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Aquarian Sports Cards
08-07-2019, 02:18 PM
Have mentioned this idea to a number of friends and thought I'd get more thoughts here. Not that I'm in a position to do anything about it, but what does everything think of the concept:

PSA institutes a bad actor clause. If over 10% (we can dicker over what the correct % should be) of your bulk submission is altered they keep the money as penalty for being a bad actor and you get ALL the cards back ungraded, AND you are banned from further submissions.

This was inspired by the submissions where nearly half the cards were altered but they graded the other half anyway.

If this policy was used it would certainly put a major dent in the profitability of the card doctors. It might also discourage others from submitting on their behalf.

Is it fool proof, no. However getting NO cards from a submission graded destroys the profitability curve. If you're counting on getting half your doctored cards through grading, but instead keep getting massive submissions returned (assuming you haven't run out of false identities to submit them under) I don't know how you would turn a profit. Yet if you submit in less than bulk quantities you are easier to catch and also slower to profit.

Also allows PSA to keep the money from the doctors. Yes it will dry up eventually as they are driven out of business, but shouldn't that be a good thing in the long run?

perezfan
08-07-2019, 02:37 PM
I like parts of it, but not all...

1. Sending the ungraded cards back to the card doctors? Not a good idea, as they will inevitably turn up elsewhere. This doesn't fix that major problem. The cards would need to be marked or tagged in some way, and the submitting public likely won't go for that.

2. Card doctors will find another stooge to submit them, once they are returned. They will always find other people to do the dirty work.

3. Why are so many still relying on PSA to fix this? They've proven countless times that they cannot effectively detect alterations. Let's stop relying on their self-appointed "expertise".

ullmandds
08-07-2019, 02:42 PM
Have mentioned this idea to a number of friends and thought I'd get more thoughts here. Not that I'm in a position to do anything about it, but what does everything think of the concept:

PSA institutes a bad actor clause. If over 10% (we can dicker over what the correct % should be) of your bulk submission is altered they keep the money as penalty for being a bad actor and you get ALL the cards back ungraded, AND you are banned from further submissions.

This was inspired by the submissions where nearly half the cards were altered but they graded the other half anyway.

If this policy was used it would certainly put a major dent in the profitability of the card doctors. It might also discourage others from submitting on their behalf.


Is it fool proof, no. However getting NO cards from a submission graded destroys the profitability curve. If you're counting on getting half your doctored cards through grading, but instead keep getting massive submissions returned (assuming you haven't run out of false identities to submit them under) I don't know how you would turn a profit. Yet if you submit in less than bulk quantities you are easier to catch and also slower to profit.

Also allows PSA to keep the money from the doctors. Yes it will dry up eventually as they are driven out of business, but shouldn't that be a good thing in the long run?

In addition to whats been said...PSA will never turn away business...they won't!

1952boyntoncollector
08-07-2019, 02:46 PM
So many issues on this for someone to take someones property. I cant see this even remotely happening.

I can see them reporting it to law enforcement who could intervene though

steve B
08-07-2019, 02:51 PM
Well, then keeping the money wouldn't be turning away business, at least not directly....

I also think a system like that would be prone to abuse by PSA, or by the graders. Got a batch to finish up grading before you head out to a hot date Friday night? Hmm... only at 50/200 cards and 10 min to go... reject reject reject, reject...… Job done! And the company still gets the fees so I won't be in trouble!

It would also punish the people who just send in a batch of cards they bought like one dealer I asked why he had a huge pile of late 50's cards graded 3-5 that he was selling for les than the grading fee. "Oh, I send them in by the hundreds, maybe thousands if I bought a big collection. I only pull out the obvious beaters. "
Or the people who just can't spot problems.. who probably should begetting help submitting or picking cards anyway.

trambo
08-07-2019, 03:00 PM
Rather than being punitive (which you can't be really) maybe if that certain % is deemed to have been altered then all of the cards either don't get graded or all of them get the "A". Not sure any of it really has legs but bringing ideas to potentially help the hobby is a good thing!

drcy
08-07-2019, 03:10 PM
I would hope that PSA is conscious of submitters who often submit altered cards.

However, at this point PSA should be trying to explain to us why they should be in the business of grading cards, and have the business ethics to do so. They, of course, are welcome to make their case. I would listen.

