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  #1  
Old 01-16-2018, 05:42 PM
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Default Card doctoring...

is the hobby's dirty little secret. It is interesting to me that so many of the newer collectors (and some of the old) including those spending large sums of money seem to think that if one of the major TPGs slab a card, it's legitimate. And the logical corollary of that is sellers are judged only by their customer service --if they get you the card you bought well-packaged in a reasonable time, they're a superstar.

But it ain't necessarily so. Many of us know better and know that doctoring is rampant. To an extent, one could say, well who cares, once slabbed a card becomes a commodity and the alteration is irrelevant. On the other hand, I suspect a fair number of collectors would not buy even slabbed cards if they knew they had been altered, or deal with sellers who traffic in altered cards.

But the dilemma is this. Those who know are just not going to go on a public forum and name names. And the reason is this: for the most part, we don't have incontrovertible proof, we didn't see anyone do it or overhear an admission, it's more in the nature of knowledge from our long history in the hobby, the reputation of certain people among graders and honest dealers we know, observation about the cards certain people buy versus those they sell, observation about cards purchased that to a trained eye appear altered, and so forth.

So what's the right thing to do? I guess you could say I and others are (plural starting with p) for not coming forward and naming names and only making statements like the above in general terms. And maybe that would be correct.

Anyhow, at the risk of being vilified, I put the topic out there for discussion.
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  #2  
Old 01-16-2018, 06:12 PM
hcv123 hcv123 is offline
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Default Knowledge is power - stick to the facts

I for one think it would be completely reasonable to raise questions/suspicions stating the facts as you understand them or your own personal experience (as that) supporting the question(s). That could be the start of a conversation at the end of which each person can make their own decision or draw their own conclusions - I don't think it would be fair or reasonable to name call or make unsubstantiated accusations. The PWCC Joe Dimaggio card thread would be an example.
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  #3  
Old 01-16-2018, 06:16 PM
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I am a small fish in the collecting world. It used to be that I was a small fish out of necessity. While that is somewhat still the case, it is now also a result of some of what you are saying, Peter. I observe a lot here on Net54, at the National, etc. It is funny and ironic how certain things come back around full circle and end up devouring themselves. I remember being a teenager and looking at dealers' ads in magazines like SCD and Tuff Stuff. You never really knew what ex or nm meant because it was different for every dealer. Now we have dealers trading in altered cards and such, but it is all okay because, as you say, those dealers provide impeccable service as they connect customers with the cards that have become slabbed commodities. The dealers can simply plead ignorance and defer to the TPGs. Nevermind that professional grading was supposed to regulate the hobby. I used to bristle when you wrote "stuff trumps all." However, I now know it to be true.

Thank goodness there are good people still left in this hobby. I have become content to work on little off the radar, low budget projects that few here would even care about, in hopes that some of the graft you describe will be cleaned up. I am not holding my breath.

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Last edited by vintagebaseballcardguy; 01-16-2018 at 06:18 PM.
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  #4  
Old 01-16-2018, 06:18 PM
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"once slabbed a card becomes a commodity and the alteration is irrelevant"

This is the root of the problem.
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  #5  
Old 01-16-2018, 06:26 PM
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Unless you had that incontrovertible evidence, naming names would only get you into an argument. Those who are named would obviously deny the accusation and we'd go round and round. Jeff L. warned us of Mastro and he denied everything until he got busted by the Feds. Might make for an epic net54 thread though.

