I have long been an advocate of the data base… in Holiday parlance, this could be likened to the “Naughty and Nice List” kept by Ole Saint Nick. Were I to find myself being tasked to serve as the scribe for this years effort, my listings might appear along these lines. Since Santa is a busy guy, he would most likely want to know up front, who he does not need to worry about this year. Those folks he will leave to Krumpas (if this is a new or unfamiliar name, ask someone of Bavarian decent).

The Naughty List

Auction Houses that:
– Do not disclose the financial interest they have in items or those of the folks offering opinions on them.
– Get upset when you turn down work for them because you can’t substantiate their claims and when you inform them of this, they reply “then what am I paying you guys for?” (Yes Virginia, this did happen in 2006).
– Charge 18% to 20% for buying an item in their auction.
– Spend more time describing why the item is so wonderful as opposed to actually describing what it is and why it is what it is.

Authenticators who:
– Remain unavailable to answer questions about their work.

Dealers who:
– Add or remove things from items and don’t mention it until they are caught.
– Do not afford a buyer a chance to understand and evaluate an “impeccable source.” Last time I checked, “impeccable” was not a synonym for “anonymous.”
– Try to play off a “team store” as their private/inside team source.

Collectors who:
– Continue to spend tons of cash on product, but won’t invest time and money in building a reference or research library. This creates a dynamic that let’s others prey upon them.
– Who bash items as being bad solely because “they are not like mine or ones I have bought and sold.”
– Send you an e-mail because they say they are interested in bidding on a “six figure” item you have written about, but would like you to e-mail them your letter and findings because they don’t want for a subscription price of $40.00.
Publications and Forums that:
– Cater to advertisers and not collectors.

Players who:
– Fill the industry with more product than they could have possibly used.
The Nice List

Auction Houses who:
– Have reasonable fees.
– Focus on accuracy and not “salability”.
– Believe in disclosure.
– With respect to evaluations, understand what they are paying for is an opinion, not just the one they want to have written.

Collectors who:
– Take the time to share information and comment about hobby/industry issues in a non-self-serving manner.
– Are willing to pass on items and organizations they are not comfortable with.
– Build face- to- face human contacts and reference libraries.
– Who understand that Photo-Matching is not Imagery Analysis.

Dealers who:
– Continue to be the backbone of this industry, stand by their quality items, and have not left because someone who they have done business with for years (without issue) now wants an LOA with their items. (My pal in Dumfries knows what I am talking about).
– Are willing to spend time talking to you about the hobby and why they love selling what they do.

Authenticators who:
– Stand by their opinions and can be reached without the resources of the Office of the Director for National Intelligence.
– Disclose what they own…on their own.

Researchers who:
– Actually take the time to subject their work to public scrutiny. You may not always agree with their findings or methods, but they have put themselves out there and have associated their own name with it.

Publications and Forums that:
– Know who their readers are and what they either want or need to know. (Gridiron Greats is well named).

Show Promoters who:
– Understand that folks will still drive hours to meet dealers who still bring ticket stubs, books, and magazines to shows.

Family Members who:
– Understand why we need to drive hours to meet dealers who still bring ticket stubs, books, and magazines to shows.

My hope is that this year was all that you had hoped for and that 2007 brings more of the same.

Happy Holidays


LTC MEARS Auth, LLC can be reached for comment on this article at:

14218 Roland Court
Woodbridge, VA 22193