Archive for the blogosphere news Category

Trust No One

Posted in blogosphere news, Collecting, eBay, Rant with tags , , , on March 4, 2009 by aybayz

That is the basic lesson that I learned from the reading Autograph Alert. Multiple blogs have cited their recent article on fake autographs. These autographs were written by an Autopen machine, which is something that I’ve never heard of. I guess back in the day, they had a machine rather than a rubber stamp? I’m not sure which is a worse type of autograph, one that is written by a machine, or one that is cut up so that it fits in a slab. I would guess the former would be worse. It is absolutely dispicable that these companies are hiding the fact that these autographs are fake. Especially Brian Gray and Razor. This completely re-enforces the idea that I will never purchase one of their products. How can they expect to compete with the Big Two if they can’t even bring change to the industry? They have not won over the trust of the consumers and I hope they burn for that fact. Maybe it’s a catch 22 because if Gray does come clean over the fact that those Oval Office signatures are fake, it is a huge hit to the company’s publicity. Even so, it never should have been authenticated as real in the first place. I don’t even understand how companies like JSA and PSA/DNA can even hire people like this Reznikoff character after what happened with those Kennedy signatures. What were they thinking?

I had this conversation with Gellman a few days ago over autographs and I really do agree that companies like PSA/DNA and JSA cannot be trusted to really authenticate items. I have shared my doubt before, especially with JSA just because of their checkered past. There was that one story that was in a newscast with JSA and how the reporter faked and autograph and it passed authentication at a card show. I was pretty ignorant to blindly trust PSA/DNA because I have not read any negative publicity about that company on a large scale. Maybe because they are also a local company. Gellman is absolutely correct that the only way we can really be sure an item is authenticated is if it is certified by the card companies. But even then, if the card companies are capable of blindly turning away in terms of these historical autographs, might they be evil enough to falsify certified autographs? They wouldn’t do that…would they? I sure hope not, otherwise, that would be the end (take that however you like). The only other way to ensure the autograph is authentic is to get an in person. I also tend to take a picture of the person signing when they are actualy signing the card. That’s as much proof as I need for myself and to show others, but I will never buy an in person autograph from someone else. There’s just too much trust that has to go into that transaction.

Autograph Alert is a great site and this story should be made into a larger collection of stories for a future book that parallels the problems and issues that plague the sports card and collecting industry. It angers me to know that they are getting away with it too. These fake cards are selling on eBay and eBay is even letting them get away with it. There has to be a way to bring consumer relations into this. How sweet would it be if they brought this into the public light by having local and national news crews to document what is going on? No where to hide now. Isn’t there also some way to sue the companies and authenticators over the fake autograph? I feel like there has to be if they’re authenticated by a trusted third party. But in the end, a lot of it is subjective. We always knew that there was a real danger in buying cards from eBay because they could be fake. eBay even goes as far to have a pop up message to warn you. Now that you can’t trust card companies to provide you with real autographs, who can you trust? No one.

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Baseball cards on mainstream Yahoo!

Posted in blogosphere news, Collecting with tags , , , on March 3, 2009 by aybayz

I found this blog entry on Yahoo Sports today. I read Big League Stew from time to time, but this is the first time I’ve come across an entry on modern baseball cards. It’s nice to know there are other recovering addicts out there. Enjoy:

A recovering addict opens a pack of 2009 Topps baseball cards

Jamie Mottram is the blog editor here at Yahoo! Sports and can be found on the web at Mr. Irrelevant.

From 1986 to ’93, the most important thing in my life was collecting cards. Baseball, football and basketball mostly, but even a little hockey and Desert Storm. Honestly, I have the entire set of ’91 Topps Desert Storm cards, including the SCUD missile card, which is a keeper.

Since turning 16 and discovering the opposite sex, acquiring a driver’s license, etc., however, I’ve kicked the habit, only succumbing to it upon the annual release of a new series of Topps baseball cards.

