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  #1  
Old 01-10-2002, 09:36 AM
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Default Modern Card Question: Short card

Posted By: Marc S.

Hello:

I apologize for posting an item that is not about vintage baseball cards. I realize that that is the basis of this forum, but I wanted to post this question, as I believe that there is extensive knowledge on this board about card size and card alterations .

A close collecting friend of mine recently acquired a 1963 Topps card. The card is of a Hall of Famer, and it has been professionally graded.

However, my friend measured this card, and has found it to be short 1/16 of an inch from left to right. Does anyone have extensive experience with 1963 Topps cards? If so, have they seen any variation in card size? Was there ever any slight variation found in card size between the regular and the presentation sets?

I would consider my friend to be fairly well-versed in detecting trimming and other card alterations. I believe that he was one of the many collectors who was burned by slight alterations (primarily trimming) that seemed to plague the ungraded card hobby back in the late 1980s. Since then, he has a very good handle at knowing many of the tell-tale signs of trimming. I have received his assurances that this card does not show any of the signs typically associated with trimming.

The grading company that has graded this card is, in fact, PSA. They awarded this card a GEM MINT 10 grade. We all are aware that PSA has made mistakes over time, but in this case it appears that they did not find anything wrong with this card. I am most surprised that this card (even if it was factory cut short) did not receive the "Did Not Meet Minimum Size Requirements" that PSA will often put on factory-short cards.

So, I think I am looking for advice. Does anyone have any good experience with this issue? Is it reasonable to think a card may be 1/16" short and still receive a PSA 10 GEM MINT grade? Is there any additional tests/observations that can be made to determine if the card was trimmed at any point?

Thank you for any advice.

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Old 01-10-2002, 09:43 AM
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Default Modern Card Question: Short card

Posted By: Mike Williams

a 1/16 short is a bit much for a modern card. I have a few '63 Topps and while off centering is an issue, they all "measure".

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Old 01-10-2002, 01:10 PM
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Default Modern Card Question: Short card

Posted By: scott brockelman

my experience(and that of many slab dealer friends) is that 1963,1964 & 1965 all vary quite a bit in size, mostly side to side,but also top to bottom. i encountered many of these in "original deal"s from collectors who had owned them since boyhood. i would not find it unsual to find one raw or holdered a bit short, 1/16" is stretching the limits, 1/32" would be more in line. while it is still conceivable the card could have been trimmed, the smaller size is probably a factory product. despite any shortcomings the grading services may have, i feel they almost always err on the conservative side when encapsulating cards that may or may not be trimmed. in other words getting back an untrimmed card from them as trimmed is far greater than getting a trimmed one holdered.

scott

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Old 01-10-2002, 01:12 PM
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Default Modern Card Question: Short card

Posted By: MW

Marc,

I have owned 7 Topps Presentation Sets from the 1960s and several large groups of vending cards from 1963; here is what I can tell you:

Vending cards are generally a bit smaller than cards from cellos, rack packs or wax. On average, there is approximately a 1/32" difference (or less) in size. Quite often, Vending cards can be identified by a slight beveling that exists on one of the edges and a clean, straight cut.

Presentation cards also tend to have a slight beveling effect on one or more edges. Based on an examination of Presentation cards from two 1963 Topps Sets, I would say that most, but not all cards from this series exhibit a slight beveling on two adjacent edges. As far as size, Presentation cards vary quite a bit. 1/16" is not unusual. Another clue to look for is the whiteness on the reverse side. Generally, but not always, Presentation cards come stored in the original 100 count boxes (per series) and have a very fresh appearance.

Interestingly, the cross-sections of some Presentation cards mimic those of cards that have been trimmed, so periodically, there is a gray area of uncertainty. My advice is this -- where this is one Presentation card, there are usually more. If a dealer or customer is selling an undersized card, claims it is from a Presentation set, and has no other similar cards, there's a reasonable chance the card is trimmed.

Pictured below are four different Topps Presentation cards. Note the distinct differences in size.

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Old 01-10-2002, 01:16 PM
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Default Modern Card Question: Short card

Posted By: MW

Scott,

I agree with your assessment concerning grading companies.

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Old 01-10-2002, 09:32 PM
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Default Modern Card Question: Short card

Posted By: Plastic Dog

... at least as far as some of the vintage issues. I have purchased several E and T cards that on examination I am convinced are trimmed (and not just size variations) despite their encapsalation in PSA holders. I trust SGC much more in that respect. I have asked several E card collectors whom I very much trust about specific PSA-slabbed cards on EBay, and the ones that I questioned were avoided by these collectors as well for that very reason. I just don't think they really know what they're doing with these issues. Even in holdering - sometimes they will place E cards in one of the holders with just a sleeve (due to them being over-sized for their standard T card holders), while other times they will jam them into the T-card-sized holders. I have E-95s that were submitted at the same time, from the same collection, with the same grade. Some were wedged in T-card holders, others were "floating free." Did they run out of one type of holder, or do they really not realize that there is a difference between the T and E cards? Probably both.

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Old 01-10-2002, 09:56 PM
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Default Modern Card Question: Short card

Posted By: MW

edited

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Old 01-11-2002, 11:06 AM
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Default Modern Card Question: Short card

Posted By: jverri01

I have wondered about this myself. In fact, I find it quite suspicious. I think we should all contact Marc directly! Here is his info...

Mar...

Just kidding. A little light-hearted humor about things past.

Actually, I agree with Scott as well (on pretty much everything, it seems). One thing I would add is, as always, the source from which it was obtained, is many times key to finding the answer. Many cards trimmed do not appear as such, and many cards not trimmed look like they have been. When I find myself at a crossroads like this, and it could go either way, I always base my assessment on the source. For example, I picked up a 67 Stargell recently that at first glance is absolutely flawless in every conceivable way. Upon close inspection, and magnification to examine the borders, I noticed that the bottom edge of the card appeared somewhat rough. I contacted the dealer I "acquired it" from, and he said that he doubted it was trimmed, "based on the identity of the party he acquired it from". I would have believed this had I felt for ONE SECOND that the DEALER was at all reputable! (He is not, we all complain about him, and I am hesitant to mention who he is, although I WILL say he runs monthly auctions to thin out his overstock, and that he occassionally lists tons of stuff on Ebay at unrealistically exorbitant prices. Good clues?) Anyway, had it been Scott, Lee, etc. telling me this, I would have been confident it was for real. Given the source, well... Just my two-pence. jverri01

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Old 01-11-2002, 11:39 AM
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Default Modern Card Question: Short card

Posted By: Charlie

Check out 1061023242

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Old 01-11-2002, 12:43 PM
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Default Modern Card Question: Short card

Posted By: MW

edited

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