Taking My Hacks

Trust: A Hobby Observation

Joe Orlando

Trust is a big issue; in business, in relationships and in this hobby. It doesn't matter if you are talking about dealers, auction houses or grading companies, trust is something a hobbyist must have or feel in order to maximize their collecting experience. On the flip side, earning a customer's trust is key to having a successful enterprise. This is especially true in a hobby where, in addition to the monetary value of collectibles, there can be a great deal of emotional attachment involved.

So, whether you are the type of person who never trusts anyone or the type who trusts others way too easily, how can each approach negatively impact your chosen endeavor?

First, let's take a look at the hobbyist who refuses to trust anyone or any company. I am talking about the extreme example. These are the people who think everyone is out to get them. The reality is that this type of hobbyist will usually carry this approach into every facet of their life. The person who lacks the ability to trust in the hobby generally lacks that ability everywhere else too. These are the same people who think everything in the world is a conspiracy; that the government is pumping invisible drugs into the air in order to control our minds and that Sasquatch, the Chupacabra and the Loch Ness Monster are involved in a pyramid scheme.

All kidding aside, if you become so jaded or so cynical that you fail to trust anyone, it will prevent you from enjoying this hobby to the fullest extent. All of us should check references, verify reputations and ask tough questions. These are all part of any hobbyist's due diligence but, you have to be willing to trust once you have completed your research. The end result is that you may be missing out, not only on opportunities to build your collection, but also on opportunities to forge relationships with others who share the same passion as you do.

More importantly, there is the other extreme to consider, those who trust without any due diligence whatsoever. It continues to amaze me when I hear stories of people who are willing to send large sums of money across the country without knowing anything relevant or meaningful about the seller. These are the types of hobbyists who are willing to risk so much based on a deal that, to any sensible person, would just be too good to be true.

We all have to remember that while this can be a very rewarding hobby and a lot of fun, it can also be a lucrative business. Due to the amount of money that may be at stake, it can attract unsavory individuals who are willing to do anything for a buck. No one is suggesting that we should allow paranoia to set in but you certainly should have your guard up and remain sharp when in buying mode. I have met some people over the past year that were taken advantage of by fraudulent sellers, sellers who were preying on the weak. The greed that drives the scam artist can be the same greed that drives the buyer to engage in a deal that has warning signs all over it.

There is something in between, an approach that can help protect you as a buyer while keeping your options wide open. Remember... it's your money and it's your hobby. Make the best of it by acting accordingly. You will be glad you did.

Never get cheated,

Joe Orlando

Joe Orlando
Editor In Chief


Joe Orlando has been an advanced collector of sportscards and memorabilia for over 25 years. Orlando attended Westmont College in Santa Barbara, California where he studied communications and was the starting catcher for the baseball team. After a brief stint in the minor leagues, Orlando obtained a Juris Doctor from Whittier Law School in Southern California in the spring of 1999. During the last fourteen years, Orlando has authored several collecting guides and dozens of articles for Collectors Universe, Inc. Orlando has also authored two books for Collectors Universe. Orlando's first book, The Top 200 Sportscards in the Hobby, was released in the summer of 2002. His second book, Collecting Sports Legends, was released in the summer of 2008. Orlando has appeared on several radio and television programs as a hobby expert including ESPN's award-winning program Outside the Lines and HBO's Real Sports, as the featured guest. Currently, Orlando is the President of PSA and PSA/DNA, the largest trading card and sports memorabilia authentication services in the hobby. He is also Editor of the company's nationally distributed Sports Market Report, which under Orlando's direction has developed into a leading resource in the market. Orlando also contributed the foreword and last chapter to The T206 Collection: The Players and Their Stories, a 2010 release, and to The Cracker Jack Collection: Baseball's Prized Players, a 2013 release.