By business ethics I mean that an authenticator's model is supposed to be centered on authentication and accurate expression of authenticity. Clearly, and likely in part because it is a business, this is not the model for PSA. The Registry is an academic folly as far as that goes. You know what the essential linguistic root is of 'authenticity' and 'authentication?' The expression of the truth and facts-- does that sound like anything near what is PSA's business model and practice?

Aquarian Sports Cards
08-07-2019, 03:32 PM
So many issues on this for someone to take someones property. I cant see this even remotely happening.

I can see them reporting it to law enforcement who could intervene though

Nowhere did I suggest someone taking property. The cards are returned ungraded. Unless you were referring to the money. And you are agreeing to that penalty as a term of submitting.

Aquarian Sports Cards
08-07-2019, 03:34 PM
Rather than being punitive (which you can't be really) maybe if that certain % is deemed to have been altered then all of the cards either don't get graded or all of them get the "A". Not sure any of it really has legs but bringing ideas to potentially help the hobby is a good thing!

OK Maybe all of them getting the "A" justifies keeping the money. I was thinking just sending them back keeps the cost down and makes it more palatable for PSA. I'm a realist and realize you can't count on PSA to volunteer to give upp all that good card doctor money.

ullmandds
08-07-2019, 03:39 PM
there needs to be a risk on the part of the doctors sending in doctored cards...like permanently defacing/marking cards shown to be altered...but the problem is their detection process needs to be fullproof...which they are not.

And what if the sender didn't doctor the card themselves...should they be punished?

It's not fixable i hate to say.

Aquarian Sports Cards
08-07-2019, 04:31 PM
The risk is financial. I am trying to be practical. I don't care about punishing them I am trying to make it economically not worth it for them. That will eliminate cheaters FASTER than the threat of legal or other repercussions or Mastro would've scared everyone straight. But if you could create a model where they don't make a profit I think they move on much more quickly.

I would also argue that the detection process has to improve LESS with my model. The submissions that inspired the idea were HALF REJECTED. By that stick it doesn't matter if the half they passed were also altered as they wouldn't have been graded.

I've submitted the very occasional doctored card. I think I had two in a bulk submission once. I haven't doctored a card since I recolored some 1971's when I was 11, not knowing in 1983 that it was a bad thing to do. You set the threshold where the accidentally submitted alterations don't result in the repercussions.

I think there are definitely issues with the idea, but I actually think it addresses your concerns quite well.

BobC
08-07-2019, 06:04 PM
So many issues on this for someone to take someones property. I cant see this even remotely happening.

I can see them reporting it to law enforcement who could intervene though

Why would they report it to law enforcement? It is certainly not illegal to do anything you want to a card you own. And merely submitting an altered card to a grading company is not illegal either. Many innocent people over the years have submitted cards to the grading companies that have come back as altered or unauthentic. In fact, that is one of the reasons that people submit a card to a TPG, to double check and make sure whether it is authentic/altered or not, because that is what they're paying the TPG for, to authenticate the card and give it the appropriate grade.

Aquarian Sports Cards
08-07-2019, 06:21 PM
Yes nothing illegal occurs until someone tries to represent an altered card as unaltered in a sale situation. There needs to be intent and a victim. I think PSA would be hard pressed to claim they are a victim of the card doctors.

MULLINS5
08-07-2019, 06:25 PM
I would prefer PSA to just authenticate and grade the cards accurately.

1952boyntoncollector
08-07-2019, 06:39 PM
Why would they report it to law enforcement? It is certainly not illegal to do anything you want to a card you own. And merely submitting an altered card to a grading company is not illegal either. Many innocent people over the years have submitted cards to the grading companies that have come back as altered or unauthentic. In fact, that is one of the reasons that people submit a card to a TPG, to double check and make sure whether it is authentic/altered or not, because that is what they're paying the TPG for, to authenticate the card and give it the appropriate grade.

right, not saying the submitter is getting arrested, but that law enforcement may be notified. There could be an active investigation and if a grouping of 50 cards have 50 altered ones (all with stated value over $1000), you can see why that may get reported.

Maybe there may be questions about where the submitter got the card from law enforcement etc

Aquarian Sports Cards
08-07-2019, 06:51 PM
I would prefer PSA to just authenticate and grade the cards accurately.

I'm more of a pragmatist.

Robbie
08-07-2019, 07:10 PM
I'm not a card guy, but one thought I had was...

Maybe to combat or reduce bad-actors, PSA and other TPGs can be convinced to make general SUBMISSION information public, like;

John Doe Cards August 7, 2019 350 Cards Submitted 242 Found to Be Altered

and then LET THE MARKETPLACE DO WHAT IT WILL with John Doe Cards. PSA (TPGs) must do a good job registering and verifying every submission and submitter.

