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.

2019 Leaf In The Game Used Sports Set To Arrive In Time For The National

Earlier this week I was excited to announce that Leaf In The Game Used Sports is making it’s return in 2019.  Like I mentioned in my previous post, the 2018 version of this product was just loaded with one low-numbered hit after another.  I never had a bad box.

Leaf has released the official sales sheet for 2019 Leaf In The Game Used Sports.  As is the case with a lot of sales sheets, some of these autographs and patches could change between now and the time it actually comes out.

The configuration looks similar to last year – (12) boxes per case, and (5) hits per box.  July 31, 2019 is the set release date.  I’m sure it will be one of the eligible products that you can use for Leaf’s wrapper redemption program during the National Sports Collector’s Convention.

Leaf In The Game Used Sports Returns For 2019

Good luck trying to find a sealed box of 2018 Leaf In The Game Used Sports.  Its almost impossible.  Released on August 1, 2018 (the first day of the National), this product was a huge hit at the show.  If you couldn’t make it to Cleveland, various dealers carried it.  But their stock didn’t last very long.  Its been months since I’ve seen a sealed box surface.

What made this product so popular?  Boxes are loaded with low-numbered hits.  Five to be exact.  At an initial cost of $160-$165 per box, collectors quickly realized they were getting quite the deal.  Most boxes were solid, and delivered value that was equal to the box price.  Lots of times the value was much more.  Not mass-produced.  Low case production.  I think Leaf configured it this way because they knew it would draw people in.  As collectors began to catch on, the price of a single box began to grow.  The last time I saw a box listed for sale it cost $269.  I was lucky to get my hands on three boxes last year.  You can see what I pulled here and here.

I’m happy to announce that Leaf plans to bring back In The Game Used Sports for 2019.  While we don’t have a release date, box/case price, configuration details, and/or print run yet, Leaf did let a few images slip out.  These pictures are of cards from their “The Chosen Few” collection.  Randomly inserted are redemptions for some heavy-duty high-end cards.  If you pull one, Leaf will allow you to pick a card from their “The Chosen Few” inventory.  Obviously the sooner one is pulled, the more selection you will have.  More details to come.

Bryce Harper In A Phillies Uniform – Baseball Authenticated Masterpieces Has That Too!

Here we go Phillies fans!!!  Bryce Harper is officially coming to Philadelphia.  After months of speculation and countless rumors, its finally happening.  The deal is worth $330 million over 13 years.  I think he’s going to be an excellent addition to the Phillies roster.  Not only will the team benefit from him, but the local economy as well.  Its all about merchandising!!!

Bryce Harper is one of the key players on the checklist for Baseball Authenticated Masterpieces.  Knowing that he’d probably be with a new team this year, artist Monty Sheldon held off so at least one of Harper’s baseballs would feature him in his new uniform.  Just like he did with Manny Machado.

Baseball Authenticated Masterpieces is scheduled to be released this spring.  (150) game-used, hand-painted, and autographed baseballs.  (3) different baseballs per player within the main set.

Checkout my latest write-up on this product with an updated sales sheet.

Manny Machado In A Padres Uniform – Baseball Authenticated Masterpieces Has It!

Two major MLB free agents have been on constant watch this winter to see which teams they decide to sign with.  Its no secret that I’m talking about Manny Machado and Bryce Harper.  Every single day the rumors would change as to who might be in the lead to land each superstar.

As of this writing, Bryce Harper is still up for grabs.  I hope he goes to the Phillies.  Manny Machado on the other hand has signed a 10-year deal with the Padres worth $300 million.  That’s a lot of cheddar.

One of his earliest Padres collectibles will come from Piece of the Game’s Baseball Authenticated Masterpieces.  Each player in the main set will have (3) game-used, hand-painted, and autographed baseballs.  The artist, Monty Sheldon, saved a few Manny Machado and Bryce Harper balls to paint until each player signed with their new team.

Baseball Authenticated Masterpieces is scheduled to be released this spring.

Checkout my latest write-up on this product with an updated sales sheet.

2018 Leaf In The Game Used Sports Christmas Box Break

I absolutely love this product.  2018 Leaf In The Game Used Sports debuted during the National Sports Collectors Convention last summer.  Collectors quickly realized how loaded these boxes are, and the supply dried up significantly.  Individual box prices went from a starting point of $160 to $270 as of right now.  Sometimes a sealed box will popup on eBay with an asking price of over $300.  Very few dealers have any of this product left.  In fact, the only dealer that I can find who has any boxes left is Steel City Collectibles.  Back in August, I busted two of these boxes at the National, and they certainly didn’t disappoint.

Santa Claus found me a box.  As expected, it totally delivered.  I have yet to find a bad box of this stuff.  Highly recommended, and worth the price.

Here is what I pulled:

Relics

  • Rod Carew/Tony Gwynn Reflections Relic #’ed/20
  • Michael Jordan Enshrined Silver Relic #’ed/2
  • John Smoltz Jumbo Patch Magenta #’ed/4
  • Andruw Jones Fantastic Fabrics Patches Gold #’ed 1/1
  • John Elway/Peyton Manning/Steve McNair/Dan Marino/Kurt Warner/Tom Brady/Steve Young/Joe Montana MVP 8’s Patches #’ed/20

’52 Mantle Makes Cameo Appearance In Netflix’s The Christmas Chronicles

Rarely do I stray away from a core group of Christmas movies during the holiday season.  Movies such as ElfThe Santa Clause, and my personal favorite, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, are classics that I tend to stop on while browsing through the channels.  When I heard that Kurt Russell was going to play Santa in the Netflix exclusive film The Christmas Chronicles, I decided to give it a shot over the weekend.

Without giving away any spoilers, I have to say Kurt Russell makes one cool, straight talking Santa.  Fans even get some classic Kurt Russell car chasing/action movie scenes.  Lets not forget a fun Star Wars reference too.  Fans seem to enjoy it, as the movie received 20 million views within the first week.

My favorite scene in the entire movie is when the reindeer get lost.  Santa walks into a nearby restaurant, and attempts to barter with people in exchange for their car.  Given that its Santa, he knows the names of everyone, and what they’ve always wanted for Christmas.  One of the customers he tries to make a trade with is named Larry.  In exchange for Larry’s Porsche, Santa offers him a “Mint condition 1952 Mickey Mantle rookie card”.  Larry’s wife quickly tears the card up while saying “You’re not trading our Porsche for a baseball card.”

You can clearly tell that the card they used for this scene is a reprinted prop.  Its far from the real thing.  That’s not Mickey Mantle’s rookie card either.  Its his first Topps card, but his 1951 Bowman #253 is his actual rookie.  I have two theories as to why this choice was made.  One, I believe the 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle #311 card is much more recognizable to the general public.  You hear people refer to it as his rookie card all the time despite that not being true.  Or two, they just didn’t know any better.

I know that I sound like an internet troll pointing out these imperfections.  But I had to do it.  I find it incredibly fun to see sports cards randomly popup in films.  Its Kurt Russell as Santa.  Go watch The Christmas Chronicles.

FYI – Kurt Russell played minor league baseball until an injury ended his career in the 70’s.  He’s had some cards made for celebrity-themed products like AmericanaThreads, and Celebrity Cuts.  An autographed card of him in one of his minor league uniforms would be perfect for Heritage Minor League Baseball and/or Archives.