Sometimes I feel like a crime reporter.
If you’ve spent any time on the site this week, you’ve seen two stories about vintage card robberies. Thankfully, the saga at Dan’s Sports Cards in Florida ended quickly thanks to the cops who put two and two together and arrested the alleged perpetrator of that big money robbery red-handed.
The $30,000 value figure on the 1952 Topps Mantle did look inflated after seeing a picture of the card after it was recovered. Off center and not mint, it’s probably a $10,000 model at best. Of course, the local media took the values at… well… face value but it was nice to see them provide coverage and great to see this hobby lover get his stuff back. He seems like the kind of shop owner we’d all like to have in our town. Hopefully the Pennsylvania dealer who took a crowbar to the head Wednesday morning will be as lucky.
I suppose cards are an easy target because if you can get away with the theft, you can sometimes turn them into cash pretty fast since there aren’t really any tell-tale identifiers on ungraded cards. You just hope the detectives can get to the bad guys before they can unload the goods. In talking with the Montoursville police, I think they’ll work hard to try and solve the case.
But this blog entry isn’t just about actual crime-committing hoodlums wearing black. There are people wearing black–metaphorically at least–everywhere in this hobby.
There are authenticators who are more interested in making money than the painstaking work required to do the job thoroughly when it comes to game used jerseys and equipment. I see autograph rubber-stampers who populate questionable auctions and are party to taking unsuspecting collectors for a ride virtually every week thanks to a cozy arrangement with the sellers and with the forgers who lurk in the shadows, cranking out this crap.
And let’s not forget the less famous people who doctor images and sell cards online. Tonight alone, I saw two vintage cards in slabs that appear to have had the header text doctored, thus turning a mid-grade card into a mint grade card. Unless you were intimately familiar with what that text should look like, it would be easy to place a bid well into the thousands and be sorely disappointed when the mailman comes.
Where there’s money, you’ll find a line of people no matter what the means needed to get it. I’m not discouraging anyone from going after a piece of sports memorabilia that might cost a little more. There are all kinds of great items out there. I’m just telling you once again…begging really…to read everything you can via this phenomenal invention known as the internet.
Lots of questions.
Because the only thing worse than your disappointment when the package of deceit arrives is that you’ve helped perpetuate the idea that there’s still plenty of money out there for the taking and no shortage of people willing to be taken.