Signs That Your Bobby Orr 1966-67 Topps #35 Rookie Card Is A Fake Or Reprint

To many hockey collectors, the Bobby Orr 1966-67 Topps #35 rookie card is the holy grail.  Adding one to your collection can cost a pretty penny.  Especially wanting an example that’s in decent condition.  Its a decision that can cost thousands.

Along with Wayne Gretzky’s 1979-80 O-Pee-Chee #18 RC, Bobby Orr’s 1966-67 Topps #35 rookie card is one of the most counterfeited pieces of cardboard in the hobby.  Some of these counterfeits and reprints are very convincing.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind if you’re thinking about purchasing a Bobby Orr 1966-67 Topps #35 rookie card:

  • Locate Bobby Orr’s name on the card’s front.  If you see small red dots within the yellow text that’s a sign its not authentic.
  • Take a look at the back of the card.  On a large number of counterfeits/reprints there is a small circle on the grid line right beneath the “1965-66” text.  Not every counterfeit/reprint contains this feature, but a good portion do.
  • Extremely dark/light colors on the front, with a much brighter (sometimes white) back are signs of a counterfeit/reprint.
  • Mint condition – this card is notorious for having major condition issues.  The centering is usually off, and chipping can be a big problem due to the wood-grain border.  Finding an authentic example in nice condition is incredibly difficult.  If its too good to be true, it probably is.
  • If possible, take a common Boston Bruins card from the 1966-67 Topps set and compare it to the Bobby Orr rookie you’re looking at.  The card stock and printing techniques should be very similar.  Special attention wasn’t paid to Bobby Orr’s rookie card during the printing process.  It was treated like all of the others.

Authentic front

Authentic back

Counterfeit/reprint front

Counterfeit/reprint back

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Q & A – 1953 Bowman Color Reprints?

Question:  How do I tell the difference between a card from the real ’53 Bowman (color set) and the reprints from the ’80’s?

Answer:  One of the main differences between cards from the original 1953 Bowman Color set and the reprints of the 80’s would be condition.  Cards from 1953 will be harder to find in really good condition.  There are some people that would “artificially” age reprints to make them look like the real thing, so you need to be on the look out for that.  Specifically, the Mickey Mantle 1989 Bowman ’53 Color reprint actually has the word “Reprint” printed on the front.  Another major area that separates the originals from the reprints would be the color of the back.  If you take a look at the back of an original, the color will be a brown or grey.  A lot of the reprints will have a white back.  The original cards measure about 2.5″ x 3.75″.  Reprints may come in different sizes depending on the set.  The best way to be 100% sure is to buy one that is certified and/or graded.

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1989 Bowman Mickey Mantle ’53 Color Reprint

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Original ’53 Bowman Color back

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’53 Bowman Color reprint back

Q & A – How do I tell if a Nolan Ryan rookie is a reprint?

Question:  Can you explain to me how to tell an original Nolan Ryan rookie card from a reprint? What do I look for? Thanks.

Answer:  The Nolan Ryan 1968 Topps rookie card is one of the most popular vintage cards in the hobby today.  There are however a few reprints flying around out there that can throw off a lot of collectors, especially if they are buying one over the internet.  Topps would most likely be the company to produce a reprint of this famous card because they made the original.  Usually on a reprint, the front of the card (and sometimes the back) will have a glossy finish.  When you look at the back of the card I would look for copyright information.  On a reprint there would be a much newer date in small print.  Also, on an original the copyright date may not be given in small print on the back.  A reprint will have darker colors on the front and back.  They also are more likely to be in better condition.  The best way to know for sure that one is not a reprint is to buy one that is graded and/or certified by PSA, SGC, or BGS.