This year, that exhilarating rush happened over the weekend when, upon searching Target for a humidifier for my daughter’s nursery (“a nice little Saturday”, indeed), I stumbled upon the “collectables” section.* Not really. I knew exactly where the “collectables” were. I walk by every time with hope that the 2009 cards have arrived.

Saturday was my lucky day. There they were, staring back at me. This year’s cover boy, A-Rod (above) may have been a bad choice, but I gladly purchased one 12-card pack for $1.99, the contents of which were as follows …

Enough about the packaging and price point. Let’s get to the product: How does this year’s Topps look? Well, like every other Topps set since the early ’90s, it’s generic, white, crisp, glitzy, hard to read and, ultimately, forgettable.

Seeing as how I’m also a “D.C. sports-addled” blogger, though, this is one sweet shot of L-Millz:

And, ah, yes, old reliable: the “Topps All-Star Rookie” team. Even if it’s the last all-star team Denard Span might ever be a part of:

Chris Lambert and the “Rookie Card” phenomenon makes me want to pour a little out for “Future Star(s)” of days gone by (@Gregg Jefferies, @Bo Jackson, etc.):

But at least Topps includes WHIP as a statistical category now. The arching “Six Degrees of Mantle” is a nice touch, though couldn’t they have found baseball’s Kevin Bacon-equivalent? And who exactly would that be? Rusty Staub? I’m going with Rusty Staub:

Another old reliable: “League Leaders”. Thank goodness Matt Holliday beat out Christian Guzman for third place, otherwise we would have had a case of “Which of these is not like the others?”:

As far as inserts go, “Legends of the Game” isn’t bad. Anything that teaches kids a little hardball history is to be encouraged. But someone should really tell Topps that George Sisler only played 20 of his 2,055 career games as a Washington Senator:

Rounding out the pack: Edwin Encarnacion, Tim Hudson, Kevin Maas (just kidding), Andy Marte, Kazuo Matsui, Daniel Murphy, Dan Uggla and Jerome Walton (again, JK), none of which are interesting enough to blog about.

* Yes, I realize “collectables” is an acceptable spelling and can be found in a dictionary, but I’ve never seen it that way and refuse to believe that Target uses British English when labeling its sections.

Error card or rare SP?

Posted in blogosphere news, Collecting, Tim Lincecum with tags , , , on February 27, 2009 by aybayz

Fellow reader Jay has come across this SP #166 1995 throwback design auto of Tim Lincecum from 2007 SP Rookie Edition. I cannot remember a point when I saw this card on eBay, but in my opinion, that is because this product doesn’t get much coverage at all. He thinks since the population sightings have been zero thus far (he said that it has come up once in three years), he has reason to believe that this is an “error” card. IMO, it’s just a regular SP with a sticker auto slapped on. I think a true error card would be 2007 Bowman’s best where Timmy’s weight is listed as 420 lbs. and his height is listed as 6’10”. So I leave it up to you, the readers to say if this is an error card or just a rare SP.

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We are also debating the value of this card. Based on past sales of similar cards (the regular base, albeit not an SP), I appraise this card at a maximum of $80-100. I really don’t think it’s worth any more than that based on the set it comes from and the sticker auto. That is my opinion, everyone else is entitled to their own. How much do you think this card is worth? How much would you pay for it? Leave your comments below.

Here is also an incentive for you guys. Jay is offering the first person to come up with evidence of a sale of this card a 2008 TCHC blue refractor #’d 34 of 200 Tim Lincecum.

Debunking Book Value: A Success Story

Posted in blogosphere news, Collecting, eBay, Rant with tags , on February 27, 2009 by aybayz

Lately, I’ve been receiving a lot of e-mails regarding the value of certain Lincecum cards. I am quite flattered that I’ve been regarded as the foremost Lincecum card expert in the blogosphere and many people who have questions pertaining to the value of his card has come to me or has been referred to me. But one thing has really irked me concerning these conversations about his card value and that is the dreaded topic of book value. For the most part, I have avoided this controversial topic because I have strayed away from forum and message boards full of brain-washed zombies who view book value as scripture. I love how many times, these people view book value as a double standard. Basically, they would love to sell you their card for book value, which in reality is an insanely overpriced product (99% of the time anyway), but at the same time, they would also love to buy cards from you at half book value. They never deal with you if you want to sell your own card to them at book value. But as we all know, if you go to a card shop, a lot of times the owners will also try to sell cards to you at half book value. In many cases, this is still a rip off because those cards you can get for pennies.

