How To Spot A Fake Wayne Gretzky 1979-80 O-Pee-Chee #18 Rookie Card

The Wayne Gretzky 1979-80 O-Pee-Chee #18 rookie card has been a prime target for counterfeiters for years.  It’s Topps counterpart isn’t far behind, but his O-Pee-Chee carries much more demand.

Here are some tips for what to look for in an authentic and counterfeit Wayne Gretzky 1979-80 O-Pee-Chee #18 rookie card:

  • Print Dot – Authentic cards contain a yellow print dot on Gretzky’s left shoulder.  Every authentic version contains this blemish.  WATCH OUT!  Some counterfeits contain this dot too.
  • Rough Edges – Most authentic examples have rough edges.  The rough edges come from a metal wire being used to cut the cards from the sheets.  Over time this wire would get dull resulting in the cards receiving a rough edge.  Cards cut earlier will have smoother edges.
  • Image Quality – Counterfeits will have poor image quality compared to an original card.  The photo on most counterfeits are of low resolution and tend to be fuzzy.
  • Blue Stripes – On the first print run the Gretzky rookie card will have light blue stripes going across the back.  The second print run does not have the blue stripes.
  • Blue Specks – Around Gretzky’s skates you should see very tiny blue specks.  You do NOT want to see any red specks.
  • Black Borders – The black borders should be solid.  Counterfeits have been known to have breaks in the black borders.
  • Fuzzy Lettering – If any of the lettering (especially “Wayne Gretzky” on the front) looks unclear and fuzzy, its most likely a counterfeit.
  • Perfect Centering – Counterfeits tend to have great centering.  Authentic examples are difficult to find with decent centering.

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Counterfeit Frank Thomas 1990 Topps “No Name” Rookie Gets BGS Approval

On December 27, 2018 a counterfeit 1990 Topps Frank Thomas “No Name On Front” Error Rookie Card found it’s way to BGS (Beckett Grading Services).  It should’ve been sent back to the individual who sent it in with a note stating its not authentic.  But did that happen?  No.  Instead it slipped through the cracks, was slapped into a BGS holder, and labeled the real thing.

Thanks to BGS, this dangerous card is now floating around the hobby.  They assigned it the right card number “414A” and everything.  “414A” is used for authentic examples of this card all of the time versus “414” for the standard Frank Thomas rookie which contains his name.  Checking the BGS serial number 0011017488 even further makes you believe that its real.  Someone at BGS either didn’t know what they were doing, or was completely aware of their actions.  In today’s hobby you just can’t tell anymore.

What makes this card a fake?  Authentic examples lack a large portion of the black lines that surround the empty blue box where his name should be.  A chunk of black lines are also missing from within the inner yellow border as well.  Authentic cards also don’t contain the “Topps” name on the front.  This card which BGS claims to be authentic contains all of the lines, and the “Topps” name on the front.  MAJOR RED FLAG!  Its important to note that some counterfeits do have the missing black lines, and no “Topps” name.  Please watch out for those.  Legitimate reprints exist which were released in various Topps products over the years.  So not only did BGS grade a counterfeit, they graded a bad counterfeit.

Authentic (left) Counterfeit (right)

Originally it popped up for sale from Probstein123.  Big surprise considering the shilling, trimming, and altering scandals they’ve been involved with.  They supposedly took the card down after being alerted to it.

That brings us to today.  On July 28, 2019 eBay user infiniumusa sold this exact card (same BGS serial number 0011017488) for $3,000.  Its unclear if the transaction went through or not, but I haven’t seen it since.

The fact is that this card is out there ready to fool anyone it can.  If you’re in the market for one, stay far away if it has BGS serial number 0011017488.  TOTALLY FAKE!

How To Spot A Fake Reggie Jackson 1969 Topps #260 Rookie Card

The 1969 Topps Baseball set has a lot of notable cards.  Its highlighted by Mickey Mantle’s final card of his playing career.  Second year cards of Johnny Bench and Nolan Ryan.  Rookies of Earl Weaver, Al Oliver, Bobby Bonds, Graig Nettles, Sparky Lyle, Rollie Fingers, and Bobby Cox are also key cards.  Above them all is #260.  That would be Mr. October’s, Reggie Jackson, official rookie card.

