Bob is a longtime member of the Florida sports media, having served as a reporter and copy editor for more than 30 years. His true sports passion, however, is the history of the various games, exhibited by his in-depth book reviews and hobby of collecting cards and other sports memorabilia. He blogs for TBO.com on both subjects, transferring his work for the Tampa Tribune to the realm of cyberspace.
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Press Pass to replace automated Keselowski autographs
Posted May 7, 2012 by Bob D'Angelo
Updated May 7, 2012 at 07:40 PM
While Brad Keselowski was basking in the afterglow of victory after winning Sunday’s Aaron’s 499 NASCAR race at Talladega, Press Pass was red-faced and scrambling to make amends.
The 2012 Ignite Racing set, the latest effort from Press Pass that hit stores last week, had Keselowski autographed Ignite Ink cards that were not hand-signed by the driver.
In a news release, Press Pass conceded that Keselowski’s autograph sheets for the Ignite Ink cards — as opposed to traditional individual autograph cards — were signed using an autopen.
“We are confident this is an isolated incident,” Press Pass wrote in its release, noting that no autographs from other drivers in the Ignite product (or any other product) had been affected.
An autopen is a machine that reproduces signatures. It is used by government and business for routine transactions, like signing letters, photos and promotional materials. Last May, President Barack Obama “signed” a bill that extended the Patriot Act for four years. It was signed by autopen, and is believed to be the first time the device had been used to put a presidential signature on legislation.
It’s the ultimate backup. But when it comes to autograph cards, the real deal is imperative.
According to the release put out by Press Pass on Monday, Keselowski’s camp “mistakenly mishandled” the autograph sheets and signed them with an autopen. I can’t say for certain whether the auto sheets ever got to Keselowski, so I am not going to speculate. The fact remains, the autographs were not from his hand.
“Press Pass takes authenticity very seriously, and we want our collectors to know that we would never intentionally put autographs into our products that were not authentic hand-signed signatures,” the release said.
Also in the release, Press Pass made it plain that the responsibility to return actual autographs fell to the individual driver. The company said it has “reiterated internally the importance of following the proper procedures to ensure that all autographs are authentic.”
I can’t say that I blame Press Pass for that last dig. After all, nobody wants to look foolish, and credibility is a fragile thing. No company wants the authenticity of its autograph or relic cards questioned.
Press Pass said it will be printing new cards and “will be sitting down with Brad” within the next few weeks to have the autograph sheets re-signed. Each card will be rebuilt with the authentic autograph and a prime swatch from one of Keselowski’s race-used fire suits.
In addition, those collectors will receive an Ignite Racing retail box (valued at $19.99) and their names will be entered into a drawing to win a trip for two to an upcoming race to watch Keselowski drive.
Good moves by Press Pass. Collectors raised a red flag, and the company made an attempt to rectify it.