Not to hi-jack your thread as this might be a little off target, but pertains to card doctoring. I've wondered about the time line of progression of the sophistication of alterations. What kind of alterations were being done 20, 15, 10 years ago vs 5 years up to current techniques? Where alterations much "simpler" so to speaker 15 years ago which made them "easier" to detect? Could that mean earlier graded cards actually being less likely to have some kind of alteration due to the types of alterations being done at that time easier to detect? Could be a totally naive thought, but a thought popped into my head.
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  #6  
Old 01-16-2018, 06:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JeremyW View Post
"once slabbed a card becomes a commodity and the alteration is irrelevant"

This is the root of the problem.
Yup. We as collectors hand over all our power with this, and simply repeat it. We accept it and form long lines to have it done again. Education and knowledge take a back seat to what someone behind a curtain says. In this regard, TPGs have simply made doctoring more acceptable as long as it passes by them...b/c, of course, its graded.
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Old 01-16-2018, 06:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rainier2004 View Post
Yup. We as collectors hand over all our power with this, and simply repeat it. We accept it and form long lines to have it done again. Education and knowledge take a back seat to what someone behind a curtain says. In this regard, TPGs have simply made doctoring more acceptable as long as it passes by them...b/c, of course, its graded.
It doesn't help when you hear people talking about resubmitting cards over & over again until they get the grade that they feel is appropriate.
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  #8  
Old 01-16-2018, 06:35 PM
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> if one of the major TPGs slab a card, it's legitimate

> once slabbed a card becomes a commodity

> observation about the cards certain people buy versus those they sell


These and other thoughts have recently occurred to me as well and I find myself left jaded a bit and wondering what the future might be. The fact that we even need TPGs I find somewhat disconcerting... I'd rather that all cards were "raw" and authentic and unaltered (and there are differing opinions on what constitutes alteration for that matter) - but that's not our world. I wonder if someday should I need or want to liquidate my collection will uncertainty of how these traits are viewed have negatively impacted today's value - I suppose that its just a hobby; but still... I sometimes think that one big scandal involving a major TPG will crush that value - again, just a hobby; but we're all acquiring/buying in a market that is heavily propped up by the influence that TPGs have on it. Just another small fish writing here...
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  #9  
Old 01-16-2018, 06:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mckinneyj View Post
> if one of the major TPGs slab a card, it's legitimate

> once slabbed a card becomes a commodity

> observation about the cards certain people buy versus those they sell


These and other thoughts have recently occurred to me as well and I find myself left jaded a bit and wondering what the future might be. The fact that we even need TPGs I find somewhat disconcerting... I'd rather that all cards were "raw" and authentic and unaltered (and there are differing opinions on what constitutes alteration for that matter) - but that's not our world. I wonder if someday should I need or want to liquidate my collection will uncertainty of how these traits are viewed have negatively impacted today's value - I suppose that its just a hobby; but still... I sometimes think that one big scandal involving a major TPG will crush that value - again, just a hobby; but we're all acquiring/buying in a market that is heavily propped up by the influence that TPGs have on it. Just another small fish writing here...
If PSA gets caught in a major scandal that send hoards of customers away, all the values collapse. This could be a thesis, but just imagine that you woke up tomorrow and every PSA card was 10 cents on the dollar...
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  #10  
Old 01-16-2018, 06:40 PM
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Funny this post got added today. Today I had two cards posted with SGC that were deemed "color added". I've had all other cards always receive a grade and then today 2/6 are color added. Funny thing is I bought the cards at least 6 months apart from different sellers and it was a 62 Topps and a 75 Topps. So wasn't like it was 2 - 71 Topps from the same batch from the same seller. I think it's relevant to the OP because I've never had this happen in dozens of sumissioms and now 2 in a single submission? Maybe one was obvious so they took a harder look at the rest? Kind of supports the notion that maybe some of my other submissions had alterations but they weren't picked up.
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  #11  
Old 01-16-2018, 07:13 PM
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Provenance, provenance, provenance

Yes, many graded cards have been altered, and a common problem with graded baseball card collectors is many don't give one hoot, one care, where the card came from, just its current entombed grade. If they inquired, even insisted, on documented history-- even if merely having the seller of a gem mint card demonstrating that he got the card in that condition--, many alterations would be revealed.

