Pack Searchers Are One Thing…

Ever since the advent of jersey cards in products, people have been there to beat the system when opening packs to make money. These morally deceptive people have camped out at retailers across the country with their system, all with the goal of finding jersey and auto cards without ever opening the pack. These “pack searchers” have become some of the most hated people in the hobby, and have made buying loose retail packs for hits an unwinnable venture.

After obtaining these searched packs, they often sell them on eBay as “hot packs,” or packs of product for sale with guaranteed hits inside. Collectors often buy the packs expecting a chance at a nice card, but usually end up with nothing more than a plain jersey card. It’s unethical, damaging, and underhanded, despite the fact that manufacturers have used decoy cards to try and fend them off. As the companies have started to clearly label their retail packs, coupled with the decreasing value of plain jersey cards, pack searchers have diminished in numbers. It doesn’t stop people from trying their hand at it, but really, it’s not as much of a problem as it used to be.

There is one thing I saw recently that made me cringe, and that is the number of sellers out there who flat out cheat buyers who don’t know the logistics of the practice. Recently, an auction was posted, featuring the claim that the hot pack for sale contained a 1 of 1 superfractor out of 2009 Topps Chrome Football. Superfractors are extremely valuable for top tier rookies and players, and are some of the most sought after cards in the hobby. Every red flag I had in place started to go off in my head, rightfully so.

For those of you who have opened the packs of this product, its no surprise that this is a completely impossible claim to make. A superfractor is physically impossible to search out in an unopened pack, as the card features no discernable difference from the regular cards. They are not thicker, they don’t weigh more, and they are not a guaranteed hit in any box. Therefore, any claim that any unopened pack contains one, is 100% false.

Of course, because not everyone is familiar with these facts, there are bidders on the pack, which should end upwards of 100 dollars. I feel horrible for the winning bidder, because whoever buys the pack will end up with a superfractor that isn’t worth anything, out of a pack that has been opened and resealed. The seller has opened the pack, saw that the superfractor was probably a cheerleader card or lower tier player, glued the pack shut, and is selling it under the suspicion that the sale will get him more money.

DO NOT FALL FOR THIS SCAM.

The easiest way to punish any scam artist is to not buy into the scam, especially when there are very few avenues to take corrective action on this person. The seller’s pack will deliver what it says, but only because the person has advanced knowledge of what is going to come out of the pack. It’s completely unethical and unfair to the buyer, and I recommend never trusting anything you can’t verify with 100% certainty.

Personally, I would avoid hot packs all together, even if the sale seems legit. It encourages cheating, and provides funds for people who do not deserve them. You will NEVER make back your money, and the risk will never be worth the reward.

A Comment On Beckett’s Most Recent 1/1 Pull

Mario just alerted me that Beckett has pulled ANOTHER 1/1 out of an early box of Topps Ticket to Stardom. I still cannot believe that there isnt someone who has pulled the plug on this video crap yet. This time it was a ticket stub to a Presidential Inaguration, but the principle of the matter remains. Sadly this brings the pull list from Beckett box breaks to a fucking retarded number of cards, with now over six 1/1s alone from a very small number of boxes.
I CONTINUE to have no idea why companies continue sending boxes out in this respect. It creates more problems than it solves, and its even more stupid for Beckett to post them due to the encited hatred. Of course, due to the extreme douchey arrogance the magazine has over its place atop the hobby media, they would never believe they are anything but invincible. Therefore why not post it, right? Fuck the haters, they cant do shit.
Either way, im not going to say much more because its all been said before. When they close their doors sometime in the near future, I hope they finally will realize how awful they really are. Considering that they have pretty much turned the entire internet against them, I think its slightly apparent already. Hell, two years ago, it was against the grain to hate Beckett, now, its an exception to the rule to side with them. I think its hilarious. Even more so when I get emails from shops saying they have stopped carrying Beckett. Those types of emails are becoming more frequent due to the moral ambiguity the magazine displays on a regular basis. Glad to see things are working out for them. Number one source indeed.
Nice job there guys.

Why Are People This Stupid?

