Tom Brady and the NSA

The other day I received an e-mail from a reader telling me they purchased a Tom Brady Authentic 1 of 1 NSA #453358 jersey card on eBay and wanted to know if I could tell him what it might be worth.  I have never been a fan of NSA (National Sportscard Authenticator) because there cards just don’t seem legit.  To start off, he said that his card was numbered 1 of 1 but somehow on eBay there is another card just like it with a different serial number on the case.  Thats the first red flag.  The COA on the back shows me another red flag.  The COA states:

This item has been certified by an NSA representitive.  Each NSA Sports Product will contain a unique serial number and a certificate of authenticity containing the matching certification number.  Any tampering will invalidate the guarantee of authenticity.

When I read a COA, I like to see what it says and then I look to see what it doesn’t say.  Nowhere within the COA does it state that the piece of memorabilia was used by the athlete.  This is why I stay far away from cards like this.  Their COA’s leave a lot of holes within the statements.  NSA cards barely sell and when they do its not for much.  I’m starting to see these more and more.  Usually I would find them online, but at the last few shows I have attended I’ve seen more.  About 7 months ago I wrote a post stating how NSA would give $1,500.00 to someone if they sent in a card that was determined to be counterfeit.  In my opinion, NSA is right up there with GEM GRADING, PRO Grading and WCG.  I plan on sending an e-mail to the company to see what they have to say about their COA’s.


The Baseball Card Database

From the same people that brought you, comes a new resource for collectors. has a ton of information on each an every MLB team.  My favorite section of the site is the Phillies team page where you can browse through all the team’s records.  They provide very good stats for those collectors that enjoy numbers.  They have been working hard on this site for the last three years.  Be sure to check it out and give it a try.



I think I have found the best website on the planet that deals with the doctoring of vintage cards.  Its called which is operated by Kevin Saucier.  Mr. Saucier has been collecting cards for many years, and has become a card doctor himself trying to warn collectors about doctored cards. covers subjects such as card soaking, detecting bleached cards, card sanding, detecting a rebacked card, aging and toning, detecting colored cards, detecting rebuilt corners, reglossed cards, errors and other alterations.  Here is a piece he wrote on identifying trimmed cards.  Be sure to check out his website for more information.

“How many times a have you sent a card in to be graded only to have it returned as “evidence of trimming” or ever wondered if that certain card with an unbelievable price is actually to good to be true? Many hobbyist have, at one time or another, run into this situation or knows of somebody who has. As the values of cards become increasingly higher there is always a chance that fowl play and unscrupulous characters will have their hands in the mix. This can either be intentional or simply done to appease to the previous owner. Nonetheless a trimmed card has a lower resale value and is generally not held in high regard. With a little education and some basic knowledge, even the beginning collector can recognize a trimmed card quickly and with a large degree of accuracy.

The first test is to see if a card measures-up properly. To find this out you will first need to know the textbook measurement of the particular card you are examining. Most modern era cards vary little to none from the exact manufactures specifications. You can although, have a card that is not trimmed but was just naturally cut a little short. In most cases, this card will not be graded based on the fact it does not meet the correct measurement.

Vintage cards with an emphasis on tobacco era cards can be a little more difficult to ascertain. Since the cutting of cards in the early years of production was not an exact science, many tobacco era cards were cut with little regard to accuracy or consistency; this can be often seen in the very popular T206 series. These were cut with various widths and lengths. A card may be shy of the proper size but still be within the limits of authentication and grading standards. A card could also have been cut larger and be “doctored” to precise measurements. This is where knowing how to identify a trimmed card may come to use. 

There are some key indicators to tell if a card is trimmed:

To truly tell if a card has been trimmed, it must be removed from any holder it is in so the edges can be clearly seen and studied. For most vintage cards the border-edge on a normal card will be slightly rounded and have a light porous appearance. A trimmed or sanded card will be flat and/or very smooth in one or more spots, this is the most common indicator. Usually this can only be seen under slight magnification and desk light. Look at all the edges and corners of the card under a 50+ watt halogen light and a 10x jewelers loupe. A vintage card should be slightly toned (light gray-brown), a trimmed card will magically reveal a very white appearance compared to a naturally toned edge when held under a halogen light. It will be surprisingly evident. Modern cards may have less wear and no toning at all. 

Since most cuts are made with scissors, scalpels or razor blades, a cut card will almost always show signs of tampering. Often times a card that has been cut can reform the original shape in the middle over time…but the corners usually show the initial pinch point, so look for crimped edges and pay close attention to the corners.

