Thursday, November 20, 2014

Bogus Authenticator Drew Max Crawls Out From Under Rock of Obscurity.

Bogus Autographs. Forgeries. Fraud. These are terms in the hobby that really get my dander up. But when people in trusted positions of power turn a blind eye to expert opinion and defraud unsuspecting fans and collectors anyway, well, that is a whole other level of scumbug.

Meet Bergen County, New Jersey prosecutor, John Molinelli. After seizing dozens of sports memorabilia items from a felon to secure restitution as part of the criminal's sentencing, Molinelli had the collection examined by Robert Lifson of Robert Edward Auctions. Upon examination, he determined that the majority of the items "were garbage" and had "no value". He attested to this in court documents that went ignored by Molinelli.

Molinelli, left holding the bag, needed to find someone to authenticate the bogus material prior to the county's public auction. Enter Drew Max. You might remember Mr. Max from the TV show Pawn Stars, before store owner and Rick Harrison and the show's producers obviously received an education about Max's less than reputable standing in the hobby. How bad is it? None of the major auction houses, SCP, Lelands, Heritage, etc. will accept any Drew Max authenticated item in their auctions.

Molinelli paid Max, $10K, that's $10,000 to authenticate the bogus material. Obviously for that kind of payday, a man who has been pushed to the fringe of the industry would authenticate just about anything and that is exactly what he did.

PIX 11 News in New Jersey reported on this particular event. Here is the news segment in its entirety.



Friday, April 25, 2014

Time For a Change When it Comes to New Products?

More and more collectors I personally know, have stopped purchasing unopened boxes of new product. Thankfully the hobby has seen that void filled, in recent years, by the case breaking phenomon. Without them, the amount of new singles on the secondary market would be at an all-time low.

For the most part, I have outgrown the need to purchase boxes of the latest "hot" hobby product. Sure, occasionally I get sucked in like everybody else but more often than not the post purchase experience is one of regret and not satisfaction. Why? Because, I'd rather take that money spent on a box of the latest and greatest and just buy the singles and hits I want from the product direct on the secondary market.

I'm not alone in this feeling or practice and I don't believe it bodes well for manufactures and retailers. So what can be done to harness the dollars being spent on the secondary market from a manufacturers standpoint? I believe it's time to re-envision the product configuration of a box of trading cards.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Are There Flaws in the Graded Card Scale Due to Printing Technology?

Disclosure
The information contained in this article is the result of being contacted by a seasoned commercial printer. His knowledge of the printing practices of trading cards from the 1950's-1980's has caused him concerns with regards to how cards are graded. As a result of this first hand experience with the printing and cutting process, it brings into question the methods and scale used by grading companies when establishing a trading card's final grade, particularly those from the aforementioned era. Below is a re-written version, for clarity, based on the several emails he sent me. 

Introduction
It's no secret that collectors, dealers, and auction houses spend hundreds of thousands of dollars, and perhaps more, every year, on grading services. This practice has become an important part of the hobby because it has helped to eliminate the personal bias regarding condition that used to be so common between collectors and dealers. However, are the current grading scales fair? Do they take into account the technology in the actual printing and more importantly, cutting, of trading cards? With sometimes thousands of dollars riding on the difference between a card receiving an 8 grade compared to a 10, an understanding of printing technology would seem essential in determining a cards grade. So why aren't these factors incorporated into the grading scale? Here is a closer look at some individual characteristics of how trading cards are printed and cut and how grading companies erroneously miscalculate these factors into the grading equation.