In a rather remarkable oversight, Panini America, a leader in licensed sports and entertainment collectibles, has landed in hot water with collectors. A keen-eyed member of the sports card community has unearthed a gaffe involving a much-anticipated card from the 2022 Flawless Football series.
The card in question, intended to feature the autograph of the venerable Art Rooney Sr., founder of the Pittsburgh Steelers and a legend in the annals of the National Football League, mistakenly bears the signature of his son, Art Rooney Jr.
The error was identified not only by the unexpected ‘J’ trailing the autograph, a hallmark of the junior Rooney’s signature, but also by the absence of Art Sr.’s characteristic T-crossing.
Further casting doubt on the card’s authenticity as a Sr. autograph is the partial date, which seems to originate from the 2000s – a timeline that doesn’t align with the lifespan of Rooney Sr., who passed away in 1988.
This discovery was made by a dedicated collector specializing in Pro Football Hall of Fame signatures, who spotted the erroneous card listed on eBay. The eBay seller, unaware of the mix-up, is not at fault for Panini’s mishap.
The implications of this slip-up are significant, as the value and desirability of cut autographs from such illustrious figures are driven by their authenticity and historical accuracy. Panini has yet to respond to this error.
As the story unfolds, collectors are reminded to scrutinize their high-value cards, as even the most esteemed manufacturers can occasionally fumble. Panini now faces the task of addressing the faux pas and ensuring that the legacy of Art Rooney Sr. is represented accurately for football enthusiasts and collectors alike.