Monday, February 24, 2014


Most of you have not had the opportunities I got myself involved in very early on (pre-1998) regarding Certified Autograph Inserts. I'm the type of person who must know everything about anything I decide to spent time on- otherwise I don't do it at all.

When I first heard that 1991 Pro Line Football was inserting an ON CARD autograph into every three boxes or so, I was hooked. The only autograph I pulled from a box back then was an Art Shell. But I loved the design, the dual authenticity (embossed seal, and no card number) method. Plus I liked the cleanliness of the cards and the fact that the 1992 series had one autograph per box. THIS WAS THE VERY FIRST FAIRLY EASY TO FIND ALL AUTOGRAPH INSERT SET OF AROUND (100+) DIFFERENT PLAYERS. Some cards has frayed edges, especially on the gray area on the backs, but that didn't seem to matter very much. In 1992, I pulled about a dozen autos from boxes. None where superstars, but one box didn't have an autograph so I wrote a letter to the NFL Properties and they quickly sent me the one missing autograph & it was a star which was VERY nice of them and created a lifelong Pro Line autograph fan.
What many may not remember is that 1992 Pro Line had company offers where if you send in a certain number of wrappers you'd get a FREE bonus autograph! I got about (20) bonus autographs because in addition to luckily saving my wrappers, they also had another contest where if you had all the autographs in a row printed on a promo sheet- you'd win a specific star autograph and I got the Dan Marino autograph! I was living in FL at the time so I was elated. Even though football was my second favorite sport by far (Baseball has always been #1), Pro Line autographs increased my interest in FB much more.
When Pro Line decided to sell their license to Score Board I had a bad feeling about that which almost instantly came true.  The 1993 release was back to one auto in every three boxes OR LESS. In this hobby you can't increase the HOTTEST item in the product, and the next year decrease it substantially.
But then Score Board returned to one autograph per box and a design improvement for 1994 and I was once again in love with Pro Line. By 1994-95, Ken Goldin was on Shop At Home hawking "extra" autographs for far more what they were worth- so I decided to wait until the heat of these cards died down a bit as I had a feeling all other card companies would get in on this action.

By 1999, I decided to trade my entire 1989-1999 card collection for Certified Autograph Inserts (which at that time were still all ON CARD autos). I can't tell you how happy I was that I did that. In late 1998, I had one Mint Mark McGwire RC (1985 Topps) and knew it was time to trade it for Certified Autographs. I got three 1997 Donruss Signature autos for the McGwire RC: Alex Rodriguez Millennium Marks, Randy Johnson Millennium Marks (ERR- no serial number on back), and a Juan Gonzalez Millennium Marks. Considering I got that McGwire many years earlier in a trade for the whole 1985 Topps set for my $100 Studio Promo/Insert set- I got the best of that deal by far.

Then came early-mid 2001 and these were introduced by Playoff:


The INSTANT I saw sticker autographs: I HATED THEM. I was one of the first people outside of the Production Managers for 2001 Score Select to ever see them. I was at that point receiving boxes to review directly from Ann Blake (Playoff' former owner). 2001 Score Select Football was the VERY FIRST product to have sticker autographs. The first several Playoff products actually used holo-foil return address labels (that they bought at Office Depot) for autographs!!!

This caused players (ESPECIALLY ROOKIES) who had gotten used to signing as big as they wanted on cards up to jerseys and other equipment to have to UNNATURALLY shrink their autos to fit the small stickers. This caused them to sign off one sticker onto the next sticker, This also caused them to change the shape and consistency of their autographs. THIS IS NOTHING ANY TRUE AUTOGRAPH COLLECTOR WANTS TO SEE ON THEIR AUTOGRAPHS! But card companies were saving WAY too much money by using stickers, than by going through the more difficult process of getting ON CARD autographs.
At first Playoff used the LIE excuse that this would significantly cut down on REDEMPTION CARDS if not eradicate them all. It may have lowered the number of redemptions for a year, but by 2002 redemption STICKER autographs were popping up already. Now in 2014 there are MORE STICKER REDEMPTION CARDS than ON CARD autograph redemptions!!! How do card companies explain this???

To give a simple explanation to everyone whether they collect cards OR NOT, I'll explain this again. If you were to go to a ballgame and figured you'd try to get some autographs, would you bring cards, a baseball, football, etc. for the autographs OR would you bring a sheet of stickers to put on whatever item you want to when you get home?  THE ANSWER IS NEARLY THE SAME ALWAYS: no one would use stickers. The few who answer stickers never could explain WHY. So I have to disqualify the knuckleheads who said they'd bring stickers.
THE VERY SAME APPLIES FOR CARD COMPANY AUTOGRAPHS! There's no reason for sticker autos that helps collectors AT ALL, and it only saves card companies money. Since when have collectors cared about helping card companies since by the early 2000's they made it CRYSTAL CLEAR that they couldn't care less about collectors!

