Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Your Bad Hit May Not Be So Bad! What?!?

When you pull a hit out of your favorite product, usually its going to suck, unless you work for Beckett. Yet, those hits may be the key to the future of the sports autograph collectibles industry, believe it or not.

Let me explain:

Right now, if you go to UDA or Steiner to buy a piece of memorabilia, you will have to pay for the market price of the autograph plus the market cost of the authentication name on the certificate. Usually, the authentication is worth more than the signature itself, mostly because of one cold hard fact: 80-90% of the autographs available on the internet are fake. Due to the number of scam artists out there, even PSA slabbed stuff is not safe for the average person anymore. On the other hand, despite the above fact, no one will question an auto'ed sports card as long as it was meant to be one. Thousands upon thousands of auto cards end up on the secondary market each day, and most collectors (with a few exceptions) believe that there is no question as to the authenticity of the player's signature. Due to the awful state of the market, as real autographs become harder and harder to prove as authentic, I see a growth in the worth of the standard auto cards of today. Its crazy to think about that now, but the donkey rapers out there are coming up with some fucked up ways to make money, and eventually PSA authentication will mean about as much as a scoreboard letter of authenticity. You saw that news report that said they got a fake through the JSA people, right?

This football was 100% guaranteed to pass authentication. It wont.

To tell you the truth, it really blows a goat that most people are only out there to make money, regardless of who they hurt in the process. They don’t care if the fake auto of Alex Rodriguez you bought hangs on your child's wall, because to them, all they see is $$$$$.

Just as an example, I had an autograph of Vince Carter that my dad gave me for my birthday a long time ago. Being a UNC grad, my dad got caught up in the vinsanity and it rubbed off on me too. Of course, my dad wasn’t as versed in the ways of the donkey raper as I am now, so he bought from some guy who had a cool picture signed in bold silver pen. He paid to have it framed, and it hung on my wall until last year. Around graduation from college, I went back and took a look at it. I realized right away what my dad had bought, and I was so pissed that I threw my suitcase across the room. I wasn’t mad at my dad, I was mad at the guy who felt that scamming people out of their hard earned money was more important than dignity - something that has become commonplace in the market.

People ask me why my view of humanity is inherantly bad, and the reason is quite simple. Humans only care about one thing in general and its being better than the next guy. By most societal standards that means having more money, and they will not stop until they have the maximum available. For most people, its not an issue to make money the correct way, but for others, a quick buck is more tempting than sex. These people know its easy to create and sell fake autos when you arent seeing the buyer face to face (sometimes even if you are!). They also know that its easy to pull the one color jersey out of the DLP card and put in a logo patch. They for sure have no doubt that someone will pay to buy it, because there is a sucker born every minute. Funny enough, this happens in every industry because people are never hestitant to take advantage of a simple customer with no knowledge - double if you are a woman. Whether its mechanics, car salesman, drug reps, even politicians (especially politicians), they all have their bad apples.

Because of the nature of this argument, eventually cards may be the only reliable source for autographs. That is a scary fact, ladies and gents, especially with people like Beckett and UD out there doing basically the same thing as the donkey rapers. Lets hope that somewhere down the road a great enlightenment happens and these guys take it in the ass. That would be awesome.


  1. I agree with you 100% on autographs, unless it's certified by the card companies or I get it in person, which I try to do anyways. My first scam was back in the early 90s, I wanted an autographed ball of Jim Abbott, bought one at a card show figuring, it should have been real. Found out years later that it wasn't even close to his signature and that always bothered me. Too bad you left the Triangle. I'm in Durham.

  2. You're right and wrong at the same time Gellman. The reliability of authentic sports autographs are in serious jeopardy but the sports card industry isn't the savior of anything, nor will it ever be. In its' current state, it may not even last another 20 years.

  3. I disagree. As long as the trend continues, the card industry will continue, but the autograph industry will be the one that suffers, unfortunately.

  4. The trend is unsustainable. Prices are skyrocketing to a point where even more upper middle class collectors won't be able to afford high end products and then eventually the hobby will collapse in on itself in a wonderfully chaotic display of bankruptcy and ruin.

  5. Great point! A big reason why I like to buy autographed cards of my favorite players is because I feel that I can at least trust that the autographs that the card companies put in packs are real. As more people get burned by buying fake autographs, they may very well turn to cards to get real autographs.

    One question that I have for you ... how reliable is PSA/DNA? Have you heard of autographed items that were authenticated by them and turned out to be fake? I ask because I just bought an autographed photo that was authenticated by PSA/DNA on eBay. I trust PSA, but I hope I'm not naive in doing so.