How To Spot A Fake Brett Hull 1988-89 O-Pee-Chee RC #66

Thousands of counterfeit Brett Hull 1988-89 O-Pee-Chee #66 rookie cards entered the market during the early 1990’s.  Many are still floating around deceiving collectors today.

Counterfeit examples exhibit the following characteristics:

  • The absence of a small yellow dot found on the push-pin next to Hull’s name on the front.
  • The dots around Hull’s nameplate on the front are lighter in color, especially the ones which are on his photo.
  • Ragged and broken type on the back.
  • Filling in of the center of the upper case “A” in the type next to the NHL logo on the card’s back.
  • The text on the card’s back is fatter, thicker, and tends to blend together.  Very noticeable on the O-Pee-Chee logo.

Authentic front

Authentic back

Counterfeit front

Counterfeit back

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How To Spot A Fake 1951 Topps Connie Mack All-Stars Card

For only having (11) cards in the set, completing the 1951 Topps Connie Mack All-Stars set is not the easiest accomplishment.  Especially if you want a set in decent condition.  Given that these cards are die-cut, and meant to be punched-out, means many display a considerable amount of wear.  Players in the set include Grover C. Alexander, Connie Mack, Mickey Cochrane, Christy Mathewson, Eddie Collins, Babe Ruth, Jimmy Collins, Tris Speaker, Lou Gehrig, Honus Wagner, and Walter Johnson.

Please don’t confuse the 1951 Topps Connie Mack All-Stars set with the 1951 Topps Major League All-Stars Baseball set.  The 1951 Topps Major League All-Stars Baseball set utilizes the same design, has the same amount of cards, but consists of active players at the time.  The checklist is completely different.

Here are some tips for spotting a counterfeit 1951 Topps Connie Mack All-Stars card:

  • Not Die-Cut – Cards from the 1951 Topps Connie Mack All-Stars set are meant to be punched-out and stood-up with no background behind them.  Some counterfeits lack the entire die-cut feature altogether.  Being die-cut is what makes this set what it is.  Not being able to punch-out that player is a major red flag.
  • Cut Line Not Cut – Some counterfeit examples contain a cut line, but many aren’t actually cut like they should be.  It may appear that you can punch-out the player, but you can’t.
  • Card Stock – Compared to an authentic example, counterfeit cards tend to be printed on card stock which is too thick.  Poorly cut edges too.
  • Poor Image – Taking a closer look a counterfeit will exhibit computer print lines not found on a genuine example.  What should be solid in color is blurry, and contains lines.  Color tends to be off compared to an authentic card.

Authentic

Counterfeit

How To Spot A Fake Mike Trout 2011 Topps Update Series RC #175

Browsing the Blowout Cards Forums attempting to get a beat on the daily hobby pulse I came across an interesting post by user CoachBruno.  Within this post are some tips for spotting a counterfeit Mike Trout 2011 Topps Update Series RC #US175.  Rookie cards of Mike Trout aren’t cheap.  Even his mass-produced base rookies.  It shouldn’t surprise you that this card of his and the accompanying parallels that go with it are being forged.  Some of these are being sold as reprints for a few dollars, while others are being used to trick unknowing collectors.  Someone recently spent $1,200 for a counterfeit Diamond Anniversary parallel of this exact card.

When buying this card online, the best place to look at is the back.  This card’s front, especially the Diamond Anniversary parallel, is easier to identify a counterfeit in person.  The counterfeits are nowhere near as shiny.

A majority of counterfeits contain these features.  Its very possible that better counterfeits exist which don’t.

Authentic – Features “ANGELS OUTFIELD” in red.  Grey trapezoid beneath the Topps logo.  Color MLBPA logo.

Counterfeit – Features “ANGELS OUTFIELD” in black.  Missing/faint trapezoid beneath the Topps logo.  Black/white MLBPA logo.

How To Spot A Fake Michael Jordan 1984-85 Star ROY #288

Michael Jordan cards have been counterfeited for decades.  His 1986-87 Fleer rookie is atop the list of most forged cards in the hobby.  Outside of that card we have a large amount of Star issued cards.  Some collectors won’t even touch Star cards of popular players such as Michael Jordan because they have been counterfeited so much.  Authentic Michael Jordan Star cards can be worth a lot of money if they’re the real deal.

