This Fake LeBron James 2003-04 Topps Rookie Card Is Everywhere

Let me be clear. This is not the only counterfeit/unauthorized reprint of a LeBron James 2003-04 Topps #221 rookie card. Doing a quick search on eBay will result in countless examples. But the card I’m referring to in this post seems to be the one that surfaces the most often. When a player becomes as popular as King James its common for these types of cards to popup.

You can clearly see the coloring on the counterfeit/unauthorized reprint is much darker. And it just isn’t certain areas either. Everything on it is darker when compared to the authentic card. Both the front and back.

Inspecting the front you’ll notice that the font isn’t quite correct. It looks a bit thinner. Within the nameplate “LeBRON JAMES” sits lower too. On the authentic example there is some space between his name and the bottom of the nameplate.

In my opinion the biggest signs that the card is a counterfeit/unauthorized reprint can be found on the back. Overall the counterfeit/unauthorized reprint has a grainy tone to it. This specifically can be seen on the reverse side in the grey areas. On authentic examples these grey areas are smooth.

Two distinct white marks are a trademark red flag to this specific counterfeit/unauthorized reprint. Both are located on the back. One can be found above and slightly to the left of the Cavaliers logo. The other is directly beneath the letter “L” in “SCHOOL”.

Another area to look at is the foil used on the front. With authentic examples this foil shines and reflects light. Counterfeit/unauthorized reprints may look as if they have foil in the picture, but most will not reflect light like the authentic ones do. That’s because its not actual foil. Its just a scan of the real foil. This can be difficult to determine just by looking at a picture online. Having the card in-hand would make it much easier.

Counterfeit/unauthorized reprint front

Counterfeit/unauthorized reprint back

Authentic front

Authentic back

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 thing could come back to haunt 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.

I’ve seen a lot of people get taken advantage of with this counterfeit/unauthorized reprint. There are a bunch more like it floating around. Many even share some of the same characteristics. When you have headline after headline advertising the latest million dollar card sale it doesn’t take much for people to blindly jump in and starting buying cards they know very little about. Buy smart. Do some research before pulling the trigger.

Card of the Day: 1965 Philadelphia James Bond – Debonair But Deadly #1

Card of the Day: LeBron James 2003-04 Topps Bazooka #276

Big Bucks For “Buster” Boxing

42-to-1.  Those were the odds James “Buster” Douglas was given to beat Mike Tyson on February 11, 1990 in Tokyo.  Only one casino gave the odds as most others thought Tyson was a guaranteed winner.  Douglas pulled together a Han Solo “Never tell me the odds.” attitude, and ended up beating Tyson.  It was an upset the boxing world didn’t see coming.  For a little over eight months, Douglas held the heavyweight championship title before losing it to Evander Holyfield.

Considering he’s a boxer, collectors have plenty of options when it comes to his cards.  About (74) cards make up the James “Buster” Douglas checklist.  They start in 1991, and go all the way to 2016.  Thanks to products such as 2009 Upper Deck Prominent Cuts2010 Ringside Boxing Round 12011 Ringside Boxing Round 22013 Leaf Sports Heroes2013 Leaf Pop Century, and 2016 Leaf Pop Century, he has many autographs and relics available.

Some of his cards command quite the price.  Especially if Mike Tyson is on there with him.  One of the more expensive items you could add to your James “Buster” Douglas collection isn’t even a card at all.  Its a video game for the SEGA Master System.  Going into the fight as an underdog, and defeating Mike Tyson comes with it’s share of perks.  SEGA quickly signed him to a deal, and pictured him on the front of James “Buster” Douglas Knockout Boxing.

Personally, I’m not familiar with the Master System.  At that time I had a Nintendo Entertainment System, and SEGA’s newer system the Genesis.  Released in 1990, James “Buster” Douglas Knockout Boxing came out an entire year after the Genesis had already been out.  This game came out when demand for Master System games was on the decline.  Very few copies were produced and/or sold.  By then, SEGA fans wanted Genesis games.

Owning a copy of James “Buster” Douglas Knockout Boxing for the Master System will cost you more than a lot of his cards combined.  Complete copies sell for $600+.  A Genesis version does exist, but is barely worth anything.

Sports video games traditionally tank in price over the years.  Its difficult for that genre to hold value.  Whenever I come across one that hasn’t tanked, I enjoy learning about it.

Card of the Day: LeBron James 2003-04 Topps #221

Card of the Day: James Paxton 2014 Topps #123

Card of the Day: James Harrison 2009 Topps National Chicle #24

Card of the Day: LeBron James 2003-04 Topps Pristine #101

Card of the Day: James Hardy 2008 Topps #367

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Harrisburg Sports Card Show – February 18, 2017

It has been a long time since I’ve attended a classic shopping mall sports card show.  There has been a steady stream of them around, but none really worth going to.  On the Thursday night news during the sports segment, I overheard them state that there would be a show at the Harrisburg Mall February 17-19.  In addition to that, they also mentioned some Pittsburgh Steelers were scheduled to sign autographs.  This definitely sounded like a show worth checking out.

The Harrisburg Sports Card Show is put on by show promoter Carl Hisiro.  Autograph guests for the weekend included three Steelers – Jesse James, Stephon Tuitt, and Sean Davis.  Former Eagles wide receiver Vince Papale was also on the list to sign.  I decided to take my black/gold Penn State football and get Jesse James to autograph it.  I think it turned out really well.  By the looks of it, I bet they sold at least (200) tickets just for Jesse James.  That number might be low.  It makes perfect sense for a lot of collectors to want him given that he is a Steeler and went to Penn State.  The line moved fairly quickly as they called by ticket number.  I was #114.  While I was there, everything seemed to be running very smoothly.  It didn’t take long to get a ticket, they had merchandise you could buy to get signed, and Jesse James arrived right on time.

As for the card show portion, I’d say there were (20-25) dealers.  I didn’t see that many selling new sealed hobby boxes.  One dealer had a truckload of retail boxes though.  A good mix of vintage and new single cards could be seen.  One dealer had a few Harry Kalas bobbleheads, but I already owned them.  The one card I did inquire about was a Mike Schmidt 2001 Topps Archives Rookie Reprint Bat Relic.  There was no visible price on it, but the card was in a case with other cards listed for $10-$20.  After asking the dealer how much it cost, I found out there was a $50 price written on the back.  The lowest they would go was $40.  Well overpriced.

Overall it was a decent show.  The autograph guests are what caught my attention.  This takes me back to when I first started collecting, and met Scott Rolen at a mall show in 1996-97.

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Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Jesse James

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