Tuesday, June 2, 2009

A Comment On The Montana BGS 10 Sale

I just want to leverage the Montana BGS 10 against some very interesting information that was briefly discussed by Mario in his write up of the recent auction. First off, we know that the Montana was graded at the national convention by an "anonymous" person who didn’t want the publicity of having the only 10 ever graded. As Mario mentioned, this person was long thought to be associated with Beckett, and used that relationship to his advantage in the grading of the card. Sean Storms, the current seller of the card is opening an eBay business that specializes in the inventory that will provide BGS with some very important cards and clients. Add this all together, in addition to the history of one of the douchebaggiest companies known for providing favorable grading treatment to their large customers and friends, and you have a large scale scam that may have cost a buyer $65,000.

First off, lets discuss a little bit about BGS and PSA grading, and the incredibly subjective grading that they put cards through. Mario mentioned that it is so subjective, that collectors have made a practice of cracking holders and resubmitting cards for better grades. Now, I discussed a while ago about PSA offering better average grades for larger orders than it does for customers who use the service once in a blue moon. BGS has been largely accused of the same practice, mainly because they supposedly spend less time on individual pieces from larger orders, and that large volume customers can often be driven away by the lack of good grades. This leads to higher grades on the cards, and only exacerbates the scam.

BGS is a business just like every other part of this hobby, and provides no responsibility to offer expert services to collectors. The only responsibility they have is to making money, which at this point is a major focus for the failing magazine. Basically, if they screw up, they don’t answer to any regulatory body, and many collectors enjoy the extra preferential treatment they get due to the inflated values of the cards. However, most lay people are unaware of the subjectivity and often take BGS and PSA as gospel with their grades. Really, if you examine a BGS 10 with a BGS 9.5 through magnifying glass, there is usually no difference in the card itself. It could be that one grader had a good day, and one had a bad day. Then, factor in the size of the original order, and you have your result.

I am not saying that 10s don’t exist outside of big orders and valuable customers, but most of the time, that’s the way it turns out.

Lets go back to the Montana for a second. Lets say that they get a great looking Montana in at the national, and have a quick conference. The person submitting the grade is a "friend," and the publicity generated in the hobby from finding the ONLY Montana 10 out there is pretty huge. Plus, if anyone were ever to examine the card, there are no legit ways to prove the difference between a 10 and a much less valuable 9.5. We know that the anonymous grade getter made 25K off his card, the price of a mid ranged car, and as many of us know, money drives this hobby. At this point I am casting every bit of suspicion I have at the evil empire, because they have every reason to use this as a great advertisement for BGS.

It comes down to the fact that all is never what it seems with Beckett, and this will ultimately lead to suspicion of douchebaggery. For those of you out there who still have faith in the magazine that seems to gaff on a daily basis, your day will come. Trust me on that, it always does.


  1. I was hoping for a little more venom on this! Nothing gets me more pissed off then when collectors get ripped off like this. I read it in Mario's blog and immediately couldn't wait for your response. You are exactly right. They just like PSA have been proven to not do the best job, and authenticating don't get me started. BTW it's Jeff W. Nice reviews too. I grilled you on Triple Threads, but I love the ones this year. I am a college collector and like these releases, but I didn't like the Bowman and UD as much as Press Pass this year. I'm a sucker for simple auto designs.

  2. The venom is there, I just think its understood by now. Just wanted to put this into perspective for people still holding a candle for their long lost golden days with Beckett.

  3. Man I hate Beckett. I'm ashamed to think that I ever read Beckett with the interest I did.

    If ebay were smart, they'd use the data they ALREADY have and just print a publication of actual card prices. They'd be pretty much recession proof with that idea.

  4. I think that cardpricer.com has done an admirable effort to create a reality-based price guide that's strictly online.

    It seems that the guys responsible for the independent eTopps marketplace site cardtarget.com also have had a hand in at least launching Card Pricer.

    CardTarget is a pretty good start though, as it tracks eBay sales and sales through its own site of eTopps cards based on completed transactions. There's even a (gasp!) rational blog that follows these trends weekly: etoppsinhandmarketwatch.blogspot.com

    eTopps may be a niche market in the overall Hobby, but there are some pretty smart folks setting a model that could be followed by the Hobby at large.

  5. Wouldn't expect anything less from such a crooked, self-serving, egotistical organization.

  6. At this point, it's amazing they would be so in your face about it. Most scammers at least have the sense to keep a low profile. This looks like a last gasp from a desperate company. I mean, they couldn't get Paris Hilton to purchase the card?