Over the last few months, we have seen a few different uses of signature cards in SWCT. The first being the Billy Dee Williams sig that was released back in September, and now the Rebels cards that tie in with the cartoon series. For people who dont follow along with the sports apps, this might be a foreign concept, and its worth comparing how they impact SWCT vs the other apps.
Since 1998, autographed trading cards have been a huge focus in Topps’ business model. In the current state, its rare that a sports themed trading card product would be released without some sort of autographed content, and its been that way for almost a decade. Although non-sport products can be autograph free, even that is becoming more and more rare.
When Topps launched their digital apps, inserts werent originally part of the equation. In the first years of Bunt, that changed with the introduction of harder to find cards, eventually leading to the first sig release. Since that point, the release of the weekly sig in Bunt, Huddle and Kick has become an event.
Its also worth mentioning that in the sports apps, the Sigs are the most valuable marathon set, which only adds to the appeal that their immeasurable rarity already impacts. In SWCT, that obviously is a bit different.
My theory is that its difficult to introduce autographs into a set where the actual people behind the characters are not individually licensed. Topps likely only has license to use the actors if they agree outside of the normal Star Wars licensing agreement, which is a pretty standard situation in any industry.
There is an argument that the Character themselves could fictionally autograph the cards, as digital autographs arent real to begin with. Its not like anyone is actually putting pen to paper with them, so why not just have the character do it in a fantasy setting. I would guess this isnt something that Lucasfilms and Disney is comfortable with Topps creating, as we know that Mickey Mouse, and other Disney characters all have standard autographs, regardless of the people who are representing them. If a kid gets an autograph from Mickey in costume at a disney park, the actor in the suit has been trained to sign the official signature. It helps to keep up the illusion. I would guess that giving Topps permission to create digital autographs for their Star Wars cards, probably isnt within scope. Plus, I dont speak Mandalorian to read a Boba Fett signature, and Jabba probably doesnt sign in English.
Comparing Sports Apps to SWCT
As mentioned above, sigs in the other sports apps are a huge deal. As a marathon like Vintage or Widevision, you can get very valuable award cards for collecting the entire run. In Bunt, sigs govern the trading economy, mainly because they are some of the better looking cards, are insanely tough to pull, and have been around since the early days. Rarity plays a huge part, but even 1000 count sigs in Huddle are worth significantly more than most other 1000 count inserts.
In SW, because the autographs are actor focused, sometimes the user base might not identify with the concept. You can see that everyone still calls the sig by the character’s name and not the actor’s name. For an app that is 100% focused on cards by character, having the actor used isnt always appealing – especially in a cartoon situation. That’s not saying the cards arent still valuable, but maybe a contributing factor to why they dont rule the roost like they do in the sports apps.
With SWCT, we have seen 3 variants per signature card as well, with varying results. The base sig has a certain value, and the golds can be more. The reds were bundle purchases and their rarity is mostly responsible for value less copies than any other variant.
Im actually curious what might have happened if the original sig was more available. I would guess that with marathons originally established, and the factors discussed above, collectors may not have been as hard on to find one. Its possible that rarity and pack odds may be some of the only things that keep the value high. Maybe im just misinterpreting things too, but without a marathon attached, appeal isnt as built in.
As the app progresses and more actors sign on, I would be shocked if there isnt a progression of signatures that eventually start to show up. It might even be possible that when the next season starts, one of the new marathons may end up being sigs. Personally, as someone who loves sigs, this is something I would think could be pretty cool.