Saturday, October 12, 2013

It's Official - PSA Duped or Complicit in Biggest Scam Ever Perpetrated in The Hobby

Mastro leaves court*
With this week's admission in Federal court, that Bill Mastro is guilty of defrauding the public by way of his trimming the world's most valuable baseball card, more questions than answers continue to unfold. While many will argue with the analogy that "a rising tide lifts all ships" and that his action business helped turn the hobby into a multi-billion dollar industry, did more good than harm, I strongly disagree. The end never justifies the means when accomplished through deception, fraud, forgery, shill bidding, doctoring or any other unethical business dealings associated with this hobby of ours.

The fact that the card was trimmed, and was the first serial numbered graded card of PSA, ever, which essentially put PSA on the map and created the now multi-million dollar industry of card grading, leaves ONLY two possibilities of what actually transpired way back in the early 1990's.

1. PSA Was Duped - Think about it. One of the very first cards they EVER graded, is a doctored piece of cardboard worth no more than a designation of "Authentic", and truly how can we even be sure of that. The card that set the standard for all future pre-war cards to follow is a sham. Not only is it a sham, it's a sham that was graded by the company that literally created the grading card industry.

2. PSA Was Complicit - Could PSA have been in on the scam from the beginning? Well of course. Think about the publicity that was continually generated for the company every time that card changed hands. The mainstream media provided, literally, millions of dollars worth of free advertising. For years, in the early days of card grading, the Honus Wagner T206 provided a sense of legitimacy to the whole concept of card grading and helped PSA become the industry leader they are today. So there was definitely motive.

So, with a show of hands, how many of you choose to believe Option 1? And now, Option 2? What you choose to believe is really what this comes down to because, we may never know the truth and there simply is not another option.

The other part of this story is that of shill bidding. To know it happened once, one can safely assume, surmise, ponder - that it happened numerous times. Is MastroNet the only sports memorabilia auction house to use such practices to artificially inflate the value of sports memorabilia for higher revenue percentages? I don't know. But it certaily isn't out of the realm of possibility.

So everyone that owned the "The Card" made money, so what's the big deal, some may ask. Let's ask Ken Kendrick, the owner of the Arizona Diamondbacks and current keeper of "The Card" if and when he chooses to sell it.Talk about getting left holding the bag. Who knew that all the previous owners were playing a 30+ year game of hot potato?

* Photo credit (Anthony Souffle, Chicago Tribune, 10/9/13)



Section 36 said...

I have to say I'm confused. Wasn't the card "trimmed" from a uncut or miscut sheet? Isn't that OK? I remember Beckett (or another hobby mag) doing a whole segment on the best way to cut cards from an uncut sheet yourself. (can't remember if it was a Q&a or article) As long as the card isn't smaller than it "should" be, what's the problem?

Rob- AKA "VOTC" said...

The Card was purchased by Mastro from a Lew Lipset auction who described in the lot description that the card "had over-sized borders and if one wanted to could be trimmed." The person who sold it to Mastro says it did come from an uncut strip, although no photo has been made public.

Fuji said...

A. I'm really... really... really hoping that PSA was duped. But it wouldn't surprise me if the were mixed up in this mess.

B. The photo of Mastro you used sort of makes me think he's a mob boss.

C. I hope he gets punished to the full extent. Let's give this guy a pallet of 1988 Topps baseball cases and have him build hand collated sets until his fingers bleed.

D. I wonder what Mr. Kendrick has to say about this.

Hauls of Shame said...

I just read the comments on your post. The wagner lipset sold to mastro is not the card. That one he sold to halper and its now at HOF.
Hard to keep track of all this LOL

Chuck's Used Cards said...

PSA has one goal - make money. Screw the collectors, screw the hobby, and if it means leaving the other cheats holding the bag - no problem.

Admiting that the cornerstone of your business is made of sand would crumble the entire building.

I, for one, would love to see the debris.

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