Counterfeit R423’s

Despite what some collectors and bloggers have to say about Beckett Media, today Andy Broome, who is one of the top vintage graders at Beckett, wrote a piece on counterfeit R423 cards.  These are the ones that look like postage stamps.  It is a really good article.  It is one of Sports Card Info’s jobs to help stop scammers and counterfeiters by supplying information like this to collectors.

Source – Beckett Behind the Scenes

“This tiny card issue has been looked over by collectors for many years. Measuring in at 1-5/8x 1-7/8”, it is easy to see why. These cards are dwarfed by a postage stamp.
The cards feature a black and white photoengraved image on the front and a generic game-like back that can be found in different colors like red, green, blue and purple.
The cards were issued in either 13-card strips or separated by the perforations and sold individually, most likely through bubblegum machines.
Director of Grading Mark Anderson has brought to light yet another counterfeit example. The examples BGS have are 3 times thicker than an original R423. While an original weighs a mere 0.05grams, the fakes we have weigh in at 0.15grams.
The fake cards are on a very bright white stock as opposed to the original stock which is a slicker, more off-white stock.
Original cards will have perforations on either one or both sides of the card. The counterfeit cards have smooth edges with no perforations.
Under a loupe, it is obvious the fakes have been printed with a computer. The quality is quite poor and is not even close when compared to the tell-tale characteristics of photoengraving found on an authentic example.
If you have studied T206 cards under a loupe, you no doubt are familiar with the “rind effect” of the type found in the players name and team name. The images on the fronts of the R423 are made up of tiny dots of ink that will have that rind effect. The fakes will not have this printing characteristic.
The fact that issues like the 1951 R423’s are now being counterfeited is disturbing.
These counterfeits prove that there are no limits to what can be faked and should serve as a warning to collectors who buy raw cards online, sight unseen.

– Andy Broome, BGS Grading”                              


Counterfeit on left.


On the left is the back of a counterfeit.

The T206 Museum

This afternoon I was looking for information on the T206 set and came across the website T206  This website has everything you can think about the T206 set, including information on how to spot counterfeit cards and reprints.  For example, “Every genuine T206 cards, they are printed in solid black pinstripe separating the white border from the colored photo. Reprints show the line as a string of dark dots. You can see the different under a high power (x10) magnifier.”  If you are looking for information an any T206 card, they will have it.  


Michael Jordan 1984-1985 Star Co. ROY #288 Counterfeits

There is no doubt about it that the Michael Jordan Star Co. rookie cards from the ’80’s are some of the most counterfeited sports cards on the market today.  Last week I found an article from Sports Collectors Daily that talked about the Star Co. and I e-mailed them asking if they could point me in the right direction as to how to spot a fake Michael Jordan ’84-’85 Star Co. rookie card.  I heard back from them and they showed me a message board discussion that took place back in the summer of 2007.  A Michael Jordan ’84-’85 Star Co. Rookie of the Year #288 counterfeit can be spotted quite easily if you know what to look for.  The main thing you want to look at are the borders.  On a real card, there will be very little right border and a lot of left.  Take a look at the image below.  It has the total opposite, a lot of right, and a little left.



I just received an e-mail back from Global Authentication with more information on how to spot counterfeit Michael Jordan ’84-’85 Star Co. cards.  They said, “On the back of the card there should be a slight color bleed along the edge of the card from the front.  The color clarity is softer and unique to original issued Star product, the reproductions have bolder colors and out of registry text, bleed or feathering are good terms to describe the repros.”

Catching Those 1933 Goudey Babe Ruth Counterfeits

KSA is a Canadian grading company, and on their website they have a small section that gives you tips on spotting fake cards.  They have some great tips on how to spot fake Babe Ruth 1933 Goudey baseball cards.  These tips can be used for all Ruth Goudey’s.

  • Look for a glossy finish on the front surface
  • The green text on the back of the card should be solid
  • If under magnification, the text looks dotted, you are probably looking at a reprint
  • Be very careful when buying or trading for these cards as they have been artificially aged  to look real


How To Spot A Fake Barry Bonds 1986 Topps Traded XRC #11T

I know what your thinking.  Who would be buying a Barry Bonds rookie card?  There are a lot of people that collect different things for many reasons.  I found this information from an old article that Beckett had online a few years ago.  I know Barry Bonds rookie cards aren’t the most popular thing right now, but Sports Card Info’s job is to inform you about scams and write/compile information on how to spot fake sports cards.  


“The 1986 Topps Traded Barry Bonds XRC is the most popular Bonds card graded by BGS. With nearly 11,000 of them graded by BGS already, it is hard to believe we are just now seeing the first counterfeits of this card. 
This fake, while probably not able to fool the hobby veteran, may be good enough to fool a novice collector. At first glance the card shows some characteristics of the real card, such as the centering being slightly off both top to bottom and left to right. The imposter is printed on a thicker card stock than the original, and has a weight of 1.70 grams compared to a weight of 1.42 grams on the real card. 

When comparing the edges of both cards, looking straight down on the edge, the fake has a bright white stock compared to the off white, almost yellowed color of the real card. The fake also has a smooth edge with no visible striations compared to the choppier edge of the real card. 

