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Commentary: Possible issues in some parts of game-used industry shouldn’t taint everything

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor | Commentary

Is it real or not? What’s real, anyway?

Those are two questions that are seemingly always on the minds of collectors when it comes to game-used memorabilia, and as it’s an aspect of the industry that requires specific knowledge of a topic and, of course, faith.

Faith being that those in positions of “have” in this industry of “need” are doing the right thing — that the players, agents, equipment managers, teams, dealers or card companies are not intentionally misrepresenting items to be something that they are not, that they know what they are talking about, and that they are diligent in what they present to the public.

In some cases, the public could be the everyday collector. In others, it could be a card company buying items to place into memorabilia cards.

It’s inevitable that misrepresentation has happened at some point at one of those levels in the game-used industry through the years as more than 750,000 different (total was 738,395 late last year) game-used memorabilia cards have been made for all sports since they were introduced to the world in 1996. That’s a lot of jerseys and other items with who knows how many swatches inside the millions of cards made. An exploding industry of game-used memorabila — mem card numbers alone went from 4,256 unique cards made in 2000 to 78,954 different in 2005 — is bound to draw the attention of someone trying to exploit it and make a buck.

But that shouldn’t mean every item or every card is suspect.

During an FBI investigation, Florida-based game-used memorabilia dealer Bradley Wells told federal agents that he had altered hundreds of jerseys from 2005 to 2009 while in business as Authentic Sports Inc. and Historic Auctions LLC and that he had sold some of them to the three major card companies — Topps, Upper Deck and Donruss (which was bought by Panini and became Panini America in 2009). At that time, just Topps and Upper Deck were MLB/MLBPA licensees. Today, Topps is the sole fully licensed company and Panini added an MLBPA deal last year.

Last week, Wells pleaded guilty to mail fraud charges and, according to court documents, he alleged that, based on unusually low prices they were willing to pay, the card companies he worked with had to have known that his game-used items — for multiple sports, not just baseball — were not real. For example, according to the interview transcript, a buyer for Upper Deck allegedly told Wells in 2006 that the company needed eight jerseys used by its spokesman, New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter, and were willing to pay between $1,000 and $1,200 per jersey. According to the transcript, Wells said he was buying them (in quantity) from Steiner Sports at the time for somewhere between $3,500 and $5,000 per jersey.

Steiner, which has an exclusive deal with Jeter and the New York Yankees for game-used items, currently sells Jeter gamers (like the one seen above) to the public for between $11,500 and $25,000 per jersey.

Wells is one of a handful of dealers to plead guilty to mail fraud charges in the investigation. When the initial wave of pleas came in November 2011, each of the trading card companies contacted declined to comment on the case. None contacted have commented specifically on Wells’ allegations.

When it comes to business deals, licensing agreements and practices, the leagues and trading card companies often keep details of their operations confidential for various reasons. The processes and regulations for card companies acquiring game-used memorabilia are not public. However, according to those familiar with the processes who have worked in the industry, it has been common practice for card companies to only use dealers who have been approved by the leagues or players associations when it comes to buying memorabilia destined for game-used cards. The documentation from those dealers is supplied to the leagues and/or PAs during the process.

On Tuesday evening, Evan Kaplan, the MLB Players Association Director of Licensing and Business Development replied to questions about the Wells allegations and  affirmed that authenticity is of utmost importance for its licensed products. He did not, however, specifically respond to a question about whether violating procedures would result in a loss of license for a card company or if a previously approved dealer has been removed from its approved list.

“Ensuring the authenticity of game-used memorabilia has always been paramount,” Kaplan said in a statement to Beckett Media. “All game-used memorabilia is required to have been used in actual MLB game.  We work closely with MLB, the players and our licensees to help procure authentic materials.”

On Thursday morning, MLB Properties Vice President of Business Public Relations Matt Bourne issued the following statement in response to the same questions asked of the MLBPA.

“Topps is our exclusive trading card licensee,” said the statement to Beckett Media, “and for current players, we provide jerseys which are authenticated under the auspices of the MLB Authentication Program.”

While Topps, Upper Deck and Panini have not commented in this instance, game-used memorabilia authenticity has been publicly discussed at times in the past. For example, Topps briefly addressed its practices during a question-and-answer session with collectors during the 2011 National Sports Collectors Convention.

