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EcommerceBytes-Update, Number 163 - March 19, 2006 - ISSN 1528-6703     5 of 7

Collector's Corner: Spotting Bogus Sports Cards

By Alex Permijo

March 19, 2006

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Collecting memorabilia is nothing new to the sports enthusiast. With the advent of the Internet and online auctions, accessibility to collecting has taken on a whole new dimension. Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, you can find just about anything you maybe interested in collecting online. From cards to autographs, bottle caps to jerseys, it's there if you want it.

Unfortunately with this easy access comes a price. The Internet provides a level of anonymity for thieves that has never before been seen. Unscrupulous vendors can now reach into your pocket from around the globe. Who is going to protect you against these new-age cyber villains?

The only real defense you and I have is to become educated. We need to be able to spot a bogus sale when we see it. Adhere to the rule that, if it's to good to be true, it can't be real. Learn to spot the telltale signs of a bogus seller and you'll save yourselves hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars and a lot of aggravation.

Things to look for that may indicate a bad sports-card item.

  • Seller has listed the item as a private auction. A seller will typically do this so that knowledgeable collectors won't be able to warn bidders about the possibility of fraud
  • Seller has private Feedback. If a seller is honest why are they hiding their feedback?
  • Seller says item was purchased at an estate auction
  • Seller says, I am not a collector, or I know nothing about cards, so I will sell this as a reprint
  • No refunds, all sales are final. (Reputable dealers stand behind their products)
  • I took this card around to several card dealers and they told me it was real
  • The card doesn't say reprint anywhere, so I can not guarantee it's authenticity, but according to eBay rules, I must sell it as a reprint.

There is no such rule on eBay. The actual rule reads, "Sellers may not disclaim knowledge of, or responsibility for, the authenticity or legality of the items offered in their listings. Sellers should take steps to satisfy themselves that their items are authentic before listing them on eBay. If you cannot verify the authenticity of an item, do not list it." You can read eBay's Authenticity Disclaimer Policy on this page: http://digbig.com/4gthm.

Also watch out for fuzzy or badly darkened scans - this may indicate the seller really doesn't want you to look at the card.

About the author:

Alex Permijo resides in Chicago, Illinois, and is an avid collector and seller of sports cards and memorabilia (eBay ID al_in_chitown). He is active in the eBay community providing information to novice collectors with participation on the eBay Sports Cards, Memorabilia & Fan Shop board where his article on commonly forged cards has been tacked to the board for use as a reference guide. He is the founder and publisher of the Sports Memorabilia Auction Concerns and Knowledge blog, aka S.M.A.C.K. (http://auctionwarnings.blogspot.com), which uncovers and reports possible fraudulent sellers of sports cards on eBay. Alex also moderates The Smack Zone Sport Lounge (http://www.thesmackzone.com), a site dedicated to sports, memorabilia collecting, and uncovering fraudulent sellers sports related items.

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