Kickstand forwarded me this auction of a fake SPA Peterson Viking head logo, and I am shocked for a few reasons. Obviously, there is not even a question that this card isnt real, and Kickstand even included the pic of the real card to prove it. Ill get to that in a second.

First, its almost like no one understands that the stiching on any Vikings NFL authentic jersey is not flat like it is in this patch. The Vikings heads have much different stitching, which most of the time can be determined simply by going on the NFL website. If you are going to spend 500 plus dollars on this card, why wouldnt you just go take a look? Its fucking ridiculous to me.
Second, and even more shocking, this fucking douchebag destroyed a three color patch card to create this abomination. If you look at the before pics, you can see why the actual real card will be worth MORE than the money he gets for the fake. For this I fucking laugh, because you know he is too dumb to buy a regular one color patch for his crime, and instead uses the most expensive one available. I dont think I have ever seen a douchebag fail so hard.
Lets all laugh with me as we report this assfuck.
(CLICK TO ENLARGE)

In The Times Of Great Douchebaggery, It Becomes Our Responsibility

Over the last year and a half, there has been a lot of stuff that I have written about in terms of the dark underbelly of the hobby. Much to the chagrin of a few people, Beckett has been the center of about 90% of it. I really dont think that people understand just how bad it can get, as its still unclear as to how far down the rabbit hole goes. Most people just think about it from a standpoint that its just a hobby and they dont care as long as they get whatever they usually do via ebay or the local shop. The issue is, that this hobby is one based on chance and random, so any dillution of those factors has an impact on anyone who participates in the purchase of cards. Therefore everyone should feel the effect with each card that is taken out of circulation.

One of the major pain points for people like me, is that the stuff that is given to people who have no business receiving it. Whether its product, swag, or just ad money in general, free stuff complicates everything, especially when you have done nothing to receive it. Since I first started up March 2007, Beckett has been the prime focus of my anger, mainly because of all of the stuff they do that compromises the integrity of their perceived place as THE hobby news source. Most of the time, with every product release, Beckett gets a box full of stuff to pass around to their lackeys, with wax being a main focus. I have gotten emails from former Beckett employees talking about all the stuff that comes through the door, and just how little of it actually makes it to the people its supposed to go to – you. So far this year alone, Beckett has received close to 50 boxes of product from companies that have actually made it onto video. There are many more that dont, according to my sources. This is completely frustrating to collectors once they find out how much money they are actually getting, in addition to the ad money for products in the magazine. Why is this acceptable for a “news source” to receive? It creates a huge problem.

Then we have the recent video, where Beckett has received a full case of Exquisite Basketball from Upper Deck. This is the first public box of Exquisite they have received from Upper Deck since the 2007 fiasco, despite the fact that we have been told a number of times that it wouldnt be happening again. When you think of the fact that a case of Exquisite can cost in upwards of $1,800, its a little bit more apparent how much money Beckett receives from the companies each year. I think this is a direct reflection of the companies themselves, as they should know better than to flaunt their subtle kickbacks to the magazine that can easily make or break a product. As for Exquisite, a product that features one of the lowest print runs of any product ever produced, it is also unfair to expect collectors to sit back and watch Beckett receive all they do, when so few of the cards actually exist. Its funny too, because they tell us how all these cards are going to be available for the public to win in contests, but I have yet to see how that is even remotely true. Sure, some the fifteen pulls of a lifetime and 1 of 1s they have pulled since 2007 have been given out to contest winners, but why are those enormous pulls even going to Beckett in the first place? What does that accomplish for the collectors in general? More and more are seeing through the practice of doing the video box breaks, so why even risk it?

Its become a disgusting display each time Hackler and the Giant appear on their vid player, as we can see the grease in the wheels being replentished with each turn. Its pretty much become a display of the constant arrogance and douchebaggery that Beckett displays every time. This is the same arrogance that makes them spit on the blogs saying they dont deserve the news, when in reality, many blogs are ten times the news source they are. On top of all of this, there is zero reason why Beckett cannot tap into the thousands of collector videos on youtube, or why the manufacturers cannot do the same. Video box breaks have reached a point of parody, as we have seen with “Packs to the People,” a feature created to break the monotony of the breaks. Based on that premise, Beckett’s breaks should go the way of the dodo as well.

