New to the Altered Card Scandal Being Uncovered at Blowout? Here’s a Quick Summary.
If you don’t have time for a full recap of the Blowout Forums / card doctoring scandal, here’s a tl;dr version
The recent card doctoring scandal being uncovered at Blowout is one that is rocking the hobby. But many collectors are still not certain what’s going on. Over the past few days, I’ve seen all kinds of questions from as simple as, ‘What is Blowout’ to more complex ones like, ‘Who Knows What?’
If you want the details but don’t have hours and hours to go through all of the threads, here’s some of the key information.
What is Blowout?
Blowout is a forum dedicated to sports cards and memorabilia. Its members go there to shoot the breeze, discuss cards, and all sorts of things related to them. You can find it here.
Members there have been uncovering a pretty important scandal in card collecting.
In a Nutshell, what is the Reported Scandal?
Collectors over at Blowout have found cards that appear to be altered. Like, a lot of them.
That in and of itself isn’t too notable as lots of cards are altered. But these are raising eyebrows because they are cards that have been sent in for grading (PSA is the main one being focused on lately, though Beckett was cited on many of the modern basketball cards) and the cards are then allegedly being graded higher than they probably should with these suspected alterations not being taken into account.
Cards that are trimmed, for example, are cards that should be automatically deemed as only Authentic, the lowest grade a card can receive. Instead, these altered cards are reported to being given higher grades with some modern cards even being graded as perfect 10s.
Further, many of these allegedly altered cards have been sold on eBay by a company called PWCC. PWCC is one of eBay’s biggest sellers of sports cards.
How are These Cards Being Discovered?
The cards are primarily being discovered by finding older examples of the same ones exhibiting more damage.
For example, Blowout members have found older versions of the same card with all sorts of damage and then found what appear to be the same cards selling in PWCC auctions with higher grades than they had before and/or with some of the damage suddenly not appearing anymore.
What Kinds of Cards are Being Affected?
All kinds, really. Many modern cards (specifically basketball rookies) were suspected of being trimmed in an earlier thread. But older baseball and football cards were quickly uncovered and suspected to be altered — even lower grade ones.
Some of the pre-war cards have been very high-dollar cards, which is why this scandal is gaining a lot of attention. A low-grade Joe Jackson rookie card, for example, is one of the suspected cards. And a five-figure Honus Wagner card was also found and subsequently pulled from a live auction by PWCC.
What Kind of Alterations are Being Found?
Trimming is the big one that has been presented. Trimming, essentially, is cutting a very thin part off of a side of a card to make the corners appear sharp. Trimming can also help to remove a small flaw that is on the edge of a card or other types of edge damage. While it can make a card look much nicer, it basically destroys a card’s value and makes it worth much less.
But other alterations are being alleged, too, including coloring worn areas, removing or concealing creases, and even possibly gluing damaged cards.
What is the Role of the Grading Companies?
Collectors have varied on the amount of blame PSA deserves. Some collectors have alleged they have knowingly graded altered cards at these higher grades while others simply believe they have not done their due diligence and are simply missing these alterations in grading the cards.
At a minimum, they have graded many of these cards that appear to be have been altered.
And while more of the pre-war and vintage cards alleged to be altered have been graded by PSA, several have been graded by SGC as well.
What is PWCC’s Role?
Collectors have also disagreed on PWCC’s exact role. Some believe they innocently sold altered cards without knowing while others assert they have known about these cards all along and sold them anyway.
Many of the cards have reportedly been consigned by a collector named Gary Moser and one of the Blowout threads even alleges that PWCC worked with Moser to auction knowingly doctored cards. Moser has denied altering the cards. At a minimum, PWCC has been selling many of these cards on eBay which appear to have been altered. The scandal likely goes beyond them but they are the primary focus of the Blowout threads.
Who’s Saying What?
PWCC issued a statement that says they are working with authorities and will no longer be selling cards consigned by Mr. Moser. They do not specifically address many of the questions collectors have, however. You can read the PWCC statement here.
PSA also offered its own statement shortly afterward.
Where do We Stand?
For now, it’s business as usual. PWCC continues to sell cards on eBay and PSA continues to grade cards. The parent company of PSA, Collectors Universe, initially suffered a big drop in their stock value but both companies are still operating. Meanwhile, more suspected altered cards continue to be discovered at Blowout. What happens next is anybody’s guess.