillies card collection (as opposed to my Phillies publication collection, which is also quite large) is focused on the basic and Heritage sets, although I do add, in different binders, occasional other sets, like Total, A&G, T206, Fan Favorites, etc. I have a series of basic Topps binders, a separate Heritage binder, a team/food issue binder, and a couple miscellaneous binders. For the basic binder, I try to limit myself to each Phillies card that is in the design of that year (so I generally skip ToppsTown and other inserts), but only one of each picture. That means I mostly ignore Topps Opening Day, although I will have to add the 2011 Phanatic card. I skip Chrome unless the photo is different, so I enjoyed your Parallel Dilemma post on that–I think I had located nearly all of those different photo cards, but there were about three I didn’t have: 2005 Mathieson, 2006 Matt Smith, and 2009 Escalona. And finally (for now), I do try to add in other cards from the same year in the same design, so the OPC Hebner you highlighted was great for me, and I did decide to add in those “Traded to Phils 12-15-82” type cards as well. Others like that are the Burger Kings cards and those 2005 team-issue cards (Rick White and several other players in different poses). I wish the Phils would bring back those on Fan Appreciation Day, although the 8-card postcard set is a decent alternative to them.

    Okay, I could write all day if I didn’t shut it down right now. If you know anything about that J.D. Durbin, I’d appreciate it!


    • Unfortunately, I don’t know anything about the JD Durbin card. This is almost certainly due to the fact that in 2007 I was probably the least up-to-date I had ever been on new releases. To one degree or another, I’m still playing catch up with a lot of the 2003-2008 issues.

      Having said all that, my gut instinct is that the Durbin card you’re referring to is likely to have a different picture. Thus far, every factory-set insert I’ve seen by Topps does use a different picture from the player’s base card. In your situation, I would take the chance — especially if you’re only spending a couple bucks or so. I’ll keep an eye out for the card myself to see what I can find.

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