Sunday, December 9, 2012

30 Year Top 50: 1998 Donruss Signature Series

#24-Picking out which Donruss Signature Series set to post on my countdown was a difficult task.  I actually considered a few different sets that were similar, but luckily I always find space for those sets below.  The concept for this set was actually started in 1996 with the Leaf Signature Set.  The Donruss Signature cards were a per pack autograph set with the packs running around $15.  The cards are really easy to find on the secondary market and are generally really inexpensive, so lets look at the reasons this set is a good addition to the collection.

1998 Donruss Signature Series Andy Benes Autograph

First, despite there literally being thousands of copies of some of these cards there are some very tough autographs in the set which make it a tough to collect.  Some of the cards were purposely short-printed, but others were short-printed because of the financial difficulties of Pinnalce, the card company that printed the Donruss sets, and the fact that they did not pay the players who signed the cards until after the sets release.  Some players did not sign their cards, some players signed their cards erratically, and some distribution was botched after the bankruptcy.

1998 Donruss Signature Joe Carter Autograph

The other reason I love this set is the number of different players that signed for the set.  There are some great names in the set with on-card autographs that are difficult to find in other sets.  For example, the Joe Carter card above is one of two on-card autographs that can be found of the long time Major League player.  While Carter is not a Hall of Fame player, he is definitely a very good player who hit a World Series winning home run.  It's a nice autograph to own.  There are several other players similar to Joe Carter, who were solid to above average Major League players, with few on-card autographs available.  Mariano Rivera might be the best one out there.  

1998 Donruss Signature Significant Signatures George Brett Autograph

The last reason is the inclusion of the Significant Signature autographs in the set.  This insert is chalked full of Hall of Famers with on-card autographs.  Most of the Hall of Fame autographs are also signed in large quantities and can be easily found at a reasonable price.  While they are not the best looking autograph set, they are great to look out for if you are looking to add a few Hall of Fame autographs to your collection.  

Like the 1998 Donruss Signature Set?  There are several great other alternatives to find some great autographs in from the mid to late 90s.  

1996 Leaf Signature Andy Benes Autograph

Like I mentioned above, the 1996 Leaf Signature Set started the run of autograph sets for Pinnacle.  Just like the 1998 Donruss Signature set, the autographs in this set were one per pack and featured a high number of both common and star players.  A lot of collectors love the white design of this set with the black ink autographs.  Some players signed over dark patches in their background pictures, but most are clean autographs.  There are several short-printed autographs in the set which are highly desired cards.  

1997 Donruss Signature Jim Edmonds Autographs

The 1997 Donruss Signature autographs followed the Leaf Signature Series.  The cards provided a nice area for the players to sign at the bottom of the card, but this set was the most over produced Pinnacle autograph set.  The cards are easy to find, low in price, and this set lacks some of the star power of the 1996 Leaf Signature and 1998 Donruss Signature sets.  

1999 Fleer Mystique Fresh Ink Kris Benson Autograph

After Pinnacle folded in 1998 Fleer took up there slack with producing a big line of autographs, but they didn't produce a per-pack autograph set.  Instead, they created a cross set autograph set with different players appearing in different sets.  The autograph lines varied between the Fresh Ink line and the Autographics line.  The Fresh Ink sets ran in 1999 and 2000, while the Autographics line ran in 1999, 2000, and 2001.  My favorites were the 2000 and 2001 Autographics sets.  Both were on-card autographs with loads of stars, short-prints, but also a good mixture of young and everyday players.  

2000 Skybox Autographics Chris Carpenter Autograph

2001 Fleer Autographics Jim Edmonds Autograph


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  2. Well done. I picked up a Jim Thome from the 1997 Donruss set for really cheap. I think I have that first Jim Edmonds as well.

    1. Jim Thome would be a great card to own from this set. I see them every once in awhile, but have never picked one up.