View Full Version : Question: Hobby Better or Worse?

12-18-2006, 06:09 PM
Hello everyone

I pose this question to all...

As the year winds down, I ask you a question in the spirit of those which come up during many political elections

Is the game used hobby better off or worse off than a year ago?

Remember- this is not an excuse to bury people. Provide a detailed argument for your opinion...

Go nuts people.

12-18-2006, 07:04 PM
For myself on a personal note it is better because of GUU. I am better informed and will use GUU to make informed decisions by picking the brains of the members and keeping abreast of items to avoid. On a hobby level I believe the hobby is worse off than in the past. As the popularity of game-used equipment has increased the opportunity for fraud and deception has also increased. I remember the autogaph craze of the early 1990's when fake autographs and certificates were rampant and I see that creeping into the game-worn hobby now. Recently many posts have stated that prices of modern items have fallen below years past. This may be because of a loss of faith of modern items which comes from an over saturation of game-used items and the possibility of spending a lot of money on a fake. The hobby will get better when it is harder for crooks to make a quick buck off of fakes and that will happen by honest auction houses and authenticaters and collectors staying informed and knowledgeable.

12-30-2006, 10:00 PM
I'll take a shot at answering my own question.

I think the hobby is better and worse off than a year ago. Here's my reasoning...

Ways the hobby is better now than a year ago

With all of the people who have discovered the game used universe in 2006, more people know from reading this site that you have to do your own homework.

There is more information available to the collector so presumably people have the ability to do a better job researching an item than ever before.

You have to be happy about the exposure. Articles about the game used side by Michael O'Keeffe from the New York Daily News, and the piece on HBO's Real Sports regarding card companies, authenticators and the bogus signatures in the autograph industry have put a national spotlight on things that need improvement within the hobby.

Also included in that, but deserving of its own section is the Operation Bullpen book by Kevin Nelson, which takes us through step by step how the FBI broke up a multimillion dollar forgery ring. I can't help but think that could happen in the "game used" side of the hobby, with what has been documented here.

I have to give Yankees-Steiner a big thumbs up for deciding to mark their game issued jerseys and blacklist those who they feel are buying the game issued items to re-sell as game used. Maybe 2007 will be the year that the NFL does the same, or at least comes up with some system to tell game issued apart from game used.

Everyone's hard work on this site, their research and sharing of expertise has made the hobby a better place. Thanks for that and let's keep it going in '07.

Ways the hobby is worse now than a year ago

The NFL Game Used Industry has spun out of control
In my opinion (this is just the mindset I have- everyone should decide their personal view) I will not buy a modern NFL star jersey unless it comes from the team or the NFL. There are too many questionable jerseys where the questions went unanswered to make me comfortable about buying them.
I can tell you all that people on this forum (including some who read, but don't post) have contacted the following about the people selling these pieces.
NFL Auctions (since they're selling the game cut jerseys which magically are turned into game used by other parties)
NFLPA (players association- I'm sure they're interested in these dealers who are trying to make money by doctoring jerseys of their players)
REEBOK (since someone is modifying their product and selling it as something else)
Let's see who steps up and ends this game. People are getting ripped off left and right and it must be stopped.

Another year has gone by and Lou Lampson still has not offered customers a way to contact him. No telephone number. No email address. No mailing address. Nothing. It's 2007, there's no excuse!

Historic Auctions has to answer questions about what they're seling to people. You can't just ignore them and pretend the questions are not there.

I think it's time ebay does away with private auctions. One of the things that allows people to buy game cuts and go undetected is to do it in an ebay auction where your user name will not be seen. (Also, private auctions make shill bidding easier since you cannot see who is bidding)

Sports Collectors Digest should actually report news. Not just what great things their advertisers are doing. They should not be afraid to report the facts of what's actually going on. I subscribe to SCD and basically I don't ever see them discussing any of the things talked about on the forum. Things are rosy in the SCD world, which gets pretty hard to read. Believe it or not, that can fool people into being more comfortable about spending their money than they should be.

If the excuse is "We would lose advertisers," read Sweet Spot. They manage to write about auction results and the controversial topics of the day and have ads from all of the major companies. They also have a notice in the back that says they will only accept advertising from reputable sources.

