My first Gem Mint cards were easily my worst

About five years ago, when grading was a bit more popular than it is today, I was desperate own a card graded Gem Mint by Beckett Grading Services. Having submitted dozens upon dozens of my own cards to no avail, I badly wanted a 9.5. The allure of the gold label was tough to dismiss. It was almost like the card gods convinced me that owning such a card would change my life. So I did some searching and found a lot of two rookie cards of a mediocre player, Preston Wilson.

At the time, Wilson still had some tread on the tires. He was still a power-speed threat who figured to have enough time left to make himself relevant. So I bought his Bowman and Topps rookies, graded Gem Mint, of course for the low, low price of $22! Yes, I paid $22 for a pair of crappy Preston Wilson rookies … simply because they were encapsulated and had a gold label proclaiming them to be perfect … well, Gem Mint anyway, not Pristine.

Hindsight will show you that I grossly overpaid for this pair. But my question: Who the hell gets Preston Wilson rookies graded in the first place?

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