Monday, November 14, 2016


2016 Can't Be Worse Than 2015, Can it?
I guess I'll start with what's been happening with me and the hobby most recently:
 I keep getting phone calls from the same Asian woman who works for BECKETT Marketing. She called twice in 2015 (March and Sept.) I politely told her both times EXACTLY WHY I'll never pay for any Beckett Magazine again. She gave up after my explanation. Then she calls me a few days ago (Jan 8th 2016) and again, the same exact Asian woman. This time she said "we listened to your complaints and we have been making changes." So I told her to send me a copy for free so I can see these changes for myself. She made me hold while she asked her Supervisor. She comes back and says "we can add a complimentary 13th issue to any subscription you make" and I said "WELL THEN IT'S NO AND BECKETT STILL DOESN'T GET IT!".
Beckett did so much harm to the hobby by buying Beckett from Dr. Jim Beckett and then making all kinds of changes "THEY THOUGHT" would save them money yet keep their subscription base the same. They obviously don't know the first thing about this hobby because one of the first things they did was hire CHRIS OLDS whose the most boring person I could imagine running Beckett Baseball. He's not only boring, on his YouTube box breaks for Beckett I literally yawned more than once watching him. He's the WORST PERSON imaginable to open boxes to show new products to collectors because he never gets excited when he pulls very expensive cards (because he doesn't get to keep them) which shows how little he cares about other collectors. All of their Price Guides ARE WAY OFF the true values of all cards in this hobby (both ones that should have gone up & ESPECIALLY CARDS THAT SHOULD HAVE GONE DOWN DRASTICALLY AND NEVER DID!
BECKETT MEDIA HAS BEEN FOR SALE (AGAIN) SINCE 2008, AND COULDN'T FIND ONE INTERESTED BUYER! No surprise from me!, they made themselves USELESS as a Price Guide and useless as a neutral entity providing the TRUTH about what is going on in the hobby (especially about MAJOR screw-ups CURRENT card companies have made)!


I NEVER understood why anyone would pay anything for a STICKER autograph when there are already, or will soon be On Card Autographs of the exact same player. We all know the only easy to pull autographs in most products in all sports are rookies. This is because card companies have far greater & easier access to rookie autographs AND they are the cheapest autographs for card companies to buy on average. Plus rookies are far more likely to return all items sent to them to be autographed ads rookies to establish a good relationship with card companies until they are making Multi-Millions dollars a year in their sports.
Card companies LOSE a lot of money if they send cards to be autographed and they are never returned. This happens far more often than any card company would ever admit. In the late 1990's and early 2000's card companies often had to buy a whole new set of printing plates if they wanted certain player autographs in their specific brand product because the player never returned the cards they were supposed to sign, OR they were lost in the mail. Those plates cost $5,000 for one set of four in 2001. The price couldn't have changed too much lower since 2001 since the technology is basically the same as 2001. THIS IS THE ONLY REASON CARD COMPANIES STARTED USING TONS OF STICKER AUTOGRAPHS ACROSS THEIR PRODUCT BRANDS! They first came up with lame excuses to make collectors & dealers alike that this was done for THEIR benefit and to eradicate Redemption cards which we all now know was a TOTAL LIE!
I had the very unique opportunity in 2001 to be invited to tour the Playoff facilities after befriending Ann Blake (former Playoff owner and one of the company starters) in March, 2001 right after I caused Pacific Trading Cards to lose ALL their baseball licensing for making ALL fake "Game-Used" bat and jersey cards in 2001 Private Stock Baseball. She & I spoke on the phone for 1-2 hours daily as she picked my brain for so many long-standing problems that not one of her current employees had a clue how to answer. This is what happens when card companies hire hobby know-nothings to deter theft which is what most card companies were doing by 2000.
After my full tour of Playoff, they had a party for the mail-room ($5.00 an hour) employee who came up with the idea to use Staples (or whatever stationary supply Super store) holo-foil return address labels for autographs. Right after the party I pulled this celebrated idiot aside and told him "You have created a way for card companies to get autographs that benefits ONLY them, and in several years these sticker autographs will be worth far less than On Card autographs which is the only way REAL autograph collectors collect autographs.". I told him how ignorant his idea was and how card company greed is the only reason they adopted his idea. I'm sure that dampened his "party" (and I'm happy I did that because no one knows his name or what he did even a year after he invented that idea). I always refused to "kiss" anyone's anything in this hobby since 1992 when I started fighting hobby fraud and I always spoke my mind to the person responsible as often as I possibly (whether a small dealer crook, or a CARD COMPANY OWNER crook) could unless card companies wouldn't let me speak to the responsible party.  
