Buyer Beware: Contenders Inscriptions Raising Eyebrows


By Andrew Tolentino | Assistant Editor

Since going live, 2010 Contenders Football has hit the secondary market with anticipated excitement and commotion. The on-card autographs from this set are among the most hotly pursued rookie signatures of the season, but some — featuring inscriptions — seem to be raising a few eyebrows as of late.

Eager to get their hands on specially-signed cards, some collectors have  recently paid premium prices for a few extra words from their favorite players.  While this isn’t an uncommon phenomenon, buyers should proceed with caution before breaking the bank on anything exceeding the cursive.

For instance, a Tim Tebow with ‘Go Broncos’ below his signature recently sold for $600 on eBay.

“I don’t question whether or not Tebow wrote the inscription but keep in mind that anyone with a blue sharpie and a little creativity can write nearly anything they want above or below a player’s signature and try to pass that off as an inscription,” said Beckett Sports Data Publishing Manager Dan Hitt

“It is very unlikely that we would catalog these inscriptions as variations since they are not authenticated in any sort of way,” he said. “Panini is sure to release a list of the inscriptions at some point, but this doesn’t necessarily prevent future forgery.”

While the manufacturer’s word could discredit  fraudulent inscriptions currently floating throughout the market, forgers would then have the exact phrases for potential scamming.

Unfortunately for the hobby, where there is altruism, there is the opposite.

Noting a sense of cautious collector awareness, Hitt added, “It’s fun to see some of the inscriptions and phrases that the player’s find important to them but, historically speaking, very few of these have held up long term at premium price levels due to the opportunity for fraud.”


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  1. Nasser Selami 21 February, 2011 at 14:51

    I am very appalled that Beckett would accuse ALL collectors that have a variation on the contenders tebow to be a forger. I was lucky enough to pull two variations of the tebow auto out of the case I purchased. I pulled two of the variation , one with the “gb2” inscription and one with the “go broncos” inscription. BOTH inscriptions were on the cards when I pulled them out of a panini FACTORY SEALED product. I did NOT take a blue Sharpie and write them on myself. They were both on the card as they came directly from the factory. NOT ALL collectors are thief’s like you are making them out to be. I think that you need to do a little research and get some facts before you start making assumptions about things. Not all people in the world are cheats. In the past I was a Beckett reader and subscriber but comments like the ones in your article offend readers like me who actually have some luck when the buy products.
    Nasser Selami

    • tolentinotown 21 February, 2011 at 16:07

      To clarify, this is in no way an accusation, only statement about “the opportunity for fraud.” These inscriptions — like others — have caused a speculative buzz in the hobby, and it’s important to encourage all collectors to proceed with caution when purchasing.

  2. Michael Gregory 21 February, 2011 at 17:25

    It just states the potential of scamming is high with this product line. When there is oppertunity to scam, you will see boatloads of fakes on ebay!
    Scoreboard auto’s that were never signed.
    Skybox, Pro Line, Classic, Fleer, Skybox, Hoops and Star Pics fakes.
    Topps Rookie Premier Fakes (mostly “Player Issue” cards and Red Ink fakes)

  3. Richard 22 February, 2011 at 13:12

    This is why Upper deck and press pass usually do the inscriptions using a different ink color
    or better yet, like donruss did with a different card that indicates that it is an inscription

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