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Do PSA Graded Cards Sell For A Premium vs SGC & Beckett?

dr-j-rookie We have a lot of collectors asking about grading, namely how to do it, and whether they should do it?

But one of the bigger questions that has come up lately is this:

Do PSA Graded Cards sell for a premium over graded cards from SGC and Beckett?

I always assumed that this was true, but decided now to do a deeper dive into recent sales data to see if it was actually true.

Our findings: for older pre-war cards, PSA graded cards do carry a small premium over SGC and Beckett.  For newer, modern cards, PSA pricing is more in line with the other grading companies.

Let’s take a closer look.

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ALERT: Watch Out For Jordan Rookies In Tampered Flips

fake-jordan-arrow We’ve written extensively about how to identify a fake Michael Jordan rookie card here and here

As I’ve mentioned many times, we get a lot of inquiries asking to help authenticate Jordan rookie cards. 

We’ve also written about the history of PSA flips and how to altered slabs

First, let’s just say that the Jordan fakes are getting better.  Often I find myself telling a reader that it’s not possible with me to authenticate via images and would need to examine the card in person.  So, long story short, the scammers are getting better at their job.

Now, something that the scammers have been doing for a while, and not just with Jordan rookies, is busting cards from authentic flips and replacing with a fake card.

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Card Grading Wait Times: Updates From PSA, SGC and Beckett

psa-logo The widespread price increases throughout the hobby has led to a surge in demand for sports card grading.

This has led to significantly increased wait times across all of the third party grading companies. 

PSA, SGC and Beckett just can’t keep up.  With forced closures during the peak of COVID leading to a backlog, the excess demand in recent months has led to significant delays for all of the grading companies. 

Thus, if you have a card you want to get graded, you could be waiting upwards of six months to get your card back.

Now of course there are ways to spend a bit more and get your order expedited.  In this guide, we’ll examine the wait times for all of the grading companies and what it costs to get your cards graded today at each company. 

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The Best Topps Baseball Card Sets of All Time

reggie-rookie In our history of baseball cards piece, we discussed at length the history of the Topps baseball card company; from their initial entry with the 1951 Red and Blue Back sets to their acquisition of Bowman in 1956.

In this piece, we wanted to have a little fun and rank all of the Topps sets starting with the ’51 Blue/Red Back issue all the way to the 1980 Topps Baseball card set. 

Now of course, we’ve noted that anything produced prior to 1980 is considered to be vintage, but we figured with this piece, we’d keep it to an even thirty years of Topps issues.  

Our rankings are based on a few different factors:

1) Overall design of the set

2) Star and rookie card power in the set

3) Collector Demand

4) Investment Potential

I’m sure there will be some that collectors disagree with, so let us know in the comments what you think are the best Topps baseball card sets.

For now, we’ve provided full writeups on the best ten Topps sets of all time.  At some point we might expand the writeups for all thirty Topps sets. 

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1961 Fleer Basketball Cards: How To Detect A Fake

chamberlain-fake-rookie

A Reprint of a Wilt Chamberlain rookie card.

With the big run-up in Michael Jordan rookies over the past few years, vintage basketball cards from the 1960’s and 1970’s have followed, showing significant price increases.

While I authenticate a lot of Michael Jordan rookies, I’ve started to get a lot of requests from one set in particular- 1961 Fleer Basketball.   I love this set, it features some of the most valuable basketball cards in the hobby and in my mind is one of the best designs of all basketball card sets. 

However, with the popularity, comes more counterfeits and reprints, with unsuspecting collectors getting scammed out of thousands of dollars.

Thus, I want to provide a new guide for the 1961 Fleer Basketball Set.  This should be everything you need to know to help identify a real card from a fake.  

If you have any ’61 Fleer cards you’d like me to authenticate, shoot me an email at chris@allvintagecards.com

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A History Of PSA “Flips” (And How To Detect Fakes)

hank-aaron-rookie

A PSA 9 Hank Aaron Topps Rookie card with one of the first front holograms.

Over the years, PSA has made various changes to the labels on its PSA holders (or ‘flips’ as most in the hobby call them) and the actual plastic ‘slabs’ themselves. Some variations are not as noticeable as others, but it’s important to know the difference when buying graded cards.

This guide was designed as a resource for collectors to help distinguish the different PSA ‘labels’ and ‘slabs’ to help identify some of the fake holders and labels that exist.  I haven’t run across many fake PSA slabs, but they do exist and can usually be spotted if you know some of the telltale signs

We hope this guide on PSA holders is a useful resource.  In future posts, we also plan to examine the history of both Beckett and SGC graded holders as well.  

