It was with great dismay that I read the lead story at Sports Collector's Daily today. Titled, "FBI: Six Memorabilia Dealers Charged With Fraud Involving Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars". Another in a seemingly never-ending parade of news stories that delivered yet another black-eye to this hobby we love. Coming just a few short months removed from The National, an event that saw one of its very dealers arrested, and escorted off the show floor in handcuffs, six more dealers have been charged with selling bogus memorabilia as game used.
While this is troubling in and of itself, what was really bother- some about this particular story was that at least one of the victims in this fraud was an un-named trading card company. The result of this means that we might ALL be potential victims.
It's time for the licensing authorities of the major sports to mandate that all material to be used in the manufactuing and marketing cards of memorabilia and relic cards that will be categorized as "game-used" be purchased directly from the team, league or athlete ONLY and with strict guidelines on acceptable provenance.
The proliferation of relic and memorabilia cards, as we all know, has relegated them to common inserts, often times not even worth the paper they are printed on. However, there are still plenty of these cards that are in demand, carry a premium and have worth on the secondary market. The ambigious and at times, confusing language utilized on the backs of these cards carry no claim of responsibility or authenticity.
The fact that at least one trading card company has been fleeced by these crooks, means quite simply, that it is high time that someone step in and stop this insanity. The industry cannot police itself and it certainly isn't the government's responsibility. The weight of this issue lies directly at the feet of the leagues and player associations making millions in royalties and fees.
What do you think?