Question on vintage cards - cutting/shaving

loftheb

New member
265
5.00 star(s)
Hello, everyone.
I really don't consider myself a vintage collector. I've only got the Cubs stuff that I need for my set, and have really only been at it for a year or year and a half. At the last card show I attended, I was able to pick up a couple of bigger hits... a Banks and a couple of Santos.
When I got home, I noticed something on the Banks... the bottom of the card had a very noticeable point in the middle of the edge. I compared it with another card from that year by setting it directly on top and found out that it had been "shaved" to try to sharpen rounded corners (at least I'm guessing on that).
I looked at the Santos, and found that one of them was also shaved, albeit whoever did it did a much better job. You couldn't tell by the naked eye on this one, and only when I set it on top of another card did I see it.
I've been re-checking my collection, and have noticed that about a quarter of the cards have been shaved or cut badly. Most of those are the bigger names. I still get cards in from people that I trust that I find are shaved.
My question is: how prevalent is card shaving? How much of the graded or ungraded vintage stuff out there has been cut or shaved? Is there anyone that is a known card shaver or cutter (besides our pal with the awesome art)? Should I be concerned if someone I trade with sends me shaved cards regularly, even if they're a small percentage of what he sends?

Thanks for the help.
-Casey
 

Ahmanfan

New member
54
5.00 star(s)
the standard hobby term is 'trimmed'. Use a watchful eye when buying, if it's a more expensive card buy it in a psa, sgc, or bvg holder.
John
 

mindbinge

New member
237
5.00 star(s)
All my vintage that I pick up is lower grade for this reason...I just get the stuff that has rounded corners lol.

If I wanted anything vintage in a higher grade, I would for sure purchase graded items...you may pay more but you know exactly what you are getting...and the prices on the vintage stuff is so dependent upon the condition that there is no point in trying to figure it out with an ungraded card in my opinion...you might think it's mint, send it off and if it's trimmed you are screwed.
 

opcfan

New member
227
5.00 star(s)
the standard hobby term is 'trimmed'. Use a watchful eye when buying, if it's a more expensive card buy it in a psa, sgc, or bvg holder.
John

John is right on, have you ever noticed that when it comes to big named vintage cards on the bay. The cards that are holdered by psa sgc or bvg they have a big premium. The reason is chances are good the card hasn't been altered. When I am hunting to get a vintage card autographed I almost always buy a slabbed card and break it out of the case that way I know the card is correct.
Jim
 

Jeffo65

New member
1,541
5.00 star(s)
Staff member
Cards from the 50s through early 70s were often not exactly uniform in size. So it is possible that cards that appear trimmed, may in fact not be trimmed, but just a little short or the card you are comparing it to may be a little long.
 

loftheb

New member
265
5.00 star(s)
Cards from the 50s through early 70s were often not exactly uniform in size. So it is possible that cards that appear trimmed, may in fact not be trimmed, but just a little short or the card you are comparing it to may be a little long.

First hopeful news I've heard about this!
Thanks.
-Casey
 

timfsu2k

New member
965
5.00 star(s)
All my vintage that I pick up is lower grade for this reason...I just get the stuff that has rounded corners lol.

If I wanted anything vintage in a higher grade, I would for sure purchase graded items...you may pay more but you know exactly what you are getting...and the prices on the vintage stuff is so dependent upon the condition that there is no point in trying to figure it out with an ungraded card in my opinion...you might think it's mint, send it off and if it's trimmed you are screwed.

My methods exactly. I would be nervous buying a raw high grade card. Also, the cards may have been trimmed many owners ago, and the person you got the cards from may not have known they were trimmed. If you hadn't noticed the Banks and subsequently checked your other cards, you may have one day passed them on to another collector without ever knowing they were altered.
 

bsatttu

New member
522
5.00 star(s)
I second what Jeffo said. Vintage cards can vary greatly in size, of course some sets more than others. Also, you may find quite a few "diamond cuts." Basically this is a card that went through the cutting machine at an angle, so it is not rectangular but has more of a parallelogram shape.

Determining if a card is trimmed or not is very tough. I'm not very good at it myself, but two things to look for are:

1. Check the color of the edges. By this I mean the actual card stock that you can see by looking at the card from the top, bottom or side. Cards over time change color slightly due to the elements and light. Typically an edge that has been trimmed will not have been exposed to the elements as long, so it will not have change color as much. Compare that edge to the other three.

2. "Hooked" corners. One corner of the edge that was trimmed will more than likely have a slight "hook" to it, meaning it will be not be 100% straight, but have an exaggerated inward or outward cut. Of course if someone did a poor job of trimming, the whole edge will be wavy. Unfortunately, if the card was trimmed with a laser cutter, the card will probably not have this hook.

Of course there are more things that can give a trim job away, but these are two that are harder for a scammer to hide.

BTW, here is a very good website on doctored cards: http://www.alteredcards.com/trim.htm

Hope that helps!
- Britt
 

mintman2

New member
133
5.00 star(s)
Cards from the 50s through early 70s were often not exactly uniform in size. So it is possible that cards that appear trimmed, may in fact not be trimmed, but just a little short or the card you are comparing it to may be a little long.

100% agree. Quality control was absolutely nothing like it is now. Ironically this can be of great benefit to someone looking to trim vintage star cards.

On a side note......The better grading companies may be your best protection but they're far from perfect. Several years ago I broke open a sealed set of 84 donruss and sent in the superstars for grading and they sent several back, marked "Evid Trim"
 

mrmopar

Active member
621
5.00 star(s)
If anyone has a quantity of 55 Bowman, they seem to be the worst! I have all different sizes and I am guessing most are original.

Still, trimmed cards are effectively damaged and are graded about G/F/P at best, even if they look fantastic. I think if you are getting cards from someone regularly and you believe they may be trimmed, I would speak to this person. They can either acknowledge this as a possibility either because they were unaware or even that they knew all along or argue otherwise. If you have any doubt and the person seems defensive, it may be time to move on to other traders/sellers!
 

Go Fish!!

New member
140
4.90 star(s)
I don't think the problem is as prevelant as some collectors make it seem.I look at it this way.As long as you feel like the card hasn't been altered and you paid what you feel is fair for the card then it's all good.When collecting vintage if it doesn't seem right then walk away,You will always have a chance to pick it up later on..It also helps when going to a show or dealer to carry a hand glass and inspect the card before purchase checking for shaving and also print dot variations to be extra safe..It's your hard earned money so don't feel embarrased by doing this.When collecting vintage I try to buy in bulk to finish sets.I usually get alot of beaters but they are cheap and then I upgrade from there.Also don't get the wrong idea but I will rarely trade vintage without being able to see it such as here at the bench.
what I may consider ex-mt someone else might consider it lower quality and vise versa.
 
Top