Angry: The craziness in the hobby lately

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.

Angry: Passive-aggressive Ebay feedback

So here is the deal: I leave passive aggressive positive feedback all the time to show sellers that their slights don’t go unnoticed. Recently I won 7 auctions from the same seller. Some auctions had 3 cards, some had 1 card. I knew ahead of time that I was going to win multiple auctions so I messaged him asking his combined shipping price. He said 50 cents per auction after the initial $3. So for 12 cards I was charged $7 shipping. Shipping at most would have been $4. I didn’t message the guy, but I left said passive aggressive feedback on 3 or 4 of the 7 auctions calling him out for the shipping prices. He messaged me after it.

His parting shot was this:
“lol good talk over a 20 dollar deal… remember next time u sell shipping fees went up. next time don’t bid on something that u already know the price of. That would make everything easier for everybody including u as seller and a buyer… have a good night and enjoy your cards!!”

As much as I wanted to respond and call him out for handling this $20 situation like this, and then suddenly saying it wasn’t worth it because of the price, I just didn’t care. I was passive aggressive because I didn’t want to message him in the first place.

So do you have a take on this situation? We all know that sellers who charge an arm and a leg for shipping like this are bad for the hobby, but how about how this situation was handled? Is passive aggressive positive feedback alright to do or should I have messaged the guy in the first place? Was he wrong for how he handled it? Do I need to be put in my place? Do you leave passive aggressive positive feedback?

Random Review: Ebay blaster 2017 Absolute

I had Ebay credit burning a hole in my pocket and it caused me to make an irrational decision on Ebay. Nevermind, let’s say I did it for the sake of the site. I can say that I bought it to test blasters on Ebay from a seller who isn’t a reputable dealer.
Truthfully between wanting a box with this great NFL rookie class, the look of Absolute base cards, wanting the Blitz pack code, and the price falling into my lap, I took the chance. I paid about $12 with free shipping.

Let’s get this out of the way, blasters of Absolute have been less than stellar. It feels like they took a set for hit chasers and made it one for set chasers. If I would have realized this, I would’ve collected Absolute instead of Contenders; especially because Absolute base cards are beautiful this year. I don’t care if McCaffrey busts, I will be stocking up on his rookies, and every Panthers rookie, because the cards are beautiful. I don’t know how you feel but when I see my favorite teams colors, I get a little excitement in my heart – Panthers, Dodgers, and the occasional Grizzly do it for me; I have opened enough basketball so I should know that feeling. I have seen people buy multiple blasters and go hitless. At $12 it was worth the price of one of blaster boxes from 10 years ago when they had blasters at this price point.
Unfortunately the free shipping cost me. The seller showed little packaging care and sent it just covered with brown paper. That Blitz code was nothing special either. I thought that I would have to pull a card inserted in packs but the code was written on every pack – my heart wants to share the code but my head says not to do that to Panini.

One pack was extremely damaged. Unfortunately it also included a rookie parallel in the top 15. Here is what I don’t get though. How can one pack be damaged and not the others? I wonder if it was via pack searching on the seller’s part. The bottom corner is dinged severely and there is fraying in an L shape in that whole said bad corner.

These are beautiful inserts though:

I will be more than happy to share the name of the seller via messaging. I left him positive feedback with a scathing comment on the packaging. Hey I got what I paid for and he didn’t offer to refund even a little bit of money. I made the mistake so you don’t have too. Don’t buy blasters on eBay unless it is with a reputable dealer, not an average Joe.

Random Review: eBay hot pack round 2

After the amount of chatter my last post about eBay hot packs got, I figured that I would try it again.

I bought the last Prestige 13-14 hot pack on eBay for $14. It was one of those where I asked myself if I would regret passing up on it, because there was a 0.0001% chance that it contained an autograph of value that I needed.

As I said, I have bought hot packs in the past and never had any luck – until my last post. I was open to spending the $14 because even if I failed, it would show you readers, how most hot packs are.

This would’ve been a bust when this came out. At $14, this is a major bust. An undrafted player who played 2 career games in the NBA- side tangent, this goes to show you how bad the rookie class was with the fact that he was one of the 40 rookie autos in this set. Having bought hot packs, I can tell you honestly that this is what you should expect. Probably something a little better but this is right in line with the hot packs.

Random Review: Ebay hobby packs

Last week I reviewed hot packs from Ebay, this week I will take a stab at hobby packs. Will lightning strike twice? I could have bought anything but I chose what I know, mainly out of desperation to pull hits I need from it. This was a $7 exercise for 3 packs.

