I Traded A Jar Of Peanut Butter For A Pin – 2019 Little League World Series Pin Pickups

The 2019 Little League World Series is in full swing.  Baseball fans from all over the world have found their way to South Williamsport.  Pin trading is bigger than ever.  Corporate sponsors and local businesses have pins for everyone.  Some you need to buy, while others are freebies.

This is the first year that I did not visit the Little League campus.  Obtaining pins from the corporate booths has really become an activity for kids.  Years ago pins were easily handed out for filling out a survey or lining up at a booth at a certain time.  Over the course of a few years mobile apps and registering electronic bracelets for the Family Fun Zone has become a requirement.  That’s not something I’m interested in doing.  Personally, I think it adds a bunch of unnecessary steps.  I suppose it keeps the kids busy though.

Just because I skipped the Little League complex doesn’t mean I missed out on adding some new pins to my collection.  Between Dunkin’, Dairy Queen, various businesses on 4th street, and Williamsport’s Golden Strip, I came home with (22) pins.  Between the Chamber of Commerce and Dick’s Sporting Goods, I was able to pickup the pins I would’ve purchased over at Little League anyway.  Some places which traditionally have pins like Pennsylvania College of Technology and The Crazy Tomato don’t have them this year.

I’m not going to show off all (22) pins.  But I will show you some of the pins I got which I haven’t seen popup online yet and/or I find unique.

Woodlands Bank – in order to get this pin I had to trade-in a jar of peanut butter.  Woodlands Bank will donate the peanut butter to the Central PA Food Bank and Firetree Place.

Bullfrog Brewery & Restaurant

Kinley Jewelers

Dolly’s Diner

River Valley Transit

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How To Spot A Fake Wayne Gretzky 1979-80 O-Pee-Chee #18 Rookie Card

The Wayne Gretzky 1979-80 O-Pee-Chee #18 rookie card has been a prime target for counterfeiters for years.  It’s Topps counterpart isn’t far behind, but his O-Pee-Chee carries much more demand.

Here are some tips for what to look for in an authentic and counterfeit Wayne Gretzky 1979-80 O-Pee-Chee #18 rookie card:

  • Print Dot – Authentic cards contain a yellow print dot on Gretzky’s left shoulder.  Every authentic version contains this blemish.  WATCH OUT!  Some counterfeits contain this dot too.
  • Rough Edges – Most authentic examples have rough edges.  The rough edges come from a metal wire being used to cut the cards from the sheets.  Over time this wire would get dull resulting in the cards receiving a rough edge.  Cards cut earlier will have smoother edges.
  • Image Quality – Counterfeits will have poor image quality compared to an original card.  The photo on most counterfeits are of low resolution and tend to be fuzzy.
  • Blue Stripes – On the first print run the Gretzky rookie card will have light blue stripes going across the back.  The second print run does not have the blue stripes.
  • Blue Specks – Around Gretzky’s skates you should see very tiny blue specks.  You do NOT want to see any red specks.
  • Black Borders – The black borders should be solid.  Counterfeits have been known to have breaks in the black borders.
  • Fuzzy Lettering – If any of the lettering (especially “Wayne Gretzky” on the front) looks unclear and fuzzy, its most likely a counterfeit.
  • Perfect Centering – Counterfeits tend to have great centering.  Authentic examples are difficult to find with decent centering.

How To Spot A Fake Reggie Jackson 1969 Topps #260 Rookie Card

The 1969 Topps Baseball set has a lot of notable cards.  Its highlighted by Mickey Mantle’s final card of his playing career.  Second year cards of Johnny Bench and Nolan Ryan.  Rookies of Earl Weaver, Al Oliver, Bobby Bonds, Graig Nettles, Sparky Lyle, Rollie Fingers, and Bobby Cox are also key cards.  Above them all is #260.  That would be Mr. October’s, Reggie Jackson, official rookie card.

