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Topps Dynasty Is Over: Does Fanatics Stand A Chance?

In what came as a shock to many, MLB and the MLBPA (MLB Players Association) signed a new exclusive deal with sports memorabilia company Fanatics, effectively ending the near 70-year dynasty for Topps.

The immediate reaction from collectors?

Surprise, confusion, and outrage.

Keith Olbermann, not afraid to speak his mind, said the deal orchestrated by the ‘Butcher Of Baseball’ (aka Rob Manfred, head of MLBPA) will lead to ‘ Shit Propagandist Cards’ due to  MLB’s involvement as an equity partner in the deal.

While Topps won’t win any awards for the junk-era designs and overproduction during the ’80s, the brand represents a certain nostalgia for many in the hobby that crosses generations.

And the fear is that Fanatics will flip the industry upside down, leaving the hobby in a state of disarray.

I’ve had a few days to digest this and had a lot of questions from collectors. Here’s a summary of my thoughts and answers to some of the biggest uncertainties regarding the deal.

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BREAKING NEWS: PWCC Accused Of Shill Bidding By eBay

ebay-most-watched-cardseBay today announced that it would be restricting PWCC from selling on its marketplace due to allegations of ‘shill bidding’.  

For those not familiar with the term, shill bidding occurs when fake buyers submit bids on items in order to intentionally drive increased activity to a listing.  

The full statement from eBay:

As one of the world’s largest marketplaces, eBay has policies in place to protect our buyers and sellers. eBay was founded on trust, and we work every day to ensure a fair and positive experience for the entire eBay community.

Recently, it was determined that individuals associated with a trading card seller, PWCC, have engaged in “shill bidding,” which is prohibited on eBay. As a result, eBay has restricted PWCC’s selling privileges and listings, effective today. eBay’s policies and standards were designed to ensure a trusted marketplace where our community can transact with confidence. If we determine that a buyer or seller is not acting in good faith, eBay takes this seriously and takes action. Our customer service team will work directly with anyone who has a question about a recent PWCC transaction.
eBay is the destination for buying and selling trading cards – built over 25 years with our passionate community of collectors and sellers, as partners, on that journey. Trust is the cornerstone of eBay, which is why we felt it was important to share this information with our community. We assure you that eBay will continue to take actions to deliver on our commitment.
 
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Can I Still Buy Sports Cards At Target or Walmart?

walmart-targetWhile the bulk of my card collecting and writing on All Vintage Cards is focused on older cards, I admittedly have had the urge to buy some modern cards while shopping at Target or Walmart in the past.

However, when I went to Target recently to pick up some household items, I was disappointed to find the shelves that used to hold sports cards galore completely barren.  So I set out to find the truth.  

Can you still buy sports cards at Walmart or Target?

Unfortunately, it’s much harder today to find sports cards at Walmart or Target, as they both have suspended the selling of many sports and trading cards. They still sell some sports cards in-store and online, however, there is a huge variation in availability based on your specific location. 

The surge in modern card pricing and the resultant ‘rise of the flippers’ has led to some not so pretty situations in these stores.  And while there are rare cases where you might find some cards, the odds are quite slim.

Let’s take a look at some of the reasons for the supply disruptions and if you still might be able to score a find at your local Walmart or Target. 

Do you know of a location that is still selling cards?  Drop a note in the comments below to let us know!

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Ken Goldin (of Goldin Auctions) On The State Of The Hobby 2021

goldin-auctionsI noticed this video from Ken Goldin on Instagram and figured it was worthy of a discussion here on the blog.  

For those not familiar, Ken Goldin is the founder of Goldin Auctions, one of the hobby’s biggest and well-known auction houses.  

Goldin is one of the hobby’s OG’s, getting his start in the hobby with his father back in 1978 at the age of 20.  He founded Goldin Auctions back in 2012, and just this year received a whopping $40 million investment from The Chernin Group

Goldin is still involved with Goldin Auctions, but with the latest investment, Goldin moved from CEO to the chairman of the board at Goldin Auctions.  He is quite active on Instagram and is not shy to provide a sneak peek at some of their prized items coming up for auction. 

