Category Archives for Sports Card News

Topps Company Greatest Hits of Mistakes

The Topps Company has a long history of selling sports cards in the U.S. since the 1950’s. No card company has a more loyal following.

With such a long history of card making, mistakes will happen over the years.

Panini America Scams & Mistakes

What you won’t find on this page are printing errors, misprints, variations, card numbering issues and other stuff that has been covered and rehashed 100 times.


Topps Dump 300-500 Cases of ’52 set into Ocean
(1960) – Bleacher Report

In 1960 Sy Berger and his friend Woody Gelman dumped 300-500 cases of the original 1952 set into the Atlantic Ocean after poor sales. 


Topps Owner Compares Game Used Cards to Drugs
(1998) – Sports Card Radio

Former Topps owner Arthur Shorin tells friends privately that game used cards were like a drug that would provide only a short-term boost to sales because it did not enhance the underlying product.

Fearing Topps would lose market share to Upper Deck, Topps jumped on the memorabilia card bandwagon. Both companies went on to spend $2-$5 million a year through 2006 on game used items without evidence it helped increase sales.


Topps takes $3.7 million loss on The Pit
(2006) – SEC

Topps acquired ThePit.com, a startup company for $5.7 million in cash in August 2001.

The undertaking was not successful and Topps unloaded the site to Naxcom in January 2006. The amount of the transaction was not disclosed, but Topps charged a $3.7 million after-tax loss on its books in connection with the sale.


Topps Uses Stadium Seats as Game Used
(2010) – Beckett

Topps confirms that six “game used” memorabilia cards in 2009 Tribute Baseball include pieces of stadium seat.

Collectors noticed and got Topps to promise not to pass stadium seats as game used memorabilia going forward.


Mark Ingram Photo
(2011) – Sports Card Radio

At the 2011 NFLPA Rookie Premiere, Mark Ingram tweeted a picture of him wearing what he said was 17 New Orleans Saints jerseys. The jerseys are used for event worn material cards throughout football card products.

The photo sparked discussion and controversy amongst collectors who had never seen a peak behind the curtain.


Lou Gehrig Fake Game Used Card
(2011) – Beckett

The two game-used memorabilia patches on a 2010 Topps Triple Threads Lou Gehrig Book Card appear to be from a modern Yankees jersey — not the old school stuff from Gehrig’s time.


Topps Takes Two Years to Redeem Golden Ticket
(2012) – Sports Card Radio

Twenty 24K gold infused baseball autographed by Ken Griffey Jr., Willie Mays and Hank Aaron were available in 2012 Topps Series 1 Baseball.

After 2 1/2 years of feet dragging by Topps, collectors got their baseballs.


End of eTopps
(2012) – Wrigley Wax

Topps ends eTopps after over 10 years.

What helped kill the program was Topps had to redesign the website after a “renowned website integrator” failed at the first attempt.


Topps Fires Employee, Then Puts Him on Card
(2012) – Deadspin

In August 2012, Christopher Holmes was fired from his job at Topps of 17 years, one of many casualties of Michael Eisner’s restructuring. In September 2012 , the “American History Relics” were released, featuring Holmes as John Henry. Holmes sued for $4 million.

According to Deadspin, one former employee says Topps was “not the most diverse work environment,” and as such, Holmes was the go-to when the art department needed a black guy.


Dealer Tells FBI Card Companies Knowingly Buy Fake Jerseys
(2012) – NY Daily News

Sports memorabilia dealer Bradley Wells, who pled guilty to mail fraud in 2012, sold bogus game-used jerseys to all the prominent trading card manufacturers. Wells acknowledged he was involved in “dirtying up” jerseys and gloves to make them look game used.

In a stunning claim, Wells told the FBI Panini America, Upper Deck and Topps knew they were purchasing phony game-used jerseys to insert in trading cards.


Pitcher Blasts Topps for Picture
(2013) – Deadspin

In 2013 MLB Pitcher Daniel Hudson tweeted Topps:

“Thanks @toppscards for using a close up of me right after my elbow blew out! Card will be around forever as a reminder!”

