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Category Archives for "Basketball"

Star Basketball Cards: An Interview With A Hobby Expert

1984-Star-Jordan-101Star 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-berraWith 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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Is The Bird, Magic Rookie Card Undervalued?

bird-magicThere’s obviously been a crazy amount of hysteria in regards to Michael Jordan’s rookie card in recent months due to the release of the ‘Last Dance’ documentary on ESPN.

It had us thinking – what other vintage basketball cards might be due for a rapid rise increase in price?

This led us to one card that we think might actually be undervalued — the 1980-81 Topps Larry Bird, Magic Johnson Rookie Card.

I don’t know what it’s going to take — maybe ESPN will come out with a new documentary detailing the legendary battles of Bird and Magic — but it’s clear that their rookie card looks undervalued. 

We’re going to review the Bird/Magic rookie card in more detail and compare it to the Jordan rookie card, comparing pricing and overall population reports.

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Is Michael Jordan’s Rookie Card Still A Good Investment?

Sometimes hype and excitement gets in the way of reality.  And in the case of Michael Jordan's 1986 Fleer rookie card, I'm worried that this might be the case.

Never have I seen a 30+ year old card garner so much attention--and fueled by what?  A documentary?  Are people so stir crazy that they somehow forgot that Michael Jordan was one of the best to ever play the game?

I bring all of this up due to the fact that Jordan's rookie card has begun to reach levels of hysteria that normally crop up in the way of a new rookie phenom.  But here we are talking about the 50-something year old Michael Jordan.

As a case in point, I put together a spreadsheet back in April of 2019, tracking the prices of Jordan's rookie (see below).  In a little more than a year, Jordan's rookie card has increased across the board by the tune of nearly 200% in most grades.  

Jordan Rookie Card Fakes – Don’t Fall For It

Jordan-Fake-One-Front

This is a FAKE Jordan rookie card.

Since writing about authenticating Michael Jordan’s 1986 Fleer rookie card, I’ve been inundated with inquiries. 

When I offered up my services to anyone in need of help, I figured I might get a few responses. 

But when I say inundated, I mean I have been INUNDATED…multiple requests per week, often multiple times a day.

Thus, it’s clear there is a TON of demand for Michael Jordan’s rookie card.

But, the problem I’ve found, is that many collector’s are getting scammed out of lots of money.

So it’s time for a follow-up. 

I will REPEAT that the Michael Jordan 1986 Fleer rookie card is the most counterfeited card in the hobby.  

So, my first recommendation to those who write me is to find a graded Jordan Rookie card, graded by either PSA, SGC or BGS

Yet as I know many of you are the adventurous type, I write this article with hopes that we all can be more educated on the topic, and that the wide variety of fake Jordan cards are on display for the masses.

In this piece, I am posting many of the fake images that I’ve received, while helping to explain some of the differences between the fakes and the real card.

Some are REALLY bad counterfeits and it’s super easy to figure out.

But some are quite good and it’s hard for even me to tell.  

I hope this helps everyone in their quest in securing a Jordan rookie card.

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A History of Basketball Cards

dr-j-rookie-cardWhile we already covered the history of baseball cards, we deemed it about time to delve into the world of basketball cards.

The history of basketball cards is quite interesting; notably the first official set wasn’t issued until 1948 by Bowman, even though the first professional league (the National Basketball League) was formed in 1898.

Thus, the path for basketball cards has gone down a bit of a different path versus baseball cards.  Basketball didn’t really become a household sport until the late 1940’s even thought it was quite popular at American colleges.

Please reach out at chris@allvintagecards.com if you have any feedback or questions.

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The 30 Most Valuable Basketball Cards of All Time

fleer-chamberlain-rookieWe had such a great reaction from our ‘30 Most Valuable Baseball Cards of All Time‘ piece that we figured it was time to do the same for basketball cards.

In putting together this piece we utilized the PSA SMR Price Guide and found the most expensive cards listed in the directory, those valued at $5000 or more.

Note that the highest priced cards are normally the best condition examples- PSA 9’s or PSA 10’s (Mint condition) and thus lower grades of these basketball cards can be found for a lot less than the prices listed here.

We’ve narrowed down this list to cards produced in 1988 or prior.  Yes, the lines on what constitutes ‘vintage’ are quite blurred, but that still equates to over 30 years ago.   

Hope you enjoy this list!  I think it makes a great resource for any basketball card collector.  

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Step By Step Guide to Spotting a Fake Michael Jordan Rookie Card

michael-jordan-rookie-cardThe 1986 Fleer Michael Jordan rookie card is one of the most iconic basketball cards of all time.  Since Jordan’s retirement in 2003, the collector demand for his rookie card has grown even stronger.  Today, a PSA 10 Gem-Mint Jordan rookie card can sell for upwards of $30,000.  But with the popularity of the card, a thriving counterfeit market has emerged in which the Jordan rookie has become one of the most popular forgeries in the hobby.   

In several Facebook collecting groups I belong to, questions about the authenticity of a supposed Jordan rookie seem to be posted on almost a daily basis.   Those without a trained eye for a fake Jordan rookie could be duped out of some serious money.   The scammers are even resorting to putting the fake Jordan rookies in re-used or fake PSA holders.  

Thus, I wanted to make the most comprehensive guide available to help collectors pinpoint those fake Jordan rookies.  Hopefully this guide helps you avoid any potential disasters!

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