Baseball Card Authenticator Sued For Allegedly Altering Cards To Increase Value

Anyone who’s ever collected baseball cards
really at any point in their life understands that you’ve gotta take care of those things
because someday they could be worth a ton of money. I know my baseball card collection from when
I was little, my parents always told me that take care of them, put them in the plastic,
keep them in the little wrappers. Do not mess with them because someday they
could be worth a lot of money and a lot of people have the same thought too and that’s
why you have agencies out there that will rate the cards and help you sell them based
on that rating. But according to a new class action lawsuit,
one of these rating agencies might actually be fudging the numbers a bit to pull in more
money. Joining me now to explain what’s happening
is Scott Hardy with Top Class Actions and Scott, this is again as usual, little disappointing. You know I was an avid baseball card collector
in my youth. Haven’t looked at my collection in years,
but I know it is safe somewhere. And, and now we’ve got one of these groups
for people who like me eventually wanted to go out and say I want to sell these, these,
these are worth some money. I have no use for them. Let’s see what we can get. So tell us what’s happening with this, with
this group here. Sure. So it is a very interesting case. I like you, collected cards as a kid and like
you, I still have boxes of cards and comics because I’m a huge nerd in storage, air conditioned
storage, just sitting there all boxed and bagged and then the cards are, you know, nicely
in their protectors waiting for this 20 years from now when, 30 years from now maybe, when
we can go, man, those have all been worth a fortune. Let’s go ahead and get those valued. Well as you mentioned, we have PSA. PSA is one of the premier graders of collector’s
cards and you know, they’re well-respected. If you ever watch Pawn Stars, the PSA guys
come on that and talk about these collectibles that are out there. So what you do is you send your baseball cards
to PSA, PSA grades it, they, they put it in a plastic case, they wrap it in a little seal,
and that’s going to have a huge impact on what your card is valued. Well, PSA will grade that card from one to
10, but if that card has been altered, meaning that someone has potentially doctored that
card, they won’t give it a grading, they won’t give it that number value, which greatly diminishes
the value of the card. And so what this class action is alleging
is that PSA was working with some of these large scale collectors that send in a bunch
of cards at a time to have them graded and taking a card that was graded as near mint
to mint. And I’ve got some wonderful little examples
here. Now when we say an unaltered card, it’s very,
very small and we are going to have links of these in the video here, but it’s very,
very small. They’re just tiny little blemishes that you
would see on this Stan Musial card and this is really the one that started this whole
discussion. You know, there’s a little, there’s a little
black blemish right on the card, right there. There’s a little blemish right on his sleeve. Another little black blemish, just, you know,
these are pinpricks that are on the hand. Well when, with those blemishes, this card
rated as nine, near mint sold for $2,800. Well, shortly thereafter, about a year after,
we see that that same card, according to this class action was touched up by one of the
old card doctors. Went back to PSA because what they did is
they took the card out of that $2,800 card, they popped it out of that PSA package, did
their little doctoring work on it, sent it back to PSA to be graded and PSA graded that
as mint and that same card sold for $28,000. So it went from $2,800 to $28,000 after being
doctored, going back to PSA. PSA did not notice that it was doctored and
put their seal on it and therefore sold it. So this class action is saying that PSA is
being incentivized to continue to grade cards, to not call out they’re alter, call out that
they’re altered and that they’re taking part of these profits because PSA also works with
the auction houses. So PSA gets a cut of what they sell here and
so according to what you just said, they are incentivized. So if, if they say, well it’s really near
mint, but you know, we give it a better grade, it’s going to pull in, as you just pointed
out, a heck of a lot more money. I mean, you know, 10 times more money for
the mint versus the near mint. So yes, it is in their best interest if they
overlook the fact that this may have been altered and this is a group that can tell
the difference. I mean, that’s part of what they do is be
able to tell if something has been changed or altered and they are clearly falling down
on the job. You know, it’s going to be up to, I guess
the, the lawsuit to figure out if it’s just pure negligence or intentional negligence
on their part to let these altered cards go through and receive these high ratings. Exactly, I mean, because you’ve got these
folks that went through and looked at a lot of these cards that were auctioned off and
for the Stan Musial card, they said, we know it’s the same card because they actually turned
it, turned around the back. And so they had the original auction at $2,800
and they found all these imperfections on the back. And then when that card went, went to auction
and sold for $28,000, all of those same, about 10 different imperfections were on the back
of the card, which helps prove that it was the same card that was, was sold. Now the sleuths that have dug this information
up have found that more than $1.4 million of these cards have been sold. So there’s been a lot of money that has changed
hands out there and that, you know, I really am curious about PSA’s response because PSA
is one of the most well-respected card graders out there and, you know, if they’re not either
able to tell that these cards were doctored or, you know, what actually happened because
that’s huge. And I know the law firm, one of the law firms
that’s handling this on the plaintiff’s side, Bradley/Grombacher. Bradley/Grombacher are experienced trial attorneys
and so they don’t go after these cases. If they don’t think that they’ve got a really
good chance. They’re not out there just sending out letters
saying, hey bow to our wishes or, or we’re going to sue you. No, these are hardened trial lawyers that
go out and make sure that that case has a real strong footing and then proceed with
it. You know, it is interesting because this is
kind of one of those cases where even if PSA wins and it shows that, oh they weren’t necessarily
doing this intentionally, they still end up looking bad because that means okay, you were
just super negligent here and you really screwed up. So I, there’s really no way for this group
to come out of this case looking okay because either they definitely did something wrong
or they just weren’t paying enough attention and still did something wrong. So this is going to be very interesting to
see how this plays out and as always, if you need more information about this case, follow
the link in the description of this video. Head on over to Top Class Actions and if you
haven’t already done so, I encourage everyone to subscribe to their weekly newsletter. Scott Hardy with Top Class Actions, always
a pleasure talking to you. Thank you. You’re welcome. Thanks for your time, Farron.

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