By Stephen Duell aka Spuds1961

Let’s fast forward to today’s redemptions, which is why I call them the double edged sword. Today, you spend your hard earned money on a box of cards only to get the 2 advertised GU cards but half of the times the guaranteed autograph is a redemption. As a collector and a very impatient person I want instant gratification, not having to wait who knows how long.

The other problem with redemptions is if the player you happened to pull never signs guess what? You’ll have a replacement sent to you of the same said book value. That’s all fine and dandy but herein lies a problem, I bought that redemption because I’m a collector of the guy who I was originally supposed to get. I have been on the winning end and losing end of the replacement game. I once pulled a Giants GM autograph from Topps fan favorites 2005, that one was replaced with a Jonathan Papelbon 2005 Bowman Signs of Greatness, that equals winning. But I once pulled a Willis Reed/Jerry Lucas dual autograph from 2009 Press Pass Fusion, supposedly numbered to 15, well I redeemed it on February 23rd 2010, it is now may 27th 2011 I called today and was told Reed never signed. That is bad news for me as that would’ve been the centerpiece of my Knicks collection. Now, I get to wait a little while for a replacement, and how can they determine a value on a card so scarce? That one equals a major loss for me.

I don’t blame the companies as it’s not their fault if a player doesn’t sign, where I do blame the companies is why have said player on your checklist if there’s no guarantee of them signing? I’ve bought a few products because certain players I collect were on the original checklist, I won’t name brands or sets, but you collectors know which companies and sets. Then when the product came out I found out they didn’t make a certain card I was after, as a collector there is no real action we can take when this happens, our money is already spent and we just have to live with whatever we pull out of a box.

I know companies have product deadlines that they have to abide by, but when your product gets released and about 1/2 of the autographs are redemptions it’s a lose/lose situation for both the company and the collector. They have to pay money for those little white placards that tell you of your redemption, and then they have to pay employees, notice I said employees and not employee as with all the redemptions nowadays no one person could handle them all. Also they have to pay shipping and handling which hurts their pocket books, you would think the companies would want redemptions gone as much as us collectors but this ongoing problem still exists.

I know if a product came out and the redemptions were for autographed jerseys, pucks, footballs and basketballs I would have no problem waiting for a gem of a prize like that, the problem I have is something I should be pulling from a pack, whether it be a GU autographed jersey card or just an autograph should not have me waiting over a year or more. That’s right all the proof you need about the long waits is there, just go on and you’ll see the horror stories. I try to be patient and nice to the companies as the employee on the other hand is a person just like you and I, but there comes a point where patience runs out and we’re forced to take whatever crumbs they decide to send us. I’m hoping that the future of card collecting can alleviate this one glaring problem in our hobby, as for the most part collecting is a fun and entertaining hobby. Have a great day and may all your redemptions have a quick turnaround time!