Would making this information public dissuade legitimate collectors and dealers from submitting cards? I don't think so.
Would it temper the crooks and card doctors from submitting? I think so.
Would it damage or hinder PSA's business? I don't know. They could still holder the altered cards, but it would give their collector base more knowledge and confidence.

oldjudge
08-07-2019, 07:38 PM
Your proposal is predicated on the TPG being able to detect the altered cards. If they can detect a significant percentage in a submission I think the submission should be pulled and directed to a separate group that does a more detailed review of the cards.There would be an additional expense for the TPG to support this forensic group, but they might recover this via modestly higher grading fees, or simply from increased user confidence in the product.

Aquarian Sports Cards
08-07-2019, 08:09 PM
Well they've proven, even in the midst of the scandal that they can spot a LOT of altered cards. That's why the key is to establish the threshold percentage. Again this was inspired by submissions where they rejected a ton of the cards, yet graded the remainder. To me if you then flag the rest of the submission for closer examination you are still rewarding the card doctors. Once you hit that percentage, BAM your cards are returned ungraded and you are banned. No need to waste more time on them, you are a bad actor and your entire submission is suspect.

swarmee
08-07-2019, 08:25 PM
Then what do you do about all their previous submissions? Track down the current owners for reviews that would kill your profit?

PSA can't do this work or they'd put themselves out of business, IMO. If the 11,000 cards revealed by using their Cert system get recalled, they're on the hook for a lot more than the ~$2 million in found altered cards already (for less than 500 visibly altered).

Aquarian Sports Cards
08-07-2019, 08:31 PM
I'm not trying to solve past problems that's in the hands of law enforcement. I am trying to prevent future problems.

wondo
08-07-2019, 09:33 PM
I'm not trying to solve past problems that's in the hands of law enforcement. I am trying to prevent future problems.

Start your new TPG. I'm rooting for you!

Aquarian Sports Cards
08-07-2019, 09:40 PM
LOL I appreciate it but it was never mine, I was asked to join someone who was in a position to start one. I'm hoping he follows through, but I think the start-up and marketing costs are daunting.

Mark17
08-07-2019, 09:42 PM
Scott, I think it's an interesting thought but see the problems others have mentioned. As to the doctors, they would just submit more clean cards with their altered cards, to keep their altered ratio sufficiently low. It would cut into their profit margin, but it might also increase the chance of them slipping their altered cards through.

Here's the solution you seek: Team up with a few other high-integrity people in the hobby, get with some tech people who can perfect a system using black light, infrared light, X-ray, etc. that can reveal modern substance on old cards, differences in materials (coloring,) differences in density (built-up corners,) perhaps a micrometer to test for thickness uniformity, and so on.

Then start a business that can perform these tests and perhaps others, and offer this service to collectors for about the same fees the current TPG charge. But, here's the big difference - you don't offer any opinion on grade. Just pure authenticity.

When I get my oil changed, I am given a checklist describing exactly what was done. They don't say, "Your car is problem-free," which could cause them issues later, if they missed anything. They instead tell me that the oil and filter were changed, certain specific fluids topped off, tire air pressure, etc.

So, this new authentication company does the same. Describe what tests are being done, give the digital results of those tests, retain detailed scans of every card that is evaluated for future reference (like, if it comes back in someday, altered,) and leave it at that. No opinion, no grade given, and therefore no conflict of interest, no potential favorable treatment, etc.

Have a couple cards handy that have been altered, and at the start of each day, run those cards through the process to verify the machines are giving the same readings they gave yesterday (to be sure the machines are working properly.)

While testing the capability of the technology available, look into whether or not a "quick review" process could be applied to cards already slabbed. It would not be able to test card thickness, and would thus be more limited, but it might still be possible to spot other things without having to crack the cards out. I do not know what is/isn't possible.

Scott, come up with a business plan like that, choose your partners well, form an LLC, and I'll bet a lot of people here would be interesting in investing; I know I would.

Current TPG companies are not the solution. A new, objective, transparent company/process is what is needed, to identify past and future altered cards. Leaving the whole grading aspect out of it would eliminate a ton of problems.

ullmandds
08-07-2019, 09:47 PM
Scott, I think it's an interesting thought but see the problems others have mentioned. As to the doctors, they would just submit more clean cards with their altered cards, to keep their altered ratio sufficiently low. It would cut into their profit margin, but it might also increase the chance of them slipping their altered cards through.

