How To Spot A Counterfeit 1990 Leaf Frank Thomas Rookie Card

As a direct response to the high-quality cards found in 1989 Upper Deck Baseball1990 Leaf Baseball featured some upgraded qualities of it’s own.  Thicker card stock and glossy photos sure had card designs on the upswing.  That time period in the hobby is known as the junk-wax era.  Products were being overproduced to the max.  Today, most of those sets carry little to no value.

“The Big Hurt” a.k.a. Frank Thomas, has a rookie card in the 1990 Leaf Baseball set.  It is card #300.  This likely will be the most valuable card in the set until the end of time.  Guys like Larry Walker and Sammy Sosa have rookies in here too, but their cards don’t have as much demand.

Raw copies of this particular Frank Thomas rookie card continue to sell for anywhere between $2 and $20 depending on the condition.  That’s quite good considering the era its from.  At one point in time the price was much higher.

Counterfeit versions have been floating around the hobby for years.  They continue to popup today.  At a quick glance you could easily purchase one that’s fake.  Upon further inspection, the differences between the two are very clear.

Here is an example of a counterfeit:

The front is fuzzy-looking and has a dot-matrix print pattern.  This can especially be seen on the Chicago White Sox logo, and areas that have a silver color.  Much thinner paper quality too.  That bright gold line above the dugout is also a giveaway.

When looking at the back, the text is much darker.  The trademark logos are lighter in tone along with Frank Thomas’s picture.

Here is an example of an authentic card:


How To Spot A Fake 1967 Topps Baseball Card


For all you vintage collectors out there, here is a perfect example of what a counterfeit 1967 Topps Baseball card looks like.  Especially visible on Robinson’s black sleeve, you can see dot matrix printing dots.  Authentic cards do not have this style of printing.  Not only are the edges and corners too perfect, take a look how bright the card is too.  The baseball bat is almost the same color as the white border.  A real one would never look like this even if it were left under direct sunlight.  It almost looks as if Robinson is standing in a hot zone after a nuclear explosion.  That’s how bright it is.


This is the back of the same card.  Again, its way too bright.  That color green should be much darker.


This is an example of an authentic ’67 Topps card.  As you can see, there is no dot matrix printing style and the color is nice an smooth.  For as good of condition this card is in, the right edge shows a little wear unlike the counterfeit.


This is the reverse of the authentic card.  The color green is a lot darker.

I’m sure this isn’t the first time this information has been posted, but it can’t hurt to be repeated.

Something Else I’d Like Manufacturers To Do

Continuing with the Card History theme, I have another suggestion for Topps and/or any card manufacturer.  I would like to see an insert set dedicated to educating collectors on how to spot counterfeit cards.  Topps, Panini, and Upper Deck could pick out some of their most popular cards to be counterfeited and then state what to look for when purchasing one.  They could print a reprint on the front and then place all the info on the back.

We could even take it a step further.  Think of all the information that could be placed on those plain white fillers.  Lets say your opening a product that is known for great looking patches.  Wouldn’t it be nice to have some info on those fillers informing you on how to spot fake patches from that specific product?  I think it could really help.


Looking For A Good Laugh? Check Out Coach’s Corner

Its been over a year since I wrote about Coach’s Corner auctions, but I think its my duty as a blogger to keep reminding people of all the fake crap that floods our beloved hobby.  I was just watching a video of a product being opened, and to the right I saw an ad for Coach’s Corner.  This auction site is filled with one counterfeit item after another.  I seriously don’t see how they are allowed to stay in business.  I would say that 99.9% of all the COA’s that come with their signatures are totally bogus.  Its a great place for people to pickup fake junk to take to a show and pass off as the real thing.  I just don’t understand why people don’t question things like this.  Instead they move along like mindless little robots believing whatever they’re told.

When Babe Ruth autographed baseballs are only selling for $500.00, its a major red flag.  This place just makes me so mad!!!  Someone please shut them down!!!


This is total garbage!

A Few Tips On Spotting Counterfeit 1952 Wheaties Cards

1952 Wheaties is a unique 60-card set featuring various athletes ranging from baseball to professional diving.  Collectors at the time would have to cut these cards off the side of the Wheaties box, therefore you’ll find many of them cut with not so even edges.  For being 58 years old, they are probably some of the most affordable vintage cards to collect.  A few years ago there was a counterfeiting scheme unveiled and many of the fake ’52 Wheaties are still floating around The Hobby.  Here are a few tips you can use to spot a fake:

  • I’ll start with the most obvious.  If it looks to good to be true, it probably is.  Remember, these had to be cut off the side of the box by the collector.  They won’t be perfect.  Its common for these cards to have stains on the back.
  • Look at the white area on the front.  It should not be a pure, bright white color.
  • The back should be blank and have a grey color.  Not a tan brown.


Pawn Stars and the Lou Gehrig Jersey

Watch this video and then read my response.

Above is a video of Tom Tresh who frequently posts videos on YouTube explaining to collectors about recent scams that have taken place within The Hobby.  Let me say that he does a great job of researching in order to prove his points.  Just like this video, most of the time the counterfeit items he talks about are in some way connected with Coach’s Corner (breeding ground for scammers), STAT Authentic (the least reputable company anyone could trust to certify their items), and various other terrible company’s that will certify anything that walks through their door.

To start off, let me say that I’m a big fan of the show Pawn Stars.  Its fun to watch what comes through the door and learn about each unique item.  I think people need to realize that reality television isn’t 100% real.  If it was, it probably wouldn’t be that entertaining.  You would have to be crazy to believe that each deal that looks to go through on that show actually does.  Nothing in life, especially in the sports collectibles business is ever that clean-cut and perfect.  The Lou Gehrig “autographed” jersey is a perfect example of that.  It sounds like this jersey is still with the original owner who brought it into the shop.  That means they never bought it on the show, probably because they don’t trust any of those COA’s either.  Most likely they needed to fill in a spot on the show where they looked like they purchased something.  Seeing that they never purchased it should show that they care whats real and whats not.  When you have a reality T.V. show, millions of details will slip through the cracks that won’t be aired to the public.  It would be nice if The History Channel followed-up on some of these transactions, but thats not going to happen.  On the show, they end each transaction with an hand shake but rarely do you ever see them do the paperwork.

If your a collector of anything, I suggest you watch the show.  Just remember that its entertainment and not everything you see on television is real.  Many episodes have featured counterfeit items and they explain why they think certain items aren’t real.  There is a lot of good information on this show, but sometimes you need to watch out for stuff like this.  This is why the blogosphere exists.  Its hear to help out collectors and make them realize they can’t take everything for face value.


I’m now getting reports that the jersey is still in the shop.  I can’t believe they would trust STAT Authentic if they bought it.  I’m not sure what to believe now 🙂  What do you think?

’67 Topps Pete Rose On Pawn Stars

One of my favorite T.V. shows to watch is Pawn Stars, which you can find on the History Channel, Monday nights at 10:00 p.m.  I find it really entertaining and educational.  Last week a guy walked into the Gold and Silver Pawn Shop and tried to sell five Pete Rose 1967 Topps baseball cards.  As soon as I saw these things I knew they weren’t real.  The guy who brought them in was pretty upset when he couldn’t sell them.  After this show aired last week, it sparked some interesting conversations over on FCB and other sports card forums.