“Up front on our end, we do things clean. So, we get our jerseys from clean vendors,” said Topps VP Mark Sapir during the session when he was asked about aftermarket patch-faking of memorabilia cards. “We have specific things in place to make sure that everything we put in product is legit.”

 

 

Memorabilia cards have been questioned before and one notable example came back in 2000 when the now-defunct Pacific Trading Cards drew the attention of collectors and the MLBPA when a Manny Ramirez card in the company’s Invincible product surfaced with a piece of game-used bat also included cork — a sign that the bat had been illegally altered for play.  Pacific claimed it purchased the bat from a third party, not Ramirez or his agent, and the MLBPA disputed that the bat had belonged to Ramirez.

“At this point, there’s no evidence that it’s his bat,” said Kaplan in a Beckett.com story from Oct.27, 2000. “We’ve been doing some legwork internally to determine the authenticity of the bat, and we can’t trace it back to him. That’s what we know.”

At that time, Kaplan also said the MLBPA would be assessing its practices for game-used items headed into its products.

“We’re going to have to examine the process,” Kaplan said. “I don’t think all items will come through our office exclusively, but I’ll be talking to a lot of people to make sure we’re doing everything we can to ensure that everything is authentic. I think it’s still a lot of responsibility on the trading card companies as well.”

Pacific was out of the baseball card market by 2001 and out of business completely by 2004 when its trademarks were purchased by Donruss.

So, why the overall silence in the industry so far with the Wells case? One, it doesn’t make much sense for companies to address allegations — which might not be true — if a substantial number of their jerseys did not come from Wells, or, particularly, if the companies followed all of the procedures as are required by their overseeing entity. After all, mistakes could have been made anywhere throughout the process — however, pointing the finger of blame at your licensor won’t work to sustain business or licensing agreements, either. Needless to say, at some point, dealers found to have issues with their game-used memorabilia should come off of league and player associations’ approved lists, too. We don’t know, but we should assume that dealers who have pleaded guilty to fraud were jettisoned at some point. On top of that, it’s highly unlikely every single piece of a particular jersey could be accounted for years later, which means there’s likely no way of knowing what cards could be in question.

Two, memorabilia authentication is far from foolproof unless an item is pulled from play during the game and stickered immediately — such as those items from the MLB Authentication program. Meanwhile, in many instances, even an MLB-stickered item’s specific timeframe for use cannot always be determined. If it’s not clear that a jersey was used, it would be tagged as game-issued — which can happen when items were in storage and authenticated at a later date. For items from before the program’s launch in 2001 — or one of the many items used regularly today that are not authenticated — expert opinions and research are needed to weed out the good from the bad. Even then, though, the process can’t be 100-percent foolproof. Not every item ever used in action on an MLB field could be sufficiently photo-matched — nor do all items have distinctive features that make them look different from any other. Weeding through the potential issues when acquiring memorabilia for products is a spot I wouldn’t want to be in — it’s hard enough to do it as a collector of a single player whose equipment modification habits I am familiar with.

Three, Wells’ allegations are reflective of an unregulated game-used (and autograph) memorabilia industry where opinions and research are paramount but there is not any sole authority — just ones that are more-trusted than others based on their backgrounds, training, experience, expertise and reputations. Only when legal cases arise are problems often discovered — and in some instances there have been problems even with dealers who have exclusive deals with teams. Meanwhile, the backs of memorabilia cards themselves, although at times too ambiguous for many collectors, show where the responsibility resides — with the manufacturer first and then their overseeing body. Situations like these show how important event-focused deals (MLB All-Star Game, Futures Game or the rookie photo shoots in other sports) are and how vital other licenses (USA Baseball) can be for manufacturers when it comes to obtaining memorabilia in larger amounts without potential potholes.

Are there aspects, when it comes to memorabilia cards, that this collector would prefer to see improved? Sure, but I also understand the logistical issues and the impossibilities in many instances. Are there some brands or companies I trust more than others? Yes, but I personally speak with my spending habits and not with my keyboard when it comes to that because definitive proof of problems can be elusive. But I also know, as a collector of game-used memorabilia, that there’s plenty to learn about what’s what in that part of the hobby and that there is never, ever 110-percent certainty about an item unless you get it directly from the athletes themselves on the field.

If you get an item in a different way? Well, you just have to put your faith in someone. The mistakes — whether intentional or not — of a few in the hobby shouldn’t taint everything else that’s in it.