Here's the solution you seek: Team up with a few other high-integrity people in the hobby, get with some tech people who can perfect a system using black light, infrared light, X-ray, etc. that can reveal modern substance on old cards, differences in materials (coloring,) differences in density (built-up corners,) perhaps a micrometer to test for thickness uniformity, and so on.

Then start a business that can perform these tests and perhaps others, and offer this service to collectors for about the same fees the current TPG charge. But, here's the big difference - you don't offer any opinion on grade. Just pure authenticity.

When I get my oil changed, I am given a checklist describing exactly what was done. They don't say, "Your car is problem-free," which could cause them issues later, if they missed anything. They instead tell me that the oil and filter were changed, certain specific fluids topped off, tire air pressure, etc.

So, this new authentication company does the same. Describe what tests are being done, give the digital results of those tests, retain detailed scans of every card that is evaluated for future reference (like, if it comes back in someday, altered,) and leave it at that. No opinion, no grade given, and therefore no conflict of interest, no potential favorable treatment, etc.

Have a couple cards handy that have been altered, and at the start of each day, run those cards through the process to verify the machines are giving the same readings they gave yesterday (to be sure the machines are working properly.)

While testing the capability of the technology available, look into whether or not a "quick review" process could be applied to cards already slabbed. It would not be able to test card thickness, and would thus be more limited, but it might still be possible to spot other things without having to crack the cards out. I do not know what is/isn't possible.

Scott, come up with a business plan like that, choose your partners well, form an LLC, and I'll bet a lot of people here would be interesting in investing; I know I would.

Current TPG companies are not the solution. A new, objective, transparent company/process is what is needed, to identify past and future altered cards. Leaving the whole grading aspect out of it would eliminate a ton of problems.

Aaaaaand... you forgot to mention that this will be a money losing endeavor that will result in quick bankruptcy!!:p

wondo
08-07-2019, 09:47 PM
LOL I appreciate it but it was never mine, I was asked to join someone who was in a position to start one. I'm hoping he follows through, but I think the start-up and marketing costs are daunting.

I hear ya, but that's my point. We see a "better" way, but we want someone else to bear the cost while we stand on our soapbox. Free market will determine service / price level.
.

Mark17
08-07-2019, 09:53 PM
Aaaaaand... you forgot to mention that this will be a money losing endeavor that will result in quick bankruptcy!!:p

How much would machines like that cost? Some on this board have been using black lights on their personal collections for years. If a good plan was put together I'd sure want to get in on it with an investment. Start-up costs wouldn't be huge but the potential upside sure would be!

bounce
08-07-2019, 09:54 PM
As of right now, I don't believe enough people are willing to pay for reliability in grading. PSA would never do this because it would cost them revenue, and the overwhelming number of collectors wouldn't be willing to pay more for the security.

I like where your thoughts are, but the economics just don't add up until there's some sort of "technology" element that makes it better AND cheaper.

hcv123
08-07-2019, 10:50 PM
Scott - The idea would certainly leave the marketplace moving forward in better shape than it is in now - even with some of the pointed out "loopholes" and "imperfections". Far from perfect - but a large improvement.

Mark - The only weakness I see in your plan is the lack of numeric grading - There are too many in the marketplace that use the numeric grades as competition to be the best (think set registry and "buy the holder not the card) - take the numeric grading away and you lose that competitive factor which I believe is the one point of differentiation that has PSA so far ahead of the other grading companies. So, keep the numeric grading - add all of the other points of scrutiny.

1952boyntoncollector
08-08-2019, 10:34 AM
Well it wouldnt be hard to get an 'extra sticker' that says that a 5k card or more past sales search was done to see if any possible altered card. The search can name all of the searches and name all the websites/auction etc that would check

I chose 5k as an arbitrary number

bbcard1
08-08-2019, 11:19 AM
I don't do much with TGC. I have never submitted a card directly, own a few, but will generally crack them to put into my binders.

I think the answer is a new grading company with very high standards in terms of ethics and reasonable funding. That is doable. If a credible name was associated with it and the pricing reasonable, it could catch on. There are a ton of superior marketing angles that could be employed and technology to determine trims and centering could be integrated. It could be great.

If such a company were to be founded, the existing card companies would throw everything they could at them to discredit them. It would be an absolute sh•tshow.