Taking My Hacks

Back By Popular Demand...

Joe Orlando

A couple of issues ago, I wrote an editorial about some of the more comical things we have to deal with at PSA. From the unreasonable to the really unreasonable, some customers want to make you laugh and cry at the same time. There are those who are genuinely confused but there are others who play dumb and clearly know better. It can be a virtual circus at times.

Since we had such a favorable response to the last column, I wanted to share three more recent experiences. Keep in mind, these are REAL incidents. The following three accounts are not made-up for comedic purposes. In our hobby, there is so much authentic comedy that there is no reason to create it. In some cases, you just can't make stuff like this up because it's almost too unbelievable.

The following three incidents are quite authentic and, hopefully, quite funny.

1) Elvis Lives - Maybe I should have saved the best for last but this one is so funny to me that I wanted to begin with it. A woman sent in a book that was allegedly signed by Elvis Presley. So, what's the problem? The book was published in 2002. Wait... it gets better. We thought that the woman was unaware of the publishing date, possibly thinking the book was printed during the music icon's lifetime. Oh no... the woman knew it was published in 2002 but argued that it was irrelevant since his death was unproven and the acceptance of his passing was only "conventional belief." The woman chastised our staff for thinking The King was gone because she was totally convinced that Elvis lives!

2) Where are My Items! - I have dealt with bizarre situations like the one above in the past but this next one was entirely new to me. After receiving his package back from PSA/DNA, we had a submitter call our offices and proceed to lambaste us with profanity. Why? He claimed there were three autographed items missing from his order, the first three items listed on the submission form. This guy wanted heads to roll at PSA/DNA and refused to stop until those three items were returned. The problem was those three items were the three pre-printed examples that we include on every form to help instruct people how to submit. After pointing that out, he kept fighting. I'm not kidding.

3) Honus Hope - Over the years, we certainly have seen our share of 1909-11 T206 Honus Wagner counterfeits and reprints. This one, however, takes the cake. After the customer submitted the alleged Wagner and hoped for the best, I had the duty of informing the customer that it wasn't the real deal. He proceeded to argue because, as he so aptly pointed out, the back of the card clearly explained how rare the card was and even contained an estimated value of the iconic piece of cardboard. While trying to keep a straight face, I tried to explain that it was a reprint. He couldn't understand how it could be possible since the card was, in essence, "self authenticated" on the reverse.

At that point, I fell to my knees and pleaded with Mother Nature to take me out with an enormous bolt of lightning. That bolt never came but I soon realized how lucky I was to work in a business filled with so much humor. Unfortunately, my moment of levity was interrupted when I was struck in the grill by an errant corndog that was launched from the Ferris wheel inside Cleveland's IX Center.

Alright, I made that last part up but the three examples above were based on real occurrences. I hope you enjoyed them as much as I still do.

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.