Thursday, August 28, 2008

No Matter What Beckett Does, They Just Dont Seem To Get It

So I got an email from a few readers that Beckett was introducing "real time pricing" for the new, awful, and confusing site. They describe it as updated pricing every day and that you will finally be able to get NRP the day the cards are priced by their Sr. Market Analysts (The Pricing Hat).

You would think this would make them more relevant, but really it continues to show how incredibly irrelevant they really are. They are so stuck on keeping this ideal of a "price guide" around, they dont understand that the way they price cards is made completely fucking useless by new(er) innovations over the last 20 years. Yes, Beckett prices their cards the same way they did 20 years ago (the Pricing Hat). They dont get that People get their info from the computer now. I guess no one at Beckett got that memo.

So, for the first time ever, here is what I would do if I were them:

First I would send my people over to go on eBay over the next six months and find out as much about as many cards as they can and then give it to your "Sr. Market Analysts." Then start a beta program where selected card sales are monitored and averaged every day. If there is no market data, they would leave it blank and not assign a random price from the hat. After about another three months, I would start promoting the real centralized pricing trends and show people how it works, mainly because 100% of the people who go by book value are complete idiots.

Now you wont be able to show a steady price, because like the stock market, things change hourly. So, you can give a range, which is more than anyone ever needs. This would help buyers who use eBay find out if what they are getting is actually a good price. No fucking multipliers and no fucking hat drawn prices.

People with a "My Collection" will be able to see "real time" graphs of the eBay market trends of the real value of their cards, and it will finally make Beckett relevant again. I would even use it. It would be a great tool!

For those of you who deal at shows, you could submit the prices you paid for your cards. Granted these prices would be off, because dealers jack up prices to make a profit. Yet, my fledgling economic mind believes there could be a formula established to generate a real value for these. In fact, I believe it would be PRETTY FUCKING EASY.

Then, instead of releasing a hobby magazine based on one fucking huge conflict of interest, you could promote a magazine that gave commentary, showed real market trends, and gave people a good expectation of what the hobby was really like. Hell, I would buy that too. You could even have readers submit their own store bought box breaks to show other readers a fair expectation as well! Wow!

Instead of doing all of the things above, thingsI just came up with off the top of my head, they are using their centralized website to give daily updates on THEIR prices, not REAL prices. I also think its pretty fucking hilarious that they have Sr Market Analysts. Besides, if they make as much money as their Sr. Graders (The Sr. Grader is pictured below with his Jaguar) maybe people will see what I am talking about with these douche nozzles.

See people, its a business for them, not an objective guide for you. I have said it countless fucking times that Beckett is the number one authority on douchebaggery. However, every time I fucking trade online, or every time I hear someone quote book value, I just want to scream that the price expectation they have is not real. It is a hat drawn number influenced by the manufacturers to create a false ideal of how to price a card. Manufacturers know that higher book value means more sales, so they find ways to inflate those prices - hmm, how does that happen? Ad revenue given to Beckett, boxes and swag given to Beckett, favorable press given to Beckett, who knows what else. If you think integrity has a place in this business you are fucking stupid.

I have exhausted myself trying to combat this, and others have taken up the mantle to try and stand with me (Thank you also to Rob from VOTC). Also, I know there are bloggers who privately feel the same way and do their part off the record. Granted, I know I make very little difference from this blog, but for every person that stops paying attention to Beckett's stupidity and false idols, I am a success.


  1. You can submit the prices you are buying / selling at for every card Beckett lists, and see the price ranges that everyone else has submitted for any card over the last 30 days.

    Its not the system you propose, but its a cool feature.

  2. This may be the case, but it is still providing a false expectation on the way cards are priced. I dont know why so many people support the figures that Beckett puts out despite the fact that EVERY SINGLE PRICE IN THEIR BOOK is blantantly (not slightly) wrong.

  3. Gellman, count me among the converted. I love reading your blog, and you never cease to amaze.

    Beckett is worthless, and thank you for turning me onto some of the other people who think the same way. Keep it up!

  4. Thanks Qudus, always nice to see new commenters around.

  5. Amen, brother!

    Have you seen my debate with Beckett staffers and apologists here?

  6. Dave, I had not seen that. Totally fucking amazing. I rushed this post and forgot all your awesome stuff. Ill put it in right now.

  7. I find it hilarious that 3 or 4 of the top blogs out there are decidely anti-beckett. Too bad less than 10% of the hobby reads the blogs, they would gain a lot of insight from you guys.

    Dave, your blog is awesome, you are always a good read and I love your take on the hobby.

    Gellman, who thought that in 6 short months you would be second from the top for card blogs. I checked Ben Henry's stats and he gets most of his hits from random google searches. Your hits are more legitimate and you are only averaging 40 less than him per day. So, I am crowning you as number 2. Obviously Mario is number one, but Im sure you are fine with that. Anyways, you are the first stop for me every morning, and you have continually beaten everyone to the punch. I love your stuff, keep it up.

