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:

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How To Take The Topps RBI Baseball 19 Cards One Step Further

Gamers heading to Walmart planning to pickup a copy of RBI Baseball 19 have the opportunity to score an exclusive set of Topps baseball cards.  Specially marked copies of the game will contain an entire 7-card set.  The cards have been printed using the 2019 Topps Baseball flagship design, and also feature the RBI Baseball 19 logo.  Players in the set include:

  • Justin Turner, Los Angeles Dodgers
  • Gleyber Torres, New York Yankees
  • Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Toronto Blue Jays
  • Jack Flaherty, St. Louis Cardinals
  • Khris Davis, Oakland Athletics
  • Alex Bregman, Houston Astros
  • Ronald Acuña Jr., Atlanta Braves

XBOX One and Nintendo Switch copies will have a special label on the outside indicating whether or not the set is inside.  No label means no cards.  You better get your hands on them while supplies last.  Not every copy has the set.

How about we take this idea of baseball cards and video games one step further?  Lets say you’re playing RBI Baseball 19 and you get a big hit or make an incredible play.  I’d like to see the gamer be able to capture a screenshot of that play, export the image to Topps, and have them make it into a card.  Who knows?  Maybe even autographed versions could be made.

Topps is constantly looking for ways to attract new collectors.  During their recent Industry Summit in Scottsdale, AZ they announced an interesting statistic.  According to Topps, 93.4% of MLB fans are not collecting cards.  They would really like to change that.  In order for that change to happen, you have to see how MLB fans are enjoying the sport.  If not through cards, then what?

Video games are very popular.  MLB fans spend countless hours playing them.  Its a large source of enjoyment.  In an age where everything is about the individual (nonstop Facebook updates, selfies, etc…) being able to own a physical baseball card containing an image of a play I made would be quite innovative.  Not to mention cater to that “look at me” mentality of the world today.

How To Spot A Fake 1999 Upper Deck SP Signature Edition Dan Marino Autograph

Dan Marino is no stranger when it comes to counterfeit cards.  His 1984 Topps rookie has been heavily faked over the years.  So much in fact its not safe to purchase one raw.  You’re safer buying one that’s been graded and/or authenticated.  I’m not saying fakes don’t get by them, but it can drastically reduce the odds of owning one that isn’t real.

Rookies aren’t the only cards of his that get counterfeited.  Autographs from popular sets are also in danger.  Take for example this 1999 Upper Deck SP Signature Edition Autograph.  Cards from this set are highly sought after.  Especially big name players like Dan Marino.  Every 12-pack box featured an on-card autograph inside each pack.  Still a relatively new concept at the time.  This is also one of the earliest brands to introduce cut signatures.  Sealed boxes command major dollars today.  The asking price for a single sealed box is usually around $1,000.

Adding a Dan Marino autograph from this set to your collection is a great choice.  But you need to be extremely careful.  Over the last few years counterfeits have flooded the market.  When compared to authentic versions, the counterfeits usually have these characteristics:

  • Slightly smaller in size
  • Blurred lettering and logos
  • Completely glossy – authentic cards have a matte background, and just the player is glossy
  • Incorrect coloring

Another big giveaway is the autograph.  Of the counterfeits I’ve seen, the autograph looks nothing like the real thing.  There are lots of discrepancies.  Dan Marino almost always includes the #13 in his signature.  These forgers didn’t even do that.  Plus the pen they used looks to be much thicker.

For a detailed side-by-side comparison, check out this post over on the Blowout Cards Forums.

Fake

Authentic

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How Can Panini Make Their New NASCAR Line Work?

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NASCAR collectors have gone over a year without any type of new trading card product.  Press Pass went out of business a few days into 2015, and that’s the last we heard of anything.  Over the last year when asked whether or not we’d see cards anytime soon, NASCAR would come back with a generic response but never really answered the question.  During the 2016 Industry Summit that question was finally answered.  Panini will be giving NASCAR a shot on a very limited basis.

It doesn’t surprise me that Panini is the one who will be making NASCAR cards.  D.J. Kazmierczak who once was the head of Press Pass, now is the VP of Sales/Product Development at Panini.  Plus they have all that sticker money from their big daddy over in Italy.  NASCAR driver Chris Buescher kinda left the cat out of the bag before Panini’s announcement when he posted a bunch of sticker autographs he just finished signing on his Instagram account.

