View Full Version : Detecting Counterfeit Cards

07-19-2009, 06:47 PM
I'm pretty new to pre-war cards. Though I'm sure this has been discussed numerous times, I'd be most grateful if some of the experts on this board could give some basic tips on detecting counterfeit cards. I'm especially interested in tobacco cards. Is there a way using magnifying glasses that a particular dot pattern will reveal modern printing vs. period printing? I thank you in advance.
Martin Green

07-19-2009, 07:17 PM
Cycleback.com is a good start.......http://www.cycleback.com/

Lovely Day...

Rob D.
07-19-2009, 07:36 PM

07-19-2009, 09:33 PM
Thanks for the info!!

07-19-2009, 10:55 PM
This sounds strange but the answer to your question depends on what you can afford to lose. There is really no substitute for buying cards and getting to see them up close. Trying to determine if a card is real or fake from a blurry picture on eBay is not an easy task. We all get fooled. I'm fairly new to the hobby myself, I've only been collecting prewar for three years, and never handled a lot of prewar cards before I started to buy them on eBay. I learned by making mistakes and by reading as much as I can about the hobby on this Web forum. All of the experts are here and most are willing to help the novice collector. Still, unless you handle the product you will have problems. I've gotten pretty good at being able to look at a picture of a T206 and determine its authenticity, but if you hold an old T206 in your hand and can feel the texture of the card you can tell that it is real. There are also a lot of other ways to tell (ink color, border width, the type of back each card can have, etc) from the Websites that other members have referred you to. After awhile you can spot a fake pretty easily. On the other hand, I have a hard time with 1933 Goudey cards. I've bought several fakes in the past and I wouldn't buy a Goudey now unless it was graded. On the other hand, there are many members on this board that have no problem determining the authenticity of a Goudey from a picture. There are some really good fakes out there and I cannot tell if a Goudey is real unless I put the card up to the light. Then I can tell it is a fake because you can see the print from the reverse showing through the card. It also helps if you have a few cards in your collection to make comparisons.

If you cannot afford to take a loss then I would buy only from dealers that will guarantee the authenticity of the card. Most eBayers accept returns, but some do not, and then there are the outright scam artists. I would also advise you to start small. Don't jump out there and buy an ungraded card for several hundred dollars until you know what you doing. Start small and don't give up if you end up buying a reprint. It is far better to make a mistake now with a lower priced card, than with a high priced forgery later. Usually, when you make an error, you won't make the same mistake again.

Good luck with your collection. It's a great hobby.


07-19-2009, 11:14 PM
Spend a few bucks., Grab an inexpensive, poor common example from the sets you'll be collecting. After just a few moments of close exam will do wonders for your detecting skills.

Also, if you're uncertain of a *purchase, post a scan here.

Beware, If you out a legit auction BEFORE winning it, you won't win that card at a discount.

07-20-2009, 02:11 PM
A black light is easy to use and will identify half or more than half of modern reprints and counterfeits. As the percentage shows, a collector shouldn't and can't rely solely on a black light in authentication and fake detection, but it is a great tool, especially for cards you're unfamiliar with. Looking at the printing, hands on experience, knowing what to look for for specific issues, etc are also important.

07-20-2009, 03:53 PM
as said above, check David's website, he's the Man to help with this issue.

glad to have another lover of vintage on board!