Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Greater Accountability/Oversight Needed in Sports Card Industry

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?


James M. aka Cardcop said...

I investigated & then busted Pacific for making fake game-used cards in 2001 which caused them to immediately lose their baseball license.
I then told the story to each Price Guide & not one printed the story. Mike Payne (former Senior Editor for Beckett) told me: "you do what we cannot, if we print your story we'd lose advertising dollars and Beckett would never say anything to risk that".

I told my story everywhere I could online, but it was nowhere near enough. I had just started getting symptoms from the rare form of Muscular Dystrophy I now suffer severely from at age 44. So I couldn't spend the money needed to publicize that story.
See what happened because the Price Guides are useless when it comes to telling the important truthful stories!


Mark Aubrey said...

Well said. When I read the SCD story yesterday I thought to myself: "chuck all your Game Used cards in the dustbin." I don't know if I'm quite there yet, but I know that I don't want to be spending my cash on very questionable cards.

Pablo said...

Wow. This article really makes me the question the honesty of ALL trading card companies. And Mr. Cardcop's story about Beckett not printing his story also makes me question Beckett. The price guide publishers, the card companies, the card grading companies, and card dealers are all in it for one thing: Money! The truth not being important is what is keeping these fat cats in business (sort of like the fat cats in government, right?). Believe it or not, Beckett and Tuff Stuff/Sports Collectors Monthly have done articles on the negative aspects of the hobby: Overpricing, overgrading, fraud, theft, forgery, etc. Why Beckett prints stories like this and not others is beyond me. Beckett is just trying to protect its ass, and the asses of everyone else involved in this industry. This industry has so much controversy that now I only stick with collecting comics!

Fuji said...

This has been on my mind awhile now... and it's pretty depressing. It's a case of the card companies thinking about today, but not tomorrow. Most collectors will only tolerate so much, before they walk away... and sadly... if changes aren't made quickly, the hobby is in for a world of hurt.

Great post!

James M. aka Cardcop said...

I think the "unnamed" card company in the FBI report is Upper Deck. Let me explain why:
Upper Deck has been sending me a few boxes of cards each year to add to my donations for hospitalized kids. This year my contact didn't answer over ten e-mails in 4-months. In the past she always replied in a day or two for 4-years. So finally I get her & she tells me the guy who got her cards for me was fired & she didn't know this so she can't get me cards this year. That whole thing didn't make sense.

Then I've been fighting UD for a year to get my 2010 SP Auth. Mike Williams Auto/Patch Tier Two - Varied #'ing. First they said they senmt it, but I never got it. Since when do they ship $100 cards with no Delivery Confirmation??? So I had to fill out forms & sign them. No big deal. FOR MONTH pass & they say they are sending my card. I get the base auto/patch numbered to 499- THE WRONG CARD!
So I contact everyone again (Richard McWilliam too- he knows who I am) to tell them this and they haven't responded except to say "call us". When you call them (I call every day for the past month or so) you get a recording saying "we are filling redemptions" & then the call hangs up on you! You can't even leave a message!
So I keep e-mailing every few days but I doubt I'll ever get my card. I strongly think they are bankrupt and are making their bail out moves now to get what they can while they still can ignoring all collectors needs.

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