Friday, November 30, 2012

Counterfeit Alert! 1972 Topps Venezuelan Stamps

I do not know much about this issue and I have not verified this myself, but there appears to be some counterfeits that have made it into the market.  As background, for several years now I have been slowly putting together a 1966 Topps Venezuelan Baseball card set.  I'm nowhere near half way done, but I figure it's likely to be a decades long project.  That being said, several years ago I decided to join a Yahoo Group called Venezuela Topps Baseball Card Forum to help me along in my quest.  Admittedly, I haven't been very active, but I do appreciate getting notices like the one I got today.

A Venezuelan Baseball collector going by the name JA just shared his discovery of some fakes.  Read what he said below.  A word of warning: I have not verified this and this set isn't something I chase after anyway, but I thought it was important enough to note.

As always, be careful out there.  And remember, "Buy the Card, Not the Holder!"
After a lengthy discussion on Collectors Universe, and then some investigating of my own, it has been determined with 100% certainty that the vast majority of the 1972 stamps that exist in high grade are indeed counterfeits. These high grade stamps were all introduced into the hobby via eBay by a seller named Gilberto Gil. Many of these stamps were sold over the years, and thousands of dollars were made by the counterfeiters. Since so few of these stamps existed in any condition prior to the introduction of these counterfeits, the major third party grading companies (Mainly PSA & Beckett) didn't even know what they were looking at, and subsequently graded each and every one of them.

The hobby is now proliferated with these stamps. I myself own several of them, my investment into the fakes is likely upwards of $2,000. I'm going to eat it rather than try to unload known counterfeits back into the market.

After examining some lower grade ones I knew to be originals, I gave a closer look to the mint looking ones from Gilberto. They were very well done, but I started to identify the distinct differences and came up with 4 significant things.

1) The entire green background is printed in half-tone when it was solid ink on the originals.
2) All of the green background borders are perfectly square with precision that only a computer could provide.
3) The black ink is indeed printed as a solid color, but the font does not match exactly.
4) The images are very grainy but printed with high density half-tone, which would indicate they were likely scanned off originals.

I also went through and scanned several cards, both originals and fakes and put together most of the alphabet so the font differences can be seen.
(pic link)

The above Pete Rose in a BVG holder appears to be one of those cards that is a fake.  As you can see from the font example above, the Pete Rose card uses the fat style font indicated as being counterfeits.  Below are three examples of these stamps that I believe are real.

BTW, I want to extend a big shout-out to this collector (JA) for not only notifying the collecting community, but also his willingness to bite the bullet and not sell his cards back to uninformed collectors.

UPDATE: A forum thread at Collectors Universe talks more about the fakes.  Check it out here.

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Dodgers Blog Kiosk: 11/30/2012

Leaf just released another Baseball card set featuring prospects called 2012 Ultimate Leaf Draft, and it includes the above autographed Yasiel Puig card.
  • RIP, David Courtney.  He was the LA Kings Public Address Announcer, and a familiar voice to any fan who has attended a home game over the past 25 years.  Mayor's Manor does a great writeup, and so does Jacob Surly at Surly & Scribe.
  • Via Mark Saxon at ESPN, free agent Zach Grienke met with the Dodgers this week.
  • Steve Dilbeck at the LA Times checked in with Vin Scully on his 85th birthday yesterday.
  • I say "NO" to AJ Pierzynski!  MLB Trade Rumors has some news on the Dodgers apparent interest.
  • Panini shared a bunch of preview photos from a new Baseball set they are releasing soon called 2012 Prime Cuts Baseball.  Go here to see them all; including more Dodgers cards then the ones below.  This set goes live today.
  • This will shake up the sports auction world.  Via Sports Collectors Daily, Bill Mastro will be pleading guilty!  He's a heavyweight in the hobby.
  • Are you starved for some hockey?  Why not the Bikini Hockey League?  Check out a preview at Puck Daddy.
  • The Kings just put together a great tribute video to David Courtney.  See it below.

Video Link:

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2012 Bowman Draft Picks & Prospects Baseball- Dodgers Cards

The release of new Baseball card sets never stops.  Out this week is the 2012 Bowman Draft Picks and Prospects Baseball cards, and as the title of the set suggest it focuses primarily on the up-and-comers.  Unfortunately, only a handful of Dodgers are in the set- which shows you how depleted our farm system really is right now.  Check them all out below.

The Elian Herrera card below is a Red Ice parallel card that is numbered to just 25 copies.  It is a part of the base Rookie Cards set.

#51 Elian Herrera

The only Dodger represented in the Draft Picks Autographed insert set is recent draftee Corey Seager.

#BCA-CS Corey Seager

As a part of the Draft Picks base set is the card of Jesmuel Valentin.  He is the only Dodger represented here.

#BDPP11 Jesmuel Valentin

One current Dodger is in the set as a part of the Dual Top Ten Picks insert card set.  It is of Clayton Kershaw, and he is paired with Padres pitching prospect Max Fried.  There is a also a dual signed card, but I have yet to see one.

#TP-FL Max Fried - Clayton Kershaw

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Dodger Correspondence: Stu Nahan Writes to the Students

Stu Nahan has a special place in Los Angeles sports.  He began broadcasting sports on the airwaves and on tv in 1968 until his retirement in 1999.  Nahan even played the part in Hollywood- appearing as broadcaster in the Rocky movies and as himself in Fast Times at Ridgemont High.  Dodger fans will remember him for his pre and post game radio shows on KFWB.

In the 90's Stu Nahan became President of the Southern California Sports Broadcasters organization, and I think the letter below displays how important he felt his role as a leader in journalism was.  He certainly was a strong advocate of getting a proper education in the field. 

Check out what he had to say to a teacher and his students about studying journalism in school.
Dear Mr. Becker and Students at the La Joya School.

Your letter about the feeling of some of your students regarding a future in journalism caused me to respond.  I have been a television sportscaster for some forty years... I have done it all... NFL and NHL play by play... Olympic Hockey... College Basketball... and almost 40 years of nightly sports reporting on television.

And yet one of the greatest regrets I have in my life is that I didn't study journalism in school.  I was lucky... quitting playing pro hockey to a new career in TV in 1955.  But that has all changed... journalism is a must if one is to succeed in this business nowadays.  One has to write what one thinks... what one sees... and how one relates to same.

Bottom line... journalism is necessary if you are even thinking about a career in this business in the future... And race, color, creed has no boundary as to who will rise to the top.  Good luck.
Well said, Stu.

I came across this letter on eBay.  See that auction item here.
(Auction Link)

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Collection: Davey Lopes Fan-Favorites Autographed Card

Davey Lopes will live forever in Dodgers folklore.  He came up to the club in the early 70's and quickly cemented himself into the starting lineup as our everyday second baseman.  Soon, Lopes would be surrounded by three other infielders that he would play with for 9 consecutive seasons.  Lopes, Cey, Garvey and Russell would be the longest tenured complete infield in Baseball history. 

Davey played in 4 postseasons with the Dodgers, winning the Championship in 1981.  His greatest playoff year, though, was in 1978.  He helped defeat the Phillies in the NL Championship series by batting .389 with 2 home runs and 5 RBI's in 5 games.  Then, in the World Series against the Yankees be belted 2 home runs and had 5 RBI's in Game 1 of the series, and hit another home run in Game 6.  Unfortunately, his efforts were all for naught. The Dodgers would fail to take home the crown that season.

Featured here is a 2004 Topps All-Time Fan Favorites autographed card of Davey Lopes in my collection.

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