Archive for Scam

“I heard this card might be about $5,000 …”

Posted in Commentary with tags , , , , , on May 7, 2021 by Cardboard Icons

My son and I were at one of the local card shops the other day. It was our first time to this shop in a few months. While we were debating what to buy a man walks in and one of the clerks advises him to holler if he needed anything. The man said he had a question, then pulled something out of his pocket. He sheepishly said he’d purchased a re-pack item at Target recently and pulled something he believed was worth about $5,000 based on recent eBay activity.

This caught my attention so I glanced over from across the shop and immediately placed my hand over my face. The man was holding a 1988 Topps Jose Uribe in a Card Saver I, the type of holder one would send to a grading company.

The clerk got a gander of the card and went into a diatribe about how the sales for the card were a hoax and the card wasn’t worth much of anything. A second clerk had not seen the card but saw my reaction and immediately asked me: “Is that a Uribe?”

I nodded my head and fought back tears as I had never seen this question asked in real life, only online.

The man took the news like a champ, although he continued to question how on earth the completed sales were false. He of course then questioned why anyone would do such a thing. The clerk gave him several theories, all of which basically came back to people are assholes and the Card Saver I was worth more than the Uribe. The clerk asked me to confirm, which of course I did.

The man placed the card back in his pocket and said he was going to just rip it up. At this point I almost wanted to buy the Uribe because I’m a sucker for that kind of stuff. I mean how funny would it be to own that card, the actual one involved in this story. Worthless to everyone else, but priceless for me. I didn’t ask though, partly because It’s actually frowned upon for two customers to be striking a cash deal inside an establishment like this.

For those unaware, Jose Uribe was a MLB player in the late 1980s and 1990s and his 1988-1990 cards in recent years have been a running joke in this hobby. Someone somewhere posted a 1990 Fleer for sale at $5,000 a few years back and a sale appeared to be completed through eBay. Since then the 1988 Topps and 1990 Fleer cards for Uribe keep popping up with high price tags. There are a few theories that include folks just running up the price as a joke or scam hoping that others will start under cutting and buying, praying that a few actual sales get completed and someone ends up making a good chunk of money on a common. And then there are theories that the card and many others like it — commons from the era — are being used as a vehicle for money laundering.

In a nutshell, there are very few commons from the era worth the paper they are printed on these days. The memories and nostalgia attached to them, of course, can indeed be priceless for some folks. The actual Uribe in this story would’ve been worth $5 to me … but absolutely worthless to everyone else. Again, I’m a sucker for memorabilia, even if the item is merely a piece of memorabilia belonging to a specific experience.