  8. Eh - you say every price is wrong. I have found that more often than not the prices I pay for my cards fall into the range they provide. No, they don't all hit Hi BV on the nose. That's probably why they give two numbers.

    Yes, they are off on some cards. However, hyperbole serves no purpose except to detract from any valid argument you might have. "EVERY SINGLE PRICE IN THEIR BOOK" is not blatantly wrong. The last two Hamilton cards I purchased fell right in the range of BV provided. I'm not about to declare "EVERY SINGLE PRICE IN THEIR BOOK IS CORRECT" based on that - it would be short-sighted, because it would likely take someone 5 seconds to think "I've bought something way out of BV range" and prove me wrong.

    Beckett is a resource. One of many I use to further my hobby. I'm not an uniformed or naive collector because of that.

  9. See but thats the thing, no one uses the range. They all use that singular price, and quote it like its the bible. Yes, I generalize a lot and there are people who use the guide as a piece of their pricing scheme, but the over-whelming supermajority doesnt function that way.

    Besides, I am more concerned with how that range is created than what it means to the collector. The fact that Beckett accepts gifts, ad revenue, and all sorts of other things from the people whose future depends on these prices, is a huge and unforgivable conflict of interest.

    I have a laundry list link posted in the glossary under Beckett, please read that for the rest of my feelings on this subject.

  10. I get what you're saying, but how can it be that a price paid at a show is "off" because it's "jacked up for profit", and therefore wrong--when the person was still willing to pay that price?

    And how would your system handle people lying about what they paid or received for cards?

    I agree that Beckett has largely lost touch with a significant chunk of the hobby, and that their prices are often...suspect at best. But there are problems with any pricing guide that anyone would try to put together. Even using eBay prices for everything would be problematic--do you use the price with shipping or without? How do you handle combined shipping costs into the prices?

  11. Tony, all are very good points. My system was not that complicated because I didnt put a world of thought into it. It was meant as a place to start.

  12. I think there might be a system out there that is at least somewhat like that--I can never remember where I saw it, but I've stumbled across it a few times. Might be from the guys who do Sports Lizard--I want to say it was like a $5/month fee or something, but you could get all kinds of eBay historical pricing.

    For me, the advanced search on ebay works fine--I don't buy and sell so much that I'm constantly looking stuff up.

    I wish Beckett had actually improved their system, some, though--I found it useful for making checklists, and finding some "relative" values. Now it's just painful--or it was (my subscription ran out last week).

  13. Thanks for the shout out. Obviously you know I couldn't agree more.

    It really amazes me that wjile they try to maintain relevancy in the hobby they just become more irrelevant.

    What's the over under on the number of hits to their site since the BETA fiasco?

  14. I believe this is already being done at

  15. Gellman, first and foremost, this is one of your best posts so far.

    I couldn't agree more, yet somebody always has to take counter-point. Don't let them bother you.

    Regardless, this system could work. I know it's not the best example in the world, but I dabble a little in etopps. Shameful I know, but at times its an easy way to generate extra TWGM cash. Anyway, the prices on etopps for the cards I own are updated daily based on the average of what every single one of that particular card sells for on eBay, and when you trade on etopps, you trade at the current eBay value.

    I know it would take a shit-ton of work by Beckett to get a proprietary system based on eBay prices to function properly, but if they quit busting boxes and working the Bowflex, I'm sure they could find some time. Besides, if Topps can do it, it can't be that fucking difficult. You also do not even have to consider the dealer prices from card shows because in my personal experience, those are most of the doitch-bags that are quoting BV like it's gospel anyway. If you change the pricing system, those asshats will have to change with it.

    My god what am I saying! Maybe, just maybe, Topps and UD would be forced to pull their collective heads out of their asses and make wax prices more reasonable when people finally realize what value they are actually getting. I shudder to think!

  16. Dang it, Gellman!

    Sorry to use such harsh language in front of this honorable and dignified crowd, but you, sir, have gone WAY too far this time!

    I will not stand for this! There is not a defense attorney alive who will take this case and defend you for this outrageous defamation of my character.

    I am a fine, upstanding citizen of this country, and I don't take this lightly! And when I say "fine," I mean it in the most literal pop culture sense.

    That freakish and disgusting half-human troglodyte is NOT me!

    I have a reputation to keep, and you have soiled it with this horrific mis-identification of me. Besides the gig at Beckett, I make a good deal of money with my stunning looks and near-flawless physique, and you have taken that away from me! You have taken food out of my child's mouth! I cannot stand aside and let you abuse me, and my family, with this type of reckless behavior.

    I demand an apology and a retraction of the statement where you identify me as this foul creature, to wit: "the Beckett blog guy is pictured below with the Sr. Grader's Jaguar."


    "The Beckett blog guy"

  17. My apologies. I will change it immediately.

  18. Helluva post, man. Keep up the good work.

  19. Thanks for that. I guess I will drop the lawsuit now.

    It's nothing personal, of course, it's just that I would hate for anyone to think I have let myself go downhill like that...