So next time you pull a scribbled UGLY autograph, know that 75% of the cause of these AWFUL autographs was caused by the implementation of STICKER AUTOGRAPHS which are on nearly 90% of all Topps & Panini products!  

WE CAN STOP THIS, WE JUST NEED TO COMPLAIN TO THE RIGHT PEOPLE! Go to the MLB, NFL, and even NHL Player Association websites and CONTACT anyone you can find a working e-mail for. Tell them the problems I stated here and add you own complaints. Then ask whomever you e-mailed to please forward your e-mail to the licensing person for merchandise and anyone else who they think might be able to SAVE OUR HOBBY! 

Monday, February 10, 2014

Can This Hobby Get Much Worse & What Will It Take for Card Companies to WAKE UP?

Sorry I've been unable to update for so long. My health just keeps getting worse. My healthy mind is trapped in a badly damaged body & this is beyond frustrating. You don't know how badly I wish I had the strength to do this daily and fight card companies/price guides directly. Because I know if the Executives got the TRUTH about what's truly going on in the hobby, they would make changes. They did it in the early 2000's when I caught Pacific and Playoff red-handed for committing fraud and it lasted until 2005 or so. When they all realized I was pretty much out of the picture they slowly but surely started up the FRAUD I stopped them from committing like selling left-over redemptions OUT THE BACK DOOR to their biggest direct buy dealers and withholding up to 25% of the most ex0pensive inserts from going into packs. Those are just two of dozens of terrible things that now ALL card companies have done at one time or another from 200-present INCLUDING TOPPS!

The Executives have always been shielded from the truth in this hobby. Now that many of the executives are new in this hobby, THEY HAVE NO CLUE WHAT'S REALLY GOING ON IN THEIR OWN COMPANIES & since most of their e-mails are BLOCKED from the public we can't even tell them. I am absolutely certain that I know more about what goes on behind closed doors in any card company than their CEO's/Presidents- even though I haven't worked for a card company since late 2001 because some things change, BUT MOST DO NOT in this hobby. This especially goes for Topps that is run by Corporate Assholes who NEVER knew anything much about this hobby. I just proved that several months ago fighting for redemption replacements that were up to A YEAR OLD! Out of over (31) redemption autographs I was owed- that are now ALL past their 15-week replacement time, I only received THREE of the actual cards I was owed in the last 18-months.

In the December 2013 Issue of Beckett Football the front top cover states "TOPPS TALKS REDEMPTIONS". So of course I wasted my money and bought the first Beckett issue I bought in MANY months (because Beckett is so USELESS). So what did Topps say about redemptions, or what did Beckett ASK about redemptions that had anything to do with the MAJOR PROBLEMS I mentioned above? ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!  Nothing was mentioned about the tens of thousands (or HUNDREDS of thousands???) of redemption autographs owed to collectors that are over a YEAR old! Nothing was mentioned about all the LIES their Customer Service employees have been telling collectors since at least January, 2013 (that I personally have documented).

Topps used to ALWAYS send collectors an e-mail when their redemption was owed for 15-weeks. It was called the "LATE NOTIFY E-MAIL". They stopped doing this in late Jan. 2013, but never said why. It turns out their was a major scandal with employees STEALING LIKE CRAZY from their Duryea, PA offices. To anyone who receives a redemption or replacement- look at the return address: it's from Old Forge, PA. Apparently Topps tried to FIX the problems in Duryea, PA which took ALMOST A YEAR. When that failed, they just fired everyone and moved their PA offices to another town!!! Meanwhile Topps told NO ONE what was going on (ESPECIALLY BECKETT, the ONLY PRICE GUIDE LEFT) and many redemption holders are still waiting for their cards to this day!


How many of you are still owed 2012 Allen & Ginter Relic Redemption cards which are well over a year OVERDUE now?

I made what I thought was going to be a MASTER SET of these for a terminally ill little girl who I've been buying more cards for than I've bought for myself in the last 5-years. I was owed ALL of the redemption relic cards I needed to complete this set. I was also owed several 2012 Ginter Autograph redemptions. One I was especially looking forward to getting was the Guy Bluford (1st African-American NASA Astronaut) Autograph. I never got that autograph, AND NEVER WILL! Then Topps started sending me ABSOLUTE JUNK replacements that I DID NOT ASK FOR! They were sending RANDOM COMMON PLAYER AUTOGRAPHS IN REFRACTOR FORM FOR $15 LISTED STARS YOU WERE OWED! In the past it used to be Topps' policy that they will not send replacements until you ask for them. I had waited over two years for redemptions from Topps before because I needed that particular ON CARD autograph for my collection. But now Topps isn't even giving collectors a choice anymore!
<<<<<I started this on another post>>>>> I even got a Topps Executive involved and his assistant Claudia. Then they sent me about HALF of what they told me they were sending on the phone and they send me sticker autographs as replacements for ON CARD redemptions I was owed even though I told them I HATE AN Y STICKER AUTOGRAPHS. It's possible that these two were so DUMB that they couldn't tell the difference between an ON CARD autograph & a sticker!!! These are CORPORATE ASSHOLES who do not know the first thing about our hobby. Boxes they sent me were missing inserts: so these were either dealer returns, or end of print run boxes that they eventually sell very cheap to BIG dealers like Dave & Adam's Card World. End of print run boxes are missing inserts because the inserts wound up on the print room floor and are given to the card companies to send as replacements. This is how card companies get some of the cards they'll send you if you say you are missing certain inserts "guaranteed" per box.

