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Category Archives for "Hockey"

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

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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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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 carry a XX% 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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A History Of PSA “Flips” (And How To Detect Fakes)

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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.  

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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Wayne Gretzky Rookie Cards: A Closer Look

gretzky-rookie-cardWhen collectors think about the best hockey player of all time, the thoughts immediately are focused on one player- Wayne Gretzky.

When Gretzky entered the NHL in 1979, the league hadn’t quite seen a player with Gretzky’s electrifying skills.

His dominance in the league even as a rookie was unheard of, leading to him winning the Hart Trophy as the league’s most valuable player in his first year in the NHL.

Gretzky’s rookie card has always been in high demand, but even forty years later, collectors still view the Gretzky rookie card as one of the most prized possessions in the hobby. 

Let’s take a closer look at Gretzky’s 1979-80 Topps and OPC rookie cards two of the hobby’s most valuable hockey cards.

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The Most Valuable Hockey Cards of All Time

c56-ross-8In continuation of our coverage of the most valuable sports cards of all time (see our Baseball, Basketball and Football pieces) in this article we present the Most Valuable Hockey Cards of all time.

You might be suprised that a lot of your favorite hockey players didn’t make this list (such as Ray Bourque, Patrick Roy or Mario Lemieux) but unfortunately many of those late 70’s and early 1980’s hockey cards were produced in sizeable quantities, enough to make some of those high quality rookies mostly affordable.

We focused here on vintage hockey cards worth in excess of $6,000.  The end list is 27 cards, and you’ll notice there are players that get a few places on the list–notably Howie Morenz, who has four of the most valuable hockey cards of all time.

Hopefully this will be a bit of a hockey history lesson for collectors as well – we’ve tried to provide a background on each player along with some of the videos which we believed best captured the essence of each player.

The good news is that while our cutoff line was $6,000 (normally in Excellent to NM condition), many of these vintage hockey cards can be found for a lot cheaper if you’re willing to sacrifice on grade a bit. 

We try to update these lists every year, but if you see something that should be on the list, let me know via email at chris@allvintagecards.com.

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Step By Step Guide to Spotting a Fake Wayne Gretzky Rookie Card

gretzky-rookie-cardThe 1979-80 Topps (and corresponding O-Pee-Chee) Wayne Gretzky rookie card is one of the most iconic cards in the hobby.

‘The Great One’ as he is commonly referred is the NHL’s leading all time scorer, with more goals and assists than anyone in the history of the game.

His rookie card has forever been in huge demand, with his popularity among hockey card collectors akin to that of Babe Ruth or Mickey Mantle in baseball.   The easily chipped blue borders make for a tough find in nice condition.

But as demand increases for Gretzky rookie cards, so does the counterfeiting activity.   While Gretzky’s O-Pee-Chee rookie card is more commonly counterfeited, this guide will examine both versions.

As always, buyer beware; we often recommend novice collectors opt for a graded version of a highly copied card such as the Gretzky rookie.  Still, we’ve found both PSA graded Gretzky and Jordan rookies that were complete fakes. Thus it helps to be armed with as much information as possible before investing your hard earned dollars. Onto the guide!

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