It may come to you as no surprise to you that I am anti-NFC. I try my best to remain neutral and informative in my articles, but I have publicly spoken/written on several occasions about the MASSIVE negative impacts that they have on the hobby I love. What I haven’t written about are the times where NFCs have directly impacted me. I share with you these three stories with the hope that you can learn from my mistakes. To this date, NFCs have cost me approximately $1,700 in purchases/trades that I otherwise wouldn’t have made. Expensive lessons to learn…
The first time:
The year is 2014. Jason is a young misprint collector. He’s got a modest collection, but is still relatively new to the hobby. Back then I (yes, I just switched from 3rd to 1st person) had parts of my collection posted on my tumblr blog. I had been part of the misprints and rarities FB group for maybe a year or less at that point. I was approached by a fellow collector, and asked if I owned this card:
A friend of his collected earthbinds, and he wanted to get this for him. I was proposed a simple trade.
This card (on the right) for my FBB earthbind. At the time, it seemed like a perfectly fair trade. I was getting a similar miscut and I was helping someone get a card for their friend! At that time, I clearly didn’t know any better. I got the card, and despite the little bit of edge/corner wear, I was pretty happy with it…Until I learned what NFC was. Full disclosure, I did not handle the situation well after the fact. I’m not proud of my demeanor or how I went about resolving the situation. I let my emotions get the better of me. Despite all of that, we did come to a resolution. I wasn’t able to get my earthbind back. It was sent out to the friend, and it was gone. I did end up trading the NFC back for an agreed upon value. It wasn’t enough to cover the cost of eventually replacing the FBB Gutter Cut in my collection though. I came out at a net loss.
I learned a few things from this incident (some of which I won’t go into). The first being: DO YOUR HOMEWORK. Arguably, I didn’t fully grasp this lesson (see the 2nd time), but it certainly gave me a kick in the butt. The second is: Don’t be afraid to ask for more information (crap…I didn’t learn this one either). People have no way of knowing what you know and what you don’t know. The more questions you ask about a specific item, the more you’ll learn. Most people have no issue being up front & honest when it comes to providing answers. Most people are fair and honest. The best defense against the ones that aren’t is being informed. Develop a network of trustworthy friends who you can go to for 2nd opinions if you need to (I’ll do my best to always help). I was lucky enough that I traded with someone who had a solid set of morals, and was willing to work with me to make things right. I’ve been close friends with that individual ever since, and for that, I’m almost glad that this happened. <3
The second time:
This story is much less exciting than the first. I’ll just start off with the lessons learned because that’s the most relevant thing here. Don’t assume that a card you’re purchasing isn’t NFC because of who you’re purchasing it from. I made this assumption, and I bought a card for a lot more than I’d otherwise be willing to (which is at all). I assumed the card was legitimate (aka not an altered rarity), and didn’t ask questions or do an adequate amount of research because of that. Huge mistake. The seller was entirely willing to let me return the card for full price (the misprint community is seriously fucking awesome btw. I love you guys), but I declined. I made a deal and I stick to my word. I kept the card as a reminder (a much needed one apparently) to always do your homework and to never assume. Another expensive lesson.
The third time: Unfortunately, probably not the last…
This story is by far the saddest and most troubling story of the three. It’s the most painful lesson I’ve experienced (both financially and emotionally) in my 11 years of collecting misprints. I’ve come very close to quitting this hobby in the past. This was another instance where that almost happened. I’ve cooled off quite a bit since, but this wound is still very fresh.
I was contacted by a member of the misprint group regarding information they received about a card which was posted, this card was in fact NFC. I put on my detective hat, and got to work. I found myself talking to the gentleman who’s directly responsible for creating a significant amount of NFCs. It was a really pleasant conversation, and he was super helpful. Based on that conversation, I don’t believe that the card I was messaged about was NFC, despite his (the choppa’s) claim that he thinks it was his work. I don’t think he looked closely enough at the photo, which wasn’t the greatest anyways.
During our conversation, the choppa brought up an interaction he had in the group in the past. He mentioned a specific type of miscut and the argument that he’d gotten into when he tried to inform folks that they were NFC. The unsolicited anecdote immediately triggered horror as I knew for certain that I owned some of the cards he was talking about. I sent him a photo, and my fears were confirmed. “Yes. I did those ones in the picture, I remember the skull one.”
If you’re not familiar with the above miscuts, know that they have inverted backs. That is something that cannot be replicated outside of the factory. This only added to the perception of their authenticity. The uncut sheet that these came from, was a scrap sheet from internal factory sources. It was AFTER that sheet left the factory, when someone decided to cut it up and sell it for profit. We’re still trying to trace the full ownership history, but at some point, they were either misrepresented as factory cut cards, or that information was omitted because it was never inquired about. The individual who I bought them from was not aware and is as much as a victim as I am. NFCs like these, the ones that pretend to be something they’re not, are the most disgusting and vile NFCs out there. These are the fillers and test prints that are cut normally. These are the cards where delicate provenance gets lost, and someone suffers because of it. These are the NFCs that do the most, unrecoverable damage to our beloved hobby.
So what’s the lesson to be learned here? Unlike my first two stories this wasn’t really an avoidable situation. I think that the lesson might be this: There has been, and will forever be a risk of this happening to anyone with almost any card within the hobby. Cards that you own that you thought are legitimate, might not be. That’s the new (ok…NFCs have been around as long as Magic) and difficult reality we must swallow as collectors. This inherit risk, is now forever present in our hobby. To get really cool cards, we have no choice but to accept that risk. Knowing that these are NFC, is just another sad day for misprints.
I hope that these stories help you. I hope that you can learn from my mistakes. I think we need to share these stories more with one another. I’d like to open the floor for anyone who would like to share. Feel free to use the comments, send me an email, or even PM me on facebook! Thank you for reading. Stay awesome!