Scam artists have been around the sports card and memorabilia hobby for decades now. It’s not a new phenomenon.
The methods have changed and the scope of what’s done has gotten larger at times because of the potential dollars involved in re-sealed wax packs, fake autographs, game worn jerseys that aren’t real, doctored cards and anything else through which crooks think they can make a buck.
At one time, they operated only by mail order and through card shows. It was easy to be a scammer back then. Snail mail wasn’t exactly the most efficient way to communicate with a large number of people. Hobby publications had no forum for collector interaction and you could go from town to town as a shady dealer and few ever really caught on.
The shady sellers are still out there. Now, they’re primarily online. But as easy as it might be to rip off people through eBay or Craig’s List, I suspect the ‘marks’ are a lot harder to find and the risks of being caught are much greater.
You can’t hide for long in the hobby anymore. Online sales mean every questionable auction lot is susceptible to scrutiny and exposure. Take advantage of someone on eBay and chances are you’ll be smoked out if an angry collector takes his case to the message boards. You can get away with it for awhile, but the visibility of your deeds makes it much easier to get nailed. Online, your tracks are easy to follow too. Screen shots, Google and Yahoo searches. Even your contact is not hard to obtain–whether you want it to be or not. Fraudulent activity is easy for law enforcement organizations to monitor.
The amount of hobby information now available in seconds makes it much easier for buyers to educate themselves on what makes an authentic jersey or helmet, how cards can be restored, what tampering signs to look for when buying old packs, how to spot fake autographs and just about everything else is available for the collector or wannabe willing to take some time and soak up the knowledge.
And if you’re not willing to make that investment—as was true in the old days–you’re going to get taken.
Few teams are more popular in the realm of game-used equipment than the Green Bay Packers and on June 5-6, fans and collectors will get a chance to latch on to some newer–and older–Packers memorabilia.
The team”s Pro Shop will hold its annual tent sale in the Lambeau Field Atrium. Many of the items for sale are fan apparel and the like, but the football operations staff also has provided practice- and game-worn items not normally available.
"Many of the football items are worthy of collectible status and will be priced accordingly," reads a team press release. Pants from a 2002 throwback game, other game-worn pants from recent seasons, and team travel bags used since the 1995 season, including the Super Bowl seasons of 1996 and ’97 will be available.