Taking My Hacks

The Things I Get Tired of in the Hobby

Joe Orlando

Just like anything else, the hobby has its good side and bad side. There are things that, as a hobbyist, you wish would change and other things that just make you scratch your head. For this month's column, I thought I would share some of things that I ponder, some of the things that frighten and confuse me as most things do to Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer. Maybe... just maybe... you feel the same way. I have a feeling that I am not alone.

So, here it goes ... four things that I get tired of in the hobby.

1) The Know-it-Alls – Let's face it. No matter how much we all think we know about collectibles, no one knows it all. That said, there are those who are self-proclaimed experts. Whether it's "knowing" exactly how cards were cut at the factory decades ago or "knowing" that a particular celebrity "never" signed a certain way, their "knowledge" is often based on nothing. The reality is, in most cases, reasonable conclusions are based on research, logic and patterns but rarely are those conclusions based on absolutes. The irony here is that most know-it-alls actually know very little. Real experts are comfortable admitting that they may not know everything. It's time for an ego check.

2) The Angry Internet Troll – Don't you just love these guys? These are the guys who do nothing but bash, bully, demean and harass on various message boards. You know what they say? Everyone is 10 feet tall behind a computer. Their strongest assets appear to be the ability to express just how jealous they are of others and, sometimes, lying without a hint of regret. How they have time to post so much is beyond me. Apparently, they have no life and are here to take that out on the rest of the world. Here's a suggestion: The hobby is supposed to be fun so, if the hobby is making you that miserable, do everyone else a favor and leave.

3) The Compulsive Liar – Time and time again, these guys just insist on making things up. They come in the form of collectors and dealers. They claim that autographs were obtained in person when the signature is pre-printed, autopen or the medium was manufactured after the subject died. They claim that every card they submit was obtained from a little old lady who lives on a farm in the south. All I can say is that this little old lady must have one heck of a collection since so many people have been buying from her for the last 30 years. It goes back to a principle I strongly believe in. Provenance can provide a wonderful, and sometimes valuable, compliment to a collectible but it's no substitute for merit.

4) Mr. Renege – There might not be anything more frustrating to a collector, dealer or auction house than the person who backs out of a deal after an agreement has been reached. In my opinion, this behavior is tolerated way too much. In any other business, you would lose your credibility almost instantly by doing this but here - since we are often dealing with items that are rare and desirable - we don't penalize the repeat offenders enough. The desire for the collectibles increases our tolerance for unacceptable treatment; which is sad but true.

Thank you for letting me vent a little this month. The hobby can be a great place, filled with many good people, but that doesn't mean there aren't aspects of it that could improve or ... better yet ... go away.

Never get cheated,

Joe Orlando

Joe Orlando
Editor In Chief