AFA Ownership Question [Archive] - YoJoe.com Forums

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Volleydan
10-24-2008, 08:49 PM
I don't mean to bash AFA, and I hope everyone is careful to play by the rules on this thread......

I have an honest question about something I have heard about AFA. I have heard that one of the principal owners of AFA is also the owner of a major online toy store that happens to sell a large number of AFA graded items. The ownership is said to be indirect - carefully hidden through a series of limited partnerships and LLCs.

On the AFA site, it clearly states that AFA employees are not allowed to sell graded items to preserve the integrity of their grading process.....but this rumor seems to fly in the face of that statement. It wouldn't be the first time owners of a company got to play by different rules than the employees, though.

So, does anyone know if this is true or just a nasty internet rumor? I really would like to know so I can quash it or spread it appropriately.

TOPSON
10-24-2008, 09:15 PM
I don't mean to bash AFA, and I hope everyone is careful to play by the rules on this thread......

I have an honest question about something I have heard about AFA. I have heard that one of the principal owners of AFA is also the owner of a major online toy store that happens to sell a large number of AFA graded items. The ownership is said to be indirect - carefully hidden through a series of limited partnerships and LLCs.

On the AFA site, it clearly states that AFA employees are not allowed to sell graded items to preserve the integrity of their grading process.....but this rumor seems to fly in the face of that statement. It wouldn't be the first time owners of a company got to play by different rules than the employees, though.

So, does anyone know if this is true or just a nasty internet rumor? I really would like to know so I can quash it or spread it appropriately.

Stop being such a hater, Dan.
Love,
Chris

kurthalsey
10-24-2008, 10:10 PM
Indeed the former owner of Cloud City has his name on the business license of CGA. That info is public from the state of Georgia. He since left Cloud City, formed an Investment Brokerage that works with Brian's Toys on the Premiere Collectibles auctions. His Investment Brokerage operates out of the same office building as CGA. And Brian's Toys bought Cloud City.

There are reports on transformers boards of people getting letters from the Investment Brokerage place offering to buy their high graded items immediately after they have been graded.

These are some of the reasons I got rid of my AFA collection and started over with non graded items.

Volleydan
10-24-2008, 10:11 PM
Stop being such a hater, Dan.
Love,
Chris



No hatin', just want to get the question answered once and for all with some amount of certainty.

And I love you too.:D

kurthalsey
10-24-2008, 10:16 PM
The biggest disappointment I had was seeing Cloud City purchase crazy amounts of sealed video games on their eBay account. Suddenly, CGA started grading video games and Cloud City/Brian's Toys had an enormous collection of graded video games for sale. That to me, is inside working plain and highly visible.

Collectors Source Grading I think offers a more comprehensive grading scale, with attention to color of the card, visibility of the blister and damage to the blister, and other small details... but I don't think they have really taken off yet. For the same price as AFA grading and a normal case, CSG uses archival plexi on all of their cases.

Volleydan
10-24-2008, 10:25 PM
Indeed the former owner of Cloud City has his name on the business license of CGA. That info is public from the state of Georgia. He since left Cloud City, formed an Investment Brokerage that works with Brian's Toys on the Premiere Collectibles auctions. His Investment Brokerage operates out of the same office building as CGA. And Brian's Toys bought Cloud City.

That is pretty much what I had heard, though at the time I had heard it the Cloud City guy hadn't sold out yet. I didn't know about him starting the new company. I hadn't heard about the connection to Brian's Toys either.

So, as it stands today, the owner of Brian's Toys and Cloud City (both of which sell a large number of AFA graded items) also owns Premiere Collectibles (which sells almost exclusively AFA graded items) as a joint venture with the guy who is listed as the owner of AFA? Selling products that you graded yourself seems to be a conflict of interests, especially when the primary selling point of the item is that they've been graded by a "independent third party".


There are reports on transformers boards of people getting letters from the Investment Brokerage place offering to buy their high graded items immediately after they have been graded.

