Right off let me tell you I’m a collector. I collect anything baseball mostly for my personal enjoyment and for posterity and I’ve never sold anything from my collection.
I subscribe to periodicals that give me a rough idea of what the value of a particular card or item might be, but the only way you can really determine FMV is to sell it which I have no intention of doing. Occasionally, when I feel I have a special card I’ll send it to Beckett to have it graded, only to find it’s not as special as I thought it was.
One such card was actually a Hockey card ~ a 1979 O-Pee-Chee #18Wayne Gretzky card that had recently sold for over $60,000 on Ebay. I planned on selling this item and I’d already mentally taken a world cruise with the proceeds from this special Gretzky prize, the best card in my collection of over 75,000 cards. Imagine my surprise when Beckett returned the card to me not only ungraded but with a notation of “Questionable Authenticity”. In other words, it was a fake!
I’d paid good money for the card which was purchased from another collector I knew personally. My first inclination was to contact the guy and ask for my money back. In reality, I’m sure he bought it with the same expectations I had, totally unaware. I had no idea what I was buying, no experience and no knowledge in the area of collectibles, and neither did he.
I’m reminded of all this when I read an article this morning by Craig Calcaterra in his NBC Sports Hardballtalk blog. The gist of the story is some company in New Jersey has bought some balls and by engraving them with “Derek Jeter, 3000th Hit, etc…” Calcaterra’s implying they appear to be passing them off as the one and only original ball that Derek Jeter hit. The implication is that you or I wouldn’t be fooled but it could easily fool some little kid’s grandma.
My advice? Get your smarts in order Grandma. Somewhere along the line we’ve lost the idea of taking responsibility for ourselves and our own actions. We need to stop trying to place blame on everyone else for things that don’t turn out exactly like we think they should.
I think the term here is
laissez-faire caveat emptor or “Let the Buyer Beware”. If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s probably a duck. If you don’t really know what you’re buying, run! Run as fast as you can in the opposite direction.
Just one blogger’s opinion folks.
- Wealth Matters: From Honus to Derek, Memorabilia Is More Than Signed Bats (nytimes.com)
- Christian Lopez, Fan Who Returned Derek Jeter Ball, Getting Baseball Card (newyork.cbslocal.com)
- Price strikes memorabilia deal (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
Lately I’ve just started collecting baseball cards again. I bought the 1982 and 1983 Topps sets.
Unopened sets directly from the manufacturer is the way to go, but I think Ebay’s okay if you stick with quality sellers. Good luck ~
Yep – I’m definitely planning on getting every year of the 80s eventually, and then we’ll see if I have the desire to keep going.
Love your blogs. My husband’s a coin dealer and he occasionally has a sad tale of someone who “invested” in coin only to learn it wasn’t the quality advertised, thus reducing its value, or was in fact a fake.
I have some Mariner collectibles (cards, pennants, bobble heads), but they’re just for my enjoyment.
btw, the term you’re looking for is caveat emptor – buyer beware. Laissez faire is a French term that basically means “whatever,” though it has been adopted in financial circles in reference to the state keeping its fingers out of transactions between private parties.
Thanks Helen. You’re absolutely correct in saying “caveat emptor” is the word I should have used. I have the best fans. You guys always keep me on my toes, so 10 lashes with a wet noodle …. again!