Risk Reduction In Acquiring Autographs

Editor's Note: This article was originally published in the September 1997 edition of The Vintage and Classic Baseball Collector (VCBC) magazine. We have received approval from the prior owners of VCBC magazine to republish this article in digital format.  We are thrilled to be able to re-circulate the fine works of VCBC magazine for today's vintage collectors. 

by Rich Ferrari

babe-ruth-auto This article is mant to serve as a guide for collectors to become familiar with handwriting (autograph) and document analysis.  Hopefuly, you will be better protected from acquiring a forgery or secreterial signature. 

Document and handwriting analysis is not an exact science, and is subject to error. One could interpret the facts incorrectly, wrong conclusions can be drawn from the facts, and sometimes it is impossible to determine the facts to formulate an opinion.  

With more information and study, you’ll be better equipped to trust your judgment, and come to at least a preliminary conclusion regarding your own acquisitions. In my own collecting experience, the items I had reservations about when first purchased, are items that I later confirmed were not authentic.

This article is not meant to promote forgery fear or cast doubts. The goal is to set a standard of excellence in determining the genuineness of autographs.

Star Basketball Cards: An Interview With A Hobby Expert

1984-Star-Jordan-101 Star Basketball cards were issued from 1983 to 1986 and were the only licensed NBA basketball cards on the market until Fleer came to town in 1986-1987.

The cards were a bit of an anomaly in that they were released in polybags, either by team issue or in various subsets and not in wax packs.

The Star company also has a bit of a checkered past; the ‘Shop At Home’ scandal involved the former owner of Star- Robert Levin selling counterfeit cards on a home shopping channel.

Star cards were produced in fairly limited quantities – it is believed that most sets had production runs under 5000 cards – yet most collectors I know sort of dismiss the cards as second fiddle to any of the later Fleer issues. 

Thus, I really made it my mission to figure out if Star cards are either:

A) an underappreciated and undervalued long term investment  

or

B) not worthy of the time, just too confusing, too checkered a past, and too littered with counterfeits.

So, I got a hold of the hobby’s most renowned expert on Star Basketball Cards – Steve Taft.  Steve has been dealing with Star Cards since the beginning in 1983 and had once consulted with the major grading companies on how to identify counterfeits.  Steve knows Star Basketball cards inside and out.  

The ultimate goal of this interview is to help collectors with some of the confusion on the various issues and to help provide some more legitimacy to the cards.  

My ultimate conclusion: Star basketball cards deserve more attention. 

I hope you enjoy this interview with Steve Taft. 

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How To Spot a Trimmed Card

blowout-trimmed-berra With all of the latest trimming scandals running rampant throughout the hobby, we’ve had many collectors ask us about how easy it is to spot a trimmed baseball card.

We’ve spent a lot of time discussing how to detect counterfeit cards, but haven’t spent much time discussing cards that have been altered or trimmed. 

My hope is that this guide will become the premier resource for collectors and help educate everyone in order to avoid buying any altered cards.

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 all of us, to be a ‘fourth party grader’ of sorts to ensure that we are not getting scammed.  

If you come across any graded cards that look like they might be trimmed, shoot me a note at chris@allvintagecards.com

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An Expert’s Guide To Collecting Vintage Wax Packs

1948-bowman-wax-box

An unopened box of 1948 Bowman Baseball wax packs

Collectors often dream about some of the unopened wax packs owned by Steve Sabow.  Sabow is one of the hobby’s preeminent dealers of vintage wax packs.  In fact, Sabow has sold more unopened vintage wax in the last three years than anyone else in the country.

I had the opportunity to speak with Sabow recently and found him to be an all-around great guy and a wealth of information in relation to buying and selling vintage wax packs. Sabow has been at this for a while; he started out selling cards at flea markets back in 1976 and started branching out into local card shows while also promoting several shows throughout the NY and CT area.

He’s been selling packs since the 1970’s, but it was only recently that he started getting heavily involved with vintage packs.  In fact, Sabow credits his vintage card business as allowing him to stay alive in this hobby longer than most.  He’s had a booth at the National Convention every year except for the first four.

Steve is retired now, but still quite active as a vintage card and wax pack dealer (although COVID-19 has slowed down business a bit). His list of packs for sale is one of the most impressive lists of packs I’ve ever seen.  We’ve summarized our discussion with Sabow, providing some of the most important points for any collectors interested in vintage unopened wax.

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