Chris Olds is the editor of Beckett Baseball magazine. Have a comment, question or idea? Send an email to him at colds@beckett.com. Follow him on Twitter by clicking here.

28 Comments

Chris,

I agree with your basic premise, but the card companies need to be much more careful and the licensors need to be much more careful about watching their licensees. This applies to both game used memorabilia AND cut signature cards.

Several years ago I was approached by an Upper Deck employee who wanted to buy a large number of celebrity cut signatures from me. When I said that I would consider doing so, I was contacted by a fellow autograph dealer who had been tasked by Upper Deck to do the buying (presumably taking a percentage cut for his efforts).

The offer made by the dealer was laughably low. For example, he wanted to buy quantities autographs of former presidents and A-list actors for less than $50 each. I told him where to take his offer. Since they never increased the offer, I assume they were able to fill this order elsewhere. At those prices, what the are chances that they will be fake? And don’t even use third party authenticators as a defense — those companies are all incompetent and/or corrupt to some degree.

Clearly Upper Deck was most interested in the bottom line, not authenticity. In retrospect, the Bradley Wells incident was very similar to my experience. If I was an owner of high dollar game used memorabilia or cut signature cards, I’d be pretty concerned right now. There’s a very good chance that a substantial percentage of these cards are not real.

Posted September 13, 2012 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

I’m not a fan of the jersey/bat cards in general. A tiny one-inch piece of fabric really has zero value to me as it is not the entire piece. A full jersey…cool. A small portion of it…not so much. An auto is always a way bigger score in my mind as it is the entire autograph. What’s next, taking a Hank Aaron autograph and cutting it up to say you have part of the “H?” Or his capital “A” is more valuable than one of the lower case ones?

And regarding the fakes from the legit, I liken this to the PED mess in baseball right now. Sure, not all of the players on are them but you can’t blame any fan for thinking twice about a spectacular year or career for these guys.

Posted September 13, 2012 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

This could be avoided if the trading card companies just told the collector A) What the “Relic” is, B) How they acquired it, and C) What game(s) the “Relic” was used. Put that information ON THE CARD along with the relevant MLB Hologram serial-number and this would be a non-issue.

Posted September 13, 2012 at 1:36 pm | Permalink
BigAbe

Guess I’m confused by the whole point of this article…You are asking me to have FAITH in what I buy but use REAL dollars in doing so? I dont think anyone thinks that 100% of all GU/Memb stuff is fake or not genuine…but what difference does it make if 1, 5, 10, 20, or 50% of cards with GU/Memb are fake? There are still some % of cards out there that ARE NOT GENUINE but advertised as such…Spin the situation however one will, but its a black-eye to to an industry that doesnt need to give more red meat to a growing # of skeptics.

All we as consumers can hope for is that the ray of light shone by this incident makes the card companies improve their quality standards and maybe bring more transparency to how the process works.

Posted September 13, 2012 at 1:44 pm | Permalink
David Johnson

The problem is that card companies insisted on making memorabilia cards more accessible to the point that they can be found anywhere from one per pack to one per box. Back in the mid-90s when the idea of jersey cards first started the cards were maybe 1 per case at best. That made them really rare and really special, whereas now most collector’s don’t care that much about them.
I truly wish that they would just stop making all the memorabilia cards or at least make them much tougher pulls. That would instantly increase the demand for them, and would help the card manufacturers sell more product as people would buy more boxes in hopes of pulling the now rare cards that would actually be worth something.

Posted September 13, 2012 at 2:32 pm | Permalink
Jeff B

Like others here, I’d rather spend a few hundred on a framed auto’d jersey, than on a card with a swatch on it. “Game used” is pretty much a joke anyway, unless you can really authenticate it and it has lengthy use. Today they switch out the bases on the field at EVERY park three or more times per game just to “authenticate” and resell. Every few pitches, a ball is thrown out of play to get “authenticated” and resold. Is that really worth the extra money? I don’t buy any swatch card over $10….just too risky to prove that it’s legit.