When tackling this issue, I take the Bad Wax approach of being kind and informative before calling them an idiot and bashing their blind faith. I absolutely love Chemgod’s posts on calling out Craigslist idiots for trying to sell 80s and 90s crap at exorbitant prices.  I would like to do the same with anyone who e-mails me about book value. Fortunately, I have a great success story and hopefully a convert of book value.

First, let me get my opinions on book value out in the open. Let me be very clear in saying that book value is essentially an arbitrary number assigned to a card and currently holds no value whatsoever in today’s market. But, I am an open-minded person so let’s play devil’s advocate. When is the only time book value is actually accurate? Find me a person willing to pay book value for an overpriced card and I will gladly sell it to them. The main reason that book value is now defunct is because of market value. Market prices and trends set the value of a card. This is mainly determined on the global marketplace known as eBay. It has changed the face of sports card collecting, for better or for worse, but it is here to stay. This has come at the expense of companies like Beckett and Tuff Stuff. This is not to bash on them because some articles in their magazines are good, but the truth remains that book value is irrelevant today. I used to actually value cards by book value at one time believe it or not. Not sports cards, but rather Magic cards. For those of you who remember, the Scrye, it is the longest running periodical to place value CCG cards. I gave that up when I stopped collecting Magic cards. What has become of The Scrye these days? It is still in publication actually, but according to Wikipedia, they intend to cease publication in April 2009, which is in a few months. Folding in tough economic times or the irrelevance of book value? Maybe a little bit of both.

Now onto my story:

A week ago, a reader named Andy e-mailed me asking me if I wanted to purchase a couple Lincecum autograph cards since I’m such a big collector. He said he would rather have it in the hands of a collector that could appreciate the cards. Here is his e-mail when I was interested:

Hi Bailey,
I have never sold any of my cards before either, but I am trying to pare down my collection to just the few players that I collect: Jeter, Mattingly, Bernie Williams and Joba.  I use Tuff Stuff for pricing, although I know most collector’s use Beckett. ($10 for the magazine, pfft!!)  The Tuff Stuff book on those 2 cards is $150, not sure what the Beckett is.  I’m willing to sell them for $125, which would include the postage and handling as well as the cards in the screwdown holders.  I would ship them in a padded envelope UPS so you can track them.  The cards are in mint condition because as soon as I pulled them they went into the screwdowns.  I could scan them for you, if you’d like.  I would take a personal check or money order mailed to me.
Let me know if there is any more info you need and if the price seems fair to you.  I won’t be able to do anything until the middle of next week as I am going out of town on Friday morning for the weekend.  I’m not trying to scam you, I just can tell that you’re a big Lincecum fan and these cards are sweet.  You’ll definitely enjoy them in your collection more than I will.  Also, could you send me the link to your blog?  I found it at work and can’t seem to get back to it.  Let me know if you have any questions.
Hope to hear from you soon.

Andy

Andy is very nice and cordial throughout the exchange and this is not to bash at all on his price offer. It’s not outrageously off, but it’s off by about $40 or so based on eBay completed auctions. Here is my response e-mail:

