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The 2016 Donruss Signature Series Football Elusive Ink Checklist: An Appreciation

December 1, 2016


Depending upon one’s perspective, the word “elusive” can connote many different things. Hard to find. Hard to get. Hard to keep. Hard to even fathom (like good grades in any math class I’ve ever taken). Slippery in the open field. But if you happen to be Merriam-Webster, you know that “elusive” means “tending to evade grasp or pursuit.” And it’s that definition that fueled Panini America Football Brand Managers when they set out to build the checklist for 2016 Donruss Signature Series Football’s Elusive Ink insert.

For in the world of certified autograph trading cards, “elusive” can best be boiled down by some version of this: “Dude! That guy never signs!” But when 2016 Donruss Signature Series Football arrives in hobby shops and on group-break sites across North America tomorrow, collectors will be pleasantly surprised to discover that sometimes, in rare cases such as the 36-card Elusive Ink insert, some of those guys do.

But to be able to truly appreciate just how impressive the Elusive Ink checklist is, it’s important to dig a little deeper into the certified autograph histories of the players on it. So that’s exactly what we did. Late last night, we spent some quality time on researching the Elusive Ink subjects. Below are the highlights of our findings:

  • Elusive Ink includes 11 players who’ve never before had a certified autograph card: John Kuhn, Cole Beasley, Rob Ninkovich, Muhammad Wilkerson, Geno Atkins, Brandon McManus, Michael Bennett, Delvin Breaux, Brett Keisel, Mark Schlereth and Kabeer Gbaja-Bjamila.
  • Elusive Ink features Jeff Saturday’s second career autograph and his first since 2008.
  • For Nick Mangold, Ernest Givins and Steve Tasker, Elusive Ink marks each player’s third career autograph and first since 2007, 2013 and 2001, respectively. Vance Johnson is making just his fourth career autograph appearance and first since 2004.
  • In all, 22 of the players on the Elusive Ink checklist have appeared on 10 or fewer certified autograph cards. In addition to the players mentioned above, that list includes Sebastian Janikowski, Mike Vrabel, Neil Smith, Morten Andersen, Steve Atwater and Jim Zorn.
  • Atwater and Smith, it should be noted, haven’t appeared on certified autographs since 1997 and 1999, respectively.

So that’s the short list of interesting tidbits surrounding the Elusive Ink checklist. You can access the complete player list for the insert here. Below, for your viewing pleasure, is a partial gallery of Elusive Inks. Enjoy . . . and stay tuned for continued coverage of 2016 Donruss Signature Series Football.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Flawness permalink
    December 1, 2016 4:59 pm

    Neil Smith is in the 1999 Score auto series of 1989 reprints.

    • December 1, 2016 5:04 pm

      D’oh! Had my “1999 and 1997, respectively” transposed. It has been corrected. Thanks.

  2. Stephen Radford permalink
    December 2, 2016 11:06 am

    sweet Cole auto . I hope he starts to sign more. need to add one to my collection.

  3. December 3, 2016 6:35 pm

    This set is a big draw for Donruss Signature Series, when the collector asks for players who may not have gotten their proper hobby due in autograph form Panini steps up and answers! Thanks Tracy!


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