Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Book Review: The Card

This book is a must read for every collector. It provides a thorough and detailed examination of several different aspects of the hobby by a proven investigative journalist in Michael O'Keeffe. A member of the New York Daily News sports investigative team, he brings over 20 years of credentials to this book that reads more like a mystery novel than a non-fiction book about the Hobby.

While the recurring theme in the book is about the legendary PSA8 T-206 Honus Wagner, often referred to as "the Gretzkey Wagner", having once been owned by the legendary skater, the drama that unfolds to reveal harsh accusations of gross impropriety on the part of some of the industry's established giants is quite chilling. Mastro Auctions and it's founder Bill Mastro and current President, as well as PSA and it's founder Joe Orlando and Sotheby's are all "taken to the wood shed" in this no-holds-barred, tell-all expose.The following excerpt captures the writing style and theme of the book perfectly.

"Over the decades, as The Card has changed hands, its value has skyrocketed. It was initially sold for $25,000 by a small card shop in a nondescript strip mall. Years later, hockey great Wayne Gretzky bought it at the venerable Sotheby's auction house for $451,000. Then, more recently, it sold for $1.27 million on eBay. Today worth over $2 million, it has transformed a sleepy hobby into a billion-dollar industry that is at times as lawless as the Wild West. The Card has made men wealthy, certainly, but it has also poisoned lifelong friendships and is fraught with controversy—from its uncertain origins and the persistent questions about its provenance to the possibility that it is not exactly as it seems. "

I encourage everyone who has even a vague interest in the Hobby, let alone die-hard collectors, to read this gripping tale of "collectors and con men."

2 comments:

dayf said...

That is a great read... the sidetracks about Honus Wagner are just as entertaining as all the skullduggery behind the card.

Rob- AKA "Guido" said...

Agreed!

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