Did You “Know” This About 1984 Fleer Update Baseball Cards?

The 1980s are notorious for issuing some of the most overproduced sets.  Despite that, there are a few gems to keep an eye out for.  One that still holds quite a bit of value today is the 1984 Fleer Update set.  This is Fleer’s very first update set, and it contains (132) cards.  It has a short print run, and was only available through dealers.  The set grew in popularity, and prices went up dramatically.  Today a complete set is worth well over $200.  That’s a lot considering most sets from the 80s can’t be given away.  Key XRCs from this set include Roger Clemens, John Franco, Dwight Gooden, Jimmy Key, Mark Langston, Bret Saberhagen, Ron Darling, and Kirby Puckett.  Roger Clemens and Kirby Puckett are the big money cards.  Even though its far from a rookie, the Pete Rose card is popular with collectors too.

  • The print dot pattern is different when compared to an authentic card.
  • Perfect centering – counterfeit cards usually have great centering.  Authentic cards are known for having terrible centering.
  • One of the biggest signs that your 1984 Fleer Update card is a counterfeit is finding a capital “K” in the word “Know” on the back.

Counterfeit

Authentic

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How To Spot A Fake Albert Pujols 2001 Fleer Tradition #451 Rookie Card

Albert Pujols is a definite first ballot Hall of Famer.  No doubt about it.  His rookie cards though have cooled off quite a bit since their heyday.  If you purchased some of his rookie cards at their height with the sole intention of turning a profit, you’re probably not too happy right now.  That’s what happens.

When Albert Pujols was all the rage, it created the perfect opportunity for counterfeiters to do their thing.  His 2001 Fleer Tradition #451 rookie card became a major target.  If you’re in the market for one, I highly recommend buying it in person.  That way you can inspect it better.

  • Many counterfeits are actually made up of two different cards.  The front is printed on glossy stock, and the back is printed on natural cardboard stock.  The two are then glued together forming the “card”.  Once the two halves are glued together, the card is much thicker than your standard 2001 Fleer Tradition card.  It weighs a lot more too – 3.05 grams.
  • Print quality – counterfeits have a very distinct print dot pattern.  Take a good look at his statistics on the back.  On an authentic card, items like the statistics should be printed in solid black ink, no dots.  The dotted print pattern carries throughout the entire card.  Both on the front and back.  Because of this, counterfeits tend to have fuzzy photos.

How To Spot A Fake Barry Bonds 1986 Topps Traded Rookie Card

Unless you have his Topps Tiffany counterpart, the basic Barry Bonds 1986 Topps Traded rookie card doesn’t carry much value like it once did.  With that being said, counterfeit copies are still floating around.

Keep these tips in mind.  We don’t want that $5 going towards a counterfeit.

  • The counterfeit 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 of the authentic card.
  • When comparing the edges of both cards, looking straight down on the edge, the counterfeit has a bright white stock compared to the off white, almost yellowed color of the authentic card.  The counterfeit also has a smooth edge compared to the choppier edge of the authentic card.
  • On the front of the counterfeit, the font of the “Topps” logo in the upper right corner is noticeably smaller than the font on the authentic card.
  • The trademark “R”, located just above the word “Topps”, touches the “S” in Topps on the counterfeit, while there is a noticeable space between them on the authentic card.
  • On the front, the font size of the name “Barry Bonds”, at the bottom of the card, is visibly smaller on the counterfeit than the authentic card.
  • The overall fuzziness of the photo on the counterfeit compared to the authentic 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 counterfeit the background has blue, white, red, and black print dots.
  • One sign giving away the counterfeit is the bright white look of the white card stock on the back, which looks almost bleached.  The authentic card has more of an off white color as opposed to the white card stock on the counterfeit’s back.
  • You will notice the card number “11T” has a diamond shaped box around it.  On the authentic card, the corners of this diamond are rounded, while on the counterfeit they come to a point.  The diamond around the “Topps” logo on the back shares this same characteristic.
  • The font size of the card number “11T” is noticeably thinner on the counterfeit than on the authentic card.
  • 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 authentic card the lines are straight, while on the counterfeit the lines are rounded.

How To Spot A Fake Ichiro Suzuki 1993 BBM #239 BlueWave Rookie Card

Ichiro!  Ichiro!  Ichiro!  Fans love Ichiro.  They would chant his name hoping to see him get another record breaking hit every time he was at bat.  Before playing for the Seattle Mariners in 2001, Ichiro had a long career of playing baseball in Japan.

One of Ichiro’s most popular Japanese rookie cards can be found in the 1993 BBM set.  The look of this set reminds me of something Pro Set would’ve issued.  Watch out for counterfeits!

These are some items you should watch out for when it comes to counterfeit Ichiro 1993 BBM #239 BlueWave rookie cards.

