Monday, September 25, 2006

Have You Seen the Fantastic Four #1 That Was Stolen From Me?

I know this is a long shot and it happened years ago, but I just found some images on a disc... so here goes.

This copy of Fantastic Four #1 was stolen from me in an ebay transaction that occured on May 12, 2003. Supposedly, hijacked ebay and Paypal user IDs were used and the transaction was charged back to me well over a month after I shipped the book.

The book was shipped to the verified Paypal address which was:
Trey McDaniel
26849 172nd pl SE
Covington, WA 98042
User ID: trey-autumn
Name: The Silver Age

McDaniel later claimed that it wasn't him, he never received the book and someone else was using his accounts.

So, on the off chance anyone ever runs across this copy of FF #1, please let me know. I originally purchased it from Stephen Ritter and it grades about GOOD+ in my opinion. It has very distinctive water damage/chipping on the bottom edge of the back cover.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Rose 'Sorry' Baseballs Will Be Auctioned

According to the AP story below, Pete Rose signed the "I'm sorry I bet on baseball" baseballs for free and gave a number of them to a collector. He had no idea they'd come up for auction.

If anyone believes this, please send me an email... I have a bridge in Brooklyn I'd like to sell you.

I've met Pete Rose a few times and he is very particular about what he will sign. For instance, he won't inscribe "Charlie Hustle." Pete Rose is very memorabilia savvy and wouldn't sign anything like this for free... for anyone.

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Rose "Sorry" Baseballs Will Be Auctioned
By JOE KAY, AP Sports Writer, Tue Sep 19, 11:20 AM ET

Pete Rose never expected baseballs bearing his autograph and a printed apology for betting on baseball to be sold publicly, his business agent said Monday.

A New Jersey auction house plans to put 30 such balls up for bid in April, unsure how much they'll fetch. The baseballs belonged to a memorabilia collector who died last December.

Baseball's banished hits king signed the baseballs for some of his friends about a year ago, but didn't want them put up for sale, according to business agent Warren Greene.

"These guys are collectors. Pete signed for them," Greene said, in a phone interview. "Pete made zero dollars for signing them." The baseballs say "I'm sorry I bet on baseball" in block letters, with Rose's autograph directly below. Greene didn't know who suggested the inscription.

The New York Daily News first reported the story in Monday's editions.

Rose accepted a lifetime ban for gambling in 1989, but denied for nearly 15 years that he bet on baseball. He finally acknowledged in his latest autobiography, published in January 2004, that he made baseball wagers while he managed the Cincinnati Reds.

During his exile from baseball, Rose has made a living in part off his memorabilia signings. During an appearance years ago, he agreed to sign a fan's copy of baseball's Dowd Report, which contained the evidence that he bet on baseball.

Greene said a collector who got some of the "I'm sorry" baseballs gave 30 of them to Barry Halper, a limited partner in the New York Yankees who died last December. The family contacted Robert Edward Auctions to sell his sports memorabilia.

"There was a box of these baseballs," auction house president Robert Lifson said. "When I saw them, I couldn't help but thinking, 'Wow.'"

Lifson couldn't guess how much fans will bid for the apology baseballs. Rose's Web site features autographed balls for $86.99. Other balls with inscriptions such as "Hit King" are offered for $104.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

A NOD to the Network of Disclosure

Regular readers know that I have devoted a great deal of effort in fighting fraud in the collectibles hobbies. I am an investigator for the UACC Ethics Board, I've published articles on fraud and forgery, and I've done my best to educate autograph and comic collectors about the various scams and pitfalls that are all too common.

I have recently joined the Network of Disclosure (NOD.)

NOD's pledge is simple: To promote Integrity, Security and Education between the Seller and the Buyer of any comic book.

It's a good organization with honorable goals... you can learn more at the Network of Disclosure website.

I also recommend that you support NOD dealers whenever possible.

Monday, September 18, 2006

CGC Grading and the State of the Hobby

A few weeks ago, Skybolt (Ed) made a great post on the CGC Message Boards. With his permission, here it is:

...we as collectors need to evolve beyond this current state of the hobby. If a CGC graded book can double in value from $10,000 to $20,000 by erasing a small smudge of dirt and raising the grade by a couple of notches, then something is wrong. I truly believe that eventually reality will catch up with perception, and people will wake up to the fact that they're shelling out thousands of hard earned dollars for a minor press job or dry cleaning, to raise a book's value 2-fold. This realization will ultimately have a huge impact on the state of the hobby once collectors are informed about what an 8.5 vs. 9.2 CGC graded copy really entails.

I mean it's like basically taking an authentic vase, that's in great condition, and rubbing off the dirt to increase its price from $100,000 to $200,000! For instance, if I asked a bunch of high end collectors to step into a room and handed them a nice looking CGC graded 8.0 copy of ASM #1, and said this will cost you $10,000. As they reached for their wallet, I tell them to hold on a second. I grab the book, erase a few dirt smudges and apply some minor pressing in front of everyone. I then grab the book and hand it over to a CGC grader. Since they have to go through the proper protocol and grade the book in front of them, they hand the book back to me with a 9.0 grade. I then turn around to the same potential buyer and say the book will now cost you $30,000. How many buyers would jump at the chance to pay that amount when they saw the procedure being performed first hand?!

I'm sick and tired of blaming CGC, dealers, etc. for what they perceive to be a legitimate cause, instead of bringing the truth to the masses. It's just too hard to investigate every little hole or crack. I'm not talking about putting down the main players for using this system to their advantage, but basically revealing what's behind the curtain so everyone can see. I can understand that CGC only grades the book in front of them, and I can even understand certain dealers using the current system to their benefit. I'm not even questioning how the book can go up in grade with this manipulation. But my point is that what does the CGC grade really mean, and should it have as much emphasis as whether or not a book has great QP, centered pages, great gloss, etc. There's no reason why an ugly looking 7.0 Fiction House copy with extremely faded colors should sell for more than a nice looking 5.0 copy that has great gloss, excellent presentation, but with a few non-color breaking creases, and a 1/4" tear. That's not CGC's fault, but ours for blindly following the grades given.

People should utilize CGC's grading to their own benefit and not the other way around. I truly believe that in time the CGC grade would matter to the potential buyer, but its significance would drop to maybe 25% to 50% of what the they're really looking for. When all is said and done, what makes the most sense is usually accepted by the collecting community. Hopefully, that day could be reached soon and people start educating themselves so they are aware of their surroundings.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Forever In My Heart

Yes, it's hard to believe that it's been 5 years. In so many ways it seems like yesterday... the day is so crystalized in my mind.

Yet in other ways, it seems like a lifetime ago and it has been a very long 5 years.

Time passes so quickly.