There is a lot of craziness going on in the hobby right now. A lot of it involves card grading companies and backdooring. I feel that it is a missed opportunity with AngryCardCollector not saying anything about it. I worry that by not saying anything that I am falling into the trap of cronyism in the hobby, and I am kind of guilty of that. Well, lets stop that. For the most part, grading is something that has been a novelty to me; despite being a big deal to other collectors. I feel that the bigger issue is Probstein on eBay which I will discuss below as well. Before I go deeper, SportsCardRadio has been reporting like crazy on this. While, it is easy not to like the way that they are reporting these things, and I certainly don’t blame you if you do, you cannot deny the facts that they present. You can find them at http://www.sportscardradio.com/ Now let’s dive in.
With the grading, you are talking about trimming, grades that aren’t true to the card, and people with an uneven number of perfect cards. In one case a grader got a bunch of 10s. All of these have been proven as facts and are not baseless. Whether you like the people reporting the facts, you cannot deny that there is too much evidence to ignore.
Now as for my thoughts:
Regarding trimmed cards: with centering being such a huge part of grading, I am appalled at the carelessness of the grading companies. I do not think the grading companies let the trimmed cards intentionally; which angers me even more. People like myself, are underemployed and desperate for jobs. If card grading must be rushed as I feel that it has with this carelessness, then hire more people are up the cost of the product.
I have heard from numerous people that they think grading is rigged. They think that people who put mass submissions are guaranteed a perfect grade on some cards. I am not sure if I believe this. I think this might be more of a case where one person is grading tons of cards and they feel that by nature some cards must be perfect. I think this self inflicted pressure has resulted in faulty grades. This one however is one that too many with tons of experience and respect in the hobby believe. While I don’t think this is case, I cannot dismiss the fact that people I respect in the hobby have told me this. If certain people believe it, I feel that there is some truth to it.
As for a certain former grader getting perfect cards that are definitely not perfect, well this one annoys me. They say that graders have no idea whose cards they are grading. I feel that this case proves this is total garbage. If one of your best former graders thinks cards are perfect, then I feel the person grading his card is taking his word for it. This boils down to more carelessness.
Now the backdooring of cards and selling them to employees is more carelessness. I don’t think that any hits were specifically given but the volume that was given is alarming. Furthermore, I feel it is a blatant disregard of ethics to sell cases to an employee who will sell them. Yes, Brian Gray, I am calling you out. I feel there is a huge conflict of interest to employ someone who has a side income of selling cards for a living. If we were talking about one guy who breaks every now and then, I would have no problem but we are talking about someone who probably made more from selling product for a living than he did as an employee. That is a conflict of interest to me. We don’t allow this in politics and other avenues so why should be we allow this in the hobby? There are so many layers to this and every layer reeks of favoritism and indecency to me. If a company sees no problem in doing this then I question how they would treat the average Joe who would buy the product. As for saying that you won’t sell to employees now, well too little too late. I don’t know about you but I can’t look someone in the eye with egg in their face. Leaf produced some good product this year but as of right now, I am not buying anything from Leaf until they prove to me that they care about the consumer.
For me to turn further heel on Brian Gray and prove that this hobby is full of cronyism, I would like to point out one more thing. This is a guy who publicly backed Rick Probstein on the Scammers page. Before all of this happened, I thought Probstein was the only major problem in the hobby. The fact is there is way too much shill bidding and fake cards being sold by that account connected to Probstein. Too many people take notice and yet Probstein is still being sung praises by higher ups in the hobby and eBay takes no action. The amount of evidence against Probstein goes further than Blowout forums. This is another case where the evidence is alarming. It is a joke that eBay hasn’t made any effort to clean up his account. It embarrasses me as a deeply religious person, like Rick Probstein is, that this stuff happens. I feel that he must practice what he preaches. I would never put my name on anything that has to do with these proven accusations, it is a shame that Probstein has. Furthermore, he has done nothing to eliminate it other than some basic codes of conduct. Criminals don’t adhere to a code of conduct, and those that enable criminals are criminals themselves.
People worry that all these scandals will put eyes on the hobby. Here are the facts, there are eyes on the hobby to begin with. Just like every online culture, there is intelligence done to make sure things are on the up and up. As a big Twitter person, I can confirm that one or two hobby accounts have an agent behind them; confirm. In one case, I know of someone who was investigating and fell in love with the hobby, and became a huge part of it. The eyes are there, don’t discount it. People think that no one is watching their sleazy activity but they are. I know of one person who is actively building a case against someone who has a history of scamming others in the hobby. Every wrong step is a step in the right direction towards their prosecution as it establishes behavioral patterns. Behavioral patterns, something that we can look at with Brian Gray and Rick Probstein as being guilty of.
In the hobby we see too many times where companies prioritize and play blatant favorites with people who spend money. This needs to stop. It needs at the level with companies that product cards. It also needs to stop at the merchants who sell a mass amount of cards like eBay, Dave and Adams, and Blowout. If you want to have an exclusive promotion with them, then so be it but don’t play favorites. I started this site because I am sick of the cronyism in this hobby and I will continue to call it out until it is remedied.
TLDR: My opinions are that I feel that trimming and grading is caused by carelessness and something must be done, Brian Gray of Leaf has lost my business, Probstein needs to be shut down.