How To Spot Fake / Counterfeit Michael Jordan / Wayne Gretzky RC
So you've found a Jordan and you can't wait to get it graded! It's so nice and you got it so cheap you can't hardly believe it! Well, before you go spending your hard earned money to buy this card, or spend money to have it graded...take a closer look.
Many of these same techniques and items to look for are relevant to any counterfeit card. Realizing that they exist is the first step to protecting yourself, finding out how to spot them is the next. Also, realize that the Lemiuex, Jordan, Marino, Elway & Gretzky rc's are by far the most counterfeited cards in our hobby. There are also numerous examples of the 86 TT Bonds, 85 Topps McGwire and 81 T Montana rc's as well...so be careful.
A loupe/magnifying glass and this little bit of knowledge can go a long ways towards protecting your hard earned dollar.
Make sure to download & check out the included images which are closeups from several of the key reference points for you to look at.
FYI - Information on the Gretzky and a couple dozen other commonly counterfeited cards can be found at the bottom of the page under "REFERENCES"
On to MJ.
Of course not everyone has a real Jordan to compare to...but, if you can find yourself another Bulls card from 86/87 the color schemes and the card itself will match up to a real card quite well and give you a great reference. (this is true for an 79/80 OPC Oilers common, 84 Topps Dolphins card or any of the others...)
So how do you spot it?
The front of the card -
1. The Fleer Logo - The easiest thing to spot with the naked eye, though not a guarantee so look at other things as well.
A. The turn-down on the banner should be a darker orange color than the yellow part that "Premier" is printed in. There are fakes with a darker orange so use other guidelines as well.
B. Also notice the red crown...on the real card the points are quite sharp, the word "Fleer" is more sharp and doesn't seem to have the fuzzy edges it also is a different font. The real one is quite sharp with sharp corners on the letters vs a more "bubble-like" font. The color is also a bolder red.
2. The red and blue color on the border should have a definite separation. Notice the fake card has a "blurry" effect. Also notice how deep the color is on the real card and how bold the colors are.
3. The "Chicago" on MJ's jersey - Notice how blurry the Chicago is, it's sometimes noticed on the fakes that the dot over the letter "i" looks attached to the name as opposed tot he real card where there is a noticeable separation. it also will appear that the loop in the letter "o" is closed off
4. The Nameplate - Notice the difference in the color blue here. almost a dark blue vs. a baby blue.
You'll also notice that the name, team, position all is more "blurry" than a real card. The font looks more "bubbly" on the fake than on the real card and the corners on the letters aren't near as sharp on the counterfeit. (similar to the "Fleer Crown in #1A)
5. The black borders - This same technique, will work on all but the most sophisticated counterfeits. If you have a loupe/magnifying glass, take a look at the black printed lines. In printing, ink is laid on a plate and then put onto the stock, it is not "printed in dots" like most consumer printers do it. (dot-matrix/bubble-jet).
What you will notice under magnification (see the beckett article for a good example of this) is that the black line is not a solid black line, but rather a bunch of small black dots put together to make line. If it's not solid, it's a print and therefore, it's a fake. A 100% dead giveaway.
On to the back of the card - just in case you're still not convinced it's real or fake.
6. The Bulls Eyes - On the real card, you can see the separation between red and white..the bulls eyes on a genuine card, will be "open". You may need a loupe to see it definitively, but there should be a white pupil in the logo.
7. The back coloring - notice how pink the back is on the real card, vs a more faded pink, almost peach color on the counterfeit. This is true on the top half as well. bold red vs. faded almost pink color.
8. The copyright (C) and restrictred (R) trademark logos - On the real card, the (R) and (C) should stay entirely in the pink at the bottom of the card and the (C) should align with the text "1986 Fleer ..." On the fake, the (R) is half on the pink, half in the white border. On many fakes, not this one though, the (C) will be half off as well, similar to the (R)
9. NBA Properties Logo - You should be able to read the text "NBA" and the text around the ball with the naked eye. On the fake, it's a blur that just sorta looks like the logo, but it's not readable.
10. The Fleer Crown again - notice the font of the word fleer, you can also make out the (R) that was printed on the real card, the word fleer also stands out against the blue crown vs being a very weak presentation on the fake.
ADDITIONAL REFERENCE PHOTOS
Fleer Logo Closeup:
Real-- Image 1 Image 2
Fake-- Image 1 Image 2
Real-- Image 1 Image 2
Fake-- Image 1 Image 2
The Bulls Eyes Closeup:
NBA Properties Logo Closeup:
Back of the Card Closeup:
More Closeups of the Bulls Eyes, Fleer Logo, and Nameplate:
*REFERENCES FOR OTHER COUNTERFEITS*
85 Topps Mark McGwire RC Fake
Cal Ripken Jr
82 Topps: http://www.beckett.com/nhl/news/index.asp?a=2269
Minor League: http://www.beckett.com/nhl/news/index.asp?a=2157
82 Topps Traded: http://www.beckett.com/nhl/news/index.asp?a=2209
1967 Topps Rod Carew RC Fake
1986 Topps Traded Barry Bonds XRC
1980 Topps Rickey Henderson RC
1970 Topps Pete Rose
1969 Topps Reggie Jackson RC
Joe Montana Topps Fakes
84 Topps Dan Marino RC Fake
Michael Jordan 2nd Yr Fakes
Nike Michael Jordan RC Fake
Charles Barkley Fleer
Karl Malone Fleer
96/97 Fleer Lucky 13 Kobe Bryant Fake
Wayne Gretzky OPC Fake
Part 1: http://www.beckett.com/nhl/news/index.asp?a=3088
Part 2: http://www.beckett.com/nhl/news/index.asp?a=3109
Part 3: http://www.beckett.com/nhl/news/index.asp?a=3137
90/91 Score Eric Lindros
OPC Premier Jaromir Jagr RC & OPC Mario Lemiuex RC
1997-1999 Masters Tiger Woods RC