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Monthly Archives: February 2020

1981 Topps Joe Montana Rookie Card: A Closer Look

joe-montana-rookie-cardWhen I was growing up as a collector in the 80’s, the 1981 Topps Joe Montana Rookie card was one of my prized possesions.

Montana was my favorite player, and since the Patriots weren’t all that great, I gravitated to the 49ers.

That Joe Montana to Jerry Rice connection was a thing of beauty and Montana was my idol.

Montana’s rookie card was hot in the 80’s, but back then we didn’t know about production runs or have access to daily updated pricing.

Armed with what we know now, let’s take a closer look at Montana’s 1981 Topps rookie card, one of the hobby’s most valuable football cards.

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Is PSA Deliberately Undergrading Popular Cards?

In a perfect world the third party grading companies should be evaluating cards objectively, and not letting any sort of biases creep into their final decision for a card.  Yet, we all know that we've seen some questionable grading decisions in the past, based on the numerous trimmed cards that have ended up getting numerical grades.

A recent video posted by Vintage Card Curator on YouTube challenged this fact by taking a look at what they refer to as the "9:10 ratio"; a simple calculation that looks at the number of PSA 9 cards and divides the number by the number of PSA 10 grades.  A simple way to interpret the number quickly--if for example we see a card has a 9:10 ratio of 12:1 it means that a card gets a 10 grade for every 12 cards graded a 9 by PSA.  

The focus of the video which I've posted below is on mostly modern era cards (from 1978-1993), such as the ever-popular 1993 SP Derek Jeter card.

PWCC, Probstein and PSA Targets Of New Class Action Lawsuit

It was only a matter of time. Finally something is happening from a legality standpoint in regards to the latest card trimming scandal.

The class action lawsuit in question was filed this week in California and alleges that Collector's Universe (aka PSA) 'knowingly graded altered cards' and that PWCC and Probstein 'knowingly sold altered cards'.  

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The lawsuit claims that due to the widespread nature of available information, PSA "knew or should have known that it was grading altered cards".  This part of the argument is a bit light on substance.  

First, the lawsuit claims that given that PSA is an expert in the field of grading, they 'should be able to identify indicia of alterations such as removal of stains and smoothing out of creases'.

This part I agree with.

Trimmed Goudey Ruth at PWCC Auction Outed By Blowout Forums

I thought we might be taking a breather on some of the trimming nonsense, but alas there's been another major discovery in the vintage card world.  One of the trimming experts over at Blowout Cards (aka 'BODA) has discovered another trim job, this time with one of the more storied cards of the hobby--the 1933 Goudey Babe Ruth (#181) card.

And of course, it was a card being sold over at PWCC.  Can someone at eBay please tell me why PWCC is allowed to sell cards on their platform, after all that has happened

Here's what BODA has discovered.  The 1933 Goudey Ruth that was being auctioned off by PWCC was formerly graded by SGC (as a 5 or Excellent condition), cracked from the slab, trimmed and retouched, and then resubmitted to SGC.  In turn SGC re-graded the trimmed card at a higher grade, a 6.5 or Excellent-Near Mint.  

Here is the original 1933 Goudey Ruth that was sold at Heritage Auctions back in 2012 for nearly $6,000.

A Closer Look at Collector’s Universe (CLCT)

collectors-universeI discuss grading a lot on this blog, since it’s a big part and often controversial topic in the hobby.  I also discuss the concept of investing in vintage baseball cards.  Thus, I figured it might make sense to take a closer look at Collectors Universe, the company, which is traded under the symbol CLCT on the stock exchanges.  Of important note, Collectors Universe is the parent company of Professional Sports Authenticator (or PSA as many of us are most familiar).

In this piece, I’ll examine the operations of the company, how they make money and how successful they’ve been in doing so, along with what the future prospects of the company look like.  This is by no means investment advice and I do not own any shares of CLCT nor am I being compensated by anyone to write this article.  This is all being done for my own enjoyment and to give collectors some future insight in the big business behind sports card grading.

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Berk Ross Cards – A Closer Look at An Underrated ‘Champion’

berk-ross-ted-williamsThe 1951 and 1952 Berk Ross “Hit Parade of Champions’ sets have started to gather more interest from collectors in recent years.

The massive star power across each of the 72 card sets is one reason for the popularity.  The cards are also scarcer than any of the popular national issues from the era.

I’ve always like the Berk Ross cards; something about the grainy images has always appealed to me.

Yet it wasn’t until I started diving into some the population reports when I recognized that the Berk Ross cards were significantly undervalued.

Of course, values are often subject to collector interest in a particular issue.  However, the Berk Ross scarcity combined with the star power make these sets one of the better buys for vintage collectors.

In this piece we dive into the background of the sets, more details about the issues, along with the players in the sets and the corresponding availability and values.

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State Of The Hobby – Can We Trust The Card Graders?

trust-gradersI’m sure by now you’ve heard of the scandal that has rocked the sports card hobby. If not, the quick and dirty is that a notorious card doctor and trimmer was buying lower graded cards, trimming them, and then resubmitting to PSA.

All of this was done with the help of PWCC, the big eBay auction house, although to date, the company has denied any wrongdoing.

Let’s face it; PSA, SGC and Beckett are just third party authenticators.  There is no guarantee, whether intentional or not, that the graders will get it right.  It’s now on us, to be a ‘fourth party grader’ of sorts to ensure that we are not getting scammed.

Yet the graders provide a level of ‘certainty’ in what used to be a very uncertain marketplace.  But with the recent events, should we still trust the third party graders?  Is there any sort of indication that PSA or any other graders have knowingly graded altered cards?

In this piece I review the history of the grading companies, what has transpired in recent years, and whether we as collectors should continue to rely on the graders in providing this consistency to our beloved hobby.

I’ve also surveyed All Vintage Cards followers for their own feedback and will present the results at the conclusion of this article.

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