Scandal in Sports Memorabilia Rocking Industry

On the brink of the National Sports Collectors Convention taking place in Chicago, the card collectors market is dumped in a crisis. PWCC, with sales exceeding $60 million annually, is considered to be the most exceptional seller of cards on eBay. Now, this giant is immersed in a scandal connected with selling cards which have been altered.

PWCC’s Response

Currently, PWCC committed themselves to refund any cards suspected of being compromised. These cards will then be handed in with the FBI to get them out of circulation. This effort is, however, only considered as an effort by PWCC to keep consumers calm and happy. Jeffrey Lichtman is currently representing PWCC Founder, Brent Huigens in the matter. Lichtman has experience in card fraud cases. He is also the man who served Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, the notorious cartel kingpin from Mexico in the past. Currently, neither the PWCC nor Lichtman or Huigen is giving any feedback regarding the matter.

PSA Denying Public Responsibility

A further twist in the tale is stemming from PSA regarding their responsibility in the case. PSA is a division of Collectors Universe, a public company who was involved in the grading of the cards which were altered and gave them a higher grade. PSA stated that they wouldn’t take any civic responsibility in the matter. This comes in contradiction with their guarantee, which usually accompanies their grading. A warranty which offers refunds in differences in the appropriate market value between the grade which they have given and any new grade. If this guarantee is applied as promised, then PSA will be responsible for millions in refunds. Grasping a clearer understanding of the impact of the warranty which they offer, an example is needed. The PSA has recently upgraded 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle cards to a Mint 9. These cards were sold at $2.88 million each, and there were six of them. The actual market value of the cards is valued at $20 000. PSA should refund the difference of $2.68 million per ticket, times six cards. Unfortunately, PSA isn’t insured to cover these kinds of claims, and they don’t have the money themselves to refund these massive sums.

Joe Orlando, the CEO of Collectors Universe, is standing with his statement that his company isn’t going to be held responsible for the refunds. While he states public confidence in the company’s way of handling the matter, he has been busy selling off his stock over the last couple of months. Initially, he sold 22.8 % of his shares and then again another 15.6% in July.

Trimming of Cards

Trimming of cards is an old trick in the industry. By cutting away some parts of the map, while keeping the proportions still intact, the cards are often getting a higher grade. This is mostly done on vintage cards to let the corners of the cards seem to be in a better form. Over the years, trimming of cards has been an industry worth multi-millions and still can’t be controlled.