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Learn the Secret How To CORRECTLY Prep Sports Cards for an Autograph Signing in Under 1 Minute

March 23, 2022 3 min read

Learn the Secret How To CORRECTLY Prep Sports Cards for an Autograph Signing in Under 1 Minute

We all want to get the best possible autograph on our card. You ever get a card back from signing and you're like, what the hell happened here? The pen is all over the place. The ink sprayed out. It's streaky like crazy. Who do I blame for this? Who can I yell at? We all know, we want to blame the autograph promoter. That's the one you paid for the autograph signing. So naturally we get blamed for it and totally understandable. But often times, we don't control the athlete's hand or the pen, so there's a lot of factors at play. One of them has to do with the surface of your card, especially with modern cards and their glossy surface.

If a card's surface doesn't have anything for the ink to stick to, it's really hard to get a good quality autograph. So how do we fix this problem? Well, we use baby powder. Yes I said that right, baby powder. The stuff you put on our kids' butts. We're going to be using baby powder on our cards.

Why do we do this? Applying a small amount to the surface of a glossy card like Chrome or Prizm, those kinds of cards. will give it some tackiness and the ink something to stick to. In the video you can see I'm using some of these 2021 Topps Chrome soccer cards of this guy, Jared Stroud. Spread the powder all around the cards surface, just like I'm doing here so it looks like Al Pacino's desk in Scarface. Then after you've done that, then take a microfiber towel or heck you can even use your t-shirt and wipe it off. That's it. That's all you have to do. I wouldn't use something rough, like a paper towel. It might scratch your card. Just something very, very smooth to wipe off your card.  I went ahead and tested a few sharpies and paint pens on each card. The one on the left has not been prepped with baby powder, and the one on the right has.

You can see how the blue sharpie has some holes in the ink and it's kind of, spread out a bit.  Same thing with the black sharpie and also the white paint pen. The ink had nothing really to stick to here and took a long time to dry. Therefore, it kind of spread out like that.

Now take a look at the one of the right. Very clean, right? Ink stayed exactly where it went to on the card. It didn't move. It's dried right where it went on the card. As you can see the autographs on the right are way better than the ones on the left, because there's no streaking for the most part, it's stuck right to the card where you put it.

I would do this if your card is any Chrome or Prizm card. The original cardboard cards, think 1981 Topps or 1986 Fleer. You don't need to put baby powder on those. The cardboard will hold the sharpie autograph perfectly. You don't need to do anything to those cardboard cards.

If you're unsure if your card needs to be prepped, what I would do is buy a cheaper card from the set, like a $3 card and test a few pens on it. You'll know right away whether or not you need to prep that card. I would be cautious of using baby powder if you plan on getting the card itself graded after the signing.  I have no way of knowing how this will affect your surface grade. To the naked eye it doesn't cause any damage to your surface, so don't worry about that. It looks perfect. But then again, I'm not grading any of my cards that I get signed.  I don't know what these look like under a scope that PSA is going to use to be able to look at your card surface, so I don't know the full extent of that.

If you are sending in like a few thousand dollar card, that was a PSA 10 and you're getting it signed, I probably wouldn't put baby powder on it just to be on the safe side. I just don't want to lead you down this road and then you send it back in, and you get a PSA five. This is just for cards that we're getting autographed and we're not getting graded. 

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