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.

How To Spot A Fake Jim Kelly 1984 Topps USFL Rookie Card #36

Wouldn’t it be fun to see new cards made that pay tribute to the USFL? I truly believe collectors would like to pull autographs of Steve Young in an LA Express uniform. Tell them to dig up one of Reggie White’s Memphis Showboats uniforms, cut it up, and place some swatches into a few cards. The list goes on and on. I’m not 100% sure how all the licensing works though when it comes to using team names and logos from a defunct league.

During it’s short lifespan, Topps issued two USFL sets. The first arriving in 1984, and the second in 1985. No packs. Each were issued in factory set form, and in much smaller quantities compared to their NFL counterpart. Hall of Famers such as Steve Young, Reggie White, and Jim Kelly made their cardboard debut in USFL uniforms. Their USFL rookies are in much higher demand compared to their first NFL licensed cards.

Lets get one thing straight. Topps has never issued any kind of USFL reprint. The 1985 set was the last USFL product they issued. Between you and me the word “Reprint” is being used way too loosely nowadays. An authentic “Reprint” originates from the card its modeled after original manufacturer. A homemade card doesn’t count as a reprint. That’s considered a counterfeit. 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 deal could come back to bite 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.

Below are some tips for spotting a counterfeit Jim Kelly 1984 Topps USFL #36 Rookie Card. FYI – Most of these tips also apply to 1984 Topps USFL rookies of Steve Young, Reggie White, and Herschel Walker.

  • Centering – Authentic cards from the 1984 Topps USFL set are notorious for having bad centering. Most counterfeits have excellent centering because they want the card to look as good as possible. Its possible to find an authentic example with nice centering, but its just something to keep an eye out for.
  • Corners – Counterfeits tend to have perfect corners. The factory set boxes authentic cards come packaged in are made of flimsy cardboard. This makes it very easy for the corners to sustain damage.
  • Back Surface – With the pink/red back its common for authentic examples to have chipping (white areas) showing. The back is quite condition sensitive. Counterfeits tend to be too good looking.
  • Contrast – As you can see below the coloring on the counterfeit is much brighter compared to the authentic example.
  • Trademark/Copyright logos – On the front of the card you’ll see two “TM” logos. One is located next to the letter “L” in “USFL”. The other is next to the profile view of the helmet. Located on the bottom of the back are the USFL and Topps copyright logos. On counterfeit examples these trademark and copyright logos are blurry. Of all the things to look for when it comes to spotting a counterfeit blurry trademark/copyright logos is the first thing to watch for.

If capable, use a less expensive card from the set (one that nobody would bother to counterfeit) and place it side-by-side with the one you are thinking about picking-up. The characteristics between the two should be similar. Topps used the same printing techniques for that less expensive card as they did for the rest of the set.

Counterfeit front

Counterfeit back

Authentic front

Authentic back

Rays ’20 Topps Stadium Club Chrome Auto Contest! – NOW CLOSED

This contest is for a Mike Brosseau 2020 Topps Stadium Club Chrome RC Auto. Good luck!!!

Contest Details:

  • This contest will end Friday, December 25, 2020 @ 8:00 p.m. EST.
  • To enter, please leave a comment in this post.
  • You can enter once per day.
  • The winner will be selected at random.
  • Please provide a valid e-mail address when entering.
  • U.S. residents only.
  • The winner will receive an e-mail when the contest is over.
  • The winner has one week to send me their contact information or the contest will be held again.
  • Once the contest is over, I will need the winner’s mailing address so I can ship them this card for FREE!!!

Card of the Day: Orlando Pace 1997 Upper Deck Star Rookie #1

Celeb Rookie: Michael Keaton

Over the last few years The Flash movie has seen it’s share of development hurdles.  Despite having at least two more years to go before its released (unless there are more delays) things have started to take shape for now.  For awhile it has been rumored that Michael Keaton will reprise his role of Bruce Wayne/Batman for the film.  Fans saw Michael Keaton play Batman twice in Tim Burton’s 1989 Batman and 1992 Batman Returns.  After that Tim Burton and Michael Keaton clashed with the movie studio on how the third film should go.  Everyone went their separate ways and we saw Val Kilmer and George Clooney come in for the third and fourth films.