Posted September 13, 2012 at 2:36 pm | Permalink
bill johnson

ive always wondered where these jerseys come from. if they were actual “game used” shouldnt the back of the card tell you what game the jersey was played in. they way i took/collect jerseys is like the manufactured cards like the letterman patches or the topps commerotive patch cards. autograph cards come with a stamped certified autograph, meaning its the real deal. until card companys figure out a way to guarentee that the jerseys that they put in their product is “game used” they shouldnt list them as game used. hopefully with this guy getting caught the card companys will figure out a way for actual game used jerseys to be part of their product. i mean all these years we’ve had game used jersey cards and we’ve believed them (the card companys) to be real, now this happens. my questions to the card company’s is this, how can we make sure this doesnt happen again???and how do we (the consumers) who shell out big bucks for mem cards, know beyond a shadow of a doubt, that thats what we’re getting?? a piece of “game used” jersey or bat cards. i await their their answer. if they do.

Posted September 13, 2012 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

First things first, i didn’t relize you were a spokes person for MLB, and next when some pay for a game worn auto patch that is of a hot player they can pay hundreds of dollars, and we are to have faith that part of it maybe real, as i have stated before this went on for years, i’m sure that the card companys have an insurence policy in case this happens, and will recoope some of there lose, but the collectors has to have faith and suck it up, not knowing if the swatch’s he, or she has are real of not. i’m sorry there is little comfort in your artical, maybe it wasn’t ment for that. i don’t know, but the reallity is that the consumer got screwed, no one is saying anything (card companys) ok MLB Properties made a ststement, that Topps is the only licensee, but didn’t Panini also Produce baseball and use game worn cards, so panini doesn’t fall under the Authentication standard, me smells a rat, and its smells of we just don’t know, so maybe it will go away if we use feel good comments, or the strong authoritive confedent words. its not ok that the greedy have taken something that was so simple and entertaining , and destroyed it, and then have someone say in an artical they have an excuse and you have to except it.because nothing is perfect, but we as comsumers have had to deal with it sence the 90″s, and its gotten worst, redemption have become the norm, i’ve seen guys get 2 and 3 redemption out of a box that has only 3 or 4 hits, and not once or twice, we are talking case size, just saying

Posted September 13, 2012 at 5:55 pm | Permalink
David Bailey

Very nice job on this story Chris.

Posted September 13, 2012 at 6:10 pm | Permalink
Dan Good

The descriptions on the backs of Upper Deck’s “game-used” baseball cards from the late 1990s to the present provide context into the origins of the items we’ve been collecting.

From a 1998 Tony Gwynn jersey card: “On the front of this card is an Authentic piece of game-worn jersey from a jersey used by Tony Gwynn in the 1997 Baseball season.”

By 1999, the specific season that the jersey came from was removed, but the cards still say the jerseys were worn in an Official Major League Baseball game, something that continued until 2006. At that time, Upper Deck started using the terminology “certified to us as having been used in an official Major League Baseball game.”

Certified to us … that wording troubles me, especially in light of recent developments.

I agree that specifics of when the items were worn or used is vital to collector trust. It helps that current companies have relied more heavily on direct dealings with leagues or use of independent authentication companies.

But such a large-scale misrepresentation of game-used items leaves a bitter taste and does, sadly, parallel baseball’s own steroid scandal of the same time period. What’s real? What isn’t? Who knows. And that inability to separate fact from fiction makes this all so difficult to stomach.

I hope that current companies will learn from this chapter – and ensure that, as much as humanly possible, collectors won’t have to wonder about the reality behind their hits. Nothing’s ever going to be 100 percent, but the deception saddens me.

Posted September 13, 2012 at 6:34 pm | Permalink
chrisolds

Charles: I’m not a spokesperson for MLB. However, I am a fan of NOT taking a ‘”the sky is falling” approach when we simply don’t know — and probably won’t know — the extent of the problems with an issue. Were there problems? Probably — it was inevitable at some point given the volume of game-used cards made in the last 15+ years.

Posted September 13, 2012 at 7:54 pm | Permalink
Randall

I don’t like game-used memorabilia cards. The ones I have I have pulled from packs. But I dislike them so much, I don’t really consider a mem card a hit. When a hobby box says one auto or relic card per box, and I get the relic, I’m really disappointed. I almost feel cheated. Now that Topps have the manufactured patch cards, I like them even less. What is the point? I would much rather have an auto from a prospect who never get a sniff of the majors than a manufactured patch card.

