The Hobby ignoring “Razorgate”

By now everyone knows all about Autograph Alert’s report on Razor and Upper Deck’s presidential cut signatures. While Razor Entertainment’s Brian Gray has already made statements to anyone who will listen, it’s his supporters who are getting more pathetic by the minute.

It’s not surprising that just hours after news of the Autograph Alert’s report broke on the Razor forums that someone dug up anything and everything relating to the owner of the site, Steve Koschall. Judging by all his crimes, which can be seen listed here, the guy is/was a big time dirt bag.

Thanks to those links found through Google, Razor’s backers (not Brian himself) seem to automatically discredit the report, which is typical considering they make money from Razor and it would hurt their credibility even more to admit the problem. It’s already well known that they did everything in their power to shut down their users who spotted the problem months before the report.

Even worse, the “#1 authority” refuses to make an official statement except for the following which was posted on their message board:

“The allegations are from anonymous sources — so you should consider that. They could have no credibility. And, by the way, the cards were not authenticated by Beckett or JSA when slabbed. They were merely slabbed by Beckett. Any authentication claim/responsibility is with Razor.”

It’s clear that anyone who stands to lose money from this latest story wants absolutely nothing to do with the truth. The source in question may have been an extremely tainted one but so was the guy who ratted out Major League Baseball a few years back. What was his name again?

34 thoughts on “The Hobby ignoring “Razorgate”

  1. For the record: Rob of the Voice of the Collector did not “dig” up these stories on the owner of Autograph Alert, he merely put them together in one place for readers to look into.

  2. Rob, the “supporters” can be found on the message board Freedom Cardboard and nowhere else.

    Thanks for putting those links together for the blogopshere. I first saw them posted at FCB. I know you were just proving the information.

  3. I posted asking why they would slab something, using a slab with their name on it, on something they did not authenticate. They would not do that for anyone else who sends in a autograph to be slabbed, they would make that person get it authenticated. They basically blindly slabbed these items for Razor (coincidence that Brian Gray makes appearances when they open his product?). I told them they were being misleading with their involvement with the product, if they slabbed it just for protection, Razor could have easily used magnetics ala prime cuts which is more then enough protection. For christ sake UD sends presidential cuts in top loaders, and no team bag with tape on the top lol. The mod got testy and deleted my whole post simply putting his reply where my post was of “The mod doesn’t slab the cards”. So then I edited that post saying I know he doesn’t, but certainly he can talk to someone who did/does being a representative of his company, and then he totally deleted the post.

  4. Unbelievable, god forbid any journalistic integrity come out of that rat hole.
    Do you have copies of your posts? I’d be curious to see what the big deal was

  5. Unfortunately no copy of it, just the summary I posted already. It is clear they slabbed these cards for Razor to get Razor credibility, without actually certifying/authenticating anything. It is a big scam.

  6. That’s intersting Beckett would slab those without authenticating them. BGS/BVG wouldn’t even authenticate/slab my real 1948 Bowman Yogi Berra rookie which clearly had Yogi’s name hand-written (not signed) on the front. All I wanted was the card in a slab for show purposes and instead I got a note telling me to send it to JSA for authentication … which is pointless because it’s pretty obvious that it’s not Yogi’s signature. Here we’re talking about presidential signatures presumably worth much more than my poor condition Yogi rookie.

    Having said that, this is not the first product Beckett has slabbed for a card company without authentication. If I recall they did a bunch of slabbing for Donruss and the Just minor league baseball company.

  7. I can’t understand why they would put their name on something like that with out making sure it was legit. It’s funny how Razor fesses up to this and tries to make things right while Beckett is still trying to discredit the story. One of them sounds like they might be guilty of something and the other sounds like they may have made a careless mistake. I’ll let you decide who’s who.

  8. In light of these developments, “Freedom Cardboard” is more like an oxymoron, amirite? Freedom to do anything except be rational, thoughtful, and critical.

    It’s interesting in how Beckett has become the Microsoft of the card business. It has its good aspects, it has its anti-competitive aspects. It varies between clearly identifiable professionalism, and questionable conflict-of-interests with hazy ethical boundaries.

    Their relationship with Razor smells more like the latter. Whether they like it or not, Beckett decided to get in bed with Razor, and got embarrassed by what happened under the covers. Regardless of their weasel words, Beckett doesn’t get to dictate how this will affect the reputation of their grading service. The fact that they didn’t certify or label the Oval Office cuts even as “authentic” just means that:
    1) they were lazy about authentication
    2) they wanted the business

    Slabbing them with their brand on it was supposed to be a good thing, but now it’s just embarrassing, as their brand is on glorified screw-downs with supposedly great signatures that are very likely ghost-penned or mechanically written (i.e., worth less that Citibank stock).

