The Beckett Blog


Hobby stories: Game-used jersey authentication an issue by Chris Olds

Here’s a look at two stories with hobby-related ties in the mainstream media recently …

Chicago Sun-Times: Shoeless Joe Jackson Hall of Fame jersey a fake

Yahoo! Sports: Sports marketer Mike Ornstein awaits sentencing on fraud charges

Olds’ Take: It’s unfortunate in the Jackson case that one of the greatest sports memorabilia collections, the Barry Halper collection, had an example of a bad item show up in Cooperstown. Even expert collectors with plenty of industry ties like the late Halper will make mistakes when buying items. (It’s no Black Betsy, but it reminds me of that one Nick Swisher game-used bat I bought … I bet you have something in your collection you’re not 110 percent certain on. Then again, our collections probably aren’t destined for Cooperstown.)

As for the Ornstein case, it’s one that is wide in scope for the NFL — but primarily for the ticket scalping scandal. The game-used jersey aspect isn’t good, either. Yet, at the same time, it probably shouldn’t be unexpected as there are a lot of modern-day game-used jerseys out there that show little to no use at all to distinguish it from another game-issue jersey. Game-issue could, in theory, be quite plentiful. The card companies have to do their homework — and they do — while buying from trusted/approved sources. Unfortunately, if a player agent isn’t a trusted source … who is? Nobody is closer to an athlete.

In an era where rookie photo shoot jerseys are used en masse on memorabilia cards — even the high-end products — this shouldn’t sting as badly as it might.

Chris Olds is the editor of Beckett Baseball. Have a comment, question or idea? Send an e-mail to him at colds@beckett.com. Follow him on Twitter by clicking here.

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