The PROBLEMS that sticker autographs started from the very first product they were ever in: 2001 Score Select Football which was supposed to be one of Playoff's Medium-Premium Football releases; which turned out to be THEIR WORST release of 2001, period. They sent me two review boxes (my first voluntary job for Playoff before they hired me). The first autograph I pulled out of Box #1completely rubbed off totally in one light swipe of my thumb. The ink was totally dry, but the ink literally disintegrated into tiny pieces??? That first box was missing the "GUARANTEED" FB Low Serial Numbered RC. The next box had the #'ed RC, but was missing the again "GUARANTEED" (which was printed right on the outside of the box) RC Autograph!
After Playoff have nearly every employeebusting many boxes of this product each and notingwhat was MISSING, they relealized that 66%-75% of all boxes were missing one of the "GUARANTEED" hits.
Then I dicovered that about 25% the FINAL SCORE inserts were missing the Serial Number on the backs. The highest any number of these FINAL SCORE cards made was 16, which were Serial Numbered to the number of WINSthe player's team won during the 2000 season. I still have a Peter Warrick FINAL SCORE with a blank space where the Serial Number was supposed to be! This is when the Bengals SUCKED and only won 2 or 3 games in 2000. But because these were so rare, BECKETT never listed any of these cards (back then they NEVER listed any cards that existed in numbers of 25 or less). So whenever this happens, no one knows what unnumbered cards would be worth (the rarest of all) so most people simply forgot they even existed. THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU LET CARD COPMPANIES & PRICE GUIDES THINK FOR YOU! Plus it's TEN TIMES worse now since Beckett is the last Guide left and they've been USELESS since Dr. Jim Beckett (he's a doctor of statistics) sold out in 2005 a FILTHY RICH man right before the hobby collapsed worst than it have ever been. You can say a lot of things about Jim Beckett (both positive and negative), but he knew when to dump his company regardless of how it effected every collector; that's for sure!!!     
Back to sticker autographs... next sticker autographs caused players to unnaturally shrink their autographs to fit the SMALL size of nearly all stickers. This in the long-term either created two different autographs for many, many players; or caused players to shorten their autographs FOR GOOD. Now I'm not blaming playersin nearly all sports scribbling their initials for at least the last 5-years, but stickers were part of the reason!

Then there were a decent amount of WRONG PLAYER autograph stickers being placed on cards and upside-down autograph stickers. Plus the LARGE nunber of crookedly placed sticker autograph and the large number of players who couldn't stay within the lines of the stickers, so you'd get part of one autograph on a sticker, and part of another. Then there are the FREQUENTsticker autographs where the ink went off the sticker on large letters like the first letter of each name (first and/or last or both). THESE ARE UGLY AND TRUE AUTOGRAPH COLLECTORS WANT NOTHING TO DO WITH THIS JUNK!
I've been trying to get Beckett to do a Certified Autograph Insert (CAI) ONLY Price Guide since at least 2001 by sending an e-mail to every Beckett employee I had an e-mail address for (I sent an e-mail to at least six employees every year since 2001). Yet they totally ignored me, even thought I sent this request with all the correct reasons WHY such a Price Guide is NEEDED with updated reasons every year, AND ideas for what should be included in an Autograph Insert Only Price Guide (like putting O/C for On Card autos/and STKR or something similar to identify sticker autographs, plus noting all CAI Variaions like the onceVERY popular 1996 Leaf Signature Series Carlos Delgado Blue/Black Ink variations) since Certified Autograph Inserts (CAI's) have been the HOTTEST Inserts from 1996-present (and much earlier in football with the Pro Line autographs- especially 1991 & 1992 which I credit Bill Barron with starting the CAI craze). It's never been easy getting Football autographs as compared to baseball. So when Bill Barron released 1992 Pro Line with an autograph per box (w/Walter Payton, Emmitt Smith, Muhammad Ali, & Ali/Cassius Clay combos plusso many other HIGHLY SOUGHT after ON CARD autos ONLY) it ignited the whole hobby into loving CAI's and wanting MORE & MORE in every sport!!!