Posted September 13, 2012 at 8:12 pm | Permalink
joe

Here is the BIG QUESTION. Why haven’t the card companies made any statement regarding this subject? Do they even care? When this starts to afect their bottom line then they’ll release a statement, written by their lawyers of course. Am I the only one that is bothered by this. If you didn’t buy anything from these cheaters (trying to keep it calm on my end) then come out and say it. Their refusal to say anything is keeping a cloud of doubt over the authenticity of peoples collection from 2005-2009. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. The Certificate of Authenticity is on the back of the card not the front. The COA’s today are vague. “You have received a jersey card of Derek Jeter” It doesn’t say GAMEUSED or WORN. It gives no connection to the player what so ever, other then by name. Chris, it’s hard to trust the card companies when they won’t even take a stand and release some kind of a freakin statement, that they are looking into it or something. Show that you care.

Posted September 13, 2012 at 9:47 pm | Permalink
joe

Chris, you stance seems to be that crap happens, deal with it. May I remind you that this is our hard earned money going into this hobby. You don’t think that the card companies should release a statement. Or are you on the card companies side. Because their stance appears to be “we got our money, so screw you guys.”

Posted September 13, 2012 at 9:55 pm | Permalink
chrisolds

Joe: I asked the card companies whether they would have any comment. Nothing yet. If they do, there will be follow-up stories. I ask you this: What would you do to fix the issue?

Posted September 13, 2012 at 11:26 pm | Permalink
Dan Good

The card companies should do more to ensure that the “game-used” items in products are in fact game-used. We support different companies and brands on the belief that the cards we pull are as described – and that certificates of authenticity actually mean something.

If the companies can’t ensure that the items they’re including in packs are legitimate, then they should withhold those items.

The companies need to follow proper authentication channels. If that means less game-used items in products, I’m completely fine with that. But I don’t want to pull game-used cards and have to wonder if, in fact, the items were used in an actual game, or if they just took up space in a bin, waiting for a cost-cutting company or opportunistic salesman.

Posted September 13, 2012 at 11:50 pm | Permalink
joe

Chris, I am just so frustrated with this whole situation. A solution. The card companies could come out a admit that they got memorabillia from these people. Admit the player/s. Give the collector a chance to redeem those cards if they want (one card per product per person for radom pack/s equal to the book value of that card.) For example. If you have a 2006 Topps Albert Pujols jersey which books for about $40 then you should get $40 in pack/s. The reason I say, if they want to, because the card companies may not know which fake went in what product. So that gives them a little wiggle room. If not then the card companies would go broke. Let’s face the whole situation sucks.

Posted September 14, 2012 at 1:03 am | Permalink
ToM Waldron

Chris,
thanks for reimnding us why we hate mem cards. Yes back when these first came out seemed there was an effort by some maufacturres to show authentcy like Donruss it had a picture of said itme(s) which seemed to prove authenticy. Now lets switch gears to Topps and the MISTAKE of the Lou Gehrig card and the Bench seat cards of Ruth in Tribute. How on earth do I have faith that these items are real. I can tell you why we have no statement from Topps or any other leading car manufacturer is The Bottom line. They know it would dimish sales and I think we are tire of Event used worn and i refer back to that shot of Reggie Bush wearing all those jerseys at the Photo-shoot back in 06.
A good article because it reminds us to that unless we go to the game and get an item we should realy think it’s buyer beware. The Topps triple threads product to me is something I never understood you pay 200 + and you get a die-cut over a single color jersey its the most over rrate product out there.
The incorpration of these so calle ‘GAME USED ” items in hi dollar sets like Nat treasures Exquisite are the key if you cant authenticate that or certify these items why buy it. I have to say Topps .Panini UD all have their own AUTHNETIC Apparal lines I can bet you that after this article they are going to be fielding some un happy cutomers.and I hope they do. Remember its the cutomers if you take us for granted you loose.
thanks again for a thought provoking artcle I might never have known without Beckett.
jUST SAYING
Tom

Posted September 14, 2012 at 8:33 am | Permalink
Jim Jordan

I agree with Joe on many points, however, I still think it’s safe to assume that this “event” will change the way things are done and will make the card companies more accountable. Perhaps I am misunderstanding, but I think the majority of card companies THOUGHT that without a doubt they were getting authentic game used materials to place in their product. Yes, there may be an exception out there (there always is), but I find it hard to believe that a card company like Topps would risk trashing their reputation built up over many years for something like this. Maybe I am being too trusting, but in today’s world of companies going under or being gobbled up by others (in all retail, not just the collector card industry), reputation is a gem that is becoming much more rare. If you have a good one, who in their right mind would want to risk trashing it?