Mr. Jordan has multiple cards made by Star.  His 1984-85 Star ROY #288 is one of the easiest to spot a counterfeit/reprint:

  • Border Spacing – Perfect centering is almost unheard of when it comes to this card.  Most authentic examples show little border on the right side and a fat chunk on the left.  Having this reversed and/or the card being dead-centered in many cases is a red flag of a counterfeit/reprint.
  • Coloring – 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 products, the counterfeits/reprints have bolder colors and out of registry text, bleeding or feathering are good terms to describe the counterfeits/reprints.

Authentic front

Authentic back

Counterfeit front

Counterfeit/reprint front

Counterfeit/reprint back

Tips For Spotting A Fake 1968 Topps Rookie Stars Card

With rookie cards of Nolan Ryan and Johnny Bench, not to mention second year cards of Rod Carew and Tom Seaver, the 1968 Topps Baseball set is quite memorable.  How could collectors forget that classic burlap bag design?

The Nolan Ryan and Johnny Bench cards are the most counterfeited cards from this set.  Especially the Nolan Ryan.

Here are a few tips for spotting counterfeit 1968 Topps Rookie Stars cards:

  • Front Letter Pattern – Look at the letters in the title “1968 Rookie Stars”.  The red and black should be solid.  Counterfeits usually contain print dots.
  • Reverse Coloring – The reverse should be a solid yellow color.  You don’t want to see it made up of little yellow dots.  It shouldn’t be a bright yellow.
  • Front Coloring – The color on the front should be red, not orange.  Specifically when it comes to the title “1968 Rookie Stars”.  Counterfeits and reprints tend to be darker in color.
  • Card Stock – Thicker/white-edged and glossy surfaced card stock is a definite sign of a counterfeit.

As you can see the coloring has a lot to do with identifying a counterfeit.  It can’t hurt to have a common on hand to compare it to.  Special treatment wasn’t given to Nolan Ryan and Johnny Bench during the printing process.

Authentic front

Authentic back

Counterfeit front

Counterfeit back

Counterfeit front

Counterfeit back

How To Spot A Fake 1967 Topps Baseball Card

(609) cards make up the 1967 Topps Baseball set.  Key rookies include Rod Carew and Tom Seaver.  Counterfeit copies of those two rookies have been floating around the hobby for decades, and might even be the subject of a future blog post.  But for now here are some tips on spotting counterfeit 1967 Topps Baseball cards that aren’t Rod Carew and Tom Seaver rookies.

  • Print Pattern – Especially visible on Robinson’s black sleeve, you can see dot matrix printing dots.  Authentic cards do not have this style of printing.  The colors should be solid.
  • Glossy Back – Many counterfeits will have a smooth and glossy back.  Authentic examples will always have a back that has a rough texture.
  • Thin White Sides – Counterfeits tend to be half the thickness of an authentic card.  Their sides also can be white versus brown on an authentic example.
  • Bright Coloring – Bright coloring is a dead giveaway on so many vintage counterfeits.  The baseball bat on this card is almost the same color as the white border (which is too white to begin with).  This bright coloring isn’t limited to the front.  Its not uncommon for authentic 1967 Topps cards to have green backs that vary in color a little bit.  Find some authentic commons from this set and see if the back of your card is close in color.  Too bright means its a counterfeit.
  • Black Bar – This is quite player specific.  On the back at the bottom below where it says “T.C.G. Printed in U.S.A.” is a black bar.  Some players have this while others do not.  Make sure you know whether the player you’re looking to buy has this bar or not.  If it does, learn if the bar extends all the way to the end.  Some do and some don’t.  Take this Brooks Robinson card.  On an authentic card he has a black bar that extends all the way.  The counterfeit stops short.
  • Perfect Condition – I’m not saying that an authentic 1967 Topps card can’t be found in mint condition.  The odds are just very unlikely that you will.  A lot of the counterfeits will lack wear and age.  Some counterfeiters will attempt to add these features artificially.

Counterfeit front

Counterfeit back

Reprint front

Reprint back

Authentic front

Authentic back

What’s Inside A SportsCards.com Mystery Box?

SportsCards.com sells a variety of monthly subscription boxes, has an eBay Store, and their database allows you to see completed eBay auction listings long after they’re not visible directly on eBay anymore.  I received this box as a gift.

What was in this Mystery Box?

  • (1) pack of 2019 Leaf Draft Football
  • Fred Lynn 1976 Topps #50
  • Ty Cobb – A Word From – Sample Card
  • Marquese Chriss 2016-17 Donruss Newly Crowned Relic
  • Buck Leonard 1978 Grand Slam #36 BGS Authentic Auto