The Batman and Robin movie was a turning point for the film franchise. . . it was an atrocity that lead to the incredible reboot that was Batman Begins.
While the film itself was horrible it was jam packed with a-list celebrities from the nipple-suited hero played by George Clooney to the lead villain — a visually interesting but epically corny Mr Freeze as interpreted by Arnold Schwarzenegger and Joel Schumacher (director).
We’ve seen plenty of horrible movies destroy a perfectly good card set (*ahem* Spirit *ahem*), but Batman and Robin’s camp and nipples couldn’t derail Fleer/Skybox’s 1997 card set, which — let’s face it — pretty much sucked as much as the movie… except for six cards.
I’m sure you already know from the scan those six cards are the autographs, which make up one of the most impressive autograph card line ups ever seen in a trading card set:
–George Clooney as Batman
–Arnold Schwarzenegger as Mr. Freeze
–Uma Thurman as Poison Ivy
–Alicia Silverstone as Batgirl
–Chris O’Donnell as Robin
As you can imagine with those heavy hitters in the set the autographs were tough — 1 in 720 packs, but the reward for pulling an autograph was great — and even today these autographs hold their value. An Arnold autograph like the one seen here recently sold on eBay for close to $200. Not bad at all for an autograph based on a horrible film, in a widevision format that many collectors shun from a repeat non-sport card signer.
If the whole card is worth $200 right now, what would you think just the signature cut off of the card would be worth?
Wait. wait. wait. . . wait a minute! Who in their right mind would take a pair of scissors to a highly collectible $200 autograph from one of the best autograph card line ups ever created? Rittenhouse Archives of course! Check this out:
Incentive Card #11/25 from Rittenhouse’s Conan Expansion set, clearly was made from a cut up Fleer/Skybox Batman and Robin autograph. Unfortunately I’ve been unable to track down more scans of these Archive Cuts cards, but I would imagine than other Batman and Robin autographs were sacrificed to this same fate.
I’ve always had an issue with things being cut up to make non-sport cards. . . Since it has become more common I’ve made some exceptions to my initial total disdain of all cut signatures. . . I’m ok with things that were signed with the purpose of being made into cut signatures, 3×5 cards, photographs and checks, but draw the line at documents, letters and of course other collectibles.
As a card collector is bothers me that a manufacturer would have such little respect for collectors in the hobby that they would destroy other rare and highly sought after cards to make their own. Of course if these Schwarzenegger as Mr. Freeze autographs were ruined before they were cut up that would be a different story, but I doubt this is what we are seeing here, and this isn’t the first time we’ve seen Rittenhouse destroy other autograph cards to make more cards — at least with the Jonathan Harris autograph they cut up for Lost in Space complete they used their own cards.
Ohh, and the high bidder paid $480 for a cut up Batman autograph tucked in a Conan frame. . .