Other things to look for include wavy uneven edges, obvious (missed) cut marks when magnified or stray paper strands left over from the cutting utensil. With the card lying on a flat surface, look at both sides from a distance. Some trimmed cards may have a slant cut or flared (bat-eared) corners that are slightly higher than the middle edge. This derives from the person cutting the card trying to avoid the easily identified crimped corners. When scissors are used, the hand has an involuntary tendency to start high and go low for the initial and/or end cut, if ever so slight. 

The best way to learn about card trimming is to do it yourself. Take an inexpensive card, which you suspect has not been tampered with, and study the edges and corners under a light and 10x loupe. This will serve as an example of what a normal card looks like. Next, choose your cutting devise and cut about 1/32 off of any edge. Now study the cut area again under a halogen bulb and magnification, note the differences. Also take a look at the card from a distance, you may see that the cut is crooked, uneven, wavy or shows flared corners. To get a firm understanding of what to look for, it is best to do this with both a modern and vintage card if possible. 

Card doctoring and manipulation has become very sophisticated over the years and you may have a difficult time, at best, in discovering their hidden tricks. Hopefully with the information above you should be able identify the most common forms trimming and be able to make informed purchases on cards you may have previously questioned.”

The T206 Museum

This afternoon I was looking for information on the T206 set and came across the website T206  This website has everything you can think about the T206 set, including information on how to spot counterfeit cards and reprints.  For example, “Every genuine T206 cards, they are printed in solid black pinstripe separating the white border from the colored photo. Reprints show the line as a string of dark dots. You can see the different under a high power (x10) magnifier.”  If you are looking for information an any T206 card, they will have it.  


Getting The Best Autograph


Its 2:00 p.m. and your standing in line at your favorite card show waiting to get an autograph.  Your fingers are tired from ripping wax, and your stomach is full with what you hope was a lukewarm hot dog you ate for lunch.  The last decision that you have to make for the day is what do you want the athlete to sign your item with.  What an athlete signs your item with can really affect the way the signature turns out.  Here is a list of common items that collectors get autographed and what type of writing instrument works best for that item.

  •  Baseball = Ballpoint pen
  • Football = Sharpie Marker
  • Basketball = Sharpie Marker
  • Hockey Puck = Sharpie Marker
  • Golf Ball = Sharpie Marker
  • Photograph = Sharpie Marker
  • Baseball Bat = Sharpie Marker
  • Sports Card = Sharpie Marker
  • Hat = Sharpie Marker
  • Jersey/Pants = Sharpie Marker
  • Helmets = Sharpie Marker
  • Index Cards = Ballpoint pen or Sharpie Marker
  • Pennants = Sharpie Marker
  • Shoes = Sharpie Marker
  • Poster = Sharpie Marker
  • Tickets = Sharpie Marker
  • Bobblehead = Sharpie Marker
  • Glove = Sharpie Marker

I guess you can see why Sharpie has a display at the National Sports Collectors Convention every year.

I have become a victim

After finishing 8hrs of doing Managerial Economics, I thought I would work with a few eBay payments I received in the mail and check my auctions.  Going through the mail I see I got paid for one of my “Boomer” Bobbleheads I received at the Williamsport Crosscutters game a few weeks ago.  Just out of pure curiosity I thought I would see if anyone else was selling the same bobblehead.  Checking the completed auctions I see a seller who stole my photo and used it for their own auction.  Here is their auction:

“Boomer” Bobblehead

Here is my auction:

“Boomer” Bobblehead

Its the same exact picture.  Plus, the smaller photo usually means that the original photo was small as well, perhaps the size of a photo from eBay.

eBay Pulse

Have you checked out the eBay Pulse site yet?  It can give you a snapshot of what some of the hottest selling items that are up for auction.  You can select the category that you want and see what is really popular.  eBay at one time had a link to this site on their homepage, but they never brought it back after the redesign.  Just thought it would be interesting for those collectors that like eBay and may not have heard about it.

Check Those Base Card Boxes

Many people wish they could go up in their attic and find an old box of baseball cards that had been forgotten hoping to find some rare cards.  What a lot of people don’t realize is that they could have treasures right in front of their eyes.  Once in awhile I will go through my many base card boxes looking to see if anything stands out to me.  As the years go by, cards that were pulled out a few years ago and just considered base, may now actually be worth something.  Am I saying that every base card’s value is going to go up like vintage cards, no, but it can be true for first year and rookie cards.  Going through some of my boxes I remember pulling out some rookie cards of players that are good now, but weren’t doing well at the time they were pulled.  Hidden treasures can be right under your nose and you may never know it unless you look.

How To PROPERLY Ship Sports Cards

Mario, from Wax Heaven has put together a really good video on how to properly mail sports cards.  There are a lot of people that need to see this.   Just click the link below.

How To PROPERLY Mail Sports Cards