Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Operation Foul Ball Strikes PSA

The FBI is investigating the sports card and memorabilia hobby and PSA could be standing in the batters' box.

The NY Daily News reports that the FBI swarmed the PSA booths at this year's National to investigate card doctoring.

The article in the NY Daily News doesn't say whether the FBI was talking to PSA about their involvement in card doctoring or if they were leveraging resources. I hope they just wanted to learn more about it from one of the leading card experts. But lets be honest, police officers don't pull you over on the highway because they want to learn how you were driving so fast . . . they pull you over because you were driving fast.

This investigation could strike at the very heart and core of the PSA business. PSA was founded to protect collectors from card doctors and frauds, now the FBI could be investigating if they are part of the problem.

The FBI investigation is terrible news for the hobby. It's the equivalent of a DARE officer being accused of selling drugs inside a junior high school. I hope it's not true.

If the investigation goes forward, and charges are filed, then what? What do collector's do if they have PSA graded cards? Does this affect the PSA/DNA autograph authentication program?

The PSA site doesn't mention the investigation or the NY Daily News article that came out on Saturday. PSA needs to stay ahead of this story and issue a statement to explain what's going on to calm the nerves of collectors.

Look for other authentication companies to take advantage of this PSA bad press. I think we can expect other grading companies (like Beckett) to offer discounts to PSA card holder for getting their card re-graded through them.

I'm anxious to hear PSA's side on this and if the investigation goes deeper than card doctoring. And is PSA the only company the Feds have talked to so far?

A couple of sites/blogs that are doing a good job of coverage include:

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