Much like a lot of valuable vintage rookie cards, Reggie Jackson’s 1969 Topps #260 has been heavily counterfeited and altered over the years.  Its important to know what to keep an eye out for when buying one.

Below are some tips for spotting a counterfeit/altered Reggie Jackson 1969 Topps #260 rookie card:

  • Glossy finish on the front.
  • Fuzziness to the photo.
  • Perfect centering – the 1969 Topps set is known for having horrible centering.  Its possible for an authentic card to have nice centering, but most counterfeits look too perfect.
  • The purple circle on the front containing Reggie Jackson’s name and position is fuzzy.  It should be solid in color.
  • On the front, locate the word “ATHLETICS”.  Look closely at the black lines surrounding the yellow lettering.  These lines should NOT be made up of tiny black dots.  Authentic cards will have solid black lines.
  • White letters – (23) cards from the 5th Series of 1969 Topps have white letter variations on the front pertaining to the player’s last name.  Guys like Mickey Mantle, Gaylord Perry, and Willie McCovey have this variation.  Reggie Jackson does NOT.  Jackson’s last name will always be in yellow.  Don’t let anyone convince you their Reggie Jackson rookie card is a rare white letter variation.  If their Reggie Jackson rookie card does have white letters its either completely counterfeit or they took a very fine pencil eraser to his last name which has been known to turn the yellow to white.  They’re attempting to catch an uneducated collector off guard.
  • Airbrushed hat logo – Ron Perranoski #77 and Paul Popovich #47 are the only two cards in the set to contain this feature.  Reggie Jackson does NOT.  If the Reggie Jackson rookie card you’re looking at has some type of airbrushed hat logo its either completely counterfeit or has been altered.  Another attempt at taking advantage of an uneducated collector.
  • One of the best things you can do is compare the Reggie Jackson rookie card you’re looking at to a less popular card in the set.  The printing techniques for all of the cards are the same.  Special treatment wasn’t given to Reggie Jackson’s rookie card.  The print quality should be similar in size, shape, and color.

Card Grading In It’s Current Form Is A @#!%$ Joke – Human Graders Must Go

Years and years ago I gave card grading a shot.  This took place well before Sports Card Info existed.  Because I didn’t do it very often I either went with BGS or SGC.  I had some modest success, but most of the time my cards came back 8’s or 8.5’s.  Those types of grades on the cards I was sending in actually diminished their value.  Two cards came back 9.5’s – 1991 Topps Stadium Club Brett Favre #94, and a Ryan Howard 2003 Donruss Elite Extra Edition Status Die-Cut #’ed/57.

To put it simply, card grading is a scam.  It always has been.  The first card PSA graded is the infamous Honus Wagner 1909-11 T206 which came back a NM-MT 8.  That card was altered and trimmed from day one.  PSA looked the other way because they knew the publicity they would receive.  Looking the other way for publicity and/or giving high grades based on a customer’s grading volume for more profit has been ingrained into grader’s skulls since the beginning.  Its a sickness that needs to be eradicated.

In 2019 we have seen card altering and trimming scandals exposed one after another.  Everywhere you look another one pops-up.  They’re like roaches.  Just check out some of the most recent articles from Sports Card Radio, and what the investigators on the Blowout Cards forums have dug up.  I think its safe to say that every card encapsulated in a grading holder should be questioned.  That’s if you get your cards back at all.  Wait times are atrocious, and PSA has been known to openly admit to throwing cards out.

Grading has a place in the hobby.  Just not in it’s current form.  Right now card grading is way too corruptible.  How do we eliminate this corruption?  Well, I don’t believe we can get rid of it completely.  Removing the human component would certainly help.  An A.I. and/or highly advanced computer system would most likely be the best way to go.  It would need to have a vast database filled with perfect examples of every card ever printed.  Scanning the card down to the very molecules its comprised of would result in an overall detailed grade unheard of today.  I want a grading system so unbiased/advanced when that Mickey Mantle rookie card is placed inside the machine it’ll tell you which part of the country it was pulled and what else the customer purchased that day.

