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1982 Fleer Garvey Autograph - Real or Not?

mrmopar

Member
Jan 19, 2010
3,451
One of the many stories floating around in the autograph world is that Garvey refuses to sign this card. The version I heard is that he signed ONE copy for someone and that was going to be it. I would love to hear the story directly from him, but I don't know if it has ever been asked of him or if he would even answer the question. If anyone ever gets the change to meet him and you can remember, maybe shoot this question by him and see what he says.

Anyway, this card popped up for sale recently, by PWCC. The card is graded by PSA. I am not familiar with all of their various holders and labels, but I assume that this means they have deemed the autograph authentic.

Garvey 82F Auto Fake?.png

Now I recognized this exact card and remember talking about it some time back. I have been in the habit of saving scans and trying my best to name them appopriately and to file them so that I can find them if I need to. This was one example of my success. I found a scan dated 2015 with this same card. It had sold on ebay, also apparently by PWCC at the time and it went for ridiculous money. Several hundred dollars is what I recall, possibly $500+. I also record sales of Garvey related items, but this is all done by hand on sheets of paper and it is chronological. However, I have 100s of these sheets and have not kept them in order. That later sheets have a general date range on top of one side, but I don't think I started doing that from the start. My point is, I recorded this exact sale, but I would not be able to quickly find it at this time. One of my many "to do" projects is to get this hand scribed list into an electronic spreadsheet so that it is searchable.

Anyway, here are the two scans. first 2015 and then 2020. Notice there is a change to the label? The new offering now has "Auto 0" under authentic. I don't know what this means, but it was apparently reholdered or relabeled or both. The serial number is the same, either way.

Garvey 82 Fleer AU 2015.JPGGarvey 82 Fleer Au 2020.jpg

So what, you say? Well, I own a lot of Steve Garvey autographs. Many are certified, pack issued cards, many are just IP/TTM versions of various vintages. His autograph did change over time. You can really tell an early version, say about 1974 or earlier. Then they were very consistent and very artistic, like the Sweet Spot below, but better. It seems by retirement, they were getting sloppier (I saw a lot of what look like hurried IP or TTM autos that appear hurried, signed along the side of the card, upside down and other weirdness to them, like the 81 F Hits card below. Sometimes the auto was bunched up and hard to read) and now with the rut of certified cards issue in the last decade, it is still reminiscent of the late 70s/80s glory, but more rushed. I don't consider myself a handwriting expert or a signature expert by any means. Although I have owned 1000s of Garvey autographs, I would not even call myself an expert with his signature. I believe with near perfect certainty, that this 1982 Fleer card, the one that people claim is essentially impossible to get, it not his signature. This looks nothing like any signature I have ever seen by Garvey. I even have a couple of these unicorn 82 Fleer cards signed and I am unsure about their authenticity, mainly because of how seldom you see them and of course, the back story floating around. I don't love either one all that much, and would still question both under normal circumstances. I would take my best copy (left side in blue sharpie would be my choice for best chance at being authentic, between the two) over this graded one though, any day! This PWCC autograph makes me want to hurl.

IMG_7172.jpg

What do you think? Am I wrong? Dare I question the mighty PSA? How does a signature vary that much and still have enough people paying top dollar...is it a combo of PSA & PWCC (remember this 2015 sale was before all the controversy)/. This one has me baffled and I think it is a matter of people buying the reputation (PSA/PWCC) and not the item, kind of like you hear graded collectors all the time, buy the card not the grade.

Here are a variety of certified and IP/TTM autographs, which I believe all to be authentic for comparison:

images.jpgimages-2.jpgimages-1.jpgimages-4.jpgimages-3.jpg
 

finestkind

Well-known member
Aug 17, 2008
2,387
Boston
The 82 Fleer card at the top looks like Gravey was in a rush or not happy about being asked to sign that card. I don't know anything about Garvey not signing that card over the years.
 

