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!

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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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