The Importance of Provenance in Collecting
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Old 01-16-2018, 07:26 PM
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Provenance, provenance, provenance

Yes, many graded cards have been altered, and a common problem with graded baseball card collectors is many don't give one hoot, one care, where the card came from, just its current entombed grade. If they inquired, even insisted, on documented history-- even if merely having the seller of a gem mint card demonstrating that he got the card in that condition--, many alterations would be revealed.

The Importance of Provenance in Collecting
That "not giving a hoot" is a problem.

The TPGs allowed so much more "collectors" cough investors in. They brought tons and tons of money. No more barrier to enter the hobby, no knowledge is needed and TPGs opened that door. SO while ALL our collections have appreciated, I believe the fraud has increased and the name of the game is getting some by the goalie into a slab. It has helped the hobby economically and hurt it colleting wise...and it will never be the same. Most of it is just a commodity now.
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Old 01-16-2018, 07:32 PM
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Originally Posted by rainier2004 View Post
That "not giving a hoot" is a problem.

The TPGs allowed so much more "collectors" cough investors in. They brought tons and tons of money. No more barrier to enter the hobby, no knowledge is needed and TPGs opened that door. SO while ALL our collections have appreciated, I believe the fraud has increased and the name of the game is getting some by the goalie into a slab. It has helped the hobby economically and hurt it collecting wise...and it will never be the same. Most of it is just a commodity now.
That the hobby, or at least many collectors/investors, exists in such ignorance (often willful and self-deluding) or don't care, does not mean it will always be that way. Perhaps in 20 years, the high graded cards worth the most will be the ones with well-documented provenance. Remember that documenting provenance isn't just for the now, but for posterity.

Last edited by drcy; 01-16-2018 at 07:44 PM.
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  #14  
Old 01-16-2018, 07:32 PM
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Unless we see the act of altering first hand we can't really say for sure (unless there is an admission )? That is a big issue.


And since we are on the subject, restoration and altering have been around a long time. No doubt before this too. The write-in is a familiar name too.





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  #15  
Old 01-17-2018, 05:52 AM
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Throughout my TPG experience I have found that if SGC gives one of my cards a numerical grade I can take it to the bank that its real/authentic and unaltered. I trust SGC, imo they're accurate and very strick on their assesment of issues such as authenticity and alterations.

I'll buy SGC cards all day long over PSA.

Last edited by Johnny630; 01-17-2018 at 07:16 AM.
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  #16  
Old 01-17-2018, 06:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leon View Post
Unless we see the act of altering first hand we can't really say for sure (unless there is an admission )? That is a big issue.


And since we are on the subject, restoration and altering have been around a long time. No doubt before this too. The write-in is a familiar name too.





.
pretty much as leon said...although even with cases with proof(before and after images) which appear periodically on this board...nothing seems to ever happen.

the cards should be destroyed or somehow permanently labelled as such... and TPG'ing companies should be held accountable for their errors.
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Old 01-17-2018, 07:25 AM
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Default Card restoration

Although card doctoring has been around for decades the original motivation was mostly for the personal satisfaction of the collector. Obviously there was some money motivation 30 years ago, but nothing like today. And I cannot help but see the irony that the grading companies offer an expensive solution to a problem they helped create. (I'm an attorney and we are good at creating expensive solutions to problems we created too). I have a 1956 Mantle psa 6 and a psa 9. (the 9 by the way is overgraded and about as attractive as the 6).

30 years ago the reaction to the cards would be those are two nice Mantles, I'll give you an extra $20 for that one. Now that psa has dictated that the two cards have subtle differences that justify an insane $30,000 difference in price, there is powerful motivation for plastic surgery.

I collect mostly vintage, but last year I put together a 1986 Fleer basketball set all psa 8. I paid $11 for my psa 8 Johnny Moore card. Somebody paid over $15,000 for a psa 10. Can you honestly tell me that the small differences in the card of a journeyman player justify a $15,000 price difference. Especially since if we broke the cases and resubmitted they might both come back a "9".
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Old 01-17-2018, 07:39 AM
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Default prior sale

Well you always run the risk of someone posting the exact card on a prior sale in which the cards look identical but for the alteration.

