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BUYER WARNING = Rebacked BGS/PSA Cards on the Marketplace

Dear Clients & MTG Community Members,

Before I begin, this article is to give everyone my unbiased feelings on the situation at hand and is not to talk badly about the industry of grading, but share facts and cause/effects of such issues.

Pictures of the “rebacked” BGS 9 Beta Black Lotus are here.  Keep in mind, some of the pictures are examples.  And I will be posting pictures from the seller when I get more pictures.

It has been brought to my attention BGS {Beckett Grading Services} has graded another “rebacked” CE/ICE card, this time a BGS 9 Beta Black Lotus {QUAD+9.5 Surface}.  This “rebacked” card was being sold on multiple Facebook Groups by seller Mike R.   Mike and I have done business before and I trust his reputation.  I want to be clear, this is not to bash BGS, PSA or Mike R.  This is to WARN MTG Community Members of the issues arising from these “rebacked” cards.

First off, I made a video recently discussing the situation.  I will apologize for the poor lighting as I was traveling, but I think you can see some of the major points I’m trying to get to:

Recently, I spoke to Mike R. via Facebook Messenger and he has been gracious in sharing details of the “rebacked” BGS 9 Beta Black Lotus.  He stated that the card was purchased from another seller he trusted, thus he never graded the card to BGS.  For those of you thinking of who would do such a thing, I want to tell you Mike R. isn’t that guy he is an collector/investor trying to build his collection.  Mike also stated that he will be in contact with BGS on the matter.  He hopes to get his money back and have the situation resolved.

Something interesting to note about buying back cards, PSA {the other major grading company in Magic: The Gathering Collectible Cards} has a solid FINANCIAL Guarantee.  Notice, the differences outlined in the BGS Grading Guarantee {Maximize the “Guarantee” Tab} on the FAQ.  One MAJOR distinction I found was the wording from BGS = “Our Guarantee: Beckett Grading Services will provide collectors with the finest, most thorough, consistent and accurate grading efforts available in the industry. Disputed grades on cards are limited to typographical errors on the label (i.e., the wrong set name).”

Notice very carefully, it doesn’t actually provide any financial recourse for their grading errors.  My translation here is it is more a “peace of mind” of goodwill of doing the right thing, but no actual outline of how they will do that.

In my video I discussed briefly how this affects collectors, investors and players.  I will detail this discussion in this article.

Collectors

As a buyer, be cautious buying graded cards and double check your current collection.  Unfortunately, rebacked cards have surfaced and you may have some in your collection without knowing.  If you believe you have a rebacked card, you can contact us, or go directly to BGS or PSA.

How this issue affects collectors is trust.  The purpose of a third party company is to professionally identify fakes, counterfeits, altering & rebacked cards.  However, when cards are grading in the system and now there is a financial loss to collectors, it not only brings a “sour taste” to collectors but they lose their “peace of mind” of buying graded cards.

Investors

Investors in the MTG Community have a different motive when buying graded cards.  The intent is to buy them to “hold” to “resell” for future profits.  Another way to monetize is to “broker” or “trade” for graded cards and receive a commission or profits from the deal.

The issue with rebacked cards being in the market leads to the potential loss of sales, and trust with an investors clients.  I feel investors should study up on rebacked cards and counterfeits as if you do not understand the differences you could be out the money and have little recourse.  Furthermore, the assumption that graded cards are authentic and of the quality of the grade is a poor assumption.  It is very important to purchase the card, not the grade in ALL CASES.

While my article may bring concern to investors to put money in the market, I will say that the market as a majority doesn’t have a lot of rebacked cards.  It is the “bad apples” that come about that really cause a need for awareness.  The more important thing for investors is the making sure the card you’re buying/trading/brokering is of the quality when you sell the card collectors/players will buy it.  This topic is another article, another day, but I do feel it is the most important understating as an investor.

Players

Most MTG Clients do not understand this, but Players of Old School Magic buy graded cards and “crack” them open to play.  YES, it is a THING, and YES, it is a great way to get some cards to play with.  To many old school magic players, this is called “setting the card free.”  This isn’t for everyone, but it does happen, so I want to address the affect of the situation of rebacks to players.