You can tell that Panini is really testing the waters with this new deal.  They only plan to release four NASCAR products this year.  The brands include PrizmCertifiedNational Treasures, and a new product called Torque.

Panini is known for churning out one product after another.  Lots of cookie cutter stuff.  Releasing four products per year is how they should treat some other sports.  Trust me.  If NASCAR works for them, Panini will turn the printing machines on high.  I think initially it will be interesting to see what NASCAR looks like on these brands.  Over time, Panini will probably get repetitive though just like they do with everything else.  Collectors are so use to the designs Press Pass used, almost anything is going to look different to them now.  I hope Panini doesn’t make a mess of things with the NASCAR brand.  Starting off with sticker autographs isn’t the best sign.  Especially when Press Pass had so much on-card autograph content.  People that collect NASCAR have yet to really see any sketch cards or shadowboxes.  Too bad Panini isn’t known for either.  There are a lot of popular elements which have been used in other sports card products for years that haven’t been seen in NASCAR sets yet.  Including some of those things would make for a unique NASCAR product.  The key here is to do something different that NASCAR fans haven’t seen before.  Treating NASCAR like everything else they make will just end in disaster.  Perhaps getting into something digital would be the way to go.

Topps, Upper Deck, and Leaf I bet could’ve made some great looking NASCAR products.  Panini was the last company I really wanted to see NASCAR with.  But I knew it would be the first company to give it a try after Press Pass went under.

I haven’t opened a Panini product in almost two years.  Even though it didn’t qualify for any of their wrapper redemption programs, I decided to try a box of 2014 Elite Football during the National Sports Collectors Convention.  Panini should have some of their new NASCAR products ready for the National this year.  They would be smart to have them qualify for their promotions too.

How To Spot Fake 1984 Fleer Update Baseball Cards

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The 1980’s are notorious for issuing some of the most overproduced garbage collectors have ever seen.  Despite that, there are a few gems to keep an eye out for.  One of those gems that still holds quite a bit of value today is the 1984 Fleer Update set.  This was Fleer’s very first update set, and contains 132 cards.  It had a short print run, and was only available through dealers.  The set grew in popularity and prices went up and up.  Today a complete set is worth $200.00.  That’s a lot considering most sets from the 80’s 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.  Even though its far from a rookie, the Pete Rose card is popular with collectors too.

I was on eBay earlier this week and saw something I thought would be good to reinforce to collectors.  Many of those key cards were faked and forged years ago.  Signs of a counterfeit 1984 Fleer Update card include appearing blurry and having a different print dot pattern when compared to an authentic example.  Real cards from this set were known for having terrible centering as well.  I’m not saying that real ones can’t have good centering, but most do not.  Many fakes have perfect centering.  But one of the biggest signs that your 1984 Fleer Update card is a fake is finding a capital “K” in the word “Know” on the back.  These fakes are really good looking other than that small mistake.

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eBay is filled with these fakes, and people are bidding on them.  The Puckett and Clemens XRCs are the most valuable today.  Raw examples can sell for $40.00 to 60.00 in some cases.  You would think eBay would police this, but they don’t.  Users can report items, but who knows how much good that does.  eBay lets them there so they can collect their fees.

Is Yours Real? What To Look For In An Authentic Greg Maddux 1986 ProCards Pittsfield Cubs Card

With all of the draft pick products on the market today, its no real surprise that minor league team issued sets aren’t in demand that much.  They still make them, and I always pick one up while attending a game.  Before collectors had products like Bowman and Bowman Chrome, minor league team sets were a huge draw.  Die-hard player collectors still chase those cheaply made minor league cards, especially if that specific player never had a “First Year” card you would find in a traditional Bowman branded set.

One of the classic cards that falls into this category includes the Greg Maddux 1986 ProCards Pittsfield Cubs minor league card.  Maddux has a large fan base and this card is the center of many people’s collection.  Examples that are in superb condition can easily sell for $1,200.00.  Counterfeiters have taken notice to this which is why the market is filled with fake versions of this card.  Luckily there is a way to determine whether the one you are looking to buy is real or fake.

Here is an example of an authentic card:

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ProCards were very cheaply manufactured, which resulted in a minor defect in the printing of his last name.  The two letter D’s in his last name are slightly cut off on the bottom.  You really need a good eye to see this.  Every authentic card has the same defect.

Here is an example of a counterfeit card:

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Not only is the font a little different, but the two letter D’s in his last name are completely in tact.  The D’s on a real one have flat bottoms, where on the fake you can see a curve.