So theres a ticking time bomb and musical chairs as the card keeps changing hands before the music ends


I have often touted an ownership registry with pictures so you can tell if your 1952 Mantle is claimed to be owned by someone else and it would also aid in the alteration issue, maybe I'm before my time there as well.

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Old 01-17-2018, 10:01 AM
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Leon - thanks for posting that from Lew.

I guess I should not be surprised but seeing such details and proof in print from so long ago, kinda confirms for me that a lot of doctoring is being done today.

I've been seeing/handling t206's, etc since the late 1970s and I don't remember seeing so many sharp old cards as I do today. Could they have come out of olde timie collections? I guess. But if I was a betting man, and I am, I think doctoring is pretty darn wide-spread.

Sad face.

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Old 01-17-2018, 01:06 PM
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For my book, I did a case study research on ancient American Indian artifacts. Many of the artifacts on the market have similarly been altered and for similarly various reasons-- from a century old farmer innocently cleaning up a chipped age of an arrowhead he found in his field to a modern dealer deceptively reshaping a broken artifacts into a whole or even better shape.

Luckily, in this area the authentic artifacts are centuries old with centuries old wear, patina and mineral deposits from the earth, so you can identify when and where an arrowhead or such has been altered in modern times. Unlike with baseball cards, a razor sharp edge or corner is not a desirable quality.

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  #21  
Old 01-17-2018, 03:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DeanH3 View Post
Unless you had that incontrovertible evidence, naming names would only get you into an argument. Those who are named would obviously deny the accusation and we'd go round and round. Jeff L. warned us of Mastro and he denied everything until he got busted by the Feds. Might make for an epic net54 thread though.

Not to hi-jack your thread as this might be a little off target, but pertains to card doctoring. I've wondered about the time line of progression of the sophistication of alterations. What kind of alterations were being done 20, 15, 10 years ago vs 5 years up to current techniques? Where alterations much "simpler" so to speaker 15 years ago which made them "easier" to detect? Could that mean earlier graded cards actually being less likely to have some kind of alteration due to the types of alterations being done at that time easier to detect? Could be a totally naive thought, but a thought popped into my head.
Dean others would know the answer better than I do. I suspect that since we're only talking about cardboard, this isn't an evolving science to any significant extent. The famous VCBC 7 article from 1996 quotes Dan Desmond as saying good alteration is undetectable, and even if that is not the case, I suspect part of the problem is that for your 8 or 15 or 25 dollar fee you aren't buying a crime lab, you are buying a quick look. I think the TPGs are very good for the most part at what they do, but with a number of motivated and capable card doctors, and not much time or technology to review, and human error, you are going to get your fair share of altered cards that get through the process, even if you don't buy a more nefarious theory of TPG.

PS One reason the very early grades might be more reliable even if more lax numerically is that there were so many more raw cards to send in for the first time. So many submissions now are stuff being recycled. But again I don't really know.
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Old 01-17-2018, 03:12 PM
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1. Any foreign substance removed from any card is an improvement and need not be mentioned to a buyer.

I don't consider this restoration, such as removing glue residue on the back, but it should at least be pointed out to the buyer. Most buyers IMO are OK with this.

2. Anything added to (like color) a card is fraudulent. Or building up corners. Horrors!

Agreed. How the hell do they rebuild corners? That is FREAKY!

3. Nobody should trim cards. It's not the same card.

Agreed.

4) If ironing out creases is successful, fine.