Speaking of reputation, I think it’s pretty unfair for anyone to say that Chris is “working for” or advocating something for the card companies/MLB/etc. Chris is a professional who works for Beckett and is sharing his opinion, just as we all are. We should all respect each others opinions, whether we agree or not. Everyone has different likes/dislikes. Some like autograph cards, others like game used materials, other like rookie cards, other like inserts, etc. Let’s just all hold hands and sing Kum Ba Ya, ok????? lol

Posted September 14, 2012 at 8:35 am | Permalink
joe

Jim you wrote ” I think it’s pretty unfair for anyone to say that Chris is “working for” or advocating something for the card companies/MLB/etc.” I see your point and for that I apologize to you chris if I am coming off as accusing you of anything. As I said I am just SO FRUSTRATED with this whole situation. For I stopped collecting memorabilia cards several years ago when I noticed the vague wording on the COA’s. A few years ago a guy at my local card shop told me that I was crazy because the front of the card says game used. I think the card companies should get ahead & say something before these crimminals start talking about which players memorabilia they sold to which company. Chris, then “THE SKY WILL FALL.” This situation is tough but silence is not the solution. Beckett Media, keep up the good work. Kum Ba Ya

Posted September 14, 2012 at 12:12 pm | Permalink
Josh

This is not surprising. I bought a high dollar Babe Ruth bat card around 2000 because I thought “Man there can’t be that many of his bats available to cut up and put into cards. I ended up getting in some trouble and had to sell it, with deep regret. Fast forward a few years later and I see all of these Babe Ruth bat cards floating around. Honestly how many cards can one bat produce, and how many bats of a player like this are there? But yet there are TONS of cards depicting this rare piece on it. I came back to collecting a few months ago, but have dumped 90% percent of the game used pieces that I coveted so much in the early 2000′s. I’ll take 1 or 2 cards of my favorite players, but after that, I don’t care if they are only 5.00, you can keep them.

Posted September 14, 2012 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

Look chris the artical is clear to me, i see it as trying to make excusses for the companys , this notion that theres nothing perfect, doesn’t always fly, if you make a claim that something is real and its not, and then don’t even try and own up to it, does not work for me, i can only speak for myself but when i’m slaped in the face i want to know why, so i can respond, in kind. this is the problem know a days, very little respect for the consumer. i know that this will not be that big a deal to most because there Jersey cards. i think i saw an ad from maybe blowout that they would buy jersey cards for less than 2.00 in quanity. but i guess its ok and theres nothing we can do, but bend over and, well you get the point. Chris maybe you should go into politics.

Posted September 14, 2012 at 9:03 pm | Permalink
Richard

Once the card companies started putting what I considered weasel wording on the certs
is when I stopped buying them.

When it comes to modern gamers the card companies should get it directly from the player,
if at all possible, from the player’s representative, or from the MLB itself. And card made from
that Jersey should be explicit about the source of the material.

For vintage, well, I know it gets murkier. If possible, get the Jersey authenticated by the player.
If not, get it done by someone who acknowledged as an expert.

When in doubt, pass on getting and using the item. If that means fewer cards get made, so be it.

I’ve pretty much given up on most cuts and even sticker autos unless no alternative exists.
Things like 2001 Fleer Greats of the game become the measuring stick for what I use.
So when Topps, Leaf, etc. get a new rookie to sign directly on the card, I’m reasonably sure it
was him, though occasionally there will be a scandal where the guy has someone else sign.

Call me cynical if you like, but it just means one less person bidding against you for the stickers
and cuts. :-)

Posted September 14, 2012 at 10:02 pm | Permalink

Chris, in response to your comment of “what would you do to fix it,” I’ll answer. Tear the whole process down and re-do it, from the ground up. Here’s my plan.