The photo on the card comes just after Hudson tore his UCL in his right arm.


Employee Tests Sports Card Radio…. & Lost
(2013) – Sports Card Radio

Topps employee Mark Sapir sent a message to Sports Card Radio that read: “If I ever see you say anything negative about this company (Topps), especially on Twitter, I’ll cut you off for good.”

Never one to back down, Sports Card Radio amped up the heat on Topps & Sapir.

It culminated with an in person showdown at the 2013 Industry Summit where Sapir, hands shaking, approached @SportsCardNews looking to apologize. The bridge had been burnt and it was not accepted.

Sapir mysteriously left Topps just weeks after the encounter. Sports Card Radio was banned from the Industry Summit.


Backdoor Superfractors
(2013) – Huggins & Scott

 

Tons of Superfractor and other low number parallel “test-proof” cards hit the market after uncut sheets were sold at auction house Huggins & Scott.

Topps said at the 2013 National Sports Collectors Convention that it was a legal matter but never followed up with collectors.


Topps Allen & Ginter Dumpster Dive
(2013) – Beckett

Topps hid wrapped 1/1 cards inside the top panel of some 2013 Allen & Ginter hobby boxes.

Many collectors didn’t notice until after they had thrown out the boxes, prompting some to literally go dumpster diving.


Topps Redemption Dump
(2013) – Sports Card Radio

Without notice Topps sent out 10,000 replacement autograph cards for people waiting on various redemption cards.

Some collectors weren’t thrilled they didn’t get an option to wait or pick a replacement for their card.


Collector Threatens Lawsuit at NSCC
(2013) – Twitter

In one of the greatest moments in National Sports Collectors Convention history, a collector began yelling out he was taking names for a class action lawsuit against Topps because of how they handled their wrapper redemption program at the show.


Recycling Picture Choices
(2014) – Sports Card Radio

 

This type of photo recycling is nothing new for Topps and it even spans back to some vintage sets but things got real bad around 2014.


Wade Boggs GU Angels Card
(2014) – Twitter

Topps pulls a Panini. Wade Boggs card with an obvious Angles logo. Topps never responded.


Topps Recall Tribute Set
(2015) – Sports Cards Uncensored

Topps says autographed cards in 2015 Topps Tribute Baseball are damaged due to UV contamination on the card and recalled the product.


Topps Botches Mike Piazza Autos
(2015) – Baseball Card Breakdown

 

Topps mixes up auto-stickers of Mike Piazza, the HOF catcher and Mike Piazza, the meager minor league pitcher.


Topps Website Hacked
(2016) – Sports Card Radio

Orders placed on Topps.com between July 30, 2016 – October 12, 2016 could have had information stolen by hackers. Including your name, address, email, phone number, full credit card details and more.


Cards in $25,000 Product Fall Apart
(2016) – Beckett

Cards from 2016 Topps Transcendent Baseball were falling apart. Maybe not a big deal, but it was the most expensive product Topps ever made at $25,000 per box.


Topps Mislabels Transcendent Party Cards
(2018) – Sports Card Radio

Several autographed cards that were inserted into the exclusive party packs at the 2017 Topps Transcendent Party were mislabeled as being 1-of-1.


Topps Tells BGS Don’t Grade These Cards
(2018) – Sports Card Radio

Beckett Grading Services (BGS) tells a collector that Topps told them not to grade strange cards found in a 2017 Bowman Draft Box.


Panini America Scams & Mistakes

Future of Cardboard Connection in Doubt

EXPLOSIVE details are emerging that show the future of the website Cardboard Connection is in limbo. 

Cardboard Connection founder & 90% owner Mike Smeth has BRAND NEW FELONY CHARGES against him.