Hell no! Sometimes these creases or wrinkles can reappear many months or years down the line (when the card is sitting inside a PSA 8 case!)
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Old 01-17-2018, 03:14 PM
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You're handcuffed in a way. The internet has brought accessibility to cards you probably wouldn't be able to find otherwise. The ability to identify alterations, prior to purchase, is impossible without having the card in hand. It doesn't matter if it's encapsulated or raw; Your chances of getting duped certainly go up if you buy raw from an unknown source. But, some of the more respected names still make mistakes. They turn an awful lot of cards in a short period time and, like many, also trust the grade without further examination. Does it make sense for sellers to break out the eye loupe for every graded card they sell? I don't like the doctoring any more than anyone else. But, it's hard to make a case against someone without firsthand proof, as Leon pointed out. It would be irresponsible to "out" someone and ruin a good reputation, simply because a single card graded by a respected grader ended up being altered. Just my two centavos.
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Old 01-17-2018, 03:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by samosa4u View Post
1. Any foreign substance removed from any card is an improvement and need not be mentioned to a buyer.

I don't consider this restoration, such as removing glue residue on the back, but it should at least be pointed out to the buyer. Most buyers IMO are OK with this.

2. Anything added to (like color) a card is fraudulent. Or building up corners. Horrors!

Agreed. How the hell do they rebuild corners? That is FREAKY!

3. Nobody should trim cards. It's not the same card.

Agreed.

4) If ironing out creases is successful, fine.

Hell no! Sometimes these creases or wrinkles can reappear many months or years down the line (when the card is sitting inside a PSA 8 case!)
Yeah re 4 I've seen that happen at least twice, either that or PSA somehow missed the very obvious wrinkle the first time which is highly unlikely.
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Old 01-18-2018, 12:31 PM
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Quote:
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[

2. Anything added to (like color) a card is fraudulent. Or building up corners. Horrors!
Restored corners and major restoration like that is easy to identify. I wouldn't worry about that stuff sneaking forever undetectable into the hobby.
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Old 01-18-2018, 12:45 PM
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Perhaps we should discuss the impact of card nursing on the hobby as well.
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Old 01-18-2018, 12:54 PM
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If restoration is no big deal then it should be no big deal to disclose it either.
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Old 01-18-2018, 01:00 PM
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If restoration is no big deal then it should be no big deal to disclose it either.
Correct. When people say a type of restoration is no big deal, then they should have no problem disclosing it. That they don't want to disclose it at sale says the do think it is a 'deal' that affects resale value.

Another thing is that there are standard advanced scientific tests that are used elsewhere, but not with trading cards. That doesn't mean that ten or twenty years down the road, someone won't do the tests on today's cards to identify which have been altered.

I don't consider this whole discussion a big issue for collectors of mid to low grade cards-- which I assume is most people on this board. However, I think many collectors of highest grade graded cards are rubes.

There's another area (not cards) that I bet will be a matter of rude awakening for collectors in the future, but that's a topic for another discussion.

Last edited by drcy; 01-18-2018 at 01:19 PM.
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Old 01-18-2018, 02:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drcy View Post
Correct. When people say a type of restoration is no big deal, then they should have no problem disclosing it. That they don't want to disclose it at sale says the do think it is a 'deal' that affects resale value.

Another thing is that there are standard advanced scientific tests that are used elsewhere, but not with trading cards. That doesn't mean that ten or twenty years down the road, someone won't do the tests on today's cards to identify which have been altered.

I don't consider this whole discussion a big issue for collectors of mid to low grade cards-- which I assume is most people on this board. However, I think many collectors of highest grade graded cards are rubes.

There's another area (not cards) that I bet will be a matter of rude awakening for collectors in the future, but that's a topic for another discussion.




Can someone smarter than me tell me where the color has been added just by the eBay photos? The first card is mine and the second is a graded version currently for sale. I didn't pay a ton for mine so I'm not that upset. To be fair when I received the card I didn't examine it for color being added.

I'm still trying to figure out how to find these types of issues. If it really difficult when buying online.

Not trying to hijack the thread but figured this was relevant. I'd be happy to delete at the OP's request.