Hi Andy,

I don’t really want to sound condescending so please don’t take offense to what I’m about to say. The assessment of card value has changed dramatically in the past few years. Ever since eBay came to the forefront of internet auctions, book value has become meaningless because it is such an arbitrary price that people at Beckett or Tuff Stuff come up with that has no merit how what a card’s true value holds. That being said, the best way of assessing a card’s value is through completed auctions on eBay. That way, you can get a sense of a card’s true market value, which may shift from time to time throughout the year. That’s one of the main reasons so many card shops are going out of business – mainly due to the fact that eBay is selling the same cards for cheaper and also the fact that they religiously abide by book value, which looses them more customers to eBay. Adam Gellman is a huge proponent against book value as is many of the other card bloggers in the card blogging world. I strongly encourage you to read the history and facts behind book value vs. sell value (eBay auctions) on his blog. You can find many of the articles at this link:

http://www.sportscardsuncensored.com/search/label/Book%20Value

That is not to say that those two cards are highly valued, but I’m pretty sure they will sell for under $125. As of right now, I can’t afford those two cards at that price since I am waiting and saving up to buy a card I’ve been after for a while on eBay. This is not to say that that your price is outrageously unfair, but I just hope to shed some light on the issue. I hope you can keep an open mind and be informed and not get ripped off yourself by other people who strictly abide by book value in the future. By the way my blog is here: https://thenennthinning.wordpress.com

-Bailey

I really appreciate people who are open minded about these things. Did I make a convert out of Andy?

Thanks for the information, Bailey.  I have bought some stuff on eBay over the years and I realize that some stuff on there is much cheaper.  I had even looked for both of those cards on eBay and didn’t find them.  I had no other guide to go by other than Tuff Stuff.  I like the guides because they give me an idea of card rarity, popularity, etc.  I realize that their prices are not gospel, I just like to have an idea.
I don’t know what it is, but I have been buying ’07 stuff from Dacardworld.com and I seem to be getting Tim Lincecum stuff.  No offense, but I’d rather have the Jeter stuff!!  That being said, I have decided to hold onto the masterpieces card as on card autos are becoming rarer and rarer, plus it’s such a cool looking card.  Maybe I will try to be a seller on eBay, although I have never done that before.
Thanks for the info.
Andy
Mission accomplished. While the population reports are nice, magazines such as Tuff Stuff and Beckett should have no control over appraising card value due to conflict of interest in terms of the companies scratching each other’s back. Andy is not the only person who has e-mailed me this week about book value of Lincecum cards, but many many others. I’m not sure why I was suddenly bombarded with these e-mails all of a sudden, but I’m glad they happened because now I have material to write about. This is also an issue I feel strongly about because it prevents people from getting ripped off, especially if they’re just returning to the hobby only to find out it has changed drastically (for the better) for the buyer/collector.

$10 Yahoo Fantasy Baseball Head-to-Head League

Posted in blogosphere news, Off-topic with tags on February 20, 2009 by aybayz

So things didn’t really work out with the other money league because I just missed out on the last spot so hopefully we can get this one filled pretty good. I will keep a running list of people interested and hopefully we can fill this by March and do the draft at the height of Spring Training. $10 buy in with prizes for first and second place (broken down by value at $100 and $20. Again, leave a comment here if you would like to join:

1. The Nennth Inning blog
2. HarryBerry32
3. gritz76 from Project ’62
4. milwaukeeb
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10,000!

Posted in blogosphere news, Off-topic with tags , on February 20, 2009 by aybayz

Wow, I didn’t even notice I hit 10,000 hits, which occured sometime between yesterday and today. I guess it’s taken me a lot longer than some other blogs, but it’s an achievement nonetheless. I didn’t realize how difficult it is sometimes to maintain a blog and also readership. Back to October and November, the average hits to the site were over a hundred daily, but once I stopped writing regularly in December, visits to the blog took a huge hit and never really recovered. Sometimes, it’s so hard to think of topics to cover and I guess quality of content has dropped since I use mailday cards as filler here and there. I hope to pick up more material to work with once baseball season rolls around, until then I will try to be as creative and thoughtful as possible with any posts.