I decided to give Chris Olds (Beckett's President Or Senior Editor or whatever they call their boss these days) ONE LAST TRY getting any answers from him via e-mail in Jan. 2014. He responded for the FIRST TIME out of almost a dozen tries in three years and he said "I NEVER RECEIVED ANY E-MAIL FROM YOU.". He added that I should be more polite and I might get more replies. So I told him to check his e-mails again because either he doesn't know how to work e-mail, or he IS LYING (the truth) because I never once received an e-mail returned from the "Mailer-Daemon" to him from me & I keep copies of ALL my SENT & RECEIVED MAIL. I told him he needs to MAN-UP (that fat, lazy, boring bastard!) and if he wanted politeness maybe HE SHOULD PAY ME like he's paid for doing NOTHING helpful to collectors!!! Of course he never replied again. He's just plain useless. I tried contacting his partner Susan L. as well (who is a voluntary watcher of my Twitter page) and she didn't BOTHER to respond either.  THEY ARE BOTH USELESS! 
I contacted the NFLPA asking for any left-over promo cards they may have from any events like the decent Panini promos I've seen over the last couple of years. I told them I'll be donating all but one of each of the cards. Since I'm homebound and mostly bed-ridden I haven't been able to go to a card shop, show or event in over 7-years. 
Even though it was the LAST thing I expected: they sent me over a dozen Panini and Topps hobby boxes from 2011-2013 which was VERY NICE of them. It seems the card companies send freebie boxes to NFLPA Executives, and some executives didn't want to open their boxes. I learn something new every year! I know for a fact that Playoff did not do this in 2001. In fact Ann Blake told me "the less the NFLPA knows about what we do- the better". That's most likely because of all the fraud I busted them for doing.
So I can review current NFL hobby boxes: THEY ALL MOSTLY SUCK (nearly every autograph is an UGLY sticker), and the boxes were nearly all not worth buying for HALF what they sold for except maybe 2011-12 Panini Absolute, 2013 Topps Chrome Football, or 2013 Panini Contenders (if you can get a hobby box for $60 or less- which you probably can't). At least SOME autographs from those are ON CARD (Absolute RPM RC Autos, Chrome RC Autos, & some Contender Autos). I got a total of five redemptions and three were EXPIRED... the unexpired redemptions were from Topps that I may never see either. I didn't get one of the Top 3 RC autographs from any year. But did get a RARE ERROR Dual Auto card from 2013 Topps Platinum. It's an Giovani Bernard/Eddie Lacy Dual PATCH/AUTO numbered to 25. The problem is that the Giovani Bernard has a JORDAN REED (Redskins TE) STICKER autograph where Bernard's sticker is supposed to be. I never pulled an error sticker with the wrong player before (because I don't buy boxes with sticker autos), but I have heard of it happening: QUITE A BIT! PLUS the Lacy autograph was signed with a dry pen. Topps "supposedly" has a company representative view "ALL SIGNINGS"- then why did this representative not hand Lacy A NEW PEN?
Actual card:
I contacted Mike at Topps Customer Service over a week ago (last couple of days of Jan. 2014) and he told me to send him scans of the card to confirm the ERROR. I did that, and considering the way he was speaking- I should have heard back from him already but DID NOT??? I may wind up keeping this card whether I want to or not. I'll figure a way to sell all the other sticker autographs to buy more cards to donate this year.

It's about time Upper Deck gets the publicity IT DESERVES FOR ALL THE PAIN IT HAS CAUSED OUR HOBBY!

The Village Voice (a famous NYC newspaper) will be doing a story about Upper Deck and the fraud they've (Richard McWilliam especially) been involved in since the start of Upper Deck in 1989. I was contacted and told them everything I know. They will be using me as a contact as they continue to investigate their story as I'm sure there are things I haven't thought about in years but will recall as soon as a topic is mentioned. I can't wait to see it published.
As I've stated many times before: collect ON CARD Certified Autographs of cards you like. Those will always hold their value. I was buying dozens of 1993-94 Nabisco Autographs for $2-$3 each on eBay to give as holiday gifts to my Ambullette drivers, hospital employees and doctors who were good to me. Every one of those cards now easily sell for $10+ on eBay. I have a full set from each year and am glad I bought them when I did. There are MANY players that are Hall Of Famers that can still be bought for under $10 each for nice ON CARD autographs. Beckett FINALLY stated this so I was told & I've been telling everyone this exact thing since pre-2000. If that doesn't show you how USELESS Beckett Media is now that Jim Beckett has been long gone, nothing will... 
Good luck my friends!