  9. What seems most odd to me is that the concept of ghost-penning a signature (“secretarial”) or the use of an autopen was completely forgotten by everyone involved: Razor, Beckett, Upper Deck.

    What gives?

    Even within sports proper, it’s widely known that due to physical maladies, Roy Campanella and Johnny Unitas both used autopens extensively. I’ve read that Roger Staubach commonlu uses an autopen for his freebie TTM autograph requests.

    Autograph rule #1: A signature and an autograph are not always the same thing.

    So, how is that forgotten for, say a famous person with incredible responsibilities like a President? A person who otherwise would certainly sign his name hundreds of thousands of times in a four-year-term without surrogate signatures?

    It’s not like the payroll guy at Upper Deck hand signs every check himself…

    …but maybe they do at Razor. Can’t be that many checks.

  10. I auto penned shit myself for a certain Senator back in the day. Beckett has such a mickey mouse operation its ridiculous. Although what exactly is “the hobby”? Just because Beckett and FCB aren’t all over this doesn’t mean anything these days. The minute you bloggers go silent, then I’m concerned. I also don’t mind full disclosure on all parties involved including an accuser, but like many of you say evidence and reason prove his point not his character.

  11. Unfortunately no copy of it, just the summary I posted already. It is clear they slabbed these cards for Razor to get Razor credibility, without actually certifying/authenticating anything. It is a big scam.

    Raise your hand if you are surprised.

    *looks around*

    *Sees no one*

    *cackles maniacally*

  12. I’ve updated the top of my thread over at Beckett, It now looks like this……

    Razor Buyer’s Beware
    I feel the need to share this with all of you. It seems that some of the autos included in the Razor Presidential Cut Sig set are allegedly not real autos. It appears that a few of them were signed with an autopen machine. They are authenticated, but it seems that there are questions of the ethics of the authenticator. It seems as if these were passed as authentic as a favor even though these are not authentic. There are also questions raised with some of Upper Decks Presidential cut sigs. Here’s a link so you can check it out yourself.

    http://www.autographalert.com/news.html

    FROM MOD: The allegations are from anonymous sources — so you should consider that. They could have no credibility. And, by the way, the cards were not authenticated by Beckett or JSA when slabbed. They were merely slabbed by Beckett. Any authentication claim/responsibility is with Razor.

    TO MOD: These allegations must have some credibility because Brian Gray has recognized these cards as possible machine inked autos. Also if Beckett is an authentication company, they should not plaster their name all over a product if they have not authenticated the card. This is misleading and irresponsible. Last I checked, you guys were not in the business of packaging cards. So the way I see it, Beckett is partially responsible.

    I just wanted to post the TO MOD part before it gets deleted.

  13. I also think you seem to be missing UD’s role in this. Gray is the one trying to fix it but you seem to keep dogging them without mention of the UD cone of silence. I will never buy Razor and Brian himself is the kind of hot-headed message board tough guy I hate, but Bad Wax and Gellman nailed it. I’m not naive in thinking everyone is dirty in this, first and foremost authenticators, but Gray is putting it out there as he should.

  14. Their excuses and spins games are wearing thin, fine he will replace the autopen’ed or counterfeit autographs. What about the people who pointed this out weeks ago before the product was packed out that there are OTHER autographs in this set which are possibly autopen’ed?

    They didn’t care then and threatened to sure these people who brought this up. But now that the story has spread and Brian finally fixed his phone (HAHAH) he has his minions spread this counter story to try to distract from the one blaring fact NO MATTER WHAT IS SAID AND WHAT WAS DONE BY THE OWNER OF AUTOGRAPHALERT HE WAS AND HAS BEEN 100% RIGHT. No credentials nor prior experience in autographs authentication is needed, he nailed it .

  15. Now the thread is locked! And I just got owned by Cardboard Fan because I don’t know the difference between an authentication company and a grading company. I got a strange feeling that Beckett knew something was up but decided to go forward with the project anyways. Why else would they try to avoid these conversations? I hate to do it but I gotta give credit to Razor and Mr. Gray for at least trying to make this right. Beckett on the other hand has lost all remaining respect I still had for them.

    Gellman, pull the bandwagon around so I can hop on!

  16. Such good entertainment really. Wish I had saved a copy of my post, didn’t really expect it to get deleted to be honest, pretty bush league. Beckett boards being crap as usual I guess. Not surprised Cardboard Kid tried to defend them, he is always gleaming happy over Beckett it seems, whatever. This is beyond ridiculous that Upper Deck and Beckett have not made official statements about this issue. And to the point of Beckett not being a authentication company, then why were they asked to slab these cards? It is obvious Razor asked them for the image of it being legitimate since Beckett slabbed it. As I said earlier, it is a complete smoke and mirrors scam that luckily was caught onto.