As for the rest of the shipments that Beckett gets almost daily, its time for the general collector base realizes the giant conflict of interest at work. If Upper Deck decides that providing thousands of dollars worth of product in one shipment is worth the exposure when the boxes are broken for the world, its our job to continually voice our disapproval. Beckett has become an organization whose sole purpose is promote an agenda of certain interests that pad their bottom line. When you see that the only reason for their existence is to make money for the parent company, it becomes very clear that they have zero responsibility to maintain content that has informative purposes rather than advertisement purposes. Look down the product lines, and really see what is being sold to people. Is it information, or is it instead ways for the companies to garner more revenue on product sales resulting from what is laid out in the pages?

The one indisputable fact is this:

This whole situation is a double edged sword, bloodied by the wounds of the dishonesty displayed by both Beckett and the card companies. When the companies, like Upper Deck and the recent Exquisite break, send the boxes for Beckett to break, the collectors lose. Not just because the cards in those boxes are no longer available for collectors to pull, but because it creates an environment where people who dont know any better are preyed upon. Its obvious that Upper Deck didnt care how much backlash they would get from the people in the know, because they knew there would be thousands who would see it. Also, it may have begun to repair a damaged relationship with the magazine over relationships created with blogs like Wax Heaven and this one. Clearly Beckett didnt care about any voiced disapproval because they got those thousands to watch it and come to their site. Because of this, it is now our responsibility to call them out as publically as possible, just to show them the thousands who will now spread the word against their practices. I may only get 600 visitors here per day, but if 200 of those people tell one friend, and they tell another, you can see what I mean. Its time for you guys to really show what you are about.

More Craziness Over Subjectivity

Mario posted recently about the Jordan rookie BGS 10 that has popped up on ebay with a feeding frenzy in tow. Wow, already over $50,000, right?

The question I have is whether or not we should actually trust that these cards are not just publicity stunts that have benefitted one fortunate collector. Since one cannot challenge the subjectivity of the grading process without destroying an obviously valuable piece, it falls on the shoulders of the buyers to avoid those cards .

As soon as Beckett created a higher-than-mint grade, we should have already questioned whether this was the point of the grading process in general. If you look at the cards that get the 9.5s and 10s over the 9s, even with a magnifying glass, show me the difference in grade between each of those levels. Each of you would have different answers. Considering the grading process was created as a service to help with internet buying, why should we believe that the graders have the means, as well as the expertise, to tell us when some piece of cardboard has exceeded the worldwide standard of mint? On the post, one of the commenters suggested this is a “we go to 11″ type of standard to differentiate their process from others, and I wholeheartedly agree. As a result of this, when a card like the Jordan and the Montana receive those types of grades, things go nuts. If not only because it is publicized by the company that is responsible for the service. With that understanding, we should not have faith in the people known for having more conflicts of interest than any other hobby company in history. By giving a card that grade, especially one like this Jordan, having a system that prevents people from questioning the result, and the fact that Beckett receives almost national attention, its easy to see why its beneficial to manufacture an event like this. Obviously, the Jordan was graded a while ago, but it hasnt come up for sale since that time. Now that the Montana has sold for crazy go nuts prices, this card was sure to follow.

One of the things we have to realize is that there is not a specific standard that applies to each card without subjectivity. In the end, its always a human with emotions who makes the decision. Obviously when you price, sell and advertise these cards as well as providing the service itself, things are going to get suspicious with every public result. So, if a 10 to one person is a 9.5 to another, why do we allow these stunts to continue to grab our attention? As buyers, in an age when digital cameras and scanners are in the 10 megapixel range, this type of service isnt needed any more. Add in that most of the valuable modern cards are worth what they are regardless of condition, mainly due to contrived scarcity, the grading process then becomes even less of a necessity. As of now, the only reason to have this service is to allow people to exploit the grades they get for more money, make more money for a failing magazine, and to give another way for people to wrongly invest money in a medium that has a subjective element.

Until grading becomes more than a guy in texas examining your card, it will never be a worthy expense. Save yourself $80,000 and go buy a regular card. It will look just as nice, I promise.