Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Lack of TRUE 3rd-party Authentication is Currently the 900lb Elephant in The Hobby.

As discussed numerous times on this blog, and SCU, most recently today, the lack of oversight when it comes to card grading, autograph and memorabilia authentication are topics that 99% of collectors seem willing to deny at the worst and at the very least ignore. No collector wants to believe that their card might receive a lesser grade based on the lack of volume they submit for grading but in all likelihood, this happens with regular certainty.

In addition, no collector wants to believe that a prized game used jersey patch card may be nothing more than bulk jersey material purchased from China. The fact is you honestly just don’t know. I want to believe that my game used cards are genuine, that my autographs were actually signed by the depicted athlete and not a friend, wife or secretary. Conversely, collectors and organizations that submit cards in quantity for grading don’t have to worry about the fact that the cards were graded on their own merit and not the size of the check or credit card payment they made to have the grading performed. Why? Because the grade on the slab is definitive and final.

We live in a collecting universe dominated by an industry designed to make money and at almost any cost. Is anyone really surprised the Strasburg card received such a high grade. The only reason it didn’t grade a 10 is because the manufactured publicity of the card would have turned negative with a vocal outcry of “Foul!!!” The conflicts of interest inherent to the card grading company business model are well documented, by myself, and others. Gellman did a great job of laying out the facts in his post today and I agree with him 100%.

But what is the answer? Major League Baseball employees one of the Big 3 Accounting and Audit firms to authenticate all game used items. However, once it leaves their or the player’s possession, what happens? Would you be in favor of some form of regulatory oversight of The Hobby? Is The Industry capable of self-policing itself? I don’t have the answer but there has to be one . . . . doesn’t there?


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