Home > Uncharted > Fake Game Worn Jersey Issue

Fake Game Worn Jersey Issue

After reading the “Fake Game-Worn Jersey Issue Problematic for Sports Trading Card Manufacturers” article by Rob Bertrand (@VOTC), it gave me a flashback about a conversation I had with someone via e-mail. That person in question was the original “cardcop” who seemed to be an angry whistleblower in a sense, so his creditability was always questionable. In the email, he started it with “THIS E-MAIL IS BETWEEN YOU AND I ONLY FOR NOW AS THERE IS LEGAL ACTION PENDING.” Well, the email was on March 13, 2002, so I think its safe to discuss some of the content.

In Rob’s article, this part caught my eye:

“In talking to a former product development manager from one of the aforementioned trading card companies, he said that it would be impossible to determine which jersey swatches went into what products. After the jersey is inventoried and receives a serial number, the jersey is cut into hundreds of pieces. These pieces are then put into a bag” which may or may not at the time contain other pieces of existing game-used jersey swatches of that particular player mixed in.

However, in talking with one attorney familiar with the case, he stated that he would argue that “once the bag contains anything that’s not game-used, the trading card manufacturers can’t assert that the cards contain genuine swatches. (This would be) kind of a ‘chain of custody’ argument. The chain broke at the point they mixed in some bad stuff (jersey material), so since they can’t ID from that point what is good or not, everything afterwards has to be assumed to be tainted.””

The reason it caught my eye was because, in that March 13, 2002 email, cardcop stated, “I personally witnessed game-used jerseys being cut up, then store bought jerseys of the same player being added to the SAME BAG! I was there no more than 3 days when I saw this.”

There were a lot of interesting allegations, but they were all unrelated to this particular article. At the time, it was hard to believe half of the stuff cardcop said, but now I’m starting to believe there was some truth to this. Keep in mind, this was before they were acquired by Panini America.

While running a sports hobby site at the time, I was always in direct contact with all of the card companies. This included Donruss’ owner at the time who was very helpful and accommendating when it came to press releases, checklists, etc. I use to exchange emails with the original Fleer company after discovering errors or unreleased cards on the secondary market. For the most part, they were very transparent, but always gave the impression they were completely clueless to what went out. They solely relied on vendor notes and thats all they had to go on.

Rob’s article brought up another point, “(Jarrod Oldridge) believes that the process used by Upper Deck and Donruss invited fraud, because . . . the card companies did not require a certificate of authenticity for each of the supposed game used jerseys,

A response from Fleer I received in 2002 after discovering that the 2001 Fleer Genuine Edgar Martinez Final Cut “game worn batting glove” actually had jersey patches:

Dear Sir,

I have just looked at a few Edgar Martinez cards from Final Cut (Genuine 2001) and deduced the following:

1. You are correct to assert that the swatches you are seeing are NOT a batting glove. It appears this is an “error” card in which batting glove was supposed to be affixed and instead, game-used jersey was. I assure you that this is an honest error made at the stage when the memorabilia is adhered to the card

2. All Fleer materials are game-used and we have adequate paperwork to back this up.

3. This is the first we have heard of this particular error card and we apologize for our mistake. However, as a collector, I’m sure you are aware, there are bound to be problems from time to time. Fleer makes every effort to assure our cards are accurate and it is unfortunate when the occasional mishap occurs and results in confusion.

4. Your contention that the jersey was a spring training jersey is incorrect.

5. The jersey was NOT from 2001, but was from 2000.

 

We regret your unhappiness with Fleer as well as your stance on no longer collecting game-used cards. We make every effort to comply with and exceed our licensors’ standards for authentication and documentation of game-worn materials. This was simply an error card and was not an effort to mislead our customers.

We hope you can forgive our mistake and apologize for your displeasure.

Sincerely,

[name omitted]
Fleer Trading Cards”

So, if card companies no longer require adequate paperwork, where is the integrity? I know on a lot of game used cards, it states, “The memorabilia has been certified to us  as having been used in  an official … game”. The question is, who certified it?

Its going to be interesting to see how all of this turns out.

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Categories: Uncharted
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