Those are my thoughts on where we are. What's your opinion?
Oh, and Happy New Year.

12-31-2006, 03:33 PM
As a big time collector of mlb game used flannels, and a long time lurker on this forum I wanted to add my 2 cents on the hobby over the last year. I think the reality is that in any ecosystem, both we the collectors and the dealers and auction houses both make up what is good and bad about our hobby.
On the upside in the last year:
1) More transparency. I think we are learning more about items than ever before, and people are taking the time to more and deeper and better research (not always right, but always interesting), and people are wanting quality. These are good trends. I believe these things directly have led to the price rises we have witnessed at least in the vintage jersey market this year.
2) The rise of forums. One of the things we have all believed is that the collectors in many cases know as much or more than the authenticators and dealers because we live deep in a very narrow subworld. These forums give collectors a place to go to chat in a safe and open environment and to share knowledge. I have met so many smart and great people through this crazy disease (ah, i mean hobby) and it is great to be able to have a place to share.
3) Rob Lifson's trusted bid system at REA. I have long been frustrated that when you place at maximum bid at certain auction houses it reaches that bid. I have had some employees come close to acknowledging that there are times when bad judgment has taken place. I really applaud Rob for taking a big step to help make the system more fair.
4) Finally i like the 10 minute closing rule per item. I hate the late snipe when something has been dead for 4 hours plus.

On the downside:
1) The rise in auction fees. I understand the need to grow revenues, but there are times when i am not certain what i am getting for these increase in fees. The best service clearly does not correlate to the highest fees.

2) Too much reliance on photo matching, and too much desire to have every jersey be a WS or famous jersey. We will never know most of the time, and those times where photo matching works, personally i believe you also need to have photo mismatching (ie some proof that other jerseys were different). I have seen some mistakes, and recently benefited from a mistake where a wrong photo match undervalued an item. I think you always have to do your homework.

3) I wish the MEARS jersey tag thing was still on line. For me, that was worth a lot, and i think is still one of the big holes in the industry. Trying to figure out year by year what tags the dodgers were using in the early 50's, or even the yankees, can be quite daunting.

4) The assumption that everyone is trying to rip us off, or that all dealers are corrupt. I know some were, but i know that many more are really just like us. The better relationship we have with them, the better service they provide. I count as friends many of the dealers and authenticators.

Sorry for the long thread.....

12-31-2006, 04:08 PM
In general - worse. GU items on the secondary market are harder to obtain which has led to more "modifying" of game issued or look-a likes, IMO, which has hurt the hobby.

12-31-2006, 05:09 PM
Is the game used hobby better off or worse off than a year ago?
Hello Eric,

Thanks for starting this thread. I think it is a great question. However, when I contemplated an answer I didn’t come up with either “better” or “worse”. Instead, the word that comes to my mind is “change”. While I will profess up front that I am probably biased when considering the marketplace, I think we are in the midst of a tremendous change in the hobby that will be playing out more dramatically as more people become aware of sites like Game Used Universe. Specifically, I think this site, and its participants, are on the forefront of what will create tremendous change in the hobby in the future.

Consider, for example, all the problems with the jerseys on the market today. Are these new problems or ones that have existed for some time? Have unscrupulous people only recently begun to doctor jerseys in the past year? Speaking from experience, I would have to say these problems have existed before. Only now greater numbers of people are starting to become aware of what is going on. How are they becoming aware….through sites like this one. In fact, the recognition of the problem and the desire to help collectors were the reasons Game Used Universe and the Game Used Forum were created. The problem is, for every person we are reaching through this site, there are others out there who don’t know what is going on and continue to purchase items that are, at best, “suspect”.

Consider also the situation for game used bat collectors. Until the efforts of GUU, this forum, and Vince Malta, the general colleting community had no direct access to one of the most critical variables in determining whether or not a bat was actually ever ordered (or used) by a player. Until now, the average collector had no direct access to the Louisville Slugger factory records and had to trust other people to let them know if a bat indeed matched the records for a given player. To your point, I think some of those that were trusted have taken liberties in interpreting the records ways that are inconsistent with the way the average collector thinks about the records. Now, for the first time ever, collectors can make up their own minds as to whether or not a bat matches the ordering records for a given player. Mike Specht put it this way in a previous thread “In my opinion, the release of these records represents the second most important event in the 'history' of collecting game used bats, the first being the willingness of H & B to initially grant access to the records in the mid-1990's.” I would tend to agree with that statement.

