Card of the Day: Dennis Eckersley 1984 Topps Traded #34

Card of the Day: Onix Concepcion 1984 Donruss #95

How To Spot A Fake Jim Kelly 1984 Topps USFL Rookie Card #36

Wouldn’t it be fun to see new cards made that pay tribute to the USFL? I truly believe collectors would like to pull autographs of Steve Young in an LA Express uniform. Tell them to dig up one of Reggie White’s Memphis Showboats uniforms, cut it up, and place some swatches into a few cards. The list goes on and on. I’m not 100% sure how all the licensing works though when it comes to using team names and logos from a defunct league.

During it’s short lifespan, Topps issued two USFL sets. The first arriving in 1984, and the second in 1985. No packs. Each were issued in factory set form, and in much smaller quantities compared to their NFL counterpart. Hall of Famers such as Steve Young, Reggie White, and Jim Kelly made their cardboard debut in USFL uniforms. Their USFL rookies are in much higher demand compared to their first NFL licensed cards.

Lets get one thing straight. Topps has never issued any kind of USFL reprint. The 1985 set was the last USFL product they issued. Between you and me the word “Reprint” is being used way too loosely nowadays. An authentic “Reprint” originates from the card its modeled after original manufacturer. A homemade card doesn’t count as a reprint. That’s considered a counterfeit. People use the word “reprint” or the letters “RP” on their listings in an attempt to fool you into thinking that specific card came from a manufacturer like Topps. Places like eBay don’t know how or just don’t care enough to learn how to distinguish between the two. The people making these homemade cards are fully aware that passing them off as the real deal could come back to bite them. Calling them reprints might not bring in the same amount of money, but it still allows them to move their hoard of counterfeits. Its a horribly abused wording loophole.

Below are some tips for spotting a counterfeit Jim Kelly 1984 Topps USFL #36 Rookie Card. FYI – Most of these tips also apply to 1984 Topps USFL rookies of Steve Young, Reggie White, and Herschel Walker.

  • Centering – Authentic cards from the 1984 Topps USFL set are notorious for having bad centering. Most counterfeits have excellent centering because they want the card to look as good as possible. Its possible to find an authentic example with nice centering, but its just something to keep an eye out for.
  • Corners – Counterfeits tend to have perfect corners. The factory set boxes authentic cards come packaged in are made of flimsy cardboard. This makes it very easy for the corners to sustain damage.
  • Back Surface – With the pink/red back its common for authentic examples to have chipping (white areas) showing. The back is quite condition sensitive. Counterfeits tend to be too good looking.
  • Contrast – As you can see below the coloring on the counterfeit is much brighter compared to the authentic example.
  • Trademark/Copyright logos – On the front of the card you’ll see two “TM” logos. One is located next to the letter “L” in “USFL”. The other is next to the profile view of the helmet. Located on the bottom of the back are the USFL and Topps copyright logos. On counterfeit examples these trademark and copyright logos are blurry. Of all the things to look for when it comes to spotting a counterfeit blurry trademark/copyright logos is the first thing to watch for.

If capable, use a less expensive card from the set (one that nobody would bother to counterfeit) and place it side-by-side with the one you are thinking about picking-up. The characteristics between the two should be similar. Topps used the same printing techniques for that less expensive card as they did for the rest of the set.

Counterfeit front

Counterfeit back

Authentic front

Authentic back

Card of the Day: Bob Gibson 1984 Topps #349

Card of the Day: Joe Morgan 1984 Topps #210

Card of the Day: Herschel Walker 1984 Topps USFL #74

Wonder Woman 1984 – Official Main Trailer

Card of the Day: Reggie Jackson 1984 California Angels Smokey The Bear

How To Spot A Fake Don Mattingly 1984 Donruss #248 Rookie Card

It might seem like a trivial card to counterfeit today, but at one time the Don Mattingly 1984 Donruss #248 rookie card was the king.  Back in the 1980s this card easily fetched over $100.  Many hobby veterans consider it to be the card that kicked-off the whole prospecting phenomenon.  With that type of attention and money being thrown around its no surprise that the counterfeiters came crawling.

Counterfeit Don Mattingly 1984 Donruss #248 rookies have been around almost as long as the real card itself.  If it weren’t for counterfeit versions of this card being made, the Upper Deck Company most likely wouldn’t exist.  Getting duped is what gave them the idea to print cards featuring holograms in order to make counterfeiting more difficult.

Don Mattingly has a very dedicated group of collectors.  His rookies may not be worth what they once were, but still are in demand.  An endless amount of counterfeits will always be floating around.

Here are some tips for spotting a counterfeit Don Mattingly 1984 Donruss #248 rookie card:

  • Card Stock – Large quantities of counterfeits were printed on thin card stock.  Authentic examples have card stock which is much thicker.
  • Gloss – Counterfeits tend to contain a lot more semi-gloss on the front.
  • Print – Blurry, dot-matrix printing is a major red flag of a counterfeit.  Especially on the front where it says “DONRUSS ’84”.
  • Coloring – A lighter-colored front/back is a telltale sign that the card is not genuine.  On an authentic example these areas will be darker.

One of the best things you can do is compare your Don Mattingly 1984 Donruss #248 rookie to other cards from that same set.  The card stock, gloss, photo, and text should all look similar.  I wouldn’t use cards depicting star players from 1984 though.  Even those are known to have been counterfeited despite not being rookies.  Use some nobody.

There has been a growing trend of counterfeit cards being sold as reprints.  Counterfeits and reprints are two completely different things.  Reprints originate from the card manufacturer.  Counterfeits are whipped-up in some losers card doctoring lab.  Its a wording loophole that helps them move their stash of counterfeits.  They’re hoping the people buying them don’t realize the difference.

Authentic front

Authentic back

Counterfeit front/back

Card of the Day: Harold Carmichael 1984 Topps #326