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  1. #1

    Bought an '81 Topps Joe Montana listed as nrmt. How much will THIS drop it's grade...

    Hey everybody, I need some input please. I call upon the fine members of SCF to give me some much needed feedback on what I should do.

    On Friday, I received the 1981 Topps Joe Montana rookie card I purchased on Ebay. The listing stated it was near mint, and the scan of the card looked beautiful (it was of the front only). There was no mention of any issue with the card's condition, and the seller has a spotless rating. Additionally, it the card had a 14 day return for refund period, so I went ahead and bought it.

    When I received the card, and prepared to give it a once over, upon flipping it over, I noticed the remainder of a line drawn in pencil on the back of the card. It's not long, maybe 1/16th of an inch. But it gets better (or worse). Somebody took an eraser, and tried to get rid of the pencil marking, so at one point it was longer. This obviously messes up the surface of the back of the card. The area where the eraser was applied is noticeably lighter, and rough (especially under 10x magnification) . Now, I know that Beckett and PSA consider the front surface, edges, corner and centering. I've also seen mention of the centering on the back meeting a minimum requirement, and that only very minor gum stains can be on the card without it being downgraded. PSA will also further mark cards as PD (physical damage), or mk (mark) on the card, which would obviously lower what I could get for it if I intended to sell it. I make sure that the cards I buy meet a certain standard in case I want to one day have them graded, or need to/want to sell them. And if I don't grade them, I still expect them to meet that standard. I spend a lot of money on my cards, and don't feel I should have to settle.

    Here are two scans of the card, front and back. You will see the eraser mark/pencil mark below the 'M' and 'o' in Joe's last name.

    1.) Upon looking at the scans, is it the consensus of SCF members that if sent in for grading, the mark and surface change due to the eraser would drop the overall score below that of near mint? If it were the front of the card, there would be no question in my mind. But when it comes to the back, I've not had any experience with how the grading guidelines are applied.

    2.) Second, if I do decide to return it, how do I enter in the feedback for the purchase? I don't feel misled per se, as these issues will arise with cards that are 30 years old. Hell, when I was a kid, I had the same card, and wrote my initials on the back (I was all of 10! LOL). I don't want to leave negative feedback as I feel I am partly responsible for not asking the seller for a scan of the back, or about any issues with the back. Usually I am quite proactive, but in this instance, I didn't feel it necessary. Do I leave neutral feedback? Or do I leave positive feedback to the effect of "card had mark on back, seller happily refunded money. Would do business again"? Or something to that effect. I know how hard this seller has worked to build a perfect reputation, and do not want to ruin it. He sells in pretty high volume, so it's quite possible he never even looked at the back. Because honestly, if it weren't for the mark and eraser-ing, the card would be on it's way to PSA. It's beautiful (as you can see from the scan). The corners and edges are really, really nice. The top to bottom centering is perfect, and it's only slightly off to the right. The surface is clean save for some minor whitening (which is commonplace with early 80s Topps). It would be an easy 8, maybe an 8.5.

    What would you all do? I will give this a few days before returning it, unless you all feel I could still get a good grade on it.

    Thank you, everybody!!!

    Last edited by the 'stache; 10-30-2012 at 05:20 AM.

  2. #2
    As far as I know they will give the card a numerical grade based on the condition but the grade will also carry a "mk" designation for the mark. This would substantially lower the resale value. Other than the mark the card looks really nice, so depends on what you paid for it.

    As for your second question, since the seller has perfect feedback id give them the opportunity to refund the transaction and base your feedback on how they respond.

    Good luck with whatever you decide to do!

  3. #3
    I would definitely think that surface grade would take a hit. The other possibility would be that grading companies may not grade it at all due to the fact that the card has been altered in some way.

  4. #4
    I'd send it back. The card looks trimmed to me from the scans.

  5. #5
    It's not trimmed, marinocollector, but I could see why you would think that from the scan. I also bought a 1981 Topps Steve Deberg to compare the card to, and they're identical in size.

    27tinman, I didn't think about them designating the card as altered. That's a good point. We typically think of "altered" as something to repair damage (a corner, or coloring to make the card look better). But erasing a pencil mark would also be done for reason of aesthetics, so it would fall under the same category.

    moceanworker, they do offer a 14 day refund on this particular card (and have said that any of the items they sell have at least a 7 day return for refund), so I am going to send them a message now, and let them know to expect it back.

    I have learned my lesson here. When buying a vintage card, I need to make sure both sides are scanned, and if not, the seller needs to provide me with both sides. I am usually pretty careful, but in this instance, I should have been more assertive. I don't think the seller was aware of the issue with the back, but upon seeing it, my heart sank. I've wanted this card since trading it away as a kid, and was so excited. I will trust my instinct, return it, and find one to replace it.

    Thanks for the input, guys!

  6. #6
    Hooboy, I just realized that the seller is in New York. >< I'm going to contact them to let them know it will be returned, and ask them if they want me to hold onto it for a few days. They're in big trouble with the Hurricane, and getting mail right now might not be possible (and I don't want the card to be damaged en route).

  7. #7
    Tough spot all around - such a shame to see that happen on an otherwise fantastic-looking card. Hope it all gets resolved nicely for you.
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  8. #8
    I agree, it saddens me. But I just can't pay for a mint card and have it turn out to be not mint ;)

    Thank you.

  9. #9
    I don't think that card gets a Near Mint grade.

    From the BGS site:

    Centering 65/35 or better both ways on the front - Check
    Centering 90/10 or better on the back - Iffy. Left to right centering is going to be close.
    Corners - very minor wear on 2 or 3 corners. - Check
    Edges - Slight roughness, minor chipping or very minor notching is allowed. - Check
    Surface - A few noticeable print spots or minor speckling is allowed. Minor color or focus imperfections. Very minor border discoloration. A very minor wax stain on back. Solid gloss with a few minor scratches detectable upon close inspection. A few metallic print lines. - Here is where you lose out for sure.

    As we know, BGS typically gives no better than .5 above the lowest grade. If it gets a 6.0 or lower on surface because of the mark and erase attempt then it probably gets a 6.5 and that is dependant on them judging the back centering as being 90/10 or better.

  10. #10
    it wont affect the grade as much as you think maybe a half point so without mark call it an 8 with mark a 7.5(this is an example)

    and if he refunds your money and return shipping positive fdback is what u should leave. as a power seller one fdback can take a discount or power ranking away and if you dont think he did it on purpose it was an accident (upon a full refund)

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