Archive for the Rant 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.

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.

Why Bother?

Posted in Collecting, eBay, Rant with tags , , on February 22, 2009 by aybayz

With all the recent high end products coming out for baseball, the cost is unbelievably high to get an amazing hit. People are buying the boxes such as ’08 Prime Cuts to get autographs of old timers who are either hard to get autographs from or who are dead. Dave made a great point last night with his post at Fielder’s Choice Blog on buying the Joe DiMaggio on card autograph from Pinnacle from DA Card World over trying to come up with the ’08 Prime Cuts hit that cuts the card apart, puts that in another card and then slabs the whole thing in plastic. Why chase, when you can get the real deal (and the original) for a cheaper price? Is it for the thrill of opening a box without knowing what it holds? The thrill lasts a few seconds, maybe a few minutes. Getting a card that you can actually appreciate lasts a lifetime (or until you decide you want to flip it years later).

Since pulling that Cal Ripken Jr. card from Elements a few weeks ago, I think I would love to expand my PC to Hall of Famers and legends of the game. I have since sold that card because despite it being a nice card, I didn’t like the sticker auto or the chipping on the edges of the jersey window. I will be on the lookout mainly for on card autos of baseball greats and the like. Speaking of which, I wanted to see the risk/reward aspect of 2008 Topps Sterling. This product has garnered a lot of criticism and is comparable to that of Triple Threads (or Triple Suck as it has become to be known). Completed listings on eBay show that the average price for a box lands anywhere from $170-190 in price. Tack on shipping and the box is nearly $200. What you get inside is a player themed box with one hit and three base cards with one mystery card that is usually worthless (I have never seen anythign cool come from that mystery pack). What would I be looking for in a product like this that would tickly my fancy? Ruth, Mantle, Cobb, DiMaggio, Gehrig, Robinson, Williams, Wagner. Those are some pretty big names in baseball. Granted, I would only truly be happy if I got a cut signature or something of that nature from these players to be happy from a product like this. If I got something like a baseball relic like bat or jersey, I would be pretty satisfied. Anything else and this product is a complete waste of money. The other players who signed are still alive and all their autographs are on those damn holographic stickers. The last Mantle 5 piece Jersey card sold on eBay for…$124.50. Who is the biggest name in this product? IMO, it’s Babe Ruth. His last 5 piece memorabilia card sold for $205.49 and a triple bat piece came in at $164.26. There are currently two auctions ending in a few hours today that are quad bat pieces that are both under $200 right now. Why pay the price of a box when you can get the card you want for so much less? Okay, so these cards aren’t as great as those booklets or bat barrel cards, but they’re a helluva lot better than cards of those other players on the checklist. The only people who can afford these are people who are buying to flip for a profit or doing it for the money (and that’s okay too, not to bash on them). I have not seen a single blogger on my blogroll bust a high end box like this. Why bother when you can just go out and buy the card you want without the risk?

Some eBay Finds

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

As you know, from time to time, I look around eBay for interesting cards that catch my eye. This first one definitely did. I’ve never seen a dual autograph of Cain and Lincey from UD Black so when I first saw this, I thought wow! Upon further inspection, I noticed that Timmy’s signature looks different. Could this one one of his super early signatures? Wait, a minute…that looks oddly familiar to me. I didn’t even have to turn my head upside down at this point to realize that Upper Deck and royally screwed up and placed the sticker auto upside down! All I can say is that is just careless and dumb. It would be another thing if his picture was upside down with the autograph. That would be actually kind of cool. It’s really too bad that errors like this get made. UD Black is one of the most overrated, expensive products out there (I think you only get 1 card per pack and 2 packs per box or something like that). You’re paying for quality and it definitely is not quality to have an upside down sticker auto.

The second card that caught my eye is a little bit better. Mario from Wax Heaven has been thoroughly covering the new 2009 Topps cards, especially the new sketch cards. He praised Topps for stepping up their game, and I really have to agree. Brian Kong is a top notch artist who adds a comic book flare to baseball cards. This is the first Tim Lincecum sketch card that I’ve seen from the new 2009 Topps product. Is it just me or does Timmy look a bit stoned? Hopefully he doesn’t pull a Michael Phelps on us.

Another Reason to Hate 2008 UD Baseball Heroes Parallels

Posted in Collecting, mailday, Rant, Tim Lincecum with tags , , , on January 8, 2009 by aybayz

First of all, thank you to Greg over at Night Owl Cards for sending over this Lincecum to add to my collection. I really appreciate it and this brings the total to 78 cards. Remember when I complained about there being 13 different crazy colored parallel cards to this set? I don’t think this is the main thing that bugs me. The most annoying thing about these parallels are that Upper Deck doesn’t even tell you which is which. Supposedly, silver doesn’t exist, but I’m pretty sure this is a silver parallel numbered out of 399. What the hell?! Supposedly the other one is a “charcoal,” because that is the only other parallel of the base that is not numbered. I have never seen a black parallel before, but I have the black jersey parallel that is numbered out of 125 and it’s the same color as the “charcoal” unless I am going colorblind, which is why my charcoal base parallel is labeled black. I’m so confused! Someone tell me if I’m just dumb and can’t clarify this parallel craziness. I am a very OCD person and I hate not being organized. The one numbered out of 399 is what I got from Greg. This is followed by the base card, “charcoal” unnumbered parallel, and “black” numbered out of 125 jersey parallel.

EDIT: So I think I figured out that the two bottom cards are black parallels as the regular black parallels are for cards 1-200 and are unnumbered and the black jersey parallels run numbered out of 125 as it says on the checklist, which makes sense. Now what the hell is charcoal? Is it the “silver” one I have? So confused still.

Very Angry at the USPS

Posted in Rant with tags on October 6, 2008 by aybayz

I have hated the post office in the past for many things, including lost packages, but this is a new low. Last week, I saw Dave over at Fielder’s Choice blog commented on an entry about the retail Baseball Heroes box that I got. In it, I got a bunch of cards that I had no need for including some Rays and a Don Mattingly Yankee’s Stadium Legacy card, which he didn’t have. I happily thought it would be a nice celebratory mail package for him and the Rays’ recent success in the playoffs. Because I’ve been trying to save money as of late, I just packaged it up in a toploader and sent it off in a regular mail package. Unfortantely, I got an e-mail from Dave tonight who received the package and said the envelope has been tampered with and the cards were gone, replaced only with ripped out magazine pages.

This is pretty unbelievable and obvious that someone did something at the post office. I delivered myself to the post office and saw them put it in the box. It was the last group of packages that were going to be shipped out that day so I knew he would get it early this week. This reminds me of that article of that guy who was addicted to cards and he stole cards from the mail. I mean this is nothing that extreme because those cards were worth no more than a dollar or two at most, but still. It irks me to know that people are doing this at the post office. What if that was a very valuable package I sent off? I usually don’t buy insurance since most packages are trades that don’t contain valuable cards. I usuaully use bubble mailers too, but this was an exception since I was low on cash and the cards weren’t too valuable.

It’s just a very upsetting situation to top off a horrible start to the week. Just what we need, dishonest people during a shitty economy.