Collector Alert: A Danger Lurks in the Pokémon and Baseball Card Markets

Hi Folks,
   Like anywhere else that you find a surging market where both price and demand are exceeding the imagination, "bad fruit" always begins to develop.

   Let me give you an example: Why has identity theft become so popular? It is because stealing someones identity and using their cards and finances is very lucrative for folks who have no conscience or don't fear life staring at bars. But take one thief down, 10 more pop up. "Lucrative" was the main concept here.

   Back to our friendly Pokémon market and Baseball Card markets. Let's look at a few examples of Scams I stopped before passing them on to our buyers. Fortunately, I've been around the block enough times to sense a fake and protect our customers, who put their faith in us when confidently purchasing through

   Let me first say here that I did have a bad experience myself when I first started buying Pokémon cards some years back when they really started to take off. I did not start truly selling them until about 2 years ago, but my experience 4 years ago made me tighten down and study real vs. fake. My bad experience came from buying the cards in a discount store. What should have tipped me off was that there was a coveted Charizard Ex card in each pack. Being new to that market and knowing the value of Ex cards, I figured I struck gold, and sold an Ex card through an online Auction site. When the buyer came back and accused me of selling counterfeit cards, I was stunned, and then anger set in. I spoke to a local dealer and showed him a similar card to the one I sold and he shook his head and said it was a good copy, but it was fake. After immediately refunding the buyer and thoroughly apologizing, I confronted the store in which I had been purchasing the cards and what would you expect the owner would say? "I'm sorry, sir....I don't know. We buy them from a guy. I'm not a collector, I don't know". Pikachu would fall over on his fuzzy face if he heard that excuse!

   Fast forward to the present day, as much as I make the seller assure me the cards they sell are not Proxies, which is literally another name for counterfeit, if you ask me, it still goes on. I received a Mega Charizard Ex 107/106 from the XY Flashfire Set...or at least I thought I did. It was a laminated card that looked and felt like a driver's license. When I asked the seller what the heck is going on, they were quick to say they don't know, and they claimed that their 10 year old traded for and got the card. It makes me wonder why they advertised it as "Pack Fresh" if they themselves did not pull it out of a pack. Pack as in "Pack of Lies", maybe?

This is not isolated to Pokémon cards.

   I had purchased a pricey 1954 Topps Harvey Kuenn Rookie Card via a Sports site hosting the goods of many different collectors. The card was graded a 9 Mint by an obscure Grading Company, but the price was good and I took a shot. Upon receiving the card, it looked great. But something was bothering me, and I decided I had to pop open the slab holding the card. Sure enough, when I opened it up, it was a color printout of the card and not the actual baseball card. After calming down from a moment or two of rage, I advised the customer service of the website regarding the ramifications of such fraud by a vendor on their site, and that since this transaction crossed state lines, I would be notifying the local field office of the FBI. I was absolutely serious, but apparently, that was enough to get my refund. You can't make this stuff up!

   Recently, from a popular Auction site, I purchased an unopened pack of 1975 Topps Baseball Mini cards. When I received the pack and opened it up, I noticed the cards kept going from forward facing to backward facing, which is not how the printing and packaging was done during that era. Aside from that, plus the fact there was not one semi-star, plus two of the middle cards had bad corners, I knew this was pre-searched and re-packed. A simple notice sent to the seller advising them of the fallout from their actions resulted in a full refund and I was told to keep the cards. Keep them? That’s odd? I don't like being on the side of benefiting from a crime, so I refused and sent them back. Albeit, some expensive commons were probably in there, but I have to abide by the same rules and expectations I have for others.

   Now, the moral of this is that I am fortunate enough with 30 years of collecting baseball cards and sports cards to know when something is fishy. Many of you who are new collectors might not be at that point yet. So what can you do? If you have a question, just contact us via our website, Seriously. Although we cannot take the risk of telling you if something is real or fake sight unseen, we can certainly tell you what to look for and what to check. What's the cost? Absolutely nothing. Look, I have had a lot of great mentors in my many years in the hobby as a collector and a vendor. If I can help some of you out and save you some headaches and hassles, then I've paid something back from the love bestowed upon me when I had questions about decisions on what to buy and needed honest guidance.

Think of it as having an Uncle in the business!!
Heck, just call me Uncle!

Have a Great Week, from Rob & your friends at - From Baseball Cards
to Wheat Cents, and everything in-between.

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