This is a long read but may be well worth your while, it is an excerpt from something I am compiling.
As lovers of sports, we idolize our heroes we live and die by our favorite teams won and loss record. Collecting memorabilia is nothing new to the sports enthusiatst. With the advent of the internet and online auctions, accessibility to collecting has taken on a whole new dimension. What used to be something you did on a weekend, by going to a card show or an autograph signing has taken on a new dimension. Twenty four hours a day seven days a week, you can find just about anything you maybe interested in collecting online. From cards to autographs, bottle caps to jerseys it’s there if you want it.
Unfortunately with this easy access comes a price. The internet provides a level of anonymity for thieves and cons that has never before been seen. Unscrupolous vendors can now reach into your pocket from around the globe. These people can set up an identity sell thousands of dollars worth of bogus products, shut down and open up again under a new name within a matter days. Some may even operate several different selling accounts at once.
Law enforcement agencies are almost powerless to stop them. Sites like eBay are unable to police every posted article of merchandise. So who is going to protect you against these new age cyber villains? You, that’s who. The only defense you and I have is to become educated. You need to be able to spot a bogus sale when you see it, you need to adhere to the rule, that if it’s to good to be true it can’t be real. Learn to spot the telltale signs of a bogus seller and you’ll save yourselves hundreds, if not thousands of dollars and a lot of aggravation.
If you follow these simple rules before buying a Vintage Card on an internet auction you are likely not to get ripped off.
1. Never buy from a seller that has private Feedback. Why would an honest seller want to hide their feedback?
2. Never bid on an auction where the buyer’s ID is kept private. The other bidders are likely to be shills.
3. Never buy from a seller that does not have a return policy. Honest dealers will always stand behind their products.
4. If buying a graded card make sure it comes in one of these holders PSA, BGS, BVG, SGC, or GAI any other companies grading vintage cards just do not offer the expertise of the companies mentioned.
5. Research your seller do as much homework as you can on the seller you are buying from.
6. Seek a second opinion. There are plenty of discussion boards all over the net for people interested in collecting Vintage Cards.
7. If your not sure don’t buy there will always be another card.
The cards that most commonly are counterfeited in the hobby include: 1933 Goudey Babe Ruth, 1933 Goudey Nap Lajoie, T206 Honus Wagner, and the 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle. These cards represent the Holy Grail of Vintage card collecting and one should approach buying them on the net with extreme caution. They are offered on a daily basis, all you have to do is a search.
The T206 Honus Wagner Card would be the jewel of any vintage card collection. This highly sought after card is as rare as a baseball card gets. Rumor has it that after it was printed as a premium for cigarette products Wagner, had the card removed because he did not want children buying cigarettes to obtain his image. Since that time there have been 50-75 known acknowledged authentic examples of this card.
The 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle #311 The best example of this card a PSA-8 which sold at the Robert Edwards Auction in 2000 for a record $1.27 million. In 2004 a PSA PR-FR 1 sold for $110,000 at the spring Mastronet Auction. As cards go a PSA 1 is as bad as it gets. This means the card has creases, stains, maybe a partial tear, but it is still recognizable. So what would make you think that you can buy one online in a decent condition for a few hundred dollars?
The 1933 Babe Ruth Goudey #53 of note there are three other Babe Ruth cards in the set #144, 149, and 181 which are also regularly reproduced. The Babe, the Bambino, the Sultan of Swat, the most storied baseball player ever. Ruth put baseball back on the map, what true baseball card collector would not want to own this piece of cardboard. With the 1933 Goudeys, the red printing on the front of the card tends to be "ghosted" onto the back surface, standard size of the card should be 2 3/8 inches by 2 7/8 inches.
The 1933 Goudey Nap Lajoie The story behind this card is plain and simple supply versus demand. In 1933 Goudey did not produce this card and therefore the set did not contain card number 106. In 1934 when collectors complained, Goudey produced and sent the card to those collectors who asked for it. The card has a 1933 front with a 1934 back. To date there are about 100 known examples of this card.
The Top List of Counterfieted Cards includes
1. 1933 Goudey Babe Ruth Cards #’s 144, 149, 181
2. 1933 Goudey Lou Gehrig #160
3. 1933 Sport Kings Babe Ruth #2
4. 1948 Leaf Joe Dimaggio #1
5. 1948 Leaf Babe Ruth #3
6. 1949 Bowman Jackie Robinson #50
7. 1951 Topps Willie Mays Rookie #305
8. 1951 Bowman Mickey Mantle Rookie #253
9. 1952 Topps Willie Mays Rookie #251
10. 1953 Topps Jackie Robinson #1
11. 1954 Topps Hank Aaron Rookie #128
12. 1955 Topps Roberto Clemente Rookie #164
13. 1955 Topps Sandy Koufax #123
14. 1968 Topps Nolan Ryan Rookie #177
15. 1968 Topps Bobby Orr Rookie (Hockey)
16. 1986 Fleer Michael Jordan Rookie #57 (Basketball)
17. 1979-80 O-Pee-Chee Wayne Gretzky Rookie #18 (Hockey)
18. 1963 Topps #537 Pete Rose RC
19. 1969 Topps #250 Reggie Jackson RC
20. 1980 Topps #482 Rickey Henderson RC
21. 1982 Donruss #405 Cal Ripken Jr. RC
22. 1982 Topps #21 Cal Ripken Jr. RC
23. 1985 Topps # 401 Mark McGwire RC
When looking to purchase these cards be very careful whom you are dealing with. Purchase them in a graded condition.