The exact story line of The Flash isn’t completely known.  We’re fairly certain the movie will pull stuff from the Flashpoint story.  Somehow Barry Allen a.k.a. The Flash will travel so fast he’ll jump over to an entirely different dimension and meet up with Michael Keaton’s Batman.  It’ll be interesting to see what his Batman has been up to since 1992.  Lots of DC characters are suppose to be in this one, including Ben Affleck’s Batman.  The DC Extended Universe (DCEU) has a bunch of movies under it’s belt with many more on the way.  Some of these movies take place in the same world while others are in a dimension all on their own.  The Flash is suppose to tie them all together and act as a restart while not forgetting the past.  It can be a little confusing.  Everything is quite fluid right now.  Studios are keeping a lot close to their chests.  So much could potentially still change.

Michael Keaton’s official rookie card can be found in the 1989 Topps Batman Series 1 set.  I consider card #3 to be his rookie.  Sure, the Title Card #1 and Darknight Detective #2 picture him as Batman, but card #3 just shows him as Bruce Wayne.  Its the first card in the set to do so.  I’m making an executive hobby decision and calling it his rookie card.  Thanks to the era of overproduction you can easily find this card in mass quantities.  It would be great if they made some buyback autographs using cards from this set.

In the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) Michael Keaton plays Adrian Toomes/Vulture.  Upper Deck produced a Spider-Man: Homecoming set in 2017 which contains Michael Keaton’s first pack inserted autographs.

Celeb Rookie: Phillie Phanatic

He is the mascot of all mascots.  He is the Great Green Goliath from the Galápagos Islands.  Since 1978 the Phillie Phanatic has been at the center of all kinds of antics all to entertain Phillies fans.  Whether he’s dancing on top of the dugout, riding his ATV, or shooting hot dogs into the crowd, people can’t take their eyes off of him.

The Phillie Phanatic’s first pack-inserted card comes from 1992 Donruss Triple Play Baseball #133.  But if were’re going to be specific, his official rookie card arrived almost ten years earlier.

Some Phillies fans who sent-away for autographs in 1983 received team-issued postcards sponsored by Tastykake in return.  Within that set you will find the Phillie Phanatic’s very first trading card.  Not only does he have one card, but for you die-hard OCD set collectors he’s got at least three.

The most common version you’ll find features the Phillie Phanatic riding his classic ATV.  Two versions of this card exist.  Both feature the same photograph.  Its the back that can differ.  One back says “Dear Fan: Thanks for your letter.  The Phillies and I appreciate your interest.  Unfortunately, we can not always answer each letter we receive individually so these photo cards have been prepared for your enjoyment.  Thanks again for writing and hope to see you at the ballpark.  Best Wishes, Phillie Phanatic”

The other back reads “Tell your parents to fasten their seat belts when driving.  Phillie Phanatic”

Another version pictures the Phillie Phanatic stirring up trouble on the field.  The back reads “Family fire drills and smoke detectors save lives.  Phillie Phanatic”  Of the three types, this one is more difficult to find.

Card of the Day: Dwight Gooden 2000 Topps Chrome All-Star Rookie Team #9

Blue Jays ’19 Bowman Sterling Auto Contest! – NOW CLOSED

This contest is for a Ryan Borucki 2019 Bowman Sterling RC Auto.  Good luck!!!

Contest Details:

  • This contest will end Friday, May 29, 2020 @ 8:00 p.m. EST.
  • To enter, please leave a comment in this post.
  • You can enter once per day.
  • The winner will be selected at random.
  • Please provide a valid e-mail address when entering.
  • U.S. residents only.
  • The winner will receive an e-mail when the contest is over.
  • The winner has one week to send me their contact information or the contest will be held again.
  • Once the contest is over, I will need the winner’s mailing address so I can ship them this card for FREE!!!

Card of the Day: Luis Robert 2020 Topps Opening Day RC #201

Card of the Day: Luis Severino 2016 Topps Finest – Finest Firsts RC Auto