Klein’s Korner: How Can We Deal With Loss in the Hobby?

Klein’s Korner: How Can We Deal With Loss in the Hobby?

Today, the road all runners come,
Shoulder-high we bring you home,
And set you at your threshold down,
Townsman of a stiller town.

-From: A.E. Housman’s To an Athlete Dying Young.

Klein's Korner: How Can We Deal With Loss in the Hobby?

While a beautiful poem about the mortality of an athlete in both the competition and the living sense, writing columns such as these are always very sad. In case you missed the news at the beginning of July, a 27-year old major league pitcher named Tyler Skaggs was found dead in his hotel room. One never expects anyone so young and in excellent physical condition to pass. This has occurred all throughout sports history and there is always a sadness when these moments of mortality hit us and so hard because of the shock. This photo of all these players wearing cowboy hats was taken less than 48 hours before his life concluded.

Klein's Korner: How Can We Deal With Loss in the Hobby?

I know we can all agree this was a very sad situation but as with many aspects of life, business issues make things more complicated. I know for many dealers and even some collectors one of the most difficult aspects is how to deal with his autographed items you might have for sale or be holding for sale. To me this issue has several tentacles of which some are easy to discern and others not as much. One issue is we know Tyler Skaggs will never approach Hall of Fame credentials and you may feel this is your one chance to sell his cards. This is especially true of his certified autograph cards

I will present some of these options and a few words thereof:

1) You had a Tyler Skaggs autograph for sale before he passed and you changed nothing in the listing. Frankly, no one can have any objections to this. You would have accepted that money before his passing and you have not changed anything.

2) You had a Tyler Skaggs autograph for sale before he passed and you changed the listing to indicate he passed or raised the price. Now I get you are trying to draw attention to your item and that may be fine on a business level but not as much on a moral level. This is certainly problematic for many collectors.

3)  You had a Tyler Skaggs autograph in inventory and placed it for sale (at a higher price) when you found out about his untimely passing. On a business level, I get your belief this may now be your only opportunity to sell said card but how do you feel morally about such an issue? There may very well be collectors who will say I won’t do business with you again and you have to make a decision as to what you feel is correct. This is even more problematic an issue to many collectors than example #2

Klein's Korner: How Can We Deal With Loss in the Hobby?

On the other hand, you have the collectors dilemma. A few years back I received an Oscar Taveras autographed card from Topps as a replacement for a Mike Moustakas autograph card which Topps said would never be redeemed. Now, since the Moustakas card came from a box I opened while doing box reviews for Sports Collectors Daily I took the trade-off in stride. But, if I *Had* paid decent coin for the Moustakas rookie year autographed card I would have been quite perturbed. Fortunately there was a major Oscar Taveras collector on the Beckett Message Boards and he made me a fair offer which I was happy to accept so he could get a card he desired. But, without that happy ending I would have felt Topps was pulling a fast one on me at that point. My only point is these autographed cards of deceased young players is tricky and there is a ton of gray area in that aspect of collecting. In simplest terms, what does one do as a collector other than show patience?

Klein's Korner: How Can We Deal With Loss in the Hobby?

We would love to hear your opinions as well on this subject.

For more from Rich Klein, follow him on Twitter @sabrgeek.

Klein’s Korner: How Can We Deal With Loss in the Hobby?

Rich Klein

Rich Klein is a free-lance writer living in Plano TX with his wife and two dogs. He has been involved in the hobby since the 1970's and has written within the hobby for more than 30 years. He spent more than 15 years working in the price guide department at Beckett Publications and is currently a catalog maintenance expert at COMC.All views expressed in Klein's Korner are solely those ofMr. Klein and are not related to GTS. He can be reached at Sabrgeek@aol.com
Rich Klein