One thick pack but this product is heavy on spacers. You could  I think hits in this product are one in 6, but it could be lower as some boxes in a case have 5 hits as opposed to the usual 4. Truthfully, I wasn’t about to pay for 6 packs knowing that they would probably be searched through.


As expected, I got junk. My best chance at a pull was a Giannis rookie or a case hit insert anyway. Overall, I suggest no one buys hobby packs online. I would go as far as to say not to buy Father’s Day/National type packs as well. If you want a hobby pack and can’t find a place, go to PackRip.com or buy a Loot Locker.

Random Review: Two Ebay Hot Packs

Recently I saw a question on Twitter asking if anyone got anything good out of Ebay hot packs. I have been avoiding hot packs for a while because I bought some about five to ten years ago and never pulled anything good. I feel that I did buy them for the right reasons though. I remember that I was curious about a set and with blaster boxes having no guarantees, I would rather take a flier on a hot pack, as opposed to a few retail packs for the same price.
I have nothing against the packs themselves, I just question the sellers. How did the sellers know there is a hit in there? How do they know what type when very few boxes list the specific types of hits you get. Were they the vilified pack searchers that we hate at retail stores? Were they resealed junk hits?
I felt like taking the dive for two reasons:
1. I felt that this would make for a great post.
2. I basically own every hit for sale for my Prestige collection. I figure the few that I am missing, that should be affordable, are in packs somewhere. So kind of out of desperation.

Obviously I bought a Prestige pack. After I won that I got a Donruss Racing pack for six bucks from the same seller. As a SoCal vegetarian who is a member of the LGBT+ family, Nascar and me kind of go like oil and water but I do own a few Nascar cards. Whenever I find a cool looking Nascar card in the cheap boxes, I grab it. They have some awesome event used material, that offers unique material – it feels wrong saying event used, but I don’t think they are called games. These two packs cost me around $15 when all was said and done. So basically $7 a pack. If they are unsearched, you really can’t go wrong at that price.

The picture above was taken as I was looking for any signs of tampering. I didn’t find any.
Let’s start with the racing pack because I would only know the white whale hits.

Bobby Allison autograph. I have no idea who he is but this card is selling for $10 right now on Ebay. So if it does sell for that much, when accounting for fees, I can make my money back.

The next pack was the Prestige basketball one.

I feel that I did amazing with this pack. A four colored patch numbered to twenty-five. I have the non-Prime version of this card. Funny story about this card, I went through a lot to get the one I had before. You cannot find this card listed on Ebay or COMC. It is just one of those that you think would be a dime a dozen but I had to buy Panini Points then get the card through that program to finish off my True Colors set. So not the hit that I was looking for but if I put it on Ebay, I will be the only one selling it so I will have some leverage. I will keep it for my personal collection though because it is a great card. It wasn’t the Isiah Thomas (Pistons) Bonus Shots jersey, Peja Bonus Shots autograph, Michael Finley Bonus Shots autograph, or Kobe Bonus Shots autograph that I need but hey, I did great.

Maybe I got lucky but I feel that I did great. A Prime patch out of a hot pack, I feel that I am the one that got away with murder when I probably did a little better than break even. Still this was a fun little exercise. I probably won’t buy many more hot packs but I have a little faith now.

Angry: The PWE debate continued & should redemptions be toploaded

This post has been triggered by my tantrum Twitter last night which led to some great conversations with the community. Recently I have buying up Panini Points in hopes of being prepared should Panini add a card that I need for my Prestige collection in its rewards catalog. I have bought 3 or 4 of them and paid for shipping for all but one that came in a plain white envelope. Now for the record, if I pay anything under $2, I have no problem getting my card in a PWE as long as it is toploaded. Recently one of those cards came in a PWE without a toploader for a card where shipping was $2.89. This leads me to two questions: the neverending PWE debate and should redemptions:

I have been burned so many times by people who charge me for shipping and ship in a PWE that I have included a message in the top of my Ebay profile:

“AngryCardCollector.com I don t run a card shop. Anything I sell is to get money so I can buy more cards. If I buy a card from you where you charge me more than $2 in shipping and don t ship in a bubble mailer, I will ask for a refund on shipping.”

http://www.ebay.com/usr/pandanwh. I am actually going to change it soon because this week I realized that I could say it clearer grammatically. I just haven’t changed it because I don’t want the seller that I am dealing with to call me out on it. I am also going to include that I will leave negative feedback if not refunded because that has been my modus-operandi: whenever I get a PWE and confirm that I was charged over $2 shipping I ask for a refund and leave negative feedback if the seller gets angry at me or refuses to do it. I know more than anyone that being a seller is hard enough but I do live by a few rules and this PWE issue is one of them. I also always ask for $2 back so the seller so can at least keep his stamp money; although in my mind a seller who sends a card in a PWE deserves to lose all of it.

