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  1. #1

    Thumbs up The topic no one wants to touch: CONDITION

    Hi there everyone, well im quite sure you can assume that I am making this thread under anything but a happy place in my mind. Normally I stray from involving myself in polarizing topics due to social related fears, but the older i'm getting the less things begin to affect me in such ways. Maturity I guess...

    Anyway, let me begin by saying that I understand condition is a subjective topic predicated on foundational ideas we grew up with. So I expect ideas and emotions from the entire spectrum.

    Now to truly start, I have been heavily collecting hockey cards since the summer of 2011 even though its been a lifelong hobby. I know that online transactions of any form is a manner of gambling in a loose sense, since what you are purchasing is not available for in person inspection. Everything went quite well in regards to purchasing cards in the condition stated in an auction's description and pictures. However beginning in the summer of 2012 things just took a turn for the worst. A large percentage of what I was purchasing were not coming in the condition as depicted both visually and written. Now when I first started to recognize this, I chalked it up to my own faults, for example, "I should have asked this question about the condition" or "I should have requested a scan of the back of the card" and etc. However when I tried to adapt and avoid these faulty purchases by beginning to ask of such questions prior to every purchase, it came to my amazement that I was still receiving cards that I was not happy about. For example, I would request a scan of the back of the card, and though it may look nice and asked for a written confirmation that the corners were mint, when I receive them and just look at the card under my small desk lamp, there was clearly not one corner but rather a few that were lightly touched up. Scenarios like that. Now personally, I don't mind 1 blemish, however when there are a combination of blemishes (ex. surface wear on top of corner wear), well thats when I begin to become a bit dissatisfied. I don't go into any transaction expecting to receive a BGS 10, all 10 subgrade card. No thats not how I work. For a standardized reference, I mainly gravitate to 9 grade cards. But many of the cards I've been receiving won't make it to that. Now this is where the subjective part comes in, many others have different bench marks of satisfaction, for others an 8.5 type card is perfectly fine. For some like me, surface wear looks far more unattractive than other categories of condition (corner/edge/centering).

    For those of you asking, well why have you let such a problem go on for so long. Well to be honest, the better half of me that works on good faith in others went into every transaction. I relied on others being honest about what they have and what I was buying. Alot of the time, when I went into a purchase (even after asking appropriate condition relate questions), I would say to myself, "well he answered my questions so I trust him". However, such a frame of thinking is now gone and I don't know what to replace it with other than a hypersensitive paranoid mindset.

    Another dimension of conflict that I feel, is that when I purchase a card, I do so with the intent on keeping it forever (if life permits). I don't ever want to sell a card that I want and purchased. But when I receive such troubled cards, I have to keep that card on my want list and sort of pay for it twice. I'm sure many here feel the same way, that we're not here to waste the money that we worked hard for. I abhor having to refind and repurchase cards I should have knocked off the first time.

    Let me begin by saying that for the most part I haven't had this problem with purchasing cards on forums. This is really an Ebay-centric problem. So to the very few to whom I have spoken to in the recent past about cards offered to me, you have all been more than stellar and the model of communication that I look for. So i just want to let you select few know that this topic didn't stem from you.

    For those of you who are interested in the types of questions I ask prior to any purchase. I mainly use a general template provided below. I personally feel that such a template really encompasses everything possible. I don't inquire about centering because for the most part, unless a scan/picture is poorly cropped, that is a judgement call I can make on my own. And centering doesn't bother me that much, unless its just ridiculous. Plus with modern day cards, how can you tell (ex. die cuts, full picture cards with no defined borders and etc.)?

    "Hi there, i'm interested in this card and was wondering if you wouldn't mind taking the time to answer a few questions I have about the card. Due to a poor year purchase and condition wise, I personally made it mandatory to inquire about the condition of any card i'm interested in buying.

    I was wondering if you can tell me if there are any major or minor defects with the card in regard to the following; corners (light touches, whitening etc.), edges (chipping) & surface wear (white dots of stripped paint from being in plastic case too long from previous owner, scratches or light dents).

    I understand that is alot to ask of and if you don't feel comfortable answering them, its fine. Just let me know.

