Topps is About To Have MAJOR Trouble on Their Hands

Ever since the sell sheet was released for 2009 Triple Threads baseball, I have posted on here how much of a horrid abomination the set looked like. From what I have been reading on the net, this card is a little bit more than just a bright blue booklet eyesore from one of the least visually appealing sets ever made. Its fake.

Here is the article posted about it when it was pulled a while ago. Since that timeframe, there has been nothing but skepticism over the authenticity of the Babe Ruth signature used for that card. I posted about it at that time, but now it looks like things are getting a little more hairy.
The person who pulled it, after reading about said skepticism, advised that he was going to send it for authentication with PSA. Not the best way to do it, but its better than nothing. After some time passed, the card was put up on eBay with no authenticating statement from PSA. The seller claims that he could not afford it. Whatever. Within a few days, the auction had been pulled under questionable authenticity from eBay, and no updates from Topps or anyone related to the production of the card or the pulling of the auction has been issued.
If you remember what happened when a similar thing happened to Upper Deck with a quad cut pulled out of EPIC, they had a lot of ‘splainin to do. They also made up for it with three (or possibly more) uncirculated 1/1s of the original HOF class, a Jordan/Lebron and a Tiger Woods. I think Topps may be on the same path if they do not own up to what happened with that Ruth signature that has been deemed fake by just about everyone.

Do Your Best To Avoid Buyback Headaches

Buybacks suck when it comes to the real/fake debate. Don’t let yourself think any differently, no matter how legit they seem. Its one thing if they are the 20th anniversary Ken Griffey Jr buybacks from Upper Deck with a matching COA, but its another thing if it’s a random Pujols card. Topps and Upper Deck spent a lot of time coming out with buyback auto cards over the last decade, and it has led to people trying to take advantage of those cards more than anything. It is too easy to fake them because the cards werent autoed when they were first released. Scammers pull any card they can find out of their common box, sign the front, put a peeled sticker from another card on the back, and call it a day. If they have honed their trade, they get one of the topps uncirculated holders and use that to give it more “legitimacy.” Don’t fall for it.

The main target of many of the fake buyback sellers is 2006 Bowman Originals, a product based solely on thee cards. In this high end product, Topps bought some good cards and some really crappy cards and had them resigned by players like David Wright, Pujols, and others. They put out boxes with one buyback auto per pack, and sold them at a ridiculous price for people who wanted to own the “original” cards signed by those players. There were two main problems with this set, primarily stemming from the way it was produced. First, for every one of the great players that graced this product, there were 20 that werent so great. In fact, the Wrights and Pujolses were numbered low enough that they became very valuable to player collectors who wanted a shot at them. This led to the second problem, stemming from the hand numbering of the cards. Because Topps hand numbered each of the cards in this set instead of serially numbering them, it was easy to see where scammers would have a field day. Topps also failed to provide a COA or foil stamp on the cards, which means that the uncirculated holder was the only thing standing between a scammer and the buyback gold.

Now that you have the background, it should be clear why you SHOULD NOT buy a buyback auto unless you are 100% sure it is real. That means a correct price, a well regarded seller, and a history check on the auto/card/seller itself. Compare and contrast with similar cards, study the makeup of the set, and try to determine a reason why it would be real. Approach guilty until proven innocent, because I have yet to see anything convincing to show me that buybacks are actually worth my time.

Here are some obvious fakes and the way scammers get you. I even saw a topps holder on a UD card once. Yes, they are that dumb sometimes.

Bowman Heritage Albert Pujols – Umm no. This card has a sig that isnt even close, and the fact that it’s a jersey card from Hertiage proves its fake status. He also has sold a few fake SPA patches in the last few months as well.

UD Masterpieces Ken Griffey Jr – Fake sticker, fake buyback, everything about this card is wrong. All buybacks feature on card signatures with few exceptions. This is not one of those exceptions. Plus, this card is pretty damning evidence to boot.

Tiger Woods Upper Deck Golf – Same seller, same result. These arent even close. Why even waste your time?

Basically, so many of the buybacks are too close to call, so it may be better to just avoid them. This is especially true if the player is high prestige. Although people have wised up, a lot of others have not. There are a lot of collectors obsessed with cards like this, and it continues to make demand high. My advice, just walk away and buy a nice version of another type of auto you know is real.

We Know PSA Is Bad, But This Bad?

I have commented numerous times on the epic fails that are PSA graded cards. I first showed a number of fake rookie premiere autos slabbed by PSA as real. Now, over on FCB, a user has found this Tim Lincecum rookie chrome auto that is obviously fake, yet it has been graded as authentic by PSA. Wonderful.

Just for further proof, Here is another one that is ungraded and has a worse auto.

The first time I posted about their tendencies for grading fake cards, I emailed PSA about their QC. They responded that they dont authenticate the auto on card unless it is paid for that way. This explains why the fake rookie premieres were graded the way they were. This is a little different. The card itself is a backdoored unsigned version of the Lincecum, very much like the blank Bowman Sterling cards we have seen pop up on eBay every once in a while. The scammer (not necessarily the seller) forged the auto in true faker glory, sent it into PSA, where they didnt even think twice about slabbing it. This is all despite the fact that the card IS NOT numbered like every other refractor auto in existence.
This is further proof as to why no one should trust the graders in any sort of way. It is a completely subjective and arbitrary process that people put way too much stock into.
Search up at the top for more posts I have done on this hobby wide scam.

Taking Out The Trash: Fake Auto Edition

One of my new readers, George, passed this guy’s info to me, and I thought it was worth posting. Its not because the autos he is selling are obviously fake, its the stuff he chose to put them on. A few relevant Sports Illustrateds from the last few weeks, some old Becketts, some old base cards, it just looks that he was taking out his trash and decided to make some money the asshole way.

No one is really biting on any of these, but I just thought it was a hilarious attempt at fooling people. Maybe I can find some used toilet paper and see if I can sell a fake Jamarcus Russell Auto on it before I flush.

How Long Before The Scams Look Perfect?

Its been close to six months since the fake rookie premiere autographs have swarmed the net, and I have to admit, its getting a little bit harder to tell which are fake and which are real. PSA has already taken to grading the fakes as real, which means that they A) cannot or will not disqualify a fake B) believe the actual cards to be real and C) dont care because they make money.

Thats not all.
Take a look at some of the Rookie Premieres that have already started popping up on the net. Adrian Peterson, a favorite target of these ass hats, has remained closer to fake than real, but Calvin Johnson is getting more closer to real than fake.
Notice the progression, things arent as obvious anymore. This situation is VERY bad, and it looks to be getting worse. Even the price has dropped considerably because no informed collector is willing to take a chance anymore. These used to sell for hundreds, now they can sell as low as 150.
The lesson is, if the autograph (compared side by side with a certified one) doesnt match up 100%, stay away. Look at tilt of the signature, start and stop points, and pen thickness. Also look at the rest of the sales, if there are a ton that are up, why believe that seller is the one guy who has sold 100 Peterson red inks in the last 30 days. Its just not feasible.
Remember, if you dont watch your own ass on these things, no one is going to do it for you. I am always happy to help with any questions you have.