Kurt's Card Care responds to ongoing battle with PSA

Kurt Colone says he "comes in peace", PSA says otherwise

Cover Image for Kurt's Card Care responds to ongoing battle with PSA
Kurt uses his care kit to refurbish cards for higher grades (Credit: kurtscardcare.com)

The battle between grader PSA and card cleaner and restorer Kurt's Card Care has reached a peak, after PSA deactivated an order that included a Jackie Robinson card that was soaked in his card spray on Kurt's Card Care social media channels last Wednesday.

Kurt Colone, who sells Kurt's Card Care, a kit of products that allows collectors to restore their cards so that they can get better grades, has turned into one of the more controversial characters in the hobby.

Restoring cards is a polarizing topic, as the perception of what a collector should be able to do to a card varies.

Most believe smoothing out bumps and trying to get rid of small stains should be allowable, but the more extreme work, like the use of solvents, is more frowned upon.

There are huge stakes involved.

If a PSA 3 ($1000) of the 1953 Robinson is then regraded as a PSA 6.5 ($6,000), it’s a $5,000 gain. With other cards, the chance to make more money exists.

On April 10, Colone, who shows collectors how to use his products on his social media, took the Jackie Robinson card and soaked it in his card spray for about 20 minutes in order to get the stains off of the card. He told viewers that the Robinson would take a couple days to dry and he would then put it in a case and submit to PSA.

Other cards that he treated, which Colone told cllct were owned by a friend, were a 1952 Topps Willie Mays Topps, a 1955 Topps Sandy Koufax, a 1954 Topps Hank Aaron and a 1955 Roberto Clemente were also in the order and rejected.

PSA submission terms and conditions dictate that cards cannot be altered.

"We are fine with blowing on it or using a dab or water or using microfiber to clean it," said Ryan Hoge, president of Collectors, parent company of PSA. "But when you are doing much more, we are not on board."

PSA guarantees that cards that it grades will always uphold that grade, and if it doesn't they are on the hook. Hoge says he can't guarantee a card that was improved by using solvents.

"We are the ones with the financial obligations," Hoge said. "We are not comfortable grading these cards when we have to be standing behind them for years down the road."

Colone does not disclose what ingredients are in his spray, although he maintains they are all natural and won't hurt the cardboard. His website does that damage to the card using his product is not his responsibility.

Colone attributes the battle with PSA to cancel culture.

"I have nothing to hide," Colone said. "My videos are uncut, I'm showing people what I've been doing to my cards for 20 years and the marketplace has clearly spoken. I have more than 20,000 customers using my product. It's the five or six trolls that scream the loudest that give me issues."

Colone said he laughs at people who paint him to be a nefarious character.

"I do this because I love it," Colone said. "And here people are treating me like I'm some trimmer. There's a lot of other fuckery going on."

Colone said he's surprised PSA officials haven't called him to talk.

"I come in peace and I'm really open minded," Colone said. "Let's exchange practices and data with each other."

Hoge said PSA is charged with staying ahead of trends given the financial liability they have if something that restores a card changes its condition in future years.

Said Hoge: "If people want to crack a card out and resubmit, they can, but we want real legitimate items coming back, not items that were manipulated."

Darren Rovell is the founder of cllct.com and one of the country's leading reporters on the collectible market. He previously worked for ESPN, CNBC and The Action Network.