Does the slab make the card? It doesn’t hurt these (gallery + poll)


Slabbed cards have been a part of the hobby for decades now but a few autograph companies have started getting into the trend in recent years by encasing cards to give them a bit better display presence at a fraction of the price for a signed photo or memorabilia piece.

And it helps that while storage and protection concern go away, too.

Two big autograph dealers — Steiner Sports and Fanatics Authentic — have pretty beefy runs of signed trading cards available that in some cases take the interesting creations of card companies and makes them better.


There aren’t grades attached — and this collector doesn’t want one — just the unquestioned safety that they are authentic and protected. Unlike cards approved by third-party authenticators cards like these are signed for the companies before they are slabbed and sold.

Sometimes it’s an iconic card that gets ink added. Other times it’s any card — and they’re now of note because the signer is no longer with us. (My recent purchase that kind of prompted this piece? The 1984 Topps Traded Yogi Berra card up top, which was $49.99 via Steiner. That’s a cheap auto and I don’t have to worry about framing or storage if it was a baseball or a photo. I can simply keep it alongside my other slabs. Steiner largely sticks to its New York stable of signers, but you can find a few others in the mix — and these cards are pretty affordable compared to other autos available.

Fanatics provides the store inventory for the MLB and the NFL websites and nearly all of the cards you see here can be had on those sites and more over on Fanatics’ site. Prices aren’t all that cheap sometimes — they’re in line for the signer and the type of autograph but some of the inscriptions are pretty sweet. It’s also a fun mix of iconic past cards and a few interesting new ones that can be had.

And, again, there’s no worry about authenticity or damage. It’s all about the ink.

What do you think? Tell us in our poll above or in a comment below or on Twitter.

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