How To Spot Fake 1991 Topps Desert Shield Cards

In 1991 Topps created a series of baseball cards called 1991 Topps Desert Shield. These cards were sent to the American Troops during Operation Desert Storm in 1991. They look just like the 1991 Topps base cards except for the Desert Shield logo on the front of each card. There were 15 cards per pack. The Desert Shield cards are very collectible and people have created fake versions that can easily trick collectors. The Desert Shield logo on the fake cards is really bright in color. It almost has a gold look to it. The real ones have a silver, less bright color on them. Sellers have become very tricky while trying to sell these on eBay. If someone tries to sell a fake card they will darken the photo to make the logo look as if it is silver versus gold. If you are trying to put this set together and you find a card up for sale online the best way to go is to buy one that is graded and/or certified. Below I have a picture of the fake and real Desert Shield logos. The fake logo is on the right and the real one is on the left.




Here you can see how a seller tried to pass the card on the left off as real. They tried to darken the photo to change the color of the logo.


45 Responses


  2. Question: Your write up is useful, but it seems contradictory to me. First, when you show the 2 logos up close, you say the one on the right is fake (The one that looks much better in quality, and appears to be silver), and the one on the left is real (that one looks more gold, and more sloppy). Then in the picture on the Chipper cards, you indicate that the one on the left is fake, and the one on the right isn’t. Yet that seems to contradict what you said earlier about the logo.

    Can you clear it up? Should the “cleaner” thinner lined, more clean detail logo (silver) be the correct one, or the sloppier, gold”er”, less detailed one be the correct one?
    Thanks for your help in this matter.

  3. Can you tell from the outside of the pack if it is real?

    • Always be cautious if buying any “unopened Packs” because they were just wax sealed back then. The Cons open them and take out the good cards and load them common cards or counterfeits. Then all they had to do was heat the wax package to seal it back up this giving it the look of being unopened. That’s been an awful long time for them to have never been opened. I wouldn’t buy any. I have two sets and a ton of extras I compiled while I was stationed there. People who were not collectors were just throwing them away or trading them do the “good” MRE’s.

  4. Does anyone have a counterfeit Wes Chamberlain rookie available for sale?

  5. I was in Desert Sheld and Desert Storm I have 7 1991 Royals Topps 40years of baseball cards stamped with the seal that is more gold in color than silver. I was given these when I was part of the security force for the peace talk towrards the end of the war. I know they are real and have pictures to prove thus wise. I have heard that if the cards are handled alot then they might become discolored and the stamp may appear more silver in color.
    Garrett Bessler Charlie Company 2/16 Mech Infantry Big Red One Fort Riley Kansas

    • you are 100% correct the real ones are gold indeed as I was the one who foil stamped all topps sports cards. the sheets were printed either 100 out on a sheet or 110 on a sheet depending on which printer was used and what series it was.

  6. I picked up a whole bunch of these cards while I was stationed at Camp Schwab on Okinawa back in early 1992. I went there for my 1 year tour and the unit I was to serve with had just come back from Iraq and they brought back unopened boxes of the cards. They threw them on the squad bay floor and said anybody who wanted them could have them. Naturally I took all of the boxes. The Operation Desert Shield logo is gold not silver. I currently have them in baseball card sheets and in binders. They are all in my storage unit. So based on the above comment by rosschrisman2003, are all my cards fake?

    • Actually it was early March 1991. I left Oki March 1992. Sorry….

    • Don’t know if they’re fake, but the question is, are you interested in selling any of them? Are there any left in packs? Let’s hope you pay your storage fees and they don’t end up on TV on a storage auction!

      Nice find, I hope they are real for your sake, that’s a lot of paper to haul back from overseas. But, seriously, if you’re selling, please let me know.

      • Steve –

        I have a whole box of these Topps 1991 DS cards..used to look them on on Beckett monthly when I was a teenager, but havent done much with them in a while……probably not a complete set..but there’s gotta be some stars among all the commons. My dad brought them home for me from Desert doubt they are real. Been carying them around a while… Would love to sell them for a fair price.

      • Get a hold of me i got a whole boxs of them

  7. Patrick,
    Count ’em up and let me know how many you have, and what you might be looking for. You can contact me at sgjunkaccount (AT) yahoo (DOT) com.

  8. I got a couple of packs when i was in the gulf and they are gold not silver. Infact, when the light reflects off of them they’re quite bright. I’ve kept them in a photo ablum and they haven’t changed colors. Are you saying that I was given fake cards in the desert because they aren’t silver? If so then everyone of us at Al Jubal got fake ones because they looked the same to us.

  9. i have been trying to find info or worth on trading cards i have. They were my dads but wanted some info on them. They are not baseball or sports they are of fighter jets and navy stuff. Some fo the cards are of C-5A Galaxy, F-16 Fighting Falcon, The Prowler, some fo them are ships such as USS LaSalle, USS Missouri,USNS Mercy. If someone could e-mail me some info that would be excellent.

  10. I was in Desert Shield and Desert Storm. I have a box of these Desert Shield cards, about 200 of them. Several of the people I was stationed with collected them. The real logo is gold, not silver. The real logo also has the smeared appearance, not clean lined. I opened each one I have out of the original sealed package and they came to us in unopened boxes so I can attest to the validity of the cards. I keep all of mine in a soft plastic sleeve then inside a hard plastic sleeve so they are double protected. Again, as shown in the pictures above, the gold seal is the real one, not the silver.

  11. I was in Desert Shield/Desert Storm. As I was leaving Saudi Arabia in March of 1991, I recieved 3 unopened boxes of these cards. Of course I opened them, made a few little trades, and completed the entire set within a month or so (792 cards). I sleeved them back then, and still have the complete set, along with a dozen or so duplicates of the “then” all-stars. All are in pristine condition, except my Nolan Ryan has the gum mark on back of it. I am not a collector. These are the only cards I own. Would it be wise for me to have these graded, Or see if someone would like to offer me a deal I can’t refuse? What does it cost to get cards graded?