  17. Agreed gritz. Beckett is nothing more than advertisers. They are exposed at every turn.

  18. The thread is unlocked now all of a sudden. I’m keeping a copy of this thread just in case it suddenly disappears overnight. Here’s what I added, I think I’m done with as long as no one starts spouting garbage again.

    Cardboard Fan,
    Maybe Beckett/JSA should of checked their facts before agreeing to go forward with this project.

    Either way, the #1 Authority has their name forever attached to the highest price pack of cards ever produced. It just happens that in that set, it seems some of the cards are fraudulent. How are we supposed to take Beckett/JSA seriously. Your price guide is so far off market value, it’s an embarrassment. Your in house blogger consistently plagiarizes other blogs. And now your grading/authentication departments are a part of the biggest sham to come along. Congratulations Beckett, you are #1 at something!

  19. What I don’t understand is why would you not authenticate all of the autos with JSA/PSA or some other source (not too familiar with who the authority is on historic signatures). It seems that this might be a lesson for them to learn from as they apparently didn’t learn from UDs fiasco with the quad cut a couple years ago. From a monetary standpoint I would assume that this will cost Razor a lot more than having the cards/autos authenticated before hand.

  20. While the accusations against Razor and UD are inflammatory and very serious if true, the report at Autograph Alert is nothing more than a tabloid-style accuation. There are no named sources in the report and no comparison examples to show how the autograph is fake or autopen signed. They have not given any evidence on why the autographs are fake. For all we know, the author has a vendetta against one of the named parties.

    I also do not think the response of Razor or Upper Deck shows them to be “in the know.” The allegations are serious and they know if true, would affect their business. They are doing the right thing by offering to make sure the autographs are authentic.

    Even the response from Beckett is apropriate for now. You can’t expect Beckett to respond to every tabloid-style accusation. Hopefully they are doing the right thing and researching the story objectively. It would be irresponsible of them to respond or report on an as of yet unsubstantiated report.

  21. Alex, the Nixon is a known example of an autopen and is in several well know autograph reference books as an autopen.

  22. Someone should ask Brian what card company he worked for back in the day. Would it surprise anyone to find out it was ProSet??

  23. Just saw this on autographalert.com
    Razor Entertainment Update

    Less than 24 hours after the story regarding Upper Deck and Razor Entertainment was published, a member of the http://www.autographalert.com team was contacted by phone by Brian Gray, President of Razor Entertainment, Dallas, Texas.

    The conversation lasted over an hour and Mr. Gray appeared to be very concerned about some of the cards he has produced. He believed he was purchasing presidential signatures from who he thought were reputable sellers of autographs. He went extra lengths to have those signatures authenticated by third party authenticators.

    The very next day Mr. Gray called once again and spoke to us for another hour. He stated he was receiving an ernomous amount of negative emails regarding the story about his company on http://www.autographalert.com. Mr. Gray wants the autograph community to know of his willingness and desire to stand behind every signature.

    He has assured http://www.autographalert.com that he will follow up on both the Nixon and Van Buren signatures, try to locate the persons who won the items on eBay and make it right by replacing the signatures with genuine examples. Mr. Gray has also stated that he bought the Martin Van Buren signature from a well known dealer at a Washington, DC autograph show. As Mr. Gray goes through his records he will alert us which dealer he purchased the signature and which authentication company he utilized.

    In addition, to show good faith, Mr. Gray went one step further. He is willing to put up a $20,000 bond that will not be touched until the wrongs have been made right. We don’t think that will be necessary but appreciate his good faith.

    We have to say, if Mr. Gray follows up on his statements, we have to take our hats off to him. He will have set an example for the industry. We look forward to hearing from Mr. Gray in the near future, as we believe our readers will be interested in his findings.

  24. For the record – the Alex above is not the smart-ass Alex who has recently posted a bit on here recently. That is me!

    Now that is out of the way, the Alex above is a tool. Any major company that is going to sell an autograph as authentic should do their research to ensure that it is authentic before doing so. The fact is that Brian Grey’s response has shown this did not happen – if they did, why didn’t he come out and demonstrate this? Similarly, Upper Deck’s and Beckett’s silence indicates this did not happen – again, if they did, why didn’t they come ou and demonstrate this?

    I’m sorry, if I sell an “autograph” as being authentic, even though I have not personally witnessed it being signed or had it confirmed as far as possible as being legitimate, and it turns out to not be authentic, it is fraud, plain and simple. The same goes for Razor, Upper Deck and by association, Beckett.

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