Letch77

Well-known member
Jan 28, 2018
1,152
Midwest
I think that PSA put the "Auto 0" on there because they believe it to be fake and, since it was sent in for only a re-slab, they felt obligated to denote the auto on the label. They probably graded the card as "authentic" to begin with since the addition of a fake auto ruins the card, but it's still an original card.
 

jmc280zx

Member
Aug 11, 2008
938
SoCal
The story about him not signing a certain card is true... I honestly do not remember which card it is... But a buddy of mine used to have a card shop years ago and did a signing w/ him ... We asked him about the rumor and if I remember correctly he said that he signed one for a charity auction and told them it would be the only one he will ever sign...
 

mrmopar

Member
Jan 19, 2010
3,451
Out of any of his cards, picking the 82 Fleer does not break my heart. It is a terrible card, so no major loss. However, it does create an interesting story and a rarity.
 

1998 SPx

Member
Jun 11, 2014
164
I spoke with Steve for about twenty minutes back in January, 2012. Among many topics, one of the things we talked about was the 1982 Fleer card. He didn't mention any copies that he had previously signed, but did confirm that he doesn't sign that one. I indicated to him that if he ever changed his mind, I would be interested in obtaining one. He said that maybe he would do a signing of it for charity one day. He mentioned doing something involving ALS since he and Gehrig were both 1st Baseman. He certainly didn't take a hard stance that he would never sign it.

On a side note, I first met Steve when I was about 10 years old at Riverfront Stadium. I didn't see him again until I was 47. Boyhood heroes have a way of not living up to expectations. I've got to say that Steve was great to meet and did not disappoint! We had some pretty candid conversation. He's a good guy.
 

Randy Shields

Well-known member
Aug 20, 2008
1,838
OH-IO
I don't know if you read PWCC's description of this card but it states:

Only those who consider themselves experts at modern autographs will truly appreciate the inherent rarity and sheer awkwardness of this card. Steve Garvey has taken a stance against signing his 1982 Fleer card for reasons perhaps only he can definitively describe, but the facts are the facts. Offered here is the only known example in the hobby (as far as we can tell) and is a must have for the avid Baseball Star auto collector.
 

mrmopar

Member
Jan 19, 2010
3,451
I don't know if you read PWCC's description of this card but it states:

Only those who consider themselves experts at modern autographs will truly appreciate the inherent rarity and sheer awkwardness of this card. Steve Garvey has taken a stance against signing his 1982 Fleer card for reasons perhaps only he can definitively describe, but the facts are the facts. Offered here is the only known example in the hobby (as far as we can tell) and is a must have for the avid Baseball Star auto collector.
I did read the description. I am not sure what they meant by awkwardness of the card. I have shown photo proof that there are 2 more just like it. I can't vouch for any of them and each has their potential issues, but out of the 3, I think the graded one looks the furthest from what a Garvey autograph typically looks like. I commented on it originally when it sold the first (or most recent that I am aware of) time, saying I didn't think it was real, based solely on my personal opinion and my handling of multiple Garvey autographs over the course of collecting him specifically for roughly 35 years (at that time). Then I watched it sell for a ridiculous amount of money.

I also love the "only known example" bit, not just here but whenever it is used. Sometimes we can use that with more certainty, but most of the time it is just a marketing ploy. Like we have intimate knowledge of what exists within the hobby that has so many participants who never talk of, share or show what they even have in their collections. We just assume that since something has never shown up before, it must not exist otherwise.
 
Jul 22, 2016
161
Garvey is on Twitter. Wonder if he would remember if someone showed him the card. He’s doing cameo now too which I thought is kinda cool.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

mrmopar

Member
Jan 19, 2010
3,451
Well, someone took a severe, but warranted (in my opinion) beating on this card. I am making the assumption that the person who bought it last was the seller. I sure wish I could find the old sale price. I know it was at least three digits and I am almost certain, a mind boggling $500+. Otherwise, I would not have cared, nor taken notice at all. Still went well beyond what I think it is worth at $36 and change.

Screen Shot 2020-07-20 at 7.12.53 PM.png
 

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