  12. Hello, I happen to come across 7 of these gold operation desert shield cards back when they first came out. I was in a small town store that happened to have a display case with many cards and I saw them and bought them. These cards are : Tim Crews, Gary Wayne, Clay Parker, Mike Fitzgerald, Tom Kelly, Todd Burns & Wayne Edwards. I have them in soft plastic sleeves that hold 9 cards per page. I also have many Desert Storm & Desert Shield cards that after opening pack not knowing they would be worth more unopened, I inserted them into sleeves instantly. They are perfect with no bent or worn edges.

  13. Both of the Chipper Jones cards are fakes. The author is just showing a fake (right) and what it looks like when someone trys to darken the pic to make it look more realistic (left).

  14. I disagree with this post….one because i was in desert storm and opened many of these packs while on deployment… and all that i opened had the gold logo on them…..and these packs were sent strait from topps to our platoon Sargent…. i have several hundred of these that i bought back from Kuwait…. and all have the gold logo….so unless topps sent us(troops) fake cards…this info is wrong…i think the silver version is the spoof….matt

    • I was in Desert Storm as well but on the USS LaSalle, I have a box of unopened cards plus the box they came in and lots of individuals as well I’d be interested in selling all of them. Anyone interested can email me @

      • I have 3 Desert Storm cards, but think they are collectable. What would you ask for the individuals and who are they. I don’t think I could afford the box of unopened cards. I have two retired sons from the Air Force and am very proud of them.

  15. […] this helps: How To Spot Fake 1991 Topps Desert Shield Cards Sports Card Info __________________ Buying 2000-01 Mike Penberthy basketball cards (Lakers) Currently for trade: […]

  16. Same as other responses, I was in Desert Shield and Storm and was given cases of these cards to give amongst the troops. Most would eat the bubble gum, which was not very good, and throw the cards away. I have acouple of hundred I brought back. I told my daughter she could sell them and put the money toward her college expenses. Anyone needing a certain card for their collection or looking for a bunch can email me @, selling at a good price. And yes, the desert shield logo is a bright, reflective gold.

  17. As for the available information online, there is little uniformity or consensus as to how to easily identify the counterfeits. Like the others, this article adds more confusion. I have seen multiple graded Desert Shield cards that have the very characteristics described above as counterfeit identifiers. Granted, perhaps PSA is not any better at identifying the counterfeits. Describing the fakes “as really bright in color” is not helpful or specific. It is unfortunate that better information is not available. At this point, buy graded cards and hope for the best.

  18. I got some for sale

  19. I got a box full of commons and i also got all of the major stars for sale

  20. anyone have any boxes unopened they are willing to sell?

    • Hi – haven’t seen anything on this forum in a long time. I have many of these cards, commons and stars, perhaps a few unopened packs- I’ll need to check. Email me directly, let me know if there’s anything in particular you are looking for.

  21. Looking for any 1991 Topps Desert Shield Cards Raw or Graded.

  22. you say that someone dropped the boxes of cards on the floor and said anyone can have them. Then you said you grabbed them all. It’s you guys that should be in jail. You should have told your troops their value and had them mailed home. But no, you guys hoarded them and many troops never heard of the cards. , then I heard that all the seniors and NCOs hid the boxes. Now it cost me thousands to get them. Now you are rich. It makes me sick seeing the money you guys make off stealing these valuable items given to the troops. karma baby. Many of us are pissed at you guys that grabbed them all. KARMA. I am a retired Marine and I busted a bunch of you guys to LCpl because you showed no leadership for the troops, only personal gains for yourselves.. Oh ! I have collected over a million sports cards but I never got one desert shield card. My troops came first and they thank and love me for having them mail theirs home..

    • I have several of these cats from Desert Shield/Storm during my tour. I’m not one of those that hoarded boxes but did manage to get several. I would go back after everyone had a chance to get some and I would pick through what was left. This allowed me to fairly get more cards. I’m willing to send you some if you cover my expense as well as have a way to prove you are a Desert Shield/ Storm Vet.

  23. This is B.S. I have 2 sets I personally received while in Desert Storm and alot of the logo’s are more gold than silver . mine were GOT not Bought & guaranteed authentic

    • I also have a whole box of them that were got not bought. Probably not a complete set, but plenty commons and some stars if anyone is looking to complete a set

  24. I have a few hundred I acquired while in Desert Storm/Shield also, Finding a serious buyer is difficult when you’re just giving your word on the authenticity. I have the Chipper Jones and others also. I don’t think I’d ask much, but don’t want to give them away either.

  25. Anyone have a Fake/Counterfeit BRADY ANDERSON #97? Years ago when doing an article on Brady & Cal cards for O’s Media, ebay had a fake Brady on auction.. it was plainly stamped across the back “Counterfeit”. I was told by Topps that their was more than 1 counterfeit done. 1 of the ways to tell the diff was the fakes have a pointier tip at the bottom of the shield, as opposed to the correct more rounded edge. Another tell-all was something to do with the tree branches… either wrong amount, or shape, or detail of branches… sorry, I cant recall specifically. This is the 1st I’ve heard about the gold vs silver determiner. As many people here have pointed out, the original post is contradictory. I believe he meant to write that the fake is shown on the L & correct on R. Anyone who has a Brady, pls contact me at
    Thank You!

  26. Have frank Thomas autograph Beckett slab desert shield for sale. And others

  27. I have a frank Thomas autograph desert shield. It’s in a Beckett authentic slab. Have Tom Glavine autograph desert shield . Tom is in a psa slab auto 10 ex 5

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