Thanks - Steve



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Old 01-18-2018, 02:59 PM
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Perhaps we should discuss the impact of card nursing on the hobby as well.
I suspect you would have made a better nurse than doctor yourself.
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Old 01-18-2018, 03:29 PM
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Over the years there have been many posts in the BST that tout the card as having "wide" borders. When I see posts like that, my first thought is - Maybe the seller of the card is possibly suggesting that this would be a great card to trim. Otherwise, I don't see any extra value in cards with wide borders.
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Old 01-18-2018, 03:41 PM
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Originally Posted by buymycards View Post
Over the years there have been many posts in the BST that tout the card as having "wide" borders. When I see posts like that, my first thought is - Maybe the seller of the card is possibly suggesting that this would be a great card to trim. Otherwise, I don't see any extra value in cards with wide borders.
I definitely see your point. For me, I love wide borders because it gives me some confidence that the card hasn't been trimmed. I know it's not a guarantee, but it helps.


Last edited by DeanH3; 01-18-2018 at 03:51 PM.
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Old 01-18-2018, 03:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Marchillo View Post


Can someone smarter than me tell me where the color has been added just by the eBay photos? The first card is mine and the second is a graded version currently for sale. I didn't pay a ton for mine so I'm not that upset. To be fair when I received the card I didn't examine it for color being added.

I'm still trying to figure out how to find these types of issues. If it really difficult when buying online.

Not trying to hijack the thread but figured this was relevant. I'd be happy to delete at the OP's request.

Thanks - Steve



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Hold the undoldered card face at a nearing 180 degree angle to a light source, such as a desk lamp and change the angle a bit back and forth. Many ink such ups, erasure marks, etc will show up with this test. The difference in tone/color and/or gloss will show up. Also, as ink is often added to touch up the chipped or touched borders, check the thickness/edge of the card. Sometimes the pen went off the edge and appears on the thickness.
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Old 01-18-2018, 03:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Marchillo View Post
Can someone smarter than me tell me where the color has been added just by the eBay photos? The first card is mine and the second is a graded version currently for sale. I didn't pay a ton for mine so I'm not that upset. To be fair when I received the card I didn't examine it for color being added.
if you use the zoom feature in the original listing, it looks to me like color was added to the two right corners. Look at the back of the card (second pic). Do you see that the top two corners (which would be the two right corners) appear darker?

https://www.ebay.com/itm/1962-TOPPS-...p2047675.l2557

Edited to add two things:

1) It looks to me like color has been added to all 4 corners.
2) Forget the recolor for just a minute. The seller describes the card as VG/EX. It looks VG/EX to me as well, but off center. If the card were submitted to PSA, it would probably grade a PSA 4 OC (assuming it wasn't recolored). I'm sure a PSA 4 OC Brock RC can be purchased for about $25 or less. If it's a must that your cards be graded, it might be better to buy them already graded, that way you know what you're getting.

Last edited by vintagetoppsguy; 01-18-2018 at 04:12 PM.
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Old 01-18-2018, 04:15 PM
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[quote=DeanH3;1739835]I definitely see your point. For me, I love wide borders because it gives me some confidence that the card hasn't been trimmed. I know it's not a guarantee, but it helps.

I definitely look for T206s that fit in the PSA/SGC holder w/ very little gap.
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Old 01-18-2018, 04:25 PM
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Thanks

The last two posts are very helpful. I don't need to have a Brock RC graded. I do a submission once or twice a year. Some cards that are higher end and others to see, how am I doing, in the raw card world. Up until this latest submission I have received numerical grades for all my purchases. This time I got color added on two of them.

Better deals can be had in the raw market but there are more risks with a novice collector so I'm trying to learn (I also know from this post and others that grading services aren't perfect, but better than me).

I recent got a Yaz RC for $25 as well that got an SGC 60. That's a $75 plus card and more likely $100 or so. These are good cheap lessons to learn.

I still haven't left feedback for the seller and he hasn't offered much sympathy in response. Does a recoloring warrant a negative. Seller says he bought it off someone who came in his shop.