Smeth was arrested on February 25, 2018 on the following charges:
Possession of a firearm by First Offender Probationer
Possession of Schedule II Controlled Substance (Heroin)
Possession of Schedule I Controlled Substance
Possession of MDMA (Ecstasy drug)
Possession of Firearm During Commission of a Felony

This caused Smeth to violate his probation from a separate 2016 incident that Sports Card Radio has covered exclusively.

Things get worse.

On March 14, 2018 Smeth was ordered by the Superior Court of Cobb County to turn over all Cardboard Connection access to his soon to be ex-wife. 

But wait there is more.

On March 30, 2018 Smeth HACKED into his ex-wife's Gmail to gain access to Cardboard Connections PayPal account. From there he ILLEGALLY transferred $8,500 to himself. CAUSING CARDBOARD CONNECTION TO MISS PAYROLL TO THEIR EMPLOYEES. 

Smeth is expected to serve prison time or enter drug rehab and currently has no access to the Cardboard Connection website. 

How Cardboard Connection will be divided up is crucial to the Smeth's ongoing divorce. 

In court documents, the website is said to earn $250,000 a year and is the sole income for the Smeth's. 

The next hearing is July 11, 2018. 

Mike Smeth

Upper Deck Settles With IRS For $20+ Million

It appears Upper Deck may have settled their long standing case with the United States Tax Court in April 2018 by agreeing to pony up $20,172,868.80 plus interest to the IRS. 

Upper Deck has already made a $17.5M payment on March 20, 2018.

The case began in 2012 and covers the tax years 2000-2004.

Upper Deck may have gotten off light. The US Tax Court claims in previous court documents that there were “combined deficiencies exceeding $160 million at Upper Deck from 2000-2004."

More good news for Upper Deck is that there is no penalty due pursuant to I.R.C. § 6663 for the taxable year 2004. Violating this could of added an additional 75% to what U.D. would owe!

Read More About the Case:

Upper Deck Working Towards Settlement With IRS

Upper Deck to IRS: Industry Trolls Hurting Our Business!

Law of Cards: Cardboard Connection CEO Violates Probation

Ooops he did it again?! Cardboard Connection CEO Mike Smeth violated his probation and was sentenced to 30 days in jail on May 1, 2018. 

Smeth is currently serving 6 years probation after he plead guilty to Terroristic Threats and Aggravated Assault when he threatened to kill multiple people with a gun in 2016.

Smeth was arrested on February 25, 2018 on the following charges:
Possession of a firearm by First Offender Probationer
Possession of Schedule II Controlled Substance
Possession of Schedule I Controlled Substance
Possession of MDMA (Ecstasy drug)
Possession of Firearm During Commission of a Felony

UPDATE: NEW FELONY CHARGES AGAINST SMETH PUTS CARDBOARD CONNECTION AT RISK

The Cardboard Connection CEO is starting to have a long checklist of charges levied against him. 

In addition to the latest Terroristic Threats/Aggraveated Assuaut issue, he's been charged or accused over the years of Disorderly Conduct, Theft, Anabolic Steroid use, Meth use, hacking Panini's Tracy Hackler & former business partners.

More Smeth Coverage:

Show #195 Cardboardconnection.com “CEO” Mike Smeth Scandal

Cardboard Connection “CEO” Mike Smeth Scandal UPDATE

Cardboard Connection Website in Jeopardy


Mike Smeth

Canada Group Breaker CAUGHT Stealing

Facebook Group Breaker, Stefan Otto, is getting ROASTED across the card community for allegedly stealing a card during a break. 

You can watch for yourself here, with commentary from someone who recorded the action. The theft occurs at around 1:04 in the video.

His daughter is in the room as he pulls off the heist. Way to teach 'em how to scam at an early age. 

Otto is supposedly a known scammer in the card community. I don't know about you, I'd barely trust this cat to give me an Uber ride.

Read about other Group Break Scandals:

DnT Sports Cards: Group Break Scam - Brandon Cooks #/99

Curveball Sports Cards Bowman Group Break SCAM

Josh Cade - Card Father X - Interview

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