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PSA To Suspend Value, Economy, Regular and Express Grading

psa-logoIn what can only be described as inevitable, PSA just announced that it was suspending all Value, Economy, Regular and Express grading service levels.  In a letter to collectors, PSA President Steve Sloan outlines the massive influx of grading requests and the move to ultimately slow down submissions. 

Sloan reiterates in his letter that PSA continues to get flooded with grading requests and has received more cards in three days than they did during the previous three months.  The letter clearly states that PSA needs to catch up.  And in order to do so, they are halting any Value, Regular and Express grading submissions.

So what does this mean for collectors?  Well, it means that it will basically be impossible to get your cards graded at PSA, unless you want to pony up the $300 for the ‘Super Express’ grading level.  And for most collectors that isn’t an option, unless you are dealing with a card worth in the multiple thousands of dollars.

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PSA & SGC Hike Grading Prices, Provide Updates On Wait Times

psa-logoIn what was only inevitable, both SGC and PSA, two of the hobby’s largest third-party grading companies have hiked prices. 

The deluge of cards submitted to the grading companies has resulted in nearly unfathomable wait times and the grading companies are trying to put a halt to submissions….well, by raising prices.  

The story at PSA is two-fold.  First, if you hadn’t heard, the parent of PSA – Collector’s Universe was acquired by an investor group, which includes collector Nat Turner.  Turner has voiced his desire to improve upon the existing operational infrastructure at PSA and to provide much-needed investment to improve upon the existing processes.  

In a recent letter to customers from PSA President Steve Sloan, PSA provided a new pricing structure, hiking the ‘Regular’ service card submission from $50 to $100, while at the same time raising the declared value to $499 (from $199) on Collector’s Club ‘Value’ submissions.  They also hiked the ‘Value’ rate to a minimum of $20 per card.  

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Collectors Can Now Buy Vintage Sports Cards With Bitcoin

Crypto currency / Blockchain concept with coin on the motherboard.

All Vintage Cards is excited to announce that vintage sports card collectors can now purchase cards via the All Vintage Cards sports card store using bitcoin.  

“This is a big step in the evolution of digital commerce and especially in the advent of what has become a growing market for cryptocurrencies.  Our stance is that bitcoin is here to stay and that we would like to play our part in helping the digital ecosystem evolve into the world of online commerce.  It’s only natural that card collectors have the ability to utilize their cryptocurrencies in purchasing sports cards” -says All Vintage Cards President, Evan Gibson.  

The All Vintage Cards shop carries high quality vintage sports cards, and was recently launched in 2020, following on years of success in helping collector with a plethora of hobby resources, including numerous resource guides relating to spotting counterfeit cards, along with helping to identify good investments in the hobby. 

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Fake PSA 10 Jordan Rookie Leads to Courtroom Battle

fake-10-jordanI’m slightly late on this one, but another collector alerted me to this lawsuit regarding a Fake PSA 10 Michael Jordan rookie card.

Donald Spence, who is a heavyweight in collecting circles (just take a look at his PSA registry here) is the plaintiff in the suit. 

Back in May 2017, Spence purchased a purported PSA 10 graded Michael Jordan Fleer rookie card from Common Cents Coins in an eBay transaction worth $19,999.99.  

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State Of The Hobby – Can We Trust The Card Graders?

trust-gradersI’m sure by now you’ve heard of the scandal that has rocked the sports card hobby. If not, the quick and dirty is that a notorious card doctor and trimmer was buying lower graded cards, trimming them, and then resubmitting to PSA.

All of this was done with the help of PWCC, the big eBay auction house, although to date, the company has denied any wrongdoing

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

Yet the graders provide a level of ‘certainty’ in what used to be a very uncertain marketplace.  But with the recent events, should we still trust the third party graders?  Is there any sort of indication that PSA or any other graders have knowingly graded altered cards?

In this piece I review the history of the grading companies, what has transpired in recent years, and whether we as collectors should continue to rely on the graders in providing this consistency to our beloved hobby.

I’ve also surveyed All Vintage Cards followers for their own feedback and will present the results at the conclusion of this article.

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