30 Day Baseball Card Challenge

Friday, April 1, 2011

The Hobby Tale of an April Fool...

This blog documents a lot of my positive hobby experiences... such as my favorite cards, awesome fellow bloggers, collecting stories from the 80's & 90's, sweet PC additions, and of course successful blog trades.

However... today's post won't be focusing on any of those things. Since today is April Fools' Day... I figured I talk about some hobby experiences that have left me feeling like a fool.

First up... this wonderful autographed photo of Vince Carter.

Okay... maybe I chose the wrong adjective. This is far from wonderful. It's auto-penned... in other words... a machine signed this photo. If you're wondering how I know... it's because I received three of these photos when I signed up to be in his fan club. All three autographs are exactly the same... and have the same squiggles in the same spots.

I love the fact that on the fan club letter, it states that I'll be receiving a photo with Vince's Official Signature. Too bad he didn't actually sign it. I was such a fool for ordering three memberships for $25 a piece. Back in the day (early 2000's), Vinsanity was taking the NBA by storm and I thought I was getting the deal of the century. I should have listened to my father when he said... If it's too good to be true... it probably is.

Oh one more thing about the Carter autographs before I move on to my next story... this photo is the nicest of my three. The other two have smeared ink marks on the photo from being stacked without adequate drying time. But it gets better... I promise.

The next story is by far the one I'm most embarrassed to admit. During the early 90's... before Sports Card Forum, Card Collector's World, or any of the other trading forums... there were the AOL message boards. It was definitely during the peak of my collecting days and I was making at least 10 trades a week.

One of the trades I made included this beauty:

Yep... you guessed it. It's a fake Hank Aaron autograph. I read that he signed all of these autographs in blue ink and that the hologram on the back is not in the shape of a home plate. Others have told me that the autograph itself is laughable... which makes me feel like even a bigger fool.

Worst part about it... is that I'm sure I gave up at least a couple of hundred dollars in inserts. I sure hope karma comes around and bites that guy in the butt.

My last tale is the least expensive of the three... but it's the most recent. Actually... I'm not 100% sure that I've been ripped off... so maybe someone out there can help me find out.

About five weeks ago, I picked up 1934 Park Drive Tobacco card of Douglas Fairbanks. Why would I buy this? Well... I've never owned a tobacco card... I remember seeing Mr. Fairbanks in Robin Hood when I was younger... and it cost me only $1.15 (+ $1.35 shipping).

$2.50 for a card that's over 75 years old. When the card arrived... it was in beautiful condition. In fact that's what freaked me out. Once again... it soaked it... If it's too good to be true... it probably is.

My question is... have I been fooled again? Are there any non-sport card collectors out there who know anything about this set? Have they been reprinted?

The Ebay seller assured me that this is an original card that happens to be in amazing condition. But down inside... I feel like I'm an April Fool.

So today is your chance to celebrate... and share you greatest "I've been fooled" story.

C'mon don't be embarrassed... chances are you didn't trade hundreds of dollars of inserts for a $1 card with a fake signature on it.

TGIF... Hopefully I'll find a few hidden treasures at the flea market tomorrow... then Sunday I'm off to watch Ichiro take on my beloved Oakland A's.

Have a great weekend everyone. Sayonara!


  1. We'll if it's a fake at least you didn't pay too much

    Go A's :)

  2. konnichi wa --I'm too cheap to spend money so I haven't been fooled--but I'm sure I could have been--also collect some Japanese related athlete stuff--check me out http://hockeykazi.blogspot.com/

  3. Man, I was just reading up on fake Hank Aaron autographs. Did you know that there's a long time rumor out there that he has 99% of his TTM requests signed by someone else? I have a ttm I bought for $3 from someone that looked legit to me (and I would still argue it looks quite like a lot of his authentic stuff), but has been certified fake by blowout members. That's sort of a fool.

    My biggest fool just happened as well - paid $6 gift dlvd for a Seneca Wallace Ultimate Auto /250, which is a DAMN GOOD PRICE for that card. Too good to be true. A month and a half later he's banned from Blowout and emailing me once a week to ask for my address because "the card keeps getting sent back." Now I haven't heard from him in 8 days...april fools on me!

  4. Nathan - Yeah... it still doesn't feel to be made a fool though.

    Kazi - Love the blog... I'm a follower now... look forward to reading future posts.

    SpastikMooss - Thiefs, scam artists, or whatever you want to call them is just another black mark on the hobby. I'm sorry to hear that. Hopefully karma does her job and justice prevails. Better yet... I hope the guy sends the Wallace, so you have a nice PC addition.

  5. I have the same fan club story but mine is Penny Hardaway, I signed up for his Fan Club and included was an official "signed" photo. I was around 10 at the time, so I cherished it and thought it was hand signed but as I got older I realized it was obviously auto-penned. Luckily I had already added a couple UD autographs so I wasn't that broken up about it.

  6. Chris P - The curse of the autopen... I'm glad you were able to replace the fan club autograph with some UDA autos. One of these days, I'd like to add one of his UDA photos to my collection.

  7. I'm no expert when it comes to British tobacco cards, but those guys across the Atlantic have been major collectors of tobacco cards for a long time. So, finding cards in great shape is not a surprise.

    That being said, tobacco card collecting had been so large there it was common for collecting clubs to re-issue (reprint) various vintage British tobacco cards. Without having a chance to see the card myself with a magnifying glass I couldn't tell you if it is a vintage piece or a reprint.

    One rule of thumb is that early 19th century cards (all paper products in general) lacked phosphorescence. Printers started adding chemicals to paper to "shine" more around the 1940's to 1950's in America, but I have no idea when this started in Britain (so this rule may not apply to your card). If you take a blacklight to any true vintage card you will find it does not glow due to the lack of phosphorescence.

  8. Ernest - I'll have to do the black light trick... thanks for the tip. I just have to hunt a black light down now.

  9. I don't have any card fooled stories but I have plenty of ebay fooled ones. One almost cost me $300. I knew I was in trouble when asking for my tracking number I got a response like" Gib mi cuple daiz, I git tit 2 u, prumiz.

  10. kev2380 - awesome story... that cracked me up.