Much like a lot of valuable vintage rookie cards, Reggie Jackson’s 1969 Topps #260 has been heavily counterfeited and altered over the years.  Its important to know what to keep an eye out for when buying one.

Below are some tips for spotting a counterfeit/altered Reggie Jackson 1969 Topps #260 rookie card:

  • Glossy finish on the front.
  • Fuzziness to the photo.
  • Perfect centering – the 1969 Topps set is known for having horrible centering.  Its possible for an authentic card to have nice centering, but most counterfeits look too perfect.
  • The purple circle on the front containing Reggie Jackson’s name and position is fuzzy.  It should be solid in color.
  • On the front, locate the word “ATHLETICS”.  Look closely at the black lines surrounding the yellow lettering.  These lines should NOT be made up of tiny black dots.  Authentic cards will have solid black lines.
  • White letters – (23) cards from the 5th Series of 1969 Topps have white letter variations on the front pertaining to the player’s last name.  Guys like Mickey Mantle, Gaylord Perry, and Willie McCovey have this variation.  Reggie Jackson does NOT.  Jackson’s last name will always be in yellow.  Don’t let anyone convince you their Reggie Jackson rookie card is a rare white letter variation.  If their Reggie Jackson rookie card does have white letters its either completely counterfeit or they took a very fine pencil eraser to his last name which has been known to turn the yellow to white.  They’re attempting to catch an uneducated collector off guard.
  • Airbrushed hat logo – Ron Perranoski #77 and Paul Popovich #47 are the only two cards in the set to contain this feature.  Reggie Jackson does NOT.  If the Reggie Jackson rookie card you’re looking at has some type of airbrushed hat logo its either completely counterfeit or has been altered.  Another attempt at taking advantage of an uneducated collector.
  • One of the best things you can do is compare the Reggie Jackson rookie card you’re looking at to a less popular card in the set.  The printing techniques for all of the cards are the same.  Special treatment wasn’t given to Reggie Jackson’s rookie card.  The print quality should be similar in size, shape, and color.

How To Spot A Fake Patrick Roy 1986-87 O-Pee-Chee #53 Rookie Card

Here are a few tips on what to look for in a counterfeit Patrick Roy 1986-87 O-Pee-Chee #53 rookie card:

  • Look closely at the O-Pee-Chee logo in the top left corner.  If you notice that the black lines in the oval and text are dotted, that’s a good sign of a counterfeit.
  • Locate Patrick Roy’s name on the front of the card.  On many counterfeits the white and blue bleed together.  Its important to note that authentic examples can have bleeding of these colors too.  The consistency of the two types of bleeding are different though.
  • The 1986-87 O-Pee-Chee Hockey set has blue colored backs.  Counterfeit Patrick Roy rookies tend to have alternative shades of blue.  Simply take a common card from that set which would have no reason to be counterfeited and compare it to your Roy rookie.  If your Roy rookie card is authentic, both backs should match.
  • Due to a printing error, a tiny black dot appears on the front.  This dot can be found directly above Roy’s helmet on the top white border.  Its a small detail that counterfeiters miss.  I wouldn’t trust a copy that doesn’t contain this dot.

Key Rookie Cards of Apollo 11’s Crew

Within 66 years we went from the Wright brothers first flight to landing on the moon.  That’s some incredible innovation right there.  Did you know a couple of relics from the Wright brothers flyer were aboard Apollo 11 and made it to the surface of the moon?  Relics like that would make an excellent addition to Allen & Ginter or Goodwin Champions cards.  It probably won’t happen though as those relics are safely kept on display at the Smithsonian.  I wonder what cards containing pieces of the Wright brothers plane would sell for on the secondary market?  Its safe to say quite a bit considering how big of an event in history that is.  The relics aren’t very big either, so very few cards could be made.

On July 20, 1969 Apollo 11 landed on the moon.  2019 marks the 50th anniversary of this historic event.  Many men and women played important parts in order for that mission to be a success.  Three key individuals from the Apollo 11 mission are Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins.  When Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin traveled down to the lunar surface, Michael Collins remained in the Command Module “Columbia”.