    Thank you"


    Here is the beauty though, such cards I purchased I have resold on ebay with full disclosure of everything, more often than not have netted me my money back and maybe a bit more. This proves me that honesty does have a monetary value and if you are fully honest with what you are selling then a potential bidder may increase the amount he is willing to pay for. HONESTY IS STILL THE BEST POLICY! That is one positive thing I have taken from this experience.

    Another positive thing, is that through all of this, my love for collecting hockey cards is still there. It was with me as a kid opening a box of 97/98 pinnacle and pulling a Yzerman epix insert, and its still with me now purchasing my latest Zetterberg parkhurst retro expo rookie. In fact I use to solely collect rookie year autos, and though it still stands as my main focus that 90% of my funds go to, I began purchasing regular,expo and non rookie year inserts. So my interests are still expanding.


    When I make a thread, I try to make it as positive and fruitful as possible. So to do so, what are your suggestions? Critical opinions (in a respectful manner)? and observations?

    What can we do to make transactions within the hobby a better experience?

    Let me begin by making one suggestion and the following poster can contribute one if you'd like.
    - Don't crop your cards to leave out the edges of the cards. Make it so that one can see all edges of the cards.

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  3. #2
    You really shouldn't have to ask when selling on eBay. If you are getting sub par cards on eBay now that's totally the seller's fault. I remember a long time ago most people didn't even have a picture of the item on eBay and it was worse with cards because you'd get the person who wouldn't know squat about the card so you'd have to ask them a ton of questions to make sure it was the correct card that was listed.

    I always try and describe everything with my cards and even overstate the flaws so that the buyer/trader is happy with the card rather than let down. Most of the people on here do a great job of describing condition but I have had to send a few cards back because they were in awful condition and I'm not usually the person who complains about condition.
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  4. #3
    I completely agree with your views, and stopped buying on Ebay, for that reason. Too many scammers and not enough honesty coming from sellers there these days. My recommendation when buying cards is to go to They take scans, front and back of EVERY card that comes in, so you know the condition of each card you buy, and honestly, there are some top notch sellers on there. You can even make offers, and it's up to the seller. Pretty great site, and I use them a lot. Flat shipping cost for as many cards as you want, as well.

    That's my 2 cents :)

    Always looking for rookies, Auto's and set fillers. LMK if you can help.

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  5. #4
    @pwaldo im not sure if I were around for those days (began in 05') but that would definitley be a pain in the bum.

    @Mariners Yup, it seems to be a prevalent problem. Thanks for your suggestion! I have an account started for a while now but I never purchased anything yet. Showing scans of the front and back of the card is truly their greatest strength.
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  6. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by redwingsfan11 View Post
    @pwaldo im not sure if I were around for those days (began in 05') but that would definitley be a pain in the bum.
    It was late 1999 or early 2000 if my memory recalls correctly
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  7. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by pwaldo View Post
    It was late 1999 or early 2000 if my memory recalls correctly
    Ahh... I was a wee lad at that point in time. I honestly didn't know Ebay existed either lol. Till this day it surprises me that it began as early as the mid 90's. Bidding must have been a pain with dial up back then lol. Also must have been like playing Russian roulette with every purchase too. Like you said, didn't know what you were going to get.
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  8. #7
    Ebay back then was a bit different than today. Most auctions did not have photos and if they did they weren't very good. Since photos were not as big, auction titles used things like LQQK and other "strange" spellings in order to get the listing to stand out. That's why you still see those types of titles, they are holdovers from back then. I don't recall having much troubles with Ebay from back then. Maybe I was just lucky.

  9. #8
    While we're talking about condition of cards....I need some advice.I purchased a 1952 #226 Dave PHilley PSA 4.I verified it through PSA data and sure was a 4.When I recieved it,it clearly was missing some paper under the cap that was clearly visible to the naked eye.I was more drawn to the price of 17.99 than really looking at the card,not expecting paperloss.Long story short....seller offered a 5 buck refund.Even though I dont plan on keeping it due to eye appeal...should I keep the card for 12.99 and pass it on or pay the shipping to get my original 17.99 back? Not sure how a card gets a PSA 4 with paperloss so visible. Heres the item number if you want to view it
    361153208037 any suggestions would be great thank you
    Dave C.

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