But not even the most futuristic grading system will stop the skeptics.  Who’s to say the system’s designers won’t program it to be biased towards cards in their own collection?  What if someone hacks the system to improve their grades?  Nothing is full proof.  But as we sit today, the human graders need to go.  Humans are too tempted by greed.  Graders, trimmers, and cosigners are all in bed together.  The FBI is coming folks!  Until some drastic changes happen, I wouldn’t take card grading seriously.

We all had a feeling shady stuff was going on behind closed doors, but most simply looked away hoping the talking would stop.  With all of the garbage that’s been uncovered this year nobody is going to forget about it.  This topic and the players in it need to be dealt with.  More and more collectors should be on major alert.  If these graders did what they’re suppose to do, not a single altered/trimmed card should have made it passed them.  Money is more important to them than their integrity.  As long as people continue to turn a blind eye, pay top dollar for high-grade cards, this cycle will continue.  Lets break that cycle and inform as many people as possible about what’s going on.  With each scandal that breaks, more consumer confidence is lost.

With the National Sports Collectors Convention right around the corner, I’m sure companies like PSA, BGS, PWCC, Probstein123, and many more will have some explaining to do.  Some of these people shouldn’t even be allowed in the building.  Lots of great cards will be on display.  Just keep in mind that they might not have always looked so nice.  Promotional subpoenas for everyone!!!

It all started with this one.

How To Spot A Fake Patrick Roy 1986-87 O-Pee-Chee #53 Rookie Card

Here are a few tips on what to look for in a counterfeit Patrick Roy 1986-87 O-Pee-Chee #53 rookie card:

  • Look closely at the O-Pee-Chee logo in the top left corner.  If you notice that the black lines in the oval and text are dotted, that’s a good sign of a counterfeit.
  • Locate Patrick Roy’s name on the front of the card.  On many counterfeits the white and blue bleed together.  Its important to note that authentic examples can have bleeding of these colors too.  The consistency of the two types of bleeding are different though.
  • The 1986-87 O-Pee-Chee Hockey set has blue colored backs.  Counterfeit Patrick Roy rookies tend to have alternative shades of blue.  Simply take a common card from that set which would have no reason to be counterfeited and compare it to your Roy rookie.  If your Roy rookie card is authentic, both backs should match.
  • Due to a printing error, a tiny black dot appears on the front.  This dot can be found directly above Roy’s helmet on the top white border.  Its a small detail that counterfeiters miss.  I wouldn’t trust a copy that doesn’t contain this dot.

Card of the Day: Wilkin Castillo 2009 Upper Deck A Piece Of History #109

How To Spot A Fake Albert Pujols 2001 Fleer Tradition #451 Rookie Card

Albert Pujols is a definite first ballot Hall of Famer.  No doubt about it.  His rookie cards though have cooled off quite a bit since their heyday.  If you purchased some of his rookie cards at their height with the sole intention of turning a profit, you’re probably not too happy right now.  That’s what happens.

When Albert Pujols was all the rage, it created the perfect opportunity for counterfeiters to do their thing.  His 2001 Fleer Tradition #451 rookie card became a major target.  If you’re in the market for one, I highly recommend buying it in person.  That way you can inspect it better.

  • Many counterfeits are actually made up of two different cards.  The front is printed on glossy stock, and the back is printed on natural cardboard stock.  The two are then glued together forming the “card”.  Once the two halves are glued together, the card is much thicker than your standard 2001 Fleer Tradition card.  It weighs a lot more too – 3.05 grams.
  • Print quality – counterfeits have a very distinct print dot pattern.  Take a good look at his statistics on the back.  On an authentic card, items like the statistics should be printed in solid black ink, no dots.  The dotted print pattern carries throughout the entire card.  Both on the front and back.  Because of this, counterfeits tend to have fuzzy photos.