Thousands, if not millions of years from now the Apollo 11 mission will continued to be talked about.  Its the first time mankind stepped onto a surface not of this Earth.  Truly an astonishing achievement.

Thanks to Topps, Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins each have rookie cards.  These cards can be found in the 1969 Topps Man on the Moon set.  Its important to note that this set was reissued in 1970.  The 1969 set consists of (55) cards.  The 1970 reissue has the same (55) cards plus an additional (45) cards bringing the total to (99) cards.  Telling the difference between the 1969 and 1970 set is fairly easy.  All of the cards from the 1970 reissue set are numbered “1 of 99”, “2 of 99”, “3 of 99”, etc…  Whereas the original 1969 set has them numbered “1A”, “2A”, “3A”, etc…

Complete sets in exceptional condition will require some deep pockets.  In general though singles can be obtained for a relatively low price.

How To Spot A Fake Albert Pujols 2001 Fleer Tradition #451 Rookie Card

Albert Pujols is a definite first ballot Hall of Famer.  No doubt about it.  His rookie cards though have cooled off quite a bit since their heyday.  If you purchased some of his rookie cards at their height with the sole intention of turning a profit, you’re probably not too happy right now.  That’s what happens.

When Albert Pujols was all the rage, it created the perfect opportunity for counterfeiters to do their thing.  His 2001 Fleer Tradition #451 rookie card became a major target.  If you’re in the market for one, I highly recommend buying it in person.  That way you can inspect it better.

  • Many counterfeits are actually made up of two different cards.  The front is printed on glossy stock, and the back is printed on natural cardboard stock.  The two are then glued together forming the “card”.  Once the two halves are glued together, the card is much thicker than your standard 2001 Fleer Tradition card.  It weighs a lot more too – 3.05 grams.
  • Print quality – counterfeits have a very distinct print dot pattern.  Take a good look at his statistics on the back.  On an authentic card, items like the statistics should be printed in solid black ink, no dots.  The dotted print pattern carries throughout the entire card.  Both on the front and back.  Because of this, counterfeits tend to have fuzzy photos.

How To Spot A Fake Barry Bonds 1986 Topps Traded Rookie Card

Unless you have his Topps Tiffany counterpart, the basic Barry Bonds 1986 Topps Traded rookie card doesn’t carry much value like it once did.  With that being said, counterfeit copies are still floating around.

Keep these tips in mind.  We don’t want that $5 going towards a counterfeit.

  • The counterfeit is printed on a thicker card stock than the original, and has a weight of 1.70 grams compared to a weight of 1.42 grams of the authentic card.
  • When comparing the edges of both cards, looking straight down on the edge, the counterfeit has a bright white stock compared to the off white, almost yellowed color of the authentic card.  The counterfeit also has a smooth edge compared to the choppier edge of the authentic card.
  • On the front of the counterfeit, the font of the “Topps” logo in the upper right corner is noticeably smaller than the font on the authentic card.
  • The trademark “R”, located just above the word “Topps”, touches the “S” in Topps on the counterfeit, while there is a noticeable space between them on the authentic card.
  • On the front, the font size of the name “Barry Bonds”, at the bottom of the card, is visibly smaller on the counterfeit than the authentic card.
  • The overall fuzziness of the photo on the counterfeit compared to the authentic card is another sign to look for.  A good place to look to help spot the counterfeit is in the blue sky background just to the left of Barry Bonds’ head.  On the real card the sky is made up of blue and white print dots, while on the counterfeit the background has blue, white, red, and black print dots.
  • One sign giving away the counterfeit is the bright white look of the white card stock on the back, which looks almost bleached.  The authentic card has more of an off white color as opposed to the white card stock on the counterfeit’s back.
  • You will notice the card number “11T” has a diamond shaped box around it.  On the authentic card, the corners of this diamond are rounded, while on the counterfeit they come to a point.  The diamond around the “Topps” logo on the back shares this same characteristic.
  • The font size of the card number “11T” is noticeably thinner on the counterfeit than on the authentic card.
  • Look on the back inside the white box which says “Talkin’ Baseball”.  On each of the four corners in this box there is a black line located just inside the corners.  On the authentic card the lines are straight, while on the counterfeit the lines are rounded.