For those that don’t know: shipping in a bubble mailer under five ounces within the US is $2.67. Now I have no problem if I am charged anything under $4 to account for the cost of a bubble mailer. Also while Ebay gives a discount on shipping, they negate that by taking a higher percentage of a seller’s shipping cost; probably because too many people get greedy and try to make money off shipping.

Before moving on to the redemption question, I am going to bring up a tangent. I will leave the seller that I am currently having an issue with negative feedback unless he refunds me in the time frame that I gave him for one very reason: he says that I didn’t ask nicely so he is refusing. So I must ask what is a nice way to say:  “Hey, I don’t like that you screwed me on shipping. Refund me before midnight on this day or I will negative feedback.” Obviously I say it a tad nicer but you get the gist of it. As far as I am concerned, you can write this out in the nicest way possible, if that is even a scenario, and the seller will still call you out because he sees right through it. So as far as I am concerned saying that you won’t refund anyone for that reason, regardless of the issue, is a way of showing that you are the dick and not the person who you are accusing. Although, for the record: I do not deny being a dick in some of my messages with sellers. In a few cases, it takes the seller two messages to respond, so I am forced to get harsh.

Now moving on to redemptions. As far as I am concerned, any card being shipped in a PWE deserves a PWE; there are no exceptions. This included redemptions. Also redemptions deserve their own bubble mailer if you charge over $2 shipping. This is actually a perk for me as I reuse bubble mailers because I unfortunately live in a world where $2 matters to me – call me cheap but I am not denying that and that is the reality of someone living on a tight budget.

Panini points are a joke. I am not denying that, even though I have picked up cards that are valuable to me via the program. The points are at the bottom of the redemption ladder. Now just because points are the cheapest of the redemptions, doesn’t mean that they deserve any less than other redemptions. Taking away the Trout’s of the world, let’s use another example: take a redemption for a player like Justin Bohr, David West, or any late round NFL draft prospect. Their cards have always come to me in a bubble mailer. I would love to hear if they haven’t for you.

I have been collecting hardcore since 2003, and have bought several redemption cards. When shipped to me, they have always come in a bubble mailer when I paid for one. Truthfully I have never thought about redemptions deserving less when shipped. As far as I am concerned they are no different to me than base cards or inserts that are worthy of being sold individually. Some people have taken me to task for demanding my points be at least toploaded. Here is my rationale for this: while I throw the card away after I use the code, what if I was going to flip it? I would want it in the best condition possible. Card condition reflects on me regardless if it is a base or Ted Williams autograph.

I would love to hear people’s opinions on this. Also feel free to call me out if you think that I am wrong on any of this. My mind wants to be changed because I know that will make me easier to deal with when this inevitably happens again. This is a never ending debate in the card community so don’t be afraid to share. I also re-Tweet thoughtful responses on Twitter to this.

Angry: Cards are not worth their Ebay price

You know what I am not buying? When someone says that a card is only worth what it last went for on Ebay. Now before I have disagreements, I will admit that for cards that are readily available, and ones their are plenty of can be dictated by Ebay auctions.
When I was killing my Ebay gift cards this spring, thank you Swagbucks, I got a few steals, but I also paid more than I should’ve at times. On the cards that I got steals on, I was so worried that the right bidder would find the card and I would be in a bidding war. I had snagged a card for $3 that I could realistically resell for on the internet for $50; and not just to the right collector as I feel it’s value is higher because it never turns up. So because I snagged the card at $3, does that mean that it worth $3? Heck no. I was prepared to go to $30 and expected to lose the card even then. The only reason why I was even prepared to kill my budget was because it is never on the market.

Now I will admit: I do think that by winning the auction at that price, that I lowered the value for a future seller though.

There are way too many variables. What time does the sale end? Was it set up so bidding took place at a peak bidding time. When I search for a player’s autograph, I do 2 searches: one with the word ‘auto’ and another with the word ‘autograph.’ Most of time, a card or two pops up that I didn’t see.
Here is another problem, that I actually encountered the other day. I had an auction that I didn’t save on my watch list but wanted to go back later. I tried to search for it, knowing what the title said and it wouldn’t come up. I had to go back in my internet history to find it.