On another note, I am very excited about playing fantasy baseball. I’ve played every year, but in the past couple years, there’s been a drop in interest after a month or two into the season in the leagues that I’ve been in. I truly hope that’s not the case this year because I’m joining leagues with fellow bloggers. I’m in the one that PunkRockPaint started and I plan to pay and join the one that the girls at A Cardboard Problem set up as well. The latter league is a money league with prizes for the first two finishers. It sounds exciting and I hope that entices people to be more competitive. The problem is that I’m used to head-to-head leagues on Yahoo because you play a different person each week, which is accompanied with fun smack talk. I also like head-to-head format because there’s a playoff system. I would love to start a league of my own (no cinematic reference intended) that’s also a money league but in a head-to-head format with playoffs and all the like on Yahoo. I think it would be fun to throw in $10 from each person then the winner gets $100 for a box of wax and second place gets $20 for their troubles. What do you guys think? If I can generate interest from 11 other people, I will start it and we can do a live draft after we figure out rules and such. Leave a comment if you would like to joina nd are interested in $10, head-to-head format fantasy baseball on Yahoo.

Blog Bat Around – Baseball Sets to Hold or Buy

Posted in autographs, blogosphere news, Collecting, eBay, Tim Lincecum with tags , , , , on February 10, 2009 by aybayz

When I first approached this bat around topic, I disregarded all cards or sets of players that are older than the 1970s. Why? Because it’s obvious that players like Mantle, Ruth, Mays, etc. will hold value because their cards and history have already withstood the tests of time. They are legends of the game and it’s too obvious to include them in this category. I want to talk about cards or sets that are worth holding on to that will withstand the steroid era/modern cards. I won’t talk about players because any player can get injured and have their career shortened. Predicting if a card product will last is a more accurate predictor of if that card will hold value through the ages.

What is the single-most valuable card type in the hobby? This excludes error cards because you cannot predict when they pop up. The answer for me is a player’s rookie card. Specifically in this day and age, the most valuable card is a player’s rookie autograph card. The reason for this is because that single card is the first officially recognized card of that player’s career. In addition, early signatures look drastically different from later signatures in many cases. In many instances, a player will never revert back to that type of chirography again. How do you decide what type of rookie card to purchase? There are so many products out there so how do you know which one is the right one? Which product is known as the home of the rookie card? Bowman is your answer. Since being bought out by Topps in 1956, and resurrected in the 80s, Bowman has been known to be the premier manufacturer of the rookie card. Nevermind Just Minors, Tristar, and Razor. They are all excluded for the mere fact that they lack an official MLB license to produce MLB cards. There are many different rookie cards from different products, but Bowman is usually the first card product out to show a draft pick or prospect in their team uniform on an official MLB licensed product. It’s no accident that cards from this product are worth so much; just look at Pujols’ autographed card from 2001. Another advantage is that all these autographs are on card. Can you say the same for the previously mentioned companies?

Of course a lot of card prospecting is hit or miss. These days, any player that gets drafted in the top 10 already have their card values through the roof. Recently, I have turned my attention to collecting all the different parallels of Tim Lincecum from the 2007 Bowman Chrome product. This is a near impossible feat. I don’t only collect the product just for that one specific player, but others as well. I have picked up Bowman Chrome autographs of Madison Bumgarner, Henry Sosa, and Emmanual Burriss. I love the card design as well as the multitude of parallels. The only problem with buying boxes of this stuff is that you’ll get a lot of junk cards just from the sheer fact that a lot of these players will fail to ever make it to the big leagues. But that is the gamble you deal with when buying these boxes. For me, it might be easier to buy singles of your favorite prospect.

Recently, I just lost out on purchasing a blue parallel numbered out of 150. I am both sad and relieved because of the high cost of such a card. I put in a high bid of $350 and was outbid at the last second at $355. That is a crazy amount of money for a single card and I completely agree. But Tim could be the next Nolan Ryan and to own a certified card of that magnitude would be huge. But there’s always the added risk of him tanking. Afterall, Mr. Zito also won the Cy Young at 24 and look at him now. How much is his Bowman Chrome card worth? I picked up PSA 10 a while ago for $2. And yes, that includes shipping.