Beckett, utilizing their journalistic prowess, covered the fake “game-used” items story. Much like most of the industry, however, they are too invested in these cards to really shed light on the implications of this story. They want us to continue to trust the card manufacturers and their claims that certain items are game-used. Why? I have no reason to trust companies like Upper Deck or Panini, or Topps for that matter. These are businesses who are trying to make buck, their main concern is not the viability of these cards on the secondary market. To the extent that Topps has the MLB license, and can utilize the MLB’s authentication program, they may be the best bet, but even they may be going to third parties who, if they are anything like a large portion of the dirtbags who deal in high-end sports memorabilia, may not be portraying their products accurately.
I understand that all collectors want to protect their investments and, therefore, want to have faith that their game-used memorabilia is the real deal, but we need to be cautious here. As the Beckett article alluded to, we have been dealing with these issues since 2000 at least and they are not bound to go away. A safer investment is probably autographs where the companies can guarantee their authenticity or full game-used jerseys or bats that are authenticated by the MLB.