Catch him if you can

At this point we’ve all heard about the “Slabgate” trimming scandal that has the hobby world up in arms. Now, before everyone grabs torches and pitchforks and heads to Joe Orlando’s house, I would like to point out that if the cards weren’t graded beforehand or afterwards Gary Moser probably wouldn’t have been caught yet. Those grading registration numbers made the required research possible.

I get it, having a story about another shady card dealer who’s trimming cards is sad at best. However, a conspiracy that involves PWCC, PSA, and a card trimmer, now that’s sexy!

I’m not saying I can prove PSA or PWCC was or wasn’t involved. Maybe Moser knew someone grading and slabbing at PSA. Maybe the cards just got through, I don’t know. It just seems unlikely that a publicly traded company is going to go on the take for a split pot of a few thousand bucks.

Yes, you’re right. It’s basically PSA’s only job to catch cards that have been doctored. You can breathe now; as long as you weren’t one of the thousands of collectors complaining about turnaround times.

It’s important to remember PSA is in the business of grading the quality of paper stock. If situation arises when they have to hire more graders, these graders have to be experts who know paper fiber, not Billy Bob who wants to slab cards because his Pokemon collection is dope.  

My point is that the grading companies are usually the only stop between the Gary Mosers of this world and all of the various auction houses. The hobby needs grading companies, for better or worse.

The way I see it there are basically two options for PSA going forward. Slow down and potentially lose the impatient collectors in the short term; or keep going, decrease the quality of their product, and lose the revenue of many collectors in the long term.

Either way you look at it PSA is in need of quality graders. They need paper fiber experts who know sports cards, maybe Gary Moser? Hey, it worked with Frank Abagnale, catch him if you can, PSA!

Author: David

I enjoy baseball cards and collecting in general, this includes both vintage and modern cards. I naturally gravitate towards the 1950's and 1960's when collecting, writing, and studying. Excited to be a member of SABR.

6 thoughts on “Catch him if you can”

  1. In the Muppet Movie, Rolfe the Dog has a song that opens, “You can’t live with ’em, you can’t live without ’em…” He was talking about female companions (dog, pig, or otherwise), but he might have been singing about grading companies too. The song was called “I Hope that Something Better Comes Along!” and that fits the grading companies too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Agreed, there needs to be something that is less subjective to individual opinions. The best aspect of grading is without a doubt the registration numbers for each card, which is probably what lends to PSA’s registry being so popular. Personally I hope an individual and independent collector develops the software for computer based card grading.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Am I the only one who is freaked out by the scissors being over the card? I keep thinking “Nooooooo … keep those away from Henry Aaron!”

    Over time the discussions on the blog have broken me a little from my 1980s card collecting upbringing. Condition was heavily emphasized during that time – whatever you could do to preserve condition by storing cards in binders, sheets, corrugated boxes (not shoe boxes), penny sleeves, hard cases, etc. was important. Of course it turns out that condition really wasn’t important for most of those cards, partially because we were all protecting them and partially because they made a gozillion of them. But it was still hard to let go of that mindset even for pre-war cards. Through listening to everyone’s stories I’ve been able to convince myself that I don’t have to buy PSA 9 equivalents, and just look for a card that looks nice, or in some cases (like some of the 1960s Topps Venezuelan cards I’ve found) even cards that don’t necessarily look nice.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So true, one of my favorite sayings around the hobby is buy the card and not the grade. Me personally I’m all about centering. I’m willing to accept rounded corners, dings, and scratches at the drop of a hat for a well centered card. That is especially true with, as you mentioned, the pre-war and other vintage cards. Collect what you love! Oh and don’t worry, the scissors were put away without them touching Hank!


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