Archive: Interview with Steven Bloedow (Operations Manager, SCD Authentic) [2002]

1.  What positive effects from the grading phenomenon can you see in the hobby?

With grading, there is no longer the uncertainty of the condition of card a seller is selling and a buyer is buying. As anyone that is active in the hobby knows, Mint doesn’t always mean Mint unless that grade is confirmed by a reputable grading company. Along those same lines, many collectors have been taken advantage of because of trimmed cards, colored, repaired or otherwise altered cards. The good grading companies know how to spot these.

2. What negative effects can you see?

On the negative side, grading can take a decent chunk of money away from what would normally be spent on buying new packs or singles. If many collectors decide to spend their hobby budget on grading, it can affect the card shops and manufacturers.

3. If any, which companies show the best record in terms of delivering a high percentage of mint-near mint-gem-mint cards in their factory packs?

The percentage of high-grade cards is usually determined by that particular set vs. the manufacturer that released the set. Certain factors like card stock, border color, card gloss, card stock, etc. all determine how cards from a particular product will grade.

4. What is your take on the new “Pristine” set and the attempt to say that the cards “have never been touched by human hands?”

Representing SCD Authentic, a company that does the Untouched grading, of course I like the idea of Pristine with the cards being untouched by human hands. We do the same thing here for grading and it’s been very popular with collectors sending us anything from factory sets to wax/rack/cello packs to vending cases for Untouched grading. I personally like the innovation with Topps Pristine and was very impressed with the product as a whole in addition to the untouched cards.

5. How do you feel about the price guides starting grading services? Doesn’t this affect the pricing of cards graded by other companies? Isn’t this a conflict of interests?

SCD/Tuff Stuff used to price graded cards extensively before launching the grading service, but we actually pulled the Graded Card Price Guide when we launched the grading service to avoid the perceived conflict of interest. Pricing graded cards and owning a grading service can definitely be a conflict of interest because there’s always a tendency to price your own cards higher than other graded cards.

6. What are the hottest cards in terms of numbers of submissions for grading in MLB? NBA? NFL?

Barry Bonds 1986 Topps Traded and Fleer Update, any Mickey Mantle or Michael Jordan card, Griffey’s 1989 UD, Adam Dunn, Austin Kearns, Alfonso Soriano, Jason Giambi

7. What fringe sport (USFL, WNBA, WWF, CFL?) has a significant number of cards being submitted?

We see a decent amount of boxing come through here, along with a lot of USFL because of the rookies.

8. What do you think is SCDA’s strong point that makes it more desirable than the rest of the grading companies?

SCD Authentic was launched by some of the same hobby experts that produce SCD and Tuff Stuff so our hobby knowledge has been around longer and is more extensive that other companies. We are also part of Krause Publications, which is the largest hobby publisher in the country and has other divisions like cars, coins, toys, knives, guns, outdoors, stamps, antiques, crafts, records and books, which means our company is diversified enough that we can do things correctly with high ethics and don’t have to rely on the revenue from our grading division to keep the company going. Krause has been doing business for 50 years and doesn’t go into a project for the short term, which means collectors can have peace of mind knowing that SCD Authentic will be around a decade from now.

9. What makes SCDA different or set them apart from the rest of the grading companies? In other words, what’s unique about SCDA?

SCD Authentic has gone to great lengths to set itself apart from other grading companies. First, we pride ourselves on working with customers to better understand the grades and being more accessable than any other grading company out there. Second, we treat Untouched material differently that other companies, who group it in with cards that have been handled. SCD Authentic uses gloves throughout the process to ensure that the cards coming from Untouched product are, in fact, Untouched straight through being encapsulated. Third, SCD Authentic also became experts at grading Star Co. cards, which no other company can make the same claim. Star Co. was the only place to go for basketball from 1983-85 and has many key rookies like Jordan, Barkly, Ewing, Stockton, Wilkins, Malone, etc., but had fallen in popularity due to the widespread counterfeiting of those cards. SCD Authentic can tell the subtle differences and can authentic and grade Star Co. cards. Finally, we have also recently produced a thicker holder that can hold most of the very thick memorabilia cards that were so difficult to protect and impossible to get graded before.

10. Is there anything you would like to add about SCDA for the readers to know?

SCD Authentic recently graded the Florida Find, which included more than 300 T206 cards found in an attic that had no been handles for probably the last 80 years. The cards sold on ebay and through an Alan Rosen auction for at or more than PSA or SGC prices, which was a very clear indication that there is a strong market for SCD Authentic cards. We’re also still working with Larry Fritsch Cards on their collection. We began working with them last year and will be doing so going forward. We’ll have graded thousands of cards from their collection before we’re finished.


Author: autobilia

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