Like many collectors, we are disturbed by the recent allegations of altered cards being sold in great quantities at auction, and we are grateful to those hobbyists who discovered the magnitude of the problem and brought it to light. It is our hope that those responsible are prosecuted.
The hobby places a premium on cards in exceptional condition because the cards have ostensibly survived that way since their date of issue. Cards that have developed flaws in condition over the years are typically discounted accordingly by the hobby. It has long been our belief that any process designed to disguise or remove wear or degradation that has happened to a card should be called what it is: an alteration. We understand that some alterations are considered acceptable by many hobbyists, and that some alterations are virtually undetectable. However, we still consider them alterations.
Love of the Game Auctions has long wished to conduct a reputable auction with reputable collectors and consignors. As such, we reserve the right to refuse to approve bidders for any reason. While our bidder and consignor lists are strictly confidential, we have, since our inception, refused bidder and consignor privileges to those proven to be actively engaged in card alteration, or in actively facilitating fraud in the hobby. It is important that we reiterate this commitment at this time.
Sadly, this latest round of allegations necessitates that we adjust our own policies to provide our customers with further assurance of our dedication to the hobby and its long-established standards. Therefore, effective immediately, Love of the Game Auctions will institute the following procedures:
- Any graded card valued over $500 will be reviewed carefully by LOTG under magnification, along with halogen and long-wave ultraviolet lighting. Should we discover any issues with which we are uncomfortable, the card will be resubmitted to the grading company for review or returned to the consignor at their request.
- Any individual card sold in our auction will be scanned at high resolution (300 dpi or greater) and watermarked versions of those scans will be made available for download during the auction so that collectors can review the largest scans possible. Should any hobbyist discover compelling evidence that a card in our auction has been altered, we will withdraw the card immediately.
- Love of the Game Auctions frequently receives consignments of ungraded cards that we feel are “fresh” to the hobby, either due to having never been graded or having been graded many years ago. Cards of this nature that we submit for grading ourselves will be clearly marked in our auction, so that collectors are aware that they are bidding on a card that has been relatively uncirculated in the hobby.
While it is unfortunate that we have no choice but to add layers of scrutiny to the auction process due to the unethical behavior of others, we also feel it is the best thing to do for the hobby. While we can never eliminate 100% of undisclosed alterations, and would never pledge to be able to catch them all or be mistake-free, we can establish procedures that help us identify and remove such items from our auction. We hope the hobby can soon move past this regrettable phase.