Archive

Category Archives for "Basketball"
1

What Does ‘Authentic’ Mean In Card Grading?

SGC-Auth-MarisOne of the most frequent questions we get from novice collectors is in regards to the ‘Authentic’ grade from third party grading companies.

It’s confusing, since we automatically assume a card we get graded is authentic to begin with; thus why does a grading company label a card as solely ‘Authentic’ with no numerical grade (from 1 to 10)?  And then ‘Authentic Altered’…what’s the difference between the two?

Simply put, an ‘Authentic’ grade means that the grading company identified something wrong with the card, usually an alteration or some other major defect, which prohibited them from assigning a numerical grade to the card.  

In what follows, we will examine some of the nuances of ‘Authentic’ graded cards and why they are graded that way.  Hopefully this will help clear up some of the confusion.

Be also sure to check out our piece on ‘How To Spot a Trimmed Card’ which talks more about grading and trimming. 

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Inherited A Baseball Card Collection? Here’s What To Do Next

52-topps-robinson

One of the most intimidating situations can occur when a loved one leaves you a collection of valuable baseball cards.

For many, the cards represent a piece of their family member, and selling it can bring up a whole range of mixed emotions.

In addition to the emotions involved, if you’ve never bought a pack of baseball cards, inheriting a valuable sports card collection can certainly be an overwhelming situation. 

Sometimes the collection isn’t worth as much as you might have expected, although there are times when the value of the inherited collection exceeds all expectations

This resource will walk you through the different options for evaluating the inherited collection, including how to determine values, how to sell the card collection or holding onto the cards and safely storing them.  

Always feel free to reach out to me at chris@allvintagecards.com with any questions. 

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2

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

dr-j-rookieWe 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-arrowWe’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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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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9

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.  

6

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

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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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2

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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