Also David one question for you. Would you have picked up on the color added by the scan if you didn't know about it originally? I'm sure most would have realized after receiving the card.

Steve
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Old 01-18-2018, 04:40 PM
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How would soaking fit into this discussion? Removing glue or tobacco stains from PBs for example. Just curious how this is looked upon.
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Old 01-18-2018, 05:30 PM
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Does anybody have an estimation of what percentage of cards presently residing in TPG cases have been altered? Or has a sample ever been taken?
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Old 01-18-2018, 05:38 PM
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I suspect you would have made a better nurse than doctor yourself.

Au contraire, I just made nurses better.
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Old 01-18-2018, 05:39 PM
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Originally Posted by AGuinness View Post
Does anybody have an estimation of what percentage of cards presently residing in TPG cases have been altered? Or has a sample ever been taken?
If it is every proven it is more than .0001%, we are all in deep **** with our collection value.
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Old 01-18-2018, 06:05 PM
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Quote:
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Does a recoloring warrant a negative. Seller says he bought it off someone who came in his shop.
He sold you touched up cards then took zero responsibility and blamed someone else. I wouldn't call that a positive experience, would you?
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Old 01-18-2018, 06:38 PM
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If it is every proven it is more than .0001%, we are all in deep **** with our collection value.
Why? Judging by what I see, a whole heck of a lot of people don't care. They only care about getting the pretty card and flip they paid for, quickly, and well-packaged.
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Old 01-18-2018, 09:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter_Spaeth View Post
Why? Judging by what I see, a whole heck of a lot of people don't care. They only care about getting the pretty card and flip they paid for, quickly, and well-packaged.
Peter, for argumentís sake, letís say I agree with your premise that many altered cards reside in graded holders, AND I care about it, whatís your conclusion? What would you recommend one do? Avoid graded cards? Avoid high grade? To be clear, this is not intended to be a confrontational question. Iím genuinely interested on the advice youíd give a new collector given the reality of the things youíre mentioning.
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Old 01-19-2018, 01:30 AM
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Peter, for argument’s sake, let’s say I agree with your premise that many altered cards reside in graded holders, AND I care about it, what’s your conclusion? What would you recommend one do? Avoid graded cards? Avoid high grade? To be clear, this is not intended to be a confrontational question. I’m genuinely interested on the advice you’d give a new collector given the reality of the things you’re mentioning.
That's the question. What would you do? How would you approach your collecting? What would you think the hobby and other collectors should do? Would it change the grades you collect, or the pricing of grades? Would you want more history (provenance) on cards? Would you be willing to pay $50,000 for a graded 10 1957 Sandy Koufax, or would you say "I think I'll stick with $20 for the 3 version."?

If you learned that a percentage of TPA LOAs for autographs were incorrect, how would that affect your collecting of autographs? Would you still accept them as 100% accurate and cross your fingers? Or would you educate yourself about autograph authentication, take more care in picking autographs? What would you think of an industry that uses TPA LOAs as the final arbiter?

Duly note it is not the autograph and game used experts who take TPA LOAs as infallible and the final arbiters as what is authentic and not (go to the autograph section or the game used universe form to see this). It is collectors who lack knowledge, auction houses who want "insurance" and resellers who want something to move their product. You will find that expert collectors in these areas are DIY types.

My collecting personal advice on cards would to stick to mid to lower grades. Don't get price enamored by the grade on the label. There are a lot of great looking cards in lower grade, many presentable even good to poor grade. You skip all that Gem Mint, resubmit a card 10 times until you raise the grade by 0.5 crapola. If there's a missed flaw, saw a small wrinkle, on a 'Gem Mint' card that's a travesty; on a low grade card its no big deal. If you want to buy raw cards, that's great, but find reputable and trustworthy dealers to buy them from. Some people look for the cards, then see who is the seller. As a collector, I would find my favorite sellers and see what they were selling. Just my opinion-- everyone will have his own take and advice.

