Friday, May 28, 2004

Sticker Shock

Sometimes, I find things so annoying and frustrating that I can’t even put it into words. And the strange thing is, in this case, the matter is so stupid and insignificant, yet it enrages me.

The topic is baseball cards. That’s right, baseball cards. Let me explain.

A couple of years ago, this company had an idea. They decided they would get collectors to mail them their baseball cards, the company would put the cards in a plastic case, put a sticker on top, and grade the card on a scale of 1 to 10. And of course charge $10 a pop. That's right, they pay $10 for a little sticker that says "MINT" or "VG" and has a number.


Why didn’t I think of that? $10 for a sticker and a plastic case. Probably because I never would have thought people were stupid enough to fall for this malarkey. Well, I was wrong and graded baseball cards are selling like hot cakes (damn that breakfast lobby!)

It is so infuriating that the entire baseball card community has swallowed this fish, hook, line and sinker. I mean do I really need someone to put my baseball card in a plastic case and tell me it is in near mint condition? I can just look at it myself and tell what condition a card is in. I mean do you have to go to some advanced school and spend years training to detect a gum stain on a 40-year-old piece of cardboard?

And the prices people are willing to pay for these graded cards are unreal. If you go on eBay, it is astounding the difference in price between a graded card and a “raw” card.

For example, a 1965 Mickey Mantle graded 8 out of 10 by PSA recently sold on eBay for $916.03. The “raw” card in the same condition sold for $77. Idiots!!

I really cannot understand how this happened, seemingly overnight. But I guess I have really never understood the hobby since it became a business.


Sweetie Guy Hutchinson said...

I feel your pain. I plan on having myself graded to enhance my own value.

CRAIG said...

Agreed. This whole grading process is news to me, but isn't surprising. Card collecting changed around the same time as comic book collecting did. At some point a majority of people decided that there was more value to collecting than the pure joy of it.

BTW, I wouldn't buy a graded version of Sweetie below VG.

T-_Bone said...

SGH you would look a bit silly encased in plastice with a sticker over your head, but I say go for it! njcrc - will he get a VG? I hope that when he sends himself in for grading they don't swap him out for a lower grade version.