Former UCLA and Dallas Cowboys star Troy Aikman says a jersey sold by Heritage Auctions is not authentic.
On November 18, 2017 someone paid $7,800 for a jersey Heritage Auctions claims Aikman wore during the Aloha Bowl (YouTube) on Christmas day 1987.
Aikman weighed in on Twitter.
Unless I’m the one selling it, none of my memorabilia being auctioned is authentic. End of story. https://t.co/JhPV0lYG3L
— Troy Aikman (@TroyAikman) November 18, 2017
In the sleazy world of auction houses, authentication “experts” and memorabilia dealers, an athlete’s word is never the end of story.
Heritage Auctions doubled down on their claim the jersey was real.
Heritage Sports stands behind every item that we sell. This jersey has been authenticated by the most trusted third party authentication service, MEARS, as well as our internal experts. We are looking into Troy’s claim, however we believe the jersey to be 100% authentic.
— Heritage Sports (@Heritage_Sport) November 19, 2017
The auction title states the jersey comes “with photo reference.”
It’s unclear what photos they are referring to.
Heritage has sold items that turned out to be misrepresented and even not authentic in the past.
In 2012, then President of Mongolia, Elbegdorj Tsakhia, issued a statement asking Heritage Auctions to take down an auction for a dinosaur skeleton. Tsakhia claimed the bones were smuggled illegally from Mongolia.
Heritage Auctions ignored the requests from President Tsakhia and the dinosaur bones sold on May 20, 2012 for $1.05 million.
By June 2012, the United States government seized the skeleton.
Add insult to injury, Heritage Auctions advertised the bones as a nearly complete individual dinosaur. Turns out it came from several different dinosaurs.
Two auctions were pulled down in 2013 after a memorabilia blogger called out Heritage Auctions for listing a baseball supposedly signed by Lou Gehrig in the 1930s and another supposedly used to make the final out in the 1917 World Series.
Both balls were manufactured years after Heritage Auctions claims.
In 2011, Heritage Auctions listed a letter signed by boxer Thomas Sayers. It was authenticated by both JSA and PSA. Boxing experts were quick to point out that Sayers was nearly illiterate.
The auction listing was changed, stating that PSA and JSA both believed it to be genuine but could no longer offer certificates “due to a lack of exemplars.” It sold for $10,755.
Sports Card Radio’s most trusted third party to find out about a company is Glassdoor.
Instead of customer reviews, they’re reviews from employees.
Here are a few for Heritage Auctions.
Next time you open a Beckett Magazine it might look different. Magazine editors who worked remotely were abruptly let go in October.
Baseball editor Dave Sliepka, Football editor David Lee, and Hockey, Basketball & Sports Card Monthly editor Stephen Laroche were all relieved of editor work.
Laroche is well known for co-writing the popular Got 'Em, Got 'Em, Need 'Em book.
There is a chance those impacted might continue a freelance role with the company, perhaps writing articles for future Beckett publications.
News of the staff shake up broke on the Hobby Insider Forum (must be a member to read).
Sources to Sports Card Radio suggest Beckett might go with one in house editor starting in 2018.
Former owner James Beckett began publishing Beckett Baseball Card Monthly in 1984. He cashed out of the business in 2006 and reportedly purchased a $10 million Dallas home that was promptly paid off in 8 months.
Current owners, Eli Equity LLC, purchased Beckett in 2008 from Spectrum Media LLC.
In 2012, Eli Equity sued Global Leveraged Capital Advisors LLC, a firm that loaned money to Beckett's previous owners and aided in the 2008 sale.
Eli Equity alleged GLC Adviors cooked the books in favor of Beckett Media, hiding the company’s financial problems to spur a quick deal.
The case was settled out of court in 2013.
Company President, Sandeep Dua, was accused in a 2015 lawsuit to have severely mistreated employees.
Former Beckett employee, Rodney Alsup provided the court with stunning claims that Dua repeatedly crossed an ethical and legal line.
Here are a few excerpts from the 2015 suit:
Mr. Dua's management style is to intimidate, embarrass and "ride" employees constantly stressing that only "A" players are allowed on the bus and “C” players (including those with disabilities) are moved off the bus.
In 2014, for instance, Mr. Dua threw presentations at Rodney in Cleveland, Ohio and made him leave a meeting room in front of other Beckett employees.
Mr. Dua's non-stop bullying and unethical conduct caused Rodney to suffer a mental breakdown on August 27, 2014.
Alsup's medical records, including doctors findings and diagnosis, were (oddly) provided to Mr. Dua and other Beckett employees.
A former Beckett manager, Mark Anderson, has previously filed a charge against Mr. Dua for similar conduct.
At least one other current (as of 2015) member of Beckett's management team has been hospitalized for depression due to Mr. Dau's threats and humiliation.
Beckett's main source of revenue is its grading division. Grading rival PSA authenticated or graded 1.4 million cards in its fiscal year 2017. Beckett probably grades a similar number of cards.
The magazine appears safe to continue. Perhaps I will send a "Readers Write" question to Sandeep!
Another day, another group breaker accused of scamming. Hobby store Curveball Sports Cards, Gaming and Collectibles in Michigan is accused of swapping out cards during a group break.
Collectors began blowing up Curveball's Facebook and Twitter pages and subsequently shop owner Mike Wilson deleted some social media accounts associated with the business.
See if you can spot if he switched cards out for yourself!
Wilson did post a message on his personal account claiming his innocence.
We called a business phone number associated with Curveball Sports Cards and left a message.
Wilson or anyone else associated with Curveball Sports Cards is invited to share their story on the R-Rated Podcast.
Curveball Sports Cards is not the only group breaker who has been involed with controversy. DnT Sports Cards was caught swapping out cards during a break in May 2017.
Group Breakers have little to no barrier of entry and oversight. Card companies like Topps are more concerned with kicking dealers off Amazon than protecting customers in a break.
Here is a write up about Curveball Sports Cards from a local newspaper.
More updates to follow as story develops.
The Godfather of Group Breaking got hacked! An email from Firehand Cards CEO Chad Redfern sent to customers on August 30th states several customer accounts were tampered with.
According to the email, no payment card data or bank account information was impacted. Firehand promises new security features “to ensure nothing like this will ever happen again.” A new Firehand website is expected to launch in September.
Notorious high stakes gambler David Oancea, who is better known as Vegas Dave, has been making waves in the sports card world. He’s reportedly been throwing around big money buying high end graded cards.
But perhaps not everything in Oancea’s life is what it seems.
Vegas Dave recently bragged about this PSA 10 Michael Jordan rookie card on his Facebook and Instagram pages.