Card values fluctuate like crazy. If we go by Ebay auctions then I am sure the fluctuations would be crazier. Ebay auctions are crazy as it is. Don’t believe me on what I am saying? Well how about this: is a Kris Bryant autographed card worth $10 because the seller didn’t know how to spell his name? How about the Aaron Judge autographs that sold before this year? Are they worth what they sold for? Is that one outlier now that sold for $35 what it is worth? Prospects prove my point on this.
People are still trying to recoup the value on Robert Griffin autographs. His autograph should go for pennies but people are still turning down ten dollar offers when that is a beyond reasonable price for it now. It’s like because the Johnny Manziel market evened itself out so quick, the Griffin sellers are trying to make up for their losses. Newsflash: the guy isn’t even signed.

I can give so many more examples. How about auctions without descriptions? When the seller is so lazy, he just posts the title and a picture. Should a seller’s laziness affect a card value? Not in my opinion. He is being punished by not getting eyeballs on his auction; that should be the only punishment. Other sellers shouldn’t be punished because he is an idiot.

Anyway the reason why I wrote this is because I am sick of people going by value based off Ebay auctions. I had parts of this written for several months and started writing this because whenever I tried to sell my cards, people were using auctions as a guide. I was overvaluing my cards but the fact is that a reasonable price was probably somewhere in the middle. I was also over enthused as a I was working hard on my Prestige collection. A lot of the value cards that I talk about getting are Prestige case hits – I know that I will be asked that question, so I might as well answer it now. Speaking of cards that I was selling, it wouldn’t hurt to put my Ebay seller link: https://www.ebay.com/sch/pandanwh/m.html?item=122405528261&rt=nc&_trksid=p2047675.l2562

How was your day: Depression ruins a RAOK

Forgive me as this post is not about cards, although the last few entries have been more about dealing with my depression/PTSD than cards anyway but I am doing this one on purpose. I did not mean for this site to be a journal about my life outside of cards, just my life involving cards. The climax of this story involves cards and I am using it to take an opportunity to show the disease.

Anyone that follows wrestling and reads wrestling news once a week is probably aware that WWE Smackdown announcer Mauro Ranallo has been out for mental health reasons. A lot of people don’t accept that mental health issues are a disease. I have them and truthfully it has taken me until very recently to truly accept that fact. Something happened to me Saturday to highlight the very fact that it is a disease:
I had one of those 36 hour periods where I can look back and say that I did everything right; something that I haven’t been able to say in years. (Only saying this because it matters to me but it shouldn’t but this is not one of those bipolar highs. I wish that I had those as I would probably be a happier person during those highs instead of constantly down on myself.) The hours were one of those times where even the hiccups were just pebbles in the road; like finding out an hour before something is happening that I was expected to be there. So I am doing work in the house and decide to take a breather and grab the mail. I wasn’t expecting anything so when I see my name on a package, I immediately think ‘oh crap.’ I saw that it was from someone that I sold to on Ebay so my blood pressure goes through the roof for a second. If you read the site you know that I am awful at opening packages or anything, sorry GTS but I still haven’t opened that hobby box you sent me and for the record I am not selling that either. This was a box in front of my door. I don’t even think that I went down the driveway to my mailbox to get the rest of the mail. I ran in and opened the box thinking the worst. Either I was sent a bag of dog poop or they were returning what I sent them. I even had one hand on my mouth ready to go to Paypal for a refund. It was neither dog crap or a return. In it was a paper that said #RAOK. Random act of kindness. Holy crap; and from an Ebay person no less. So I go from horror movie excitement to Disney movie excitement in one swing. I couldn’t believe it. Even without this RAOK I was having a great day, this was the cherry on top. I will post about what was in the box later this week but remember I said this was a post about mental health. I also want to do this person justice for being awesome.
I was being productive but I was still in my head so the time wasn’t perfect. However I had no reason whatsoever to be in my head. I sit down to finish what I was doing and no less than five minutes later I felt my depression trying to come back and ruin the RAOK. I had no reason to be down but I found myself in this internal fight with myself that was trying to keep me down. It feels like with everything that I did and have been doing, I am burned out because I working twice as hard as I should be. (For the record I am not trying to discount what anyone else is going through as we all have our own problems and I know the reality is that no one would want to trade lives with anyone.) I realize that everything that I did on top of me fighting just to be together and a functioning member of society was me working twice, thrice, etc., as hard. When you hear that someone is going through mental health issues, this is a glimpse of what they are going through. Mauro Ranallo might miss a hefty Wrestlemania payday because of similar issues. I wish him, everyone struggling, and everyone in the world the best. We all deserve to be happy and have peace of mind.
Speaking of happy, my next post will be what was in that box and a TL:DR version of this story. I don’t know when exactly that will be, but it will be before the month is up as I don’t want you reading it April Fool’s Day thinking this amazing act was a joke.