1 – Change the card industry. Nothing too drastic, but do something like Topps did with 2010 Topps Magic Football. There were a ton of different jerseys (73 or so if I remember correctly), but each were numbered to 25. Let’s be completely honest here. How many jerseys of the 8th man on the Celtics bench or the 3rd string WR for the Bears do I need? Yeah, I get that there is a demand (sort of) for Nick Swisher jersey cards out there, but how many people have EVER (other than you, maybe) looked at a product checklist and said, “Well, there are no Jason Bay, Chauncey Billups, C.J. Spiller, or Thomas Vanek jerseys in here, so I don’t want it!” If you do what they did in 2010 Topps Magic, you are able to appease the masses and actually make jerseys desirable again. Limit the actual print run while including a few players from each team. This also means less overhead for the companies making the cards. If I only have to purchase one Tom Brady/Derek Jeter/Sidney Crosby/Kobe Bryant jersey, I can afford to put more effort into the design and layout of the product. Heck, there were some guys from Topps Magic football who were selling for WAY above book who already have a ton of jerseys out there, and others who don’t have too much stuff, like Jared Allen and a few other obscure guys who sold for 4-5x book, because they are scare.

2 – Photo/Video evidence for every jersey/memorabilia card made. A photo acquiring the jersey. The hologram/sticker number on the jersey so that Joe Consumer can go to Panini/Topps/UD’s website and see it. Actual evidence that it was used by that person, in a game. Not just, “This was certified to us having been used in a major league game.” Really? By whom? When? Where? All of this should be readily available to the consumer. And unique codes on the back of EVERY SINGLE MEMORABILIA card, showing what it looked liked upon pack out. That’s right, all of them. No more of these ebay sellers taking plain white jerseys and switching them to 5 color patches with 7 breaks. I want to go on, see my card, with the serial number right there, and go, “OK, that’s what it’s supposed to look like.” Whether I buy it on ebay or any other site, I can punch in the number and see what it looks like.

I GUARANTEE the first card company to do this will see a HUGE increase in business.

Posted September 14, 2012 at 10:06 pm | Permalink
Jeremy Hanosn

First off about the Manny card he is a proven cheater of the game it was his bat just like Sammy used his for batting practice and was in like a 2-40 slump when he caught with his. I hate to say it but we are at the mercy of the companies. It sucks but I would say most of what I collect is more than likely bogus. Just like Topps putting out that card of DiMaggio I think it was with brand new Yankee pinstripes. It would suck to see the hobby go to the wayside but if we as consumers stopped buying the products it would force the companies to change or maybe even allow new companies to bring better products to the market. I love older Donruss products almost every game used card they produced had the photo of the memorabilia it was made from and it at least gives you a little peace of mind that they are not trying to hide anything.

Posted September 15, 2012 at 4:18 am | Permalink
steve emerick

I can honestly say that my opinion of the GU relics changed earlier this year and it will never be redacted.

I have an extensive collection of old time HOFers relics for all four major sports and they sit untouched and uncared about.

I was fooled by the manufacturers but wont get fooled again!

Posted September 15, 2012 at 7:57 pm | Permalink
Richard

I have a question.
Now that they “know” the memorabilia is “fake” what does the guarantee actually mean?
A COA is supposed to mean, at a minimum, that if the item is not real then it should be
replaced with one FROM THE SAME PLAYER that is known to be real.
If not available, the holder of the card is entitled to exchange it for the CASH market value
of the card at the time of purchase or pack being opened.

It does NOT mean they get to say that you should accept a card that they claim is equivalent.
GUIDE price means nothing for comparison for a collector.

For example, I purchased am upper deck redemption card for a John Stockton autograph card.
Eventually they sent me a signed 8 x 10 of Penny Hardaway.
Now I collected Stockton and collect cards, not photos. So, not happy.
I was given no options and as the years went on it became even a worse result.
Its one of the reasons why I no longer will buy redemption cards from Upper Deck.

Posted September 16, 2012 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

Why don’t the card companies put prize redemptions in their products for a WHOLE game used items such as Jersey,shirts, Pants, Shoe, Batting gloves, helmet, hats, bat etc of a player. Who cares for $5.00 game used pieces. Let the collector get a chance to get a whole item… Heck some superstar autos are #’d to /25 or less. So having #/10 items per player like mentioned above would be fine for the collector.
1. Bat
2. Jersey Top
3. Pants
4. Batting Glove #1
5. Batting Glove #2
6. Hat
7. Batting helmet
8. Left Clete
9. Right Clete
10. Auto Baseball

There is items #’d/10 right there. Now add these for 200-400 Players from Jeter to Thole and I think this is a good idea. Goes for Football, basketball, and hockey too. Pople rather get a whole item than a sliver.

Posted September 18, 2012 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

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