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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Thus, I really made it my mission to figure out if Star cards are either:
A) an underappreciated and undervalued long term investment
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.
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.