The gist of the story is that a guy who knows absolutely nothing about nothing, let alone baseball cards, purchased a Babe Ruth card at a card shop for $2. Numbnut now thinks he has a $2 million card and it is going to change his life. How in the world is this story spreading across the country? I can hear old Professor Carson advising us newbies in Journalism 101 to check our facts. Nobody involved in this train wreck bothered to check their facts.
First of all, a card shop owner, who is in the business of selling cards, is not going to sell a $2 million dollar card for $2. The shop owner knew all along that the card was fake but dishonestly told our hero that he couldn't find any information about it anywhere on the internet. A quick eBay search netted a listing of a lot of 100 fakes for $5.50 (at $2 a pop, that is a nice profit):
I actually purchased two similar cards at the Gonzaga show last year from a seller who professed he did not know whether they were real or not. My cards were not Ruths but Walter Johnson and Jimmie Foxx from the same set as the Ruth. I was skeptical but purchased them anyway for a few bucks. I studied the ones I purchased for a month or so, figuring they were fake but looking for evidence. I knew all along that the seller was not going to sell me a 5K card for a few bucks but the cards were in a group of others that I wanted because I knew those cards were real like a 1950 Bowman Johnny Mize and a 1951 Bowman Leo Durocher.
The cards I purchased were worn and tattered. They looked like they could have been printed in the 1920s. What I realized, after staring at them for a month, was that the print was not worn and tattered. Essentially, someone took some old-looking cardboard, probably they made it look old, then printed the Walter Johnson image and the back advertisement onto the old-looking cardboard. The forger failed to make the print look old. If he would have scratched it up a bit, maybe I would have believed I had a real card and then would have shipped it off to SGC for authentication (I hate PSA).
Now the card that numbnut bought at the card shop is so obviously fake that I feel really sorry that he could be duped so easily. His card is perfect. The cardboard is whiter than white. No wear whatsoever. Sharp corners, sharp edges. Does such an authentic version of this card exist? Maybe but highly unlikely. The cards were collected by kids in the 1920s. Children that played with them. Brought them to school or the playground. Often in those days, they pasted them into scrap books. So finding one in pristine condition with not a single iota of wear or tear is next to impossible. The whiter than white cardboard is an easy giveaway. The white color should have at least a few smudges from dirty or chocolatey kid hands.
I regularly get presented with fake pre-War cards at shows. They are usually encased in those screwdown holders from the late 1980's/early 1990's. When I see vintage cards in screwdowns, I automatically assume they are fake. This guy's million-dollar Ruth is in a screwdown.
This story is so sad. If you watch the video, the guy is holding his kid and he starts crying when he talks about the millions he is going to get for the sale of his... obviously fake card in the screwdown holder.
I almost want to send him some cards for free. Real cards. I feel so sorry for him. It seems like his life is crap and he thinks that now it is going to be great because he is going to get millions for his... obviously fake card in a screwdown holder.
I am also concerned about the message that this story sends to the national public about our hobby. Yes, the hobby is racked with thieves and scoundrels. But for every thief and every scoundrel there are dozens of awesome people who love and enjoy a truly wonderful hobby.
Instead of glorifying a poor sod who purchased a fake card and how he is preparing for his new-found riches, the better story would have been a cautionary tale. Check your facts! Most importantly, don't count your chickens before they hatch!! It is so simple in 2019 to determine whether your vintage card is real or not. Put a little effort into finding someone with a little knowledge online -- it takes a matter of seconds.
I wish this story would stop spreading!! Make it stop!!!!