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#238434 - 10/16/03 12:46 PM Weapons of Mass Trimming
Learning the Ropes

Registered: 10/04/03
Posts: 19

In past years unscrupulous dealers/collectors would use mere scissors to trim cards. Other devices Iíve read about include scalpels, razor blades, sharp knives, paper cutters and so on. Modern technology has made those things obsolete.

An acquaintance of mine that works in the graphics services department of a large company recently told me that there is high-tech graphics equipment that can trim paper/cardboard (and other materials) in widths of less than that of a typical piece of writing paper, and do it perfectly straight. Someone could easily use such a device to take miniscule widths off a cardís edge until the corners and edges were mint, or perhaps NM-MT.

I have no proof, but I believe it is very possible that some dealers and collectors may be using this type of advanced technology to trim cards. This just underscores the importance of a grading companyís ability to detect trimmed cards. It shows you what theyíre up against.

I suspect that there are a lot of trimmed cards in holders out there being sold not only through eBay but by dealers and at those major actions we all know about. Iíve been seeing so many suspect graded cards that Iím really hesitant to buy anything right now. As I mentioned in another thread, Iím starting to sell off a good portion of my 1950ís collection of PSA 8ís and 9ís because I simply will not take the chance that I have big bucks tied up in worthless cards. The cards I keep will likely be crossed over to SGC, which begs the question: How good are the SGC graders at detecting trimmed/altered cards as opposed to the graders at PSA or GAI? I would like to know about the expertise of SGCís graders before I cross over and would appreciate any insights. Thanks in advance for your responses.

#238435 - 10/20/03 03:10 PM Nice post...deserves a response from SGC or BMW [Re: Tiger]
(S)uper Collector

Registered: 11/15/02
Posts: 495

Enjoy Your Collection & SKOL VIKINGS!


#238436 - 10/20/03 03:32 PM Re: Nice post...deserves a response from SGC [Re: estang]
The Amazing Card-Man

Registered: 04/13/02
Posts: 948
Loc: Alexandria, Va

Only SGC can speak suthoritatively on this. Sean Skeffington is always happy to discuss these types of issues. His number is 800-742-9212
---- Matthew T. Natale Alexandria, Virginia Completed 1977 Topps Baseball SGC Graded Set, Average Grade 92.89

#238437 - 10/20/03 03:42 PM Re: Nice post...deserves a response from SGC [Re: vayank]
I am gonna miss that car.

Registered: 08/23/03
Posts: 215
Loc: San Antonio, TX

I will admit, I have a biased point of view on grading company so I won't offer an opinion. But if I may suggest the following:

1) Do some homework: Go out to the various websites, learn all you can about the history of the grading company and its customer service. Learn what you can about the experience of the senior graders and/or others graders in the grading room.

2) Read all the grading standards for each company...although they are mostly the same, there are some slight differences in grading standards. Read and found out what makes the most sense to you. Learn the various differences in definition. (i.e. what does PSA, GAI, or SGC consider to be a major crease, minor crease, wrinkle, etc., and how does that affect the grade).

3) Contact the senior graders/presidents of each Company---let them know what type of cards you have to grade, their expertise/experience in grading these cards, and that you would like to know what they have to offer. Although you've done the homework, it's good to hear it from the grading company's "own mouths" as well. If they don't have the time to provide a response, that may be an indication of who really wants your business.

Hope this helps,
John Grillo
Always looking for GAI,SGC,PSA vintage Hockey and Boxing.

#238438 - 10/20/03 04:59 PM Re: Weapons of Mass Trimming [Re: Tiger]
Just got here

Registered: 09/22/03
Posts: 2


Nice Post! About 3 months ago, I started looking (under a microscope) at the edges of a number of PSA 9 Vintage cards that I owned. Many of them were "too perfect" compared to control cards of the same year. I have to agree that there may be a significant number of trimmed "time bombs" that are floating around out there in high grade slabs. For this reason, I also have stopped purchasing "high end" vintage for now. I want to see how this plays out before committing any more $$$ for what may be worthless cards. Since the "bad guys" may be using high tech methods to cheat, I would hope the grading companies (if they don't already) start using high tech methods to evaluate cards. Observing the on-site grading at shows however, it looks to me like the old "eyeball and a 6x" is still the standard.

#238439 - 10/20/03 10:39 PM Re: Weapons of Mass Trimming [Re: Padres69]
If I just sell the car, I can up my bid...

Registered: 10/28/02
Posts: 366


I have the same mindset as you on being concerned with trimmed cards. I think there is a scenario that's starting to develop with dealers of raw and graded vintage. See what you think:

A dealer of raw vintage is starting to see either a dip or general long-term decline of new vintage raw cards/sets coming to market. The inventory you have has been cherry-picked of the high-end examples for either slab submissions or direct raw card sales. You're now left with a significant quantity of EX/MT+ or slightly better inventory that isn't going to generate much in the way of significant monthly sales. So you try trimming/doctoring a few cards to see if you can sweeten your inventory a bit - every shop has overhead and monthly bills to cover. No one is selling cards for goodwill. Maybe the rationale is that you are not a professional grader and you figure its up to PSA/SGC/BGS to determine what's legit or not. Cards that come back in slabs are considered good, returned are cards are not. The market belief is in the grading companies not the submitter - so why sweat the results - sell the cards with a clear conscience - seeing that PSA/SGC/BVG assigned the grade and not you.

Even if a dealer gets lucky at 50% of the submissions on altered cards - the new premium on non-premium cards has to greatly outweigh the loss value associated with the returned cards.

To me, it seems more than plausible - probably a reality. I think each card grading company should have an internal group or person who constantly submit altered cards as a means to develop an internal check on the validation process.

There is more to my message but its getting late. I've laid out a majority of what I think is starting to happen amongst a few dealers.


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