There’s little doubt thousands of doctored baseball cards are on the market, few of which carry a "restored" designation. Are collectors getting ripped off without knowing it? No doubt, if you consider the comic book industry’s stance.
It’s the hobby’s dirty little secret.
Sports cards, beaten by the ravages of time and abuse, made to look minty fresh once again. Card doctors lurk quietly behind the scenes turning VG cards to MINT.
Grading companies do what they can to spot rebuilt or recolored corners, creased that have been pressed out and pencil marks that have been removed. Rarely, though, are such alterations disclosed to potential buyers.
Maybe they don’t care.
Maybe they don’t know.
The comic book industry seems miles ahead on the topic, where restoration is talked about in the open and even considered an acceptable practice–as long as the buyer knows.
While not all dealers are on board, the industry even has at least one organized group pledging to always offer full disclosure of any work done. Restored books aren’t worth quite as much, but are popular with collectors who’d rather avoid dog-eared, loose pages and marks.
"All forms of restoration should always be disclosed," says dealer Mark Zaid an some on camera statements about comic book restoration:
Mark Engblom has another, more humorous take, on his own early attempts to restore lower grade books.