30 Day Baseball Card Challenge

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Chronicles of Cardfoolery #2: Vague COA's

"If it's too good to be true, it probably is."

I've heard this quote time and time again throughout my lifetime. And today I'm going to share an example with all of you.

Earlier this month, I found this 2010-11 Panini R&S memorabilia card of Tim Duncan. I don't like the Spurs, but I've always admired Duncan because of the way he carries himself. I know there are people who consider him boring, but that's what I like about him. While a lot of players of his skill suffer from diarrhea of the mouth, The Big Fundamental lets his actions do all of the talking.

So when I came across this memorabilia card at an online card shop for a couple of dollars, I figured it'd be a nice addition to my collection. And I was partially correct.

The card itself is okay and features a decent design that's typical of Panini. On the back of the card there's a brief write-up on Duncan and is serial numbered to 299.

You're probably asking yourself... why is this card a part of my cardfoolery series? Well if you look carefully you'll see what I saw right away:

The enclosed swatch is guaranteed by Panini America, Inc.

What does this mean? It's guaranteed to be a piece of fabric? It's guaranteed to be black? It's guaranteed to be misleading?

Don't get me wrong... I understand that the manufacturers want to be vague to cover themselves, but this is going too far. This card is the epitome of "laziness" and in my book, it's foolish (hence the induction into my cardfoolery series).

At the very least it should say: This piece of memorabilia was game-worn in an NBA game by the athlete pictured. Or if companies insist on using event-worn jerseys, then at least give us this: This piece of memorabilia was worn in an NBA sponsored event by the athlete pictured.

Card manufacturers would be wise to consider the card industry's future. And right now, things aren't looking too bright when it comes to memorabilia/relic cards. The fact is, 99% of them don't hold their value due to overproduction and ill-defined COA's. So let's get the industry back on track. Here, I'll even help you guys out free of charge. Here's what a quality COA on a memorabilia card looks like:

Okay, so it's a baseball card COA. Well, I couldn't find a decent basketball card COA in my tradebait. This card's COA covers most of the bases. It states that the piece of fabric was cut from a jersey worn by the specified player in a real MLB game. Plus they take the time to show you the actual jersey before it was cut up. All they need to do is tell us the date the game took place and maybe a description of the player's performance and you'd have the perfect COA.

Now was that so difficult? I promise you (card manufacturers), that if you produced cards like these... you'd attract more collectors to your products and increase the chance your cards would hold their value... which in the end would benefit all of us in the long run. What do the rest of my fellow hobbyists think?

What's your opinion on memorabilia cards with vague COA's?

Happy Thursday everyone. The weekend is just around the corner. Sayonara!


  1. I absolutely hate it, and I for the life of me don't understand why and how card companies can defend this practice. I love early Donruss game used cards cause they do give you a picture of the item they use as well as state specifically what the game used swatch is. All companies used to do this and stopped. To me, that what makes older game used cards more appealing, you at least know what you're getting. I would like to know from the companies themselves why they switched to a more vague COA, don't think I've seen an answer to this.

  2. I've tried to stop buying them. That's why I love a) my Seneca Wallace collection (all of his jerseys came from back when jerseys were honest) and b) COMC, where you can check card backs to see whether they're authentic or not. I've sold or traded off most of my non-specific relics because I don't like them so much.

  3. When push comes to shove, I've never let the wording affect my purchase of sports relic cards (entertainment cards like Americana/movie/etc matter more), but that's because I rarely spend more than $5 on any given relic card.

    On the other hand, I don't know why manufacturer's can't keep track of their game-used material better. I understand some of the older jerseys might not be able to be pinpointed to a specific game or event, but how can they not guarantee it was a game-used jersey worn by Player X in 2011?

  4. If the playoff corporation does not exist anymore does that mean the card is still guaranteed

  5. If the playoff corporation does not exist anymore does that mean the card is still guaranteed

  6. Tommy: Let's think about this for a sec, Ted. Why would somebody put a guarantee on a box? Hmmm, very interesting.

    Customer: Go on, I'm listening.

    Tommy: Here's the way I see it, Ted. Guy puts a fancy guarantee on a box 'cause he wants you to feel all warm and toasty inside.

    Customer: Yeah, makes a man feel good.

    Tommy: 'Course it does. Why shouldn't it? Ya figure you put that little box under your pillow at night, the Guarantee Fairy might come by and leave a quarter, am I right, Ted?
    [chuckles until he sees that Ted is not laughing]

    Customer: [impatiently] What's your point?

    Tommy: The point is, how do you know the fairy isn't a crazy glue sniffer? "Building model airplanes" says the little fairy; well, we're not buying it. He sneaks into your house once, that's all it takes. The next thing you know, there's money missing off the dresser, and your daughter's knocked up. I seen it a hundred times.

    Customer: But why do they put a guarantee on the box?

    Tommy: Because they know all they sold ya was a guaranteed piece of shit. That's all it is, isn't it? Hey, if you want me to take a dump in a box and mark it guaranteed, I will. I got spare time. But for now, for your customer's sake, for your daughter's sake, ya might wanna think about buying a quality product from me.

    Customer: [pause] Okay, I'll buy from you.

  7. chris - agree 100%.

    spastikmooss - i've considered stopping myself, but i still like/appreciate the concept of a game used card (even if they're overproduced). i'm hoping that manufacturers figure out their coa issues sooner than later though.

    ryan g - exactly! (agreeing with you that companies should be able to pinpoint which game the jersey was used in, when it comes to current players)

    john - lol... and if a tree falls in a forest and nobody is around to hear it, does it make a sound?

    spankee - love me some tommy boy! wish i had remembered this scene before i wrote the article... well played sir!

  8. Spankee wins this comment section...lol fits the situation perfectly and Chris Farley was the best. I may borrow it someday for the Blowout forum boards.

    As for buying stuff that isn't game specific...I think it'd be harder for me to do if I collected A) a lot of the more recent stuff or B) sports where panini dominates like basketball (since panini is notorious for the nonspecific guarantee). Luckily most of the stuff I buy is from older sets (like 2006 and before) and is from just baseball and football, so there's plenty of playoff and donruss to whet my appetite.