So it appears that there has been some data sharing going on between the companies. I know a lot of companies that do this....ever buy a used car and immediately start getting offers in the mail from random companies trying to sell you a warranty? I wonder if they have you sign a release form when you submit an item to be graded?

just_joes_by_mike
10-24-2008, 10:38 PM
Why would someone want a graded video game? Should I send in my iphone, mint in the box to be graded too. That way I can sell it to CGA, who will sell through Premier to some chump who has way to much money and time to get one on his own:rolleyes:.

kurthalsey
10-24-2008, 11:00 PM
Pretty wild, huh!? No bashing, but just clarifying based on info that is out there. And not all of it comes from message board and rumors- there is tons that is plain as day public. Check Cloud City's website- same exact inventory as Brian's Toys. And if anyone can remember far back, it was Cloud City that sold the plexi cases that turned out to be the cases AFA uses.

At any rate, the guy's name is no longer on the business license of AFA, it's some one else's now as of 2007. But here is a link to when AFA was started in 2002, and you can see for sure who's name is on the State business filing- it's the same man who owned Cloud City and currently owns Collectibles Investment Brokerage, which works in tandem with Brian's Toys to run Premiere Collectibles Auctions-

http://corp.sos.state.ga.us/imaging/12990948.pdf

dockingbay97
10-27-2008, 09:54 AM
The official line was something along the line of:

No person who owns Cloud City owned AFA.

That is only because ownership was shifted among family members.

I can tell you that it is more than internet rumor. I know several high end SW collectors who were told directly by TD that he owned both (at that time). I can't see why any of these guys would lie to me.

I don't know who owns CC now but if it is Brian's Toys, the link may finally be broken.

STINGER-UNDERCOVER
10-27-2008, 09:55 AM
This Is About The Same Deal With Beckett The Sports Card Price Guide. They Where The Ones Who Started Grading Cards. Its Funny How This All Pans Out.

Just My 2 Cents.

TYPE*S*TOYS
10-27-2008, 01:19 PM
I own the webdomain videogamegrader.com and was approched by Tom Derby about buying it from me. I asked what he intended to do with the site and he said "his client" could not tell me. I knew that he was some how associated with AFA and knew they were going to start grading videogames like they do toys. I said this to him and he said "good guess". We could not come to terms and I still own the domian. About 6 months later AFA announced that they would start grading video games. Just thought it was interesting for this thread.

AFA_Joe_God
10-27-2008, 06:02 PM
1) Brianís Toys and Cloud City are both in Wisconsin and under the same ownership.
2) The owner of BT and CC does not own any of AFA which is located in GA and is a completely separate business.
3) Collectible Investment Brokerage and Premier Collectible Auctions do not sell items of their own. They act as a broker and auction house to put buyers and sellers together. Neither is a retail entity and neither has items graded themselves. They simply help broker items which have already been graded by the collectors who own the items.

kurthalsey
10-27-2008, 07:47 PM
1) Brianís Toys and Cloud City are both in Wisconsin and under the same ownership.
2) The owner of BT and CC does not own any of AFA which is located in GA and is a completely separate business.
3) Collectible Investment Brokerage and Premier Collectible Auctions do not sell items of their own. They act as a broker and auction house to put buyers and sellers together. Neither is a retail entity and neither has items graded themselves. They simply help broker items which have already been graded by the collectors who own the items.

Officially yes, and that is how it should work. But that doesn't explain a lot of the obvious under workings-

1) people receiving offers from Collectible Investment Brokerage to buy their graded items before they even get them back from grading. Why would an independent third party grader impartial and not partaking in the sale of graded toys release customer info to a known seller and broker of graded items?

2) The original owner of Cloud City indeed started AFA and I posted the 2002 business filing from the State of Georgia that confirms that. It was transfered to a different name in 2007- that filing is public record as well. That confirms 5 years of joint operation.

3) There is still a connection between sellers of graded items and the grader- new ownership Cloud City scooped up all the sealed video games and got them graded before video game grading was even announced. How did they know to buy every single sealed video game on ebay? Their ebay feedback showed the onslaught of purchases and the timing.