Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Help For Buying 2011 and 2012 Codebreakers (How to Spot a Fraud Tips)

Hello all.  Frank here.  As some of you who follow my Twitter account now, there has been a recent problem with a Codebreaker Auto on Ebay not being the one we won in the contest. 

Specifically this listing for a Bryce Harper Ginter Codebreaker Auto is troublesome because:

1.  I won the Bryce Harper Codebreaker Auto
2.  I  still have the original, sent from Topps, in my possession.
3.  The autograph on the Ebay-Harper doesn't match the Auto that was posted on this blog months ago. (Notice the B on Ebay goes way up over the printed name, and the H is much more squished-whereas the one that was won has neither. Also the B is closed on my card, not on the Ebay one).

The Harper is a particularly poor choice given I am a Nationals fan, and really will hopefully never find myself wanting (or having) to sell the card.  It's a high ticket item, but it is also one I can assure is not going to be available. Please Read On...

Now the card itself presents a handful of problems.  It seems to be a fake.  Now I don't want to necessarily put that on the seller on Ebay, and I don't want to get super conclusory here-but if I'm supposed to have the only version of this card (they are 1/1) and I still have the card in my possession (I'm looking at it RIGHT NOW) then well there is something wrong with this card.  Either Topps is issuing more than one 1/1 card, or someone faked the card. 

After thinking about it, it would be possible to fake the card.  The frames are one of a kind, but the autographed cards inside are just blue autos.  Topps frames them, and they select one to put in the cream colored frame to be the 1/1.  A person who bought another Codebreaker card (say the cheaply sold Dillon Gee or Dan Uggla) could slide open the top, slide out the auto and put a Harper Codebreaker in its place. 

The result would be a very convincing fake.  The autograph would still be real (and certified by Topps as the back states) but the rarity of the card's 1/1 status would be faked.  NOTE: Really-that's just a hypothetical.  I don't actually know what happened.

I've contacted Ebay, Topps, Beckett (which somehow graded this card an 8.5) and am currently speaking with some lawyers about contacting the seller to get to the bottom of this.  On the selfish level, the circulation of this card would hurt the value of my card. As to my more pressing reason-I'd really hate for someone to spending $1500 (or any money) on a card that isn't what they think it is. 

So while I've figured that all out, I've decided to take a slight precautionary measure to help folks who are interested in buying Codebreaker cards.  They are a unique treat for a collector, and so I want to help protect the people who are in this for the hobby as much as anything else.  

As such, I've created a list of all my 2011 and 2012 Codebreaker cards that we've won, and separated them into cards I've sold, and cards I've not sold. I am encouraging Ryan and Guillaume to do the same.  I will update the lists as I sell other cards. 

As such, I think this will help collectors.  We are the guys who won the cards, so the verification source starts with us.  If you see a 2011 or 2012 Codebreaker you are interested in, you''ll be able to visit this blog to help verify the veracity of the card in two ways:

1. You'll be able to check this link to see if the card has even been put out into the marketplace.  If someone other than one of us is selling the card, they would have had to get it from one of us.  If it's not on the sold part of the list, then be skeptical.

2. You'll be able to check the actual autographs from when we won the cards.  G was smart to scan in and post the scans of all the autographs sent to us by Topps.  The 2011 set appears in a video seen here are here and the 2012 Scans are Here and the video is here for 2012.   You'll be able to match the auto on the card you intend to buy with the auto of the card we won.  It proved useful for me in identifying the Harper as not the one I won (Well, that and the fact I still have the card!)

As with all cards you buy, no method is really foolproof, is it?  And we aren't going to make guarantees here for anything-but we are going to be honest and as helpful as we can.  If you want to buy a card, please feel free to use these resources and to contact us if you want.  We will help you if we can. 

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