2013 Topps Silver Slate Chris Carpenter Autograph
Earlier this spring I did a write up on all of the different Chris Carpenter autographs floating around out in the world. The vast majority of the cards are Upper Deck issues with low print runs from the mid 2000s. I did leave one thing out of my write up which was the limited appearance that Carpenter made in the 2009 Topps Unique set. Carpenter has a few one of one pieces in the set, laundry tags, uniform buttons, etc. He also has a dual autograph with Zach Greinke which is limited to 25. I am not sure what the total print run on the cards from the Topps Unique set, but it's under 50.
So, here's where I am going and here's what is off about this Chris Carpenter card. The Silver Slate autographs issued by Topps this spring are an inventory dump of sorts on old autographs. Carpenter did not sign any cards for the 2013 Topps set. Not that I know for sure, but here's a little history on the autograph stickers used by Topps.
2007 Topps Anthony Reyes Autograph
Topps initially started heavy use of sticker autographs in their base sets, and other sets too, in the mid 2000s. The first few years of cards issued with sticker autographs featured large silver stickers with the words Topps Certified written across the top of the sticker and Autograph Issue written across the bottom. Just like my 2007 Topps Anthony Reyes autograph above. The stickers stood out on some cards, especially cards with white backgrounds and I am pretty sure that most collectors did not really dig the stickers. So, Topps improved their product.
2012 Topps Jordan Pacheco Autograph
Starting in 2011 Topps changed over to clear stickers which helped blend the autographs into the cards a little bit better. For example, the Jordan Pacheco autograph above is an action shot with the sticker applied over the bottom of the card. However, with the clear sticker you can still see the bottom of Pacheco. The lines on the sticker are much more subtle, but it is still clearly a sticker autograph.
Now, a quick glance at some Silver Slate autograph on other websites like Ebay will show that not all of the Silver Slate autographs are actually silver slates. In fact, the majority of the cards in the set are stickers issued by Topps after 2011. I have only been able to find four cards with a silver sticker autograph: Carpenter, Lester and Votto (similar autograph history with Topps-nothing recent), and Johnny Podres who died in 2008. The other dozen or so cards in the set are all signed on the clear stickers.
While I am always up for picking up a Chris Carpenter autograph, I am not sure how I feel about picking up a card that was clearly issued to clear out a bunch of old autographs. I guess Topps needed to do something with the old autograph stickers, but perhaps they could have found something better to do than issue them with a new set of autographs where the old silver stickers stand out like sore thumbs. Same with the Gary Carter autographs.