In the category of “how is this a story, AGAIN?”, another young NFL player has had his autographed cards called into question. Back in May, Panini discovered that some of the autographed cards by Atlanta Falcons first round pick Takkarist McKinley weren’t signed by him. And now Beckett Grading Services, who values trading cards, is refusing to verify the signature of Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott. The company is accusing Prescott of using a machine to sign the autographs instead of doing them by hand.
While studying five different cards from Panini’s 2016 Prizm set, Beckett’s principal authenticator Steve Grad said, “They had a very machine-like feel. You could see the starts and stops.” He noted a lack of natural flow that you would normally get with organic signatures. “I immediately knew they were autopen. I’ve never heard of a modern athlete doing this.”
An autopen is a machine that can duplicate a signature using a standard pen rather than a printed image. It was created in the 1930s but became popular with politicians starting in the 1950s.
It is possible that Prescott may not have even seen the cards, if someone like his marketing agent received them and used the autopen. When Panini sends cards to be signed, they also send an affidavit stating that the signatures are all authentic.
Prescott, his agent Jeff Guerreiro, and Panini have yet to comment on this story. When the news about McKinley broke back in May, Panini promised to send replacement autographed cards. I imagine a similar thing will need to take place here.