Then they finally did a yearly one in 2014 & 2015 and it was VERY EXPENSIVE!!! Considering the Executives at Beckett Media, I wouldn't take the chance buying either of these guides because chances are HEAVY that they out nothing in those Guides that I don't already know! I asked SEVERAL Beckett Writers for a Complimentary copy to no avail, and every collector I asked about these Guides never bought one. So I can't even find out if one is worth buying for over a YEAR asking dozens of collectors AND dealers about these books??? NO ONE KNOWS BECAUSE THEY NEVER BOUGHT ONE! So why can't Beckett send me a Complimentary issue? If they did it right, they'd get one heck of a positive review from me and non-stop promotion. Boy they are ignorant...
That has not changed to this day. In fact, autograph collectors who NEVER collected sports cards before started collecting On Card CAI's in a BIG way and their buying is still increasing every year. As much as this hobby shrunk since 2005, interest and prices of On Card CAI's have only gone up in a BIG WAY!  
I know all of the Forgery Certified Autograph Inserts because I caught the majority of them myself. Here are a couple of examples: 1995 Press Pass VIP Nascar LARRY PEARSON (about half are an OBVIOUS forgery version- Wal-Mart boxes had two of these autos per box and I pulled two Pearson autos out of one box with totally different autos in '95!), 1997 Upper Deck Legends FB DONNIE SHELL (a woman signed 2/3'rds of his autographs & the difference is STRIKING, but the card has a LOUD background so you need to look close: the perfectly rounded "D" version is the forgery).

Upper Deck promised to destroy all the forgery versions multiple times, yet these crooks kept releasing them, even in 2011 UD College Legends FB as "buy-backs". Anthony West was 100% responsible for promising to detroy these and lying to me more than once. So I flew to CA and spent hours with Jean Sargis (their Para-legal) on the Executive Floor up the black spiral staircase in their front lobby where I later learned NO NON-UPPER DECK EXECUTIVE WAS EVER ALLOWED UP THERE! We were pulling out the forgery versions TOGETHER while all Upper Deck Executives were at the Hawaii Trace Conference in 1999. Ironically Upper Deck lent THE LYING CROOK Anthony West to the FBI as their "autograph expert" for Operation Bullpen.
It's scary that I know more about this hobby than ANY card company Executive, the FBI, and any other CAI expert because I studied everything there was to know about these cards from 1990-present from EVERY angle and interviewed hundreds of hobby experts including: Sy Berger, Lloyd Pawlak, every Pacific Executive except Mike Cramer (who they wouldn't let me speak to), Richard McWilliam, Anthony West, Ann Blake, Dawn Ridley-Nash (NFLPA liscensor in 2001, who I recently busted for taking bribes from Playoff to derail my theft case to bust Playoff for multi-level fraud in 2001! After being on Facebook for MANY years with 500+ Connections she just TOTALLY DELETED her entire account PERMANENTLY when I accused her of turning a blind eye when she promised to help me get an "Inventory List" of what Playoff claimed was "stolen" but was EVIDENCE AGAINST THEM ONLY which INSTANTLY would have exonerated me which was totally within her power to bring to light after 3-YEARS of waiting), Ken Goldin, Donald Frangipani, Tim Flatt, James Spence, PSA/DNA, and that list goes on & on. I never left any stone unturned.
Ironically T.J. Schwartz who did the "On Your Side" article for Tuff Stuff every month for many years did everything in his power to try to STOP ME from fighting hobby fraud when I started online in late 1997. I liked what I THOUGHT he was doing; but he was never fighting hobby fraud he was just trying to drum up more business for his CA Card Shop "PORKY'S" which was named for his weight (I kid you not). All he ever did was bust really small companies committing fraud (mostly ones ALREADY OUT OF BUSINESS!) or crooks that wouldn't effect REAL card companies in any way: WHICH IS WHERE ALL THE REAL FRAUD WAS OCCURRING AND HE KNEW IT ALL ALONG! He called me "Cardcop" as an insult in his article on month, but I liked that name so I took it and have been known as Cardcop online ever since. I got so under his skin that he mentioned me (never by name) but clearly by repuation in at least three different monthly 1998 "On Your Side" articles. I just proved how worthless he was and in 2000 I was set to REPLACE HIM, but then SCD bought out Tuff Stuff and my replacement didn't happen. It was actually for the best anyway because Tuff Stuff had MANY restrictions as to what I couldn't say, and that's NEVER how I work. I tell the TRUTH ONLY, or tell stories based on strong rumors from several different angles that could never be disproven (because I was always correct enough).