Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Is There a Connection Between Jerseygate and Ambiguous Card Back Language

Over the last several years their has been a steady decline in the quality of the language used on memorabilia and relic cards attesting to their authenticity. Today, in the Chicago Tribune, further details were revealed in the ongoing "jerseygate" scandal* in which a memorabilia dealer, who has contracts with several NFL teams, knowingly doctored jerseys to make them appear game used and then selling them. The team approved contracts provided  an unwritten legitimacy to the dealer's unknowing customers, of which, at least one was a trading card manufacturer. The alleged conduct took place between 2004-2008. 

Take a minute to think about all the football cards in your collection from the beginning of that period to the present . . .  It's safe to say that their is a very good chance that even the cards that clearly state that ". . .the jersey material on the front of this card is certified to have been worn by player x in an official NFL game . . .", may be anything but. How does that make you feel? Me? It makes me angry.

While the proliferation of jersey cards has relegated them as just another insert in the mind of many collectors, I still value the ones in my collection which connects me closer to my favorite teams and players.

As of today, no trading card company has come forward to say that they were a victim of the scam.  While doing so might seem like a publicity nightmare, getting ahead of an issue that is sure to come to light at some point anyway (everything in this industry does) would seems worth considering.

What I find peculiar is the timing of the investigation and these alleged activities. It is during this time frame that full disclosure slowly went down hill regarding memorabilia card backs. It also coincided with certain companies losing league licenses. Now I have no proof, and I am not even speculating that these events are anything more than a coincidence,  but it certainly is worthy of some thought.

* (For a list of the dealers involved in the scandal, please see the previous post.)

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