When Card Doctoring Goes Wrong: Rare Christy Mathewson Tobacco Card Sees Loss
Most of the alleged alterations on the Blowout forum rose in value — but not all
For the most part, the baseball cards that are believed to have been altered that have been discovered on the Blowout forums saw an increase in gains. And sometimes, such as the $65,000 increase in a Shoeless Joe Jackson card, those gains were quite significant.
But while those submitting doctored cards usually benefited, that wasn’t always the case.
One of the latest cards discovered on Blowout is a T213 Coupon card of the legendary Christy Mathewson. This Blowout post alleges work was done to a PSA 3 Mathewson card that improved its grade to a PSA 4. While it is somewhat difficult to tell from the images, the post alleges the card had a crease pressed, minimizing its damage, and also a corner slightly repaired.
Typically, a raise of a full number grade in a card such as this would bring a significant increase in sale price. An exact bump is hard to say but no one would expect the card to sell for less than a PSA 3.
But that was exactly what happened. The Mathewson PSA 3 originally sold for just over $1,900 while the PSA 4 earned only a bit more than $1,600.
So what was the reason for the decrease? No one can say for sure. The Blowout post presents a theory where the base for the card is small and educated enough to know something was wrong.
While that could be true, I think other things could be at play here. As I’ve written before, sometimes high-dollar cards simply underperform for a number of reasons. Sometimes bidders that might be in on a particular card could have less money to play with. Other times, they may be targeting other cards instead. And still other times, some may miss auctions altogether.
Another factor? End time of an auction.
The Blowout post provides the exact dates when the cards sold. The earlier sale occurred on November 12, 2017, which was a Sunday night. If you’re a collector of pre-war cards and follow auctions, you know that Sunday night is generally peak time for ending of auctions. That, in general, is when you will have the most eyeballs on auctions and is a reason why many eBay auctions end on that day.
By contrast, the second later sale occurred on a Wednesday night. Both were PWCC auctions and even PWCC’s mid-week auctions do well. But many auctions are forgotten about during the middle of a week. People are in the middle of a work week, may have had a crap day at work, or may be running around with various other errands.
I’m a frequent buyer on eBay and have found some very good deals from time to time. The majority of those have come at non-peak times — Tuesday afternoon, past midnight, etc. Wednesday night isn’t necessarily an odd night to end an auction but it’s not ‘prime time’, so to speak. I’ve won stuff on Sunday nights, obviously, but my best buys have mostly come at other times.
Finally, PWCC’s auctions can fluctuate quite a bit. That’s because they often have all kinds of other high-profile auctions ending at the same time. Buyers that might be in on a particular card could simply pass on others that they may, at any other time, be interested in.
All of these are reasons why card values fluctuate. And that means that, even a doctored card with a higher technical grade doesn’t always mean more money.