Monday, October 24, 2005

Draining Every Drop of Blood

Check this out from eSCD:

It's an idea that's likely to raise a few eyebrows in the hobby, but a new company has figured out a way to remove autographs from baseballs. Alan Berman, founder of Signed Baseball Magic, talks with SCD's Scott Kelnhofer about the new process that can take a multi-signed baseball with, say, Doc Ellis and Roberto Clemente, and quite thorougly remove the former, leaving behind only the latter and a very different -- and more valuable -- collectible.

I looked online for more information on this practice and could not find any.

Take yer pick... every hobby has its pitfalls and they get worse as the money gets bigger. Everyday, the circling sharks take another chunk from the flailing swimmer. When there is nothing left to feed on, where will the sharks go next?

Whether it's pressing, trimming, restoration, toning (coins), forgery or removing unwanted signatures to manufacture a more valuable single-signed ball, it's just another way for an opportunistic scavenger to artificially make a collectible "worth more," that is, drain a few more drops of blood from the flatlining corpus of a hobby.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

It's a Real Mess Out There

I occasionally get emails like this and they always make me sad.

I am purchasing a Babe Ruth Baseball and it has a Donald Frangipani authenticity document. I saw on your alert on your web site. Is there a time period that is suspect? I have not seen any other negative press regarding his authentication. Should I or can I get the ball reviewed by someone else? If so, who would you suggest?

I suggested that he RUN away from the transaction and referred him to some others to back up my assertions. Any Ruth signature with a Frangipani COA is undoubtedly fake. It's never fun delivering bad news, but hopefully he'll heed my advice.

That said, there is a tendency in people to not want to believe that they just dropped thousands of dollars on a worthless fake.

From comics to autographs, all collectibles fields are a real mess now. Too much money is involved and it has brought out the big time scam artists and bloodsuckers seeking to drain gullible collectors of every last penny.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Biggest Comic Scandal EVER!!

It's deja vu all over again in the collectibles field.

As some predicted, it appears as if the graded comic book market is going the same way the graded coin market did a decade earlier. That is, it is going the way of cracking slabs, performing stealth micro-restoration to squeeze out a slightly better grade and reslabbing. Further, some in the hobby are coming to believe that CGC is offering preferential treatment to certain big shot dealers.

What brought this all to a head is that prominent dealer Jason Ewert was caught selling trimmed books in unrestored slabs. Thanks to before and after scans, it has become evident that the books were trimmed while in Ewert's possession. CGC has investigated internally, and subsequently banned Ewert from submitting. Moreso, CGC President Steve Borock has reported that he told Ewert to "leave the hobby or risk lawsuit from CGC." No one knows how many trimmed books Ewert slipped past CGC before he was caught... it could be hundreds.

Certainly there are many juicy details that us non-connected peons will only hear whispered in rumor.

If you have a few hours to spare, you can read how it all unfolded on the CGC Message Boards (where the trimmed books were first exposed.)

Trimmed FF 3 and FF 10 first exposed

Steve Borock's (CGC's) Response

A Summary Thread of the Whole Scandal

Friday, October 14, 2005

Buy My Stuff

For the first time in quite a while, I'm selling some stuff on eBay.

Trying to thin the herd a bit by getting rid of doubles, modern lots, miniseries and some sports bobbleheads.

Last week I sold about $100 worth of comicbooks and received an invitation to be a Bronze Powerseller. Gee, I knew the standards were low to be a Powerseller, but I never dreamt they were that low!

Thursday, October 13, 2005

The Baseball Collector's Holy Grail

Record Sale for Babe Ruth Signed Baseball

Memory Lane Memorabilia of Tustin, CA has reported selling a Babe Ruth signed baseball for $150,000, establishing a record price for a Ruth signed ball. The details of the transaction were private. The ball was graded 9.5 out of 10 by PSA.

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Due to the ball's unblemished white, almost new appearance and a strong, bold signature, most hobby experts regard this as the finest single-signature Ruth ball known.

The same baseball first set a record in November 2004 when it was purchased for $115,000.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Why Paypal ONLY?

I wanted to launch a bid on this Fantastic Four 14, but the seller stated Paypal ONLY accepted. I figured it wouldn't hurt to ask if other payment methods would be accepted from a longtime ebay member. (As regular readers know, I am no longer on Paypal after a very ugly chargeback incident where they tried to take back $1,100 from me because they approved a fraudulent credit card.)

So, I sent the seller, kaching$$$, an inquiry:

Will you accept BidPay or a money order? I have been on ebay since 1998... My feedback is over 500 with no negatives. PLMK. Thanks - Steve

kaching$$$'s response:

Only paypal accepted. Sorry.

I see more and more of this "Paypal only" nonsense everyday. What gives?

Are sellers so impatient and lazy that they would choose to have less people bid on their auctions rather than have to deposit a money order?

ebay is truly the land of sellers with no business sense... and it gets worse everyday as more brainless monkeys figure out how to use their computers.

And I will have no sympathy for them when they learn the hard way that Paypal will screw them sooner or later.