Restored Joe Jackson E90-1 American Caramel Rookie Card Latest in Alleged Blowout Findings
One of the most important cards in the pre-war era appears to have been doctored and upgraded
I don’t want to turn this site into a Blowout recap with all of the card doctoring they’re uncovering over there. You can follow along over there for all the ins and outs of every card. But I do want to continue to point out the stuff that pre-war collectors would find notable.
And, um, this is notable.
A post this afternoon showed an E90-1 American Caramel Joe Jackson rookie card that looks to have gotten a fair amount of treatment. The card, previously grading an Authentic looks to be cleaned up and it is now a significantly more valuable PSA 1.
Several things make this discovery notable:
As mentioned in the Blowout post, the card was auctioned by by PWCC in September 2016 and then the cleaned up version was auctioned by PWCC in April 2017.
Now, if this were a lesser-known card that is seen quite a bit, it would be possible that it could slip under their radar. But Jackson E90-1 cards, particularly in similar condition, are not auctioned all that frequently. It is difficult to imagine that a card of this magnitude would not raise any eyebrows if everything was on the up and up.
PWCC does a ton of volume, there’s no denying that. But cards like these are like fingerprints since there really aren’t many of them. It would seem difficult to not remember a similar-looking card or, at the very least, review ones that have passed through your hands before. I wouldn’t expect them to do that for every $50 card but ones with nearly five figures …
I’m not diving down the PWCC hole. You can go plenty of places to get your five pounds of flesh. And frankly, I don’t have the time or energy to go full lynch mob here. But with this type of card sold only months apart, all I’ll say is that it looks real bad to collectors.
Second, the card was graded by PSA and then regraded by them.
The interesting thing on their end is that the card when originally graded was sent to them with a piece of tape on the back, which means an automatic Authentic grade. The card that was cracked open and resubmitted to them does not have any such tape but apparently was not in two pieces as that would mean it was glued or being held together by some other means. Other parts also appear to be repaired with color or by other means because spots of paper loss on the front are now mysteriously gone. The most glaring is the top part on the back, which looks to be entirely restored.
We don’t have all the facts here but to an outsider, this looks like PSA either turned a blind eye or whiffed on the alterations.
Keep in mind, that this isn’t your standard $10 submission. PSA charges $200 for a card with a declared value of $4,999 or $500 for a card declared at $10,000. You can play around with those declared values to some degree but the point here is that the prices requested for high-dollar cards are quite expensive. If the company simply did swing and miss on this, the work they did in grading it was a poor one for that kind of money. You might expect a simple passthrough on a $10 card but for $200 or $500, I’d at least expect them to review previous Jacksons in that condition they have graded to look for telltale signs of something fishy.
Again, this looks bad from their vantage point, too. I wouldn’t expect them to be perfect but, if these are indeed just misses, it seems like not enough homework is being done, either.
Again, this is notable because of the value gained. The card originally sold for $7,000 and the upgraded, more attractive version sold for $8,800 — nearly $2,000 more.
And this is an important card because of its overall value. It is one that, based on how it has been trending, should be a five-figure card soon. When you’re dealing with that kind of card, it’s going to raise eyebrows.
Low-Grade Again a Target
I often make much about how dealing in low-grade cards allows you to take on greater risk. That in general is still very true.
However, as I wrote here, this card alteration scandal that’s playing out has not been exclusive to high-grade cards. Mid-grade cards have been widely targeted and even some low-grade ones have been targeted, too.
My point about low-grade cards, of course, still stands. There’s far less risk in, say, a 1933 Goudey common that has a million creases than there is in one that is graded a PSA 9. But the reality is that, when big money is involved, such is the case here, even low-grade cards that can be altered becomes a concern.