In the fine art world, masterpieces can be restored and not one yacht-owning billionaire bats an eye. But, when it comes to baseball cards, originality is everything.
Recently, purists came to suspect that PWCC, a card-selling service, allows corrupt sellers on its platform. Now, the collectible world is in full lockdown mode, leaving the legitimacy of a prominent marketplace and its long-standing grading system in question.
Hug your collections a little tighter today
The scandal started when collectors had reason to believe that a 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle card had been altered by a seller through PWCC and asked that it be removed for sale.
But PWCC cried semantics, arguing the card had gone through a “conservation process,”NOT an alteration — and you better believe purists went into a collective tizzy.
If they had justified a spit shine on the Mantle, how many other shady sellers had PWCC let through?
Fraud in collectible markets is anything but rare.
Altered cards are actually on the rise in the marketplace. Some baseball cards can fetch thousands of dollars more than similar cards with scuffs or worn edges.
But sellers can easily improve the appearance of a card by trimming its edges or removing residue, and, unlike the fine art world, there isn’t an “expert” in every city who can verify the authenticity of an “Oil Can” Boyd rookie card.