A few weeks ago, a member of a vintage unopened product group asked for opinions about the 1955 Topps Baseball 1 Cent Pack graded eight by GAI pictured below.
A group member responded by saying that penny packs are always tough to authenticate. While a GAI holder isn’t the best provenance (compared to PSA, for example), it could still be good because nothing looked like a major red flag in the image. However, the folds on penny packs are often inconsistent and sloppy, and since there are no corner folds, it makes rendering an opinion on them super difficult.
Since only 14 of these 1955 Topps Penny Packs are graded by PSA, and the last one sold for $3500, I thought I would share more information about GAI and pack authentication in general.
One important thing to know when buying a GAI slabbed pack is what the certification # is. A string of 102xxx fake grocery cellos were graded that you should stay away from, but you shouldn’t steadfastly assume any pack with a 102xxx cert is bad. Because of this, some folks say to stay away from GAI no matter what, but that’s not fair.
The vast majority of GAI pack slabs with a silver flip are legitimate. Murphy and Wright authenticated for GAI during the 100xxx and 101xxx certification era, and I haven’t heard of any collectors who sent one of those GAI packs to PSA to cross and had it rejected (though I’m sure it has happened at least once, there is some level of subjectivity in authentication). But I wouldn’t stay away from packs with 102xxx and 103xxx certifications numbers either; GAI was pretty reliable. That said, there is some risk of GAI packs in later generation holders.
Ultimately, if you are buying or looking to cross a pack, you have to look at each pack individually, not just a certification number. For example, with the 1955 pack, I’d be concerned about the gum that seems to have shattered and slipped out of the pack and any tears in the wrapper. And if you are looking to protect the pack, not cross it for financial gain, I’d keep it in the GAI holder anyway; I feel they are more secure. Also, expect any cross to PSA to end up with a lower grade than GAI.
One more thing related to GAI, be very wary of GAI slabbed wax boxes. Steve Hart of the Baseball Card Exchange, who authenticates every pack for PSA, shared that he purchased a GAI slabbed 1986 Fleer Basketball Box and found that every pack had been resealed.
Ultimately, I just wanted to share a bit of unopened company authentication information with the hobby to protect and inform collectors. Finally, and perhaps it should go without saying, but if you are new to the hobby, NEVER buy a raw vintage pack off eBay.
If you have any other information to share about 1955 Topps Penny Packs or GAI flips in general, please share it in the comments, or send me a message over on Twitter.