  • Name placement – counterfeit examples have Ichiro’s name on the front placed off to the right.  Nowhere near as centered as it should be.
  • Compared to an authentic card, the counterfeit will almost always have a fuzzy (spotty) print pattern.
  • On a counterfeit, Ichiro’s name on the front tends to be rounded, fat, and fuzzy (spotty).
  • The “BLUEWAVE 51” lettering on the front is a bit larger and more bold on a counterfeit.
  • Take a look at the ORIX BlueWave logo on the front.  The word “ORIX” is much bolder on a counterfeit.  The red bleeding around the word “BlueWave” is much thicker on a counterfeit too.
  • On the back, the ORIX BlueWave mascot logo has the fuzzy (spotty) print pattern, and usually is lighter in color.

Authentic

Counterfeit

Authentic

Counterfeit

Authentic

Counterfeit

Authentic

Counterfeit

Authentic

Counterfeit

Authentic

Counterfeit

How To Spot A Fake Roger Clemens 1984 TCMA Pawtucket Red Sox #22 Card

Despite all of the negative press, Roger Clemens is one of those guys collectors still go after.  Its going to be awhile before we see him inducted into Cooperstown though.  One of his most popular cards is the 1984 TCMA Pawtucket Red Sox #22 minor league card.  To many Clemens collectors, this is the big card to own along with the 1984 Fleer Update rookie.  Be careful, because there is a fair share of counterfeits for sale.

Here is an example of a counterfeit version:

Look at the right side of the letter “A” and the left side of the letter “W” in the word “PAWTUCKET”.  The green space in between almost forms a “V” shape.  That is the dead giveaway its a counterfeit.  The space should be a straight green bar with those two sides parallel to one another.

Here is an example of an authentic card:

As you can see, the green bar is perfectly straight and the right side of the letter “A” and the left side of the letter “W” are parallel.

Signs That Your Bobby Orr 1966-67 Topps #35 Rookie Card Is A Fake Or Reprint

To many hockey collectors, the Bobby Orr 1966-67 Topps #35 rookie card is the holy grail.  Adding one to your collection can cost a pretty penny.  Especially wanting an example that’s in decent condition.  Its a decision that can cost thousands.

Along with Wayne Gretzky’s 1979-80 O-Pee-Chee #18 RC, Bobby Orr’s 1966-67 Topps #35 rookie card is one of the most counterfeited pieces of cardboard in the hobby.  Some of these counterfeits and reprints are very convincing.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind if you’re thinking about purchasing a Bobby Orr 1966-67 Topps #35 rookie card:

  • Locate Bobby Orr’s name on the card’s front.  If you see small red dots within the yellow text that’s a sign its not authentic.
  • Take a look at the back of the card.  On a large number of counterfeits/reprints there is a small circle on the grid line right beneath the “1965-66” text.  Not every counterfeit/reprint contains this feature, but a good portion do.
  • Extremely dark/light colors on the front, with a much brighter (sometimes white) back are signs of a counterfeit/reprint.
  • Mint condition – this card is notorious for having major condition issues.  The centering is usually off, and chipping can be a big problem due to the wood-grain border.  Finding an authentic example in nice condition is incredibly difficult.  If its too good to be true, it probably is.
  • If possible, take a common Boston Bruins card from the 1966-67 Topps set and compare it to the Bobby Orr rookie you’re looking at.  The card stock and printing techniques should be very similar.  Special attention wasn’t paid to Bobby Orr’s rookie card during the printing process.  It was treated like all of the others.

Authentic front

Authentic back

Counterfeit/reprint front

Counterfeit/reprint back

How To Spot A Fake Ken Griffey, Jr. 1988 ProCards Vermont Mariners Card

“The Kid” has one of the largest collecting bases in the hobby.  His rookies from Topps, Bowman, Donruss, and Upper Deck will always be at the core of any collection.

Before Ken Griffey, Jr. had rookie cards made by the major manufacturers in 1989, he had a handful of minor league cards issued first.  Some of these minor league “rookies” have more of a demand than any traditional rookie card featuring him in a Seattle Mariners uniform.  Like almost everything, it comes down to rarity and condition.

Although its not his most valuable minor league card, Ken Griffey, Jr.’s 1988 ProCards Vermont Mariners #NNO is still one collectors like to own.  This was his last minor league card.  ProCards made a 27-card set for the Vermont Mariners in 1988.  That set did not contain a Griffey.  A Ken Griffey, Jr. card was issued later on that year as a promotional piece.  Compared to the regular set, the Griffey card is basically the same except it has a very distinct red border, and doesn’t have a card number.  The main set has a silver border.

Ken Griffey, Jr.’s 1988 ProCards Vermont Mariners #NNO is one of his most affordable minor league cards.  But you still need to be careful when buying one.  Whether they were reissued a few years later or just straight up counterfeit, many non-authentic versions of this card exist.

To the untrained eye, its very easy to mistake a non-authentic card for the real thing.  Pictured above is an authentic card.  Below is a counterfeit.  Real examples have terrible centering.  Fake ones almost always have good centering.  Take a look at the text on the real card.  The words “KEN GRIFFEY OF” are printed in small/bold font.  Those same words on the fake card are printed using slightly larger font that isn’t bold.  Thicker font was also used on the fake card for the words “VERMONT MARINERS”.  The space between the bottom of the real card and the words “VERMONT MARINERS” is much larger too versus the fake one.