Some signs to look for on the front of the counterfeit include the font of the “Topps” logo in the upper right corner being noticeably smaller than the font on the genuine card. The trademark “R”, located just above the word Topps, touches the “S” in Topps on the fake, while there is a noticeable space between them on the real card. Also on the front, the font size of the name “Barry Bonds”, at the bottom of the card, is visibly smaller on the fake than the genuine card. The overall fuzziness of the photo of the fake compared to the real card is another sign to look for. A good place to look to help spot the counterfeit is in the blue sky background just to the left of Barry Bonds head. On the real card the sky is made up of blue and white print dots, while on the fake the background has blue, white, red and black print dots. The fake is easy to spot if you look in this area using a 10x loupe. 

The back of this counterfeit is very well done, with the dark pink color on the counterfeit looking very close to that of the genuine card. If you are not sure what to look for, you could be fooled by this fake. One sign giving away the counterfeit is the bright white look of the white card stock on the back, which looks almost bleached. The real card has more of an off white color as opposed to the white card stock on the back. You will notice the card number “11T” has a diamond shaped box around it. On the real card, the corners of this diamond are rounded, while on the fake they come to a point. The diamond around the “Topps” logo on the back shares this same characteristic. Also, the font size of the card number “11T” is noticeably thinner on the fake than on the real card. One last sign on the back to help spot the counterfeit is to look on the back inside the white box which says “Talkin’ Baseball”. On each of the four corners in this box, there is a black line located just inside the corners. On the real card the lines are straight, while on the counterfeit card the lines are rounded.”

Fake Proof Cards

You never know what might pop up on the BMB (Beckett Message Boards).  Tonight I took a look at the baseball boards and saw a post about fake proof cards up for sale on eBay.  I couldn’t believe what I saw when I looked up “chrome proofs” on eBay.  There are people who have somehow removed the backs of any type of chrome card stock and were selling the front of the card as a proof.  Real proof cards usually don’t have any backs to them anyway, but thats because it came from the company that way.  These people have altered a perfectly normal base card to look like a proof.  One of the best ways to know that your proof is real, is to buy one that comes directly from the company or is in a graded and/or certified holder. 

How to Spot a Fake Rickey Henderson 1980 Topps RC #482

Rickey Henderson is one of best players to ever play the game.  His 1980 Topps rookie card #482 is one of the most popular rookie cards a collector can have.  Below are some tips that will help you spot a fake version of this card.

  • Take a look at the words “Rickey Henderson” at the top of the card on the front.  A fake version of this card will have a name that is made of many small dots instead of solid black ink on an original.
  • On a fake Henderson rookie, a green and white dot pattern will make up the background of the “A’s” logo.  On a real version, the green background is a solid color.
  • A counterfeit Henderson rookie will have a broken circle around the © logo on the back.       

If you are a fan of Rickey Henderson, please check out Man of Steal.  It is one of the best blogs about Rickey Henderson collectibles.

SP Authentic Patches – A Counterfeiter’s Dream

Upper Deck SP Authentic is one of the most popular brands of cards for baseball, basketball, and football card collectors.  They have some of the best patch cards that the hobby has ever seen.  Just take a look:

That is an awesome looking card.  The signature is on card and the patch is multi-colored.  Although these cards look really nice, counterfeit card makers love this product.  Wanna know why?  Its because Upper Deck numbers these cards so high.  If you have ever seen a fake patch card for sale, the sellers usually number a patch very high.  You have to be very careful when buying SP Authentic patch cards.  Since the real patch cards are numbered high and the fake cards could also be numbered high it can be hard to determine which is real.  What some counterfeiters will do is buy a one color patch version of a card for little money, and then they will insert a fake multi-colored patch to make it more valuable.  Check the seller’s feedback to see if they have recently purchased a card like the one you are planning to buy.  One of the best ways to avoid a fake patch card is to buy one that is graded and/or certified.  SP Authentic patch cards are some of the coolest, and trickiest cards to buy.  Good luck!!!   

Albert Pujols 2001 Fleer Legacy Auto Rookie #’ed/799 – Watch Out!

This morning I received an e-mail from a reader that asked whether or not I made a post about the Albert Pujols 2001 Fleer Legacy autographed rookie card #’ed/799.  He informed me that fake versions of this card have been popping up a lot because some of these cards are autographed and others are not.  Apparently, this card was only made available back in 2001 as a redemption, just like a lot of Pujols autographs at the time.  Many of the 799 cards that Fleer produced were redeemed, but there were some that didn’t, which meant some cards would go unsigned.  Doing a quick search on eBay, you will find autographed versions of this card and unsigned versions.  Somehow the unredeemed cards made it to the secondary market.  This is alright because collectors may be able to obtain a more affordable rookie card of Pujols, but it has also has lead to many people forging his signature.  The cards look exactly the same except some have autographs and some do not.  If you plan to buy an autographed version of this card I would be very skeptical.  It would be a good idea to find one that is graded and/or certified so you know its a real autograph.  Above you will find what an authentic signed card looks like.  Below is an unsigned version.

Mickey Mantle 1952 Topps #311, or is it?

Mickey Mantle was one of the best baseball players of all time.  If he saw this card I think he would be rolling over in his grave.  This is a great example of what a counterfeit 1952 Topps #311 Mickey Mantle card looks like.  The coloring is way off, the card stock looks to be a different width, a “$30,000.00″ card is just sitting in a plain top loader, and its not even certified.  People will go to all lengths to try and take people’s money.  If a collector wants a real and original Mantle from this set they should just buy one that is graded and/or certified.  Yes, it probably will cost a little more money, but at least you will be getting a real card and not some fake that was made using a copy machine.  Collectors need to do their research!!! 


Here is what a real 1952 Topps #311 Mickey Mantle baseball card should look like:


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