Friday, August 1, 2008

Penning The Life Of The Hobby

When you look to get autographs, its pretty easy to believe that most people want to obtain them in person. Cards are a different story, because we can almost assume that they are real, even to the point where badly done ones are still considered genuine without a thought. But, what happens outside of those two avenues? Where is it okay to start and stop with autos and the authenticity of the ones available on TWGM and other sites?

Lets start at the bottom, and trust me there are a lot of autos I wouldn’t bid on unless someone paid me to take the item off their hands. These types of auctions are where you don’t get any type of COA, the auto is questionable due to inconsistencies in the sig, and it is from a seller/dealer that has many of these type or only a few or one. These are pretty easy to spot, and they are never real. They sell for minimal prices and PSA would laugh at you if you sent for a quick opinion. Common targets are footballs (big and easy writing space), helmets (easy to write on, big space), and 8x10s (most commonly faked item in existence due to cost of production). These people fall under the "donkey rapers" category of business and should be put in front of a firing squad, balls first. Its absolutely crazy that there are people stupid enough to buy this crap. Give these people a copy of an auto and a silver paint pen, and they go to town. Kill them all.

Moving up the ladder, but not that much upwards, are the dealers that have caught on to the COA craze. They provide an item with a COA from some crazy sports store and they almost always guarantee authenticity when submitted to PSA or JSA. Obviously this is a risk/reward situation for them as most people who buy wont pay the 50 or so dollars to have it certified. Again, these are almost never real, and are most likely a lazy attempt at crapping out money. There are exceptions to this rule, unlike the others, as some stores DO have private signings/public signings to obtain items. Also, a lot of these shitty excuses for sports collectors have started using awful, awful looking holograms to recreate what the big boys do. As said before, spare the future from their shitty nature, kill them.

Next are the places where it may be obvious that at one point they sold real stuff, and possibly still do. Their autos look genuine, and some may be. I might buy from one of these places with a PSA quick opinion and a good price. They still offer worthless COAs, but in this case, it wont matter. There are also places that have built up good reputations and have gotten lazy, so watch out.

Before explaining places I would actually buy from, I think its time to mention that there are a lot of sellers who display photos of the player signing items with the auction. Unless it is a one of a kind item, this means nothing. Autos are easy to sell online and fake ones are easier to sell than real ones. Photos make some people confident, but I wont bite.

As we get to more reputable sources, prices obviously skyrocket. For instance, Ironclad and Dave and Adam's have taken to securing exclusive rights to players. Of course their prices are quite high because authentic items are expected. I have bought from both, and even dealers selling stuff from them, but I guess I should have been more careful. Places like this have online authentication and you can bet its real if they are attached. The good thing is that if you see something from an exclusive player being sold somewhere else, its probably not real.

The next place I want to discuss is the PSA and JSA cert'ed autos you can buy on TWGM. Its understood that these encapsulated items are real, and you can usually rest easy. However, we have seen fake ones get through the "experts," but its pretty much good stuff. Prices are higher from this, and I think it sucks. PSA costs an arm and a leg unless you go to a show, where its still expensive, and JSA is the same thing. There is also GAI and other places, but you are basically paying for a second rate opinion. Stick to PSA and JSA as they are the most reputable sources.

There are also stores like field of dreams in some malls that sell autos. I would say that 80% of their stuff is real, only because I saw what operation bullpen did to places like this. Field of dreams is a little different as they obtain a lot of their stuff in person, but don’t get them confused with local shops, unless it is obvious that they have genuine ways of obtaining the autos they sell.

Lastly, Steiner Sports has made a name as THE MOST reputable auto dealer around. They have many exclusive contracts and they have some really spank items to sell. The problem? Triple to quadruple what you would normally pay. These are 100% legit 100% of the time, and all autos are witnessed at the many private signings they do. I will file MLB authenticated stuff under this type because the league is present at all of their signings too, but again, they cost a shitload. MLB has also partnered with Ironclad, so items purchased through them are dual authenticated. I would definitely buy from both of these people if I had the money. Plus, on a good note, Steiner autos make for good comparison pieces as they have the best scanner in the history of scanners. Trust me.

As with any part of the hobby, if its too good to be true, it isnt real. Dont get scammed into buying crap when for a little more cash, you can get the real thing. I hate when people dont take this into consideration. Why spend $10 bucks on something questionable when for $25 you dont have to worry? Yeah its more than double the price, but $15 isnt going to break you. Same with bigger stuff. Why spend $100 on junk when you can get awesomeness for $175? It seems like a lot, but it is better in the long run. Dont be an idiot.

1 comment:

  1. Ironclad / Stat ball / Montana's Company / Stiener / and MLB is all I will ever buy. PSA and JSA have been faked out too many times. Most of my stuff is gotten in person, or through MLB certification.

    Great post!