Just A Little Trim

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No, this isn’t some newly discovered die-cut insert within the 1948 Bowman set.  This is nothing more than a Mike Holovak rookie that is one of many trimmed cards placed up for sale on eBay everyday.  What stands out to me is the fact many sellers know the cards they are selling are trimmed, and clearly state it within the item description.  It surprises me that many collectors bid on cards which are trimmed.  In one way you are obtaining a cosmetically enhanced card, but in another way you could get a card you really want for a much lower price.  I guess it all depends on what type of collector you are.  Personally, I would rather own a damaged card versus owning one that has been improved.  Look on the bright side.  At least the sellers are telling you its trimmed.  As for this Holovak card, whoever did the trimming sure didn’t improve the overall appearance.  

On the flipside, many sellers do trim cards and try to pass them off as if they came from the pack looking in such great condition.  Here are some tips for identifying cards that might be trimmed.

  • Vintage cards are known for showing a lot of damage.  If you find a vintage card that has razor sharp corners and edges, it could be trimmed.  I’m not saying every vintage card that looks to be in great condition is trimmed, but I would look for other signs.
  • If possible, look at the edges of the card.  Most of the time, trimmed cards will have pinched edges where the cutting device made it’s initial cut.  
  • Owning other cards from the same set can help too.  Trimmed cards will slightly be smaller.  Laying a questionable card on top of another card would show you whether or not it was trimmed.
  • The very technology that helps us learn about cards, can hurt too.  Buying vintage cards online allows for anyone to crop a photo just enough to get rid of those rough edges.     

If you have any more tips on spotting trimmed cards, please leave a comment.

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