Similar problems exist regarding helmets, gloves, autographs, sports cards, etc. However, as more and more information gets disseminated to the market, collectors are becoming more empowered to make informed decisions about items they are purchasing. The sad part, in my mind, is that people who are unaware of these issues on the items they are purchasing today are the ones who are going to be left holding the bag as the market in general becomes more educated. That is, those who think they are getting a great deal today will be very disappointed if they ever try to resell these items in the future to a marketplace that likely won’t see their items quite the same way. It’s like the guy on the HBO Real Sports segment who had a room full of autograph items he bought on eBay for his kids. What percent of those items are really legitimate? Now that the people from HBO have showed him the Mickey Mantle autographed hat he was bidding on was likely forged, has he considered the fact that many of the other items he previously acquired had similar types of authentication? I guess if he’s going to keep the items forever he can simply tell himself those items are real. He can also probably show all his friends who visit his house how he has a great collection of autographed items. However, if the market becomes more educated, what will happen if he ever tries to resell those items? In my opinion, he may be in for a rude awakening. At the end of the day, the collectors who are buying these suspect items will be the ones who stand to lose.

Lastly, I agree with the poster who wrote that not everyone is trying to rip off collectors and that not all dealers are corrupt. In the end, I have a vision where collectors can discriminate the good merchandise from the bad. In that vision, those who are not trying to rip people off, but are unknowingly selling suspect merchandise, will correct the problem. On the other hand, those who continue to assume collectors are ignorant and try to deceive and take advantage of them will be forced to go away. That is my vision and I think there are others out there who share it as well.

I would love to hear other people’s thoughts and I look forward to working with others on this site to make the hobby better for anyone who is trying to do the right thing.

Here is to a Happy and Healthy New Year for everyone!

Christopher Cavalier
Game Used Universe

01-01-2007, 03:15 PM
(1) I was about to say worse and then I remembered a similar question a while back at SigningsHotline.com about the autograph hobby. Everyone there said worse. I replied "better" because, despite the many forgeries,where else but right now could I go to a show and get any autograph in person? Prior to the 80's how in the hell was I going to get anyones autograph unless it was by chance. This brings us to this hobby. The game used collector today,with disposable cash,knowledge and just a computer,can amass quite a private collection that before was not possible. This open Forum helps a lot.
(2) In reference to SCD, if we edited and compiled our own monthly newspaper based on all topics discussed that month,that included photos and appropriate advertising we would make SCD look like a childrens magazine in comparison.
(3) I never understood the explanation given for private auctions(for our safety!). When was the last time any bidder was pestered as a result of bidding in an open auction?

01-03-2007, 10:11 PM
Eric, This is a good Thread. I have a Related Story.

Fall of 2005 I was looking at a T.Gwynn Gamer, from an Ebay Vendor. I e-mailed the Seller, asking ONE Question, I got a Crappy Attitude. Needless to say, I didn`t buy. Personally, if I`m layin` down some serious cash, I`m gonna ask a question. This is simply an ATTITUDE Check!

Recently, a Seller From Ohio, told me about this Forum. I found a Thread about a Seller "Doctoring" Bats. I kept reading it & Checked out all the "Photo-Matching" Etc... This guy (it appeared) had turned an "Issued" Bat, into a "Game used" Bat. He basically was Busted by the Guys on this Forum.
I got a Kick out of the Guys "going off" on this Guy. Personally, If People are Gonna Scam, they Deserve it.

In Regards to "Better off, or Worse" it`s Difficult to answer. Increased Knowledge means Better Decisions for me, but also means everyone else Snaps-Up Bargains etc...

When it comes to the "Almighty Dollar" there will ALWAYS be Questionable Ethics...

There are Sellers on here that I`ve purchased from, off Ebay etc...Some of them have been pretty Cool.


01-03-2007, 10:19 PM
Forgot to add,
The Same Seller that listed the Gwynn Bat,on Ebay... was the same Guy "Doctoring" Bats.