Last edited by drcy; 01-19-2018 at 03:07 AM.
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Old 01-19-2018, 08:18 AM
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Provenance will never matter when it comes to something like baseball cards. They were collected by children and rarely does a 100 plus year old card stay in one collection for the life of the card. So what provenance could there possibly be on a high grade T206? A notarized statement from an 8 year old in 1909? It'll never work.

My advice to anyone would be to avoid high grade pre-war cards entirely. I'd pay the same amount of money for a PSA 9 T206 that I would an Auth because I highly doubt there's any difference between them. But to each their own.

Last edited by packs; 01-19-2018 at 08:21 AM.
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Old 01-19-2018, 08:28 AM
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My advice to a new collector on a budget would be to stick to low/mid grade pre-war cards with nice eye appeal. My personal sweet spot is in the VG-VG/EX range. Chances are if you do this you will be able to find nice presentable cards at relative bargain prices and the likelihood of alterations is also presumably decreased.
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Old 01-19-2018, 08:45 AM
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Sorry, but I disagree with the advice to stick to mid grade cards. That's like putting a Band-Aid on cancer - it only covers up the problem. As the case with the Lou Brock card in this thread, it was a mid-grade card and off center at that, but it was still recolored.

My advice would be to educate yourself - learn what to look for. If you like mid-grade cards, fine then buy them. I'm not saying don't buy mid-grade cards. What I am saying is don't limit yourself to mid-grade cards just because you're afraid of buying something that's been altered.

Education, Knowledge - again, learn what to look for.
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Old 01-19-2018, 08:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by murphy8276 View Post
If it is every proven it is more than .0001%, we are all in deep **** with our collection value.
It's almost certainly more than that. They've done 29 million things, so that percentage means only about 3000 bad things getting through.

Considering that it's done by people, that percentage would mean they're doing a pretty good job.
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Old 01-19-2018, 09:16 AM
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I've said this before, but I think it bears some repeating.

The entire process for authentication and grading is backwards.

Sure, there are a lot of cards that can be done by pretty much anyone. Stuff that's not particularly prone to recoloring, and is in pretty worn condition. I'd say that cards with colored borders are more likely to be recolored even in lower grades - we've seen a great example right here.

But to take the cards, and push them through faster based on value is not what makes any sense. I suspect that actually only means the cards that are expensive get their limited inspection sooner, probably to make the insurance company happy.

Even if you can't accept a system that handles higher value cards more slowly, maybe a system that triaged where effort was spent?
Send in a box of VG anything, and it goes to the new guy. Send in a bunch of cards that might be in higher grades, send them to more experienced people. Possible high grade cards with fairly high value if they are high grade should get much more scrutiny. And I mean actually taking time to be sure everything is "right" with the card.
And if something isn't "right" put the opinion of that in writing so it's clear. No "questionable" authenticity, No "we won't slab it because it's been tampered with" none of that nonsense.
It wouldn't work for less expensive cards, but ultimately all card graded should have the flaws explained, and in writing.

Steve B
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Old 01-19-2018, 10:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vintagetoppsguy View Post
Sorry, but I disagree with the advice to stick to mid grade cards. That's like putting a Band-Aid on cancer - it only covers up the problem. As the case with the Lou Brock card in this thread, it was a mid-grade card and off center at that, but it was still recolored.

My advice would be to educate yourself - learn what to look for. If you like mid-grade cards, fine then buy them. I'm not saying don't buy mid-grade cards. What I am saying is don't limit yourself to mid-grade cards just because you're afraid of buying something that's been altered.

Education, Knowledge - again, learn what to look for.
I'm in agreement with almost everything here. I tend to stick around the VGEX range due to my budget but will go off course for nicer cards. Part of me submitting cards is to uncover these issues and educate myself. Buying cards online is obviously tricky. I've gotten some great deals and been burnt. Part of the learning process.

Again thanks everyone for the feedback.
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