The most important issue I found was players are least aware of rebacks and they make the assumption EVERY GRADED card is real.  Because their intent is to play with the cards, the quickness of “cracking” the card out of the case is FAST and that causes a HUGE ALARM.

When you crack a card out of the case, you LOSE ALL recourse.  Meaning you can’t go to eBay and get your money back nor can you go to the seller and state your case.  When the card is out of the case, it cannot be proven that was the original card without a reasonable doubt.  I understand you can argue integrity, it was on camera, I have previous pictures, etc… but sorry, you can always change the card.

Knowing that, I hope that old school magic players read this article knowing how important you confirm the card you bought was real that was graded BEFORE cracking it out of the case.  If you never need assistance each community has their on Facebook Groups and please post the card.

Financially, this because a HUGE issue.  When a player cracks let’s say a Beta Black Lotus, and paid $30,000, that lotus is found to be rebacked, the card now is worthless.  Trusting the grading company that the card was real is one thing, but you also trusted the seller who sold you the card.  That brings the point, who is the one person liable?  I’ll have to summarize that in my conclusion.

Vendors

Here is an interesting story.  At GP Vegas 2018 I had a major vendor come to be to sell a rebacked Beta Black Lotus.  This card was more on the EX to LP condition side, but still it was rebacked.  The owner of the company said one of his buyers bought it and wanted to sell it.  When I said it was rebacked the owner was shocked.  Even denied it.  But when I showed him examples and evidence why, he eventually rushed off {probably to his buyer} as the card he bought was no worthless.

That leads to my point of as a vendor/floor trader/LGS Store owner = IF YOU DO NOT TRAIN your staff to learn what is a rebacked, counterfeit, altered card, you will end up with them in your inventory and YES, it is your fault.  Sorry to say this, but lack of training and the excuse, “we don’t handle these that much,” is NOT AN EXCUSE.

You as a vendor are selling these cards to clients.  Clients trust you understand the differences.  Obviously, your reputation is on the line, so PLEASE, PLEASE train your staff.

Now, the question when it comes to graded cards is interesting.  As a vendor, you do have the influence to go to the grading companies and share these and possibly get your money back, especially with PSA.  However, the process is sometimes long, and expect grading companies to give kick-back and negotiate on market value.

I feel its better never to get to the place.  If you train your staff well on rebacked cards they should be able to catch “red flags” fast, and never buy the card.  I believe there should be a target list of cards they are rebacked commonly, here are some off the top of my head:

Any Power 9

Any Dual Land

Any Old School Magic Staple

Alpha Cut corner rebacked cards exist too, same list as above

If you are a vendor and reading this, please contact me ASAP if you have any card(s) you feel are rebacked or unauthentic.  If they are graded, I definitely need to know.

Conclusion

The reality is rebacked cards do exist in our marketplace, and it is a REAL problem.  Now that graded cards from BGS & PSA are being passed through as authentic, this poses the worse case scenario for collectors, investors, players, and vendors.  The question comes, who is at fault?  Who should bear the financial responsibility?

I believe the responsibility starts at the grading company level.  BGS & PSA need to train their graders to detect rebacks.  Why are people paying for a grading fee if they can’t distinguish the difference?

Now, as outlined in the article, I believe the buyers & sellers both need to do some homework on the differences of rebacked cards to prevent future loss of money, clients & trust.  As a shameless plug, I do offer an appraisal service for a fee, but in the case of counterfeit cards, I will charge a considerably lower fee as I understand the potential financial loss for MTG community members who maybe affected by this issue.  Please contact me on our website “Contact Us” page and I will be happy to discuss more.

As always, BUY THE CARD, not the grade, and enjoy your passion of MTG what ever it is.  I hope this article served helpful to people.

Have a Safe Holiday and Happy New Year,

Daniel Chang

1 comments
reply

Michael Vaughan says:

Jan 07,2019

Hello,
Thank you for the information.
Michael

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