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  #1  
Old 09-11-2007, 05:09 PM
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Default Authenticating 1939 Play Ball (DiMaggio Example)

Posted By: Matt

I was wondering if any out there could share their tips on authenticating 1939 Play Ball cards, aside for the usual paper-stock thickness and quality. Since the cards are simple black and white images on the front, coloring or stamping of player names isn't available as an indicator. Below are two images of an authentic (99% sure, but correct me if I'm wrong) Joe D - the second is a blow up of the area at the top of the card by his hat. What would I see in a forgery to know that it's a fake?

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Old 09-11-2007, 06:44 PM
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Default Authenticating 1939 Play Ball (DiMaggio Example)

Posted By: Steve

Matt, This card looks good, same characteristics as my graded examples. Sorry, other than the typical counterfeit red flags, I can't help you much on identifying '39 fakes.

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Old 09-11-2007, 07:02 PM
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Default Authenticating 1939 Play Ball (DiMaggio Example)

Posted By: identify7

Some people think that the stuff that cards are made of glows if exposed to black light, unless it is old stuff - like anything pre-war. Old card material does not glow. You can pick up a cheap longwave black light (aka. UV lamp) in a hardware store or hobby shop. Try it.

Then come back, there is more.

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Old 09-11-2007, 07:12 PM
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Default Authenticating 1939 Play Ball (DiMaggio Example)

Posted By: Frank Wakefield

And those who think the old cards glow and the new ones don't are correct.

Brighteners added to modern paper will fluoresce when exposed to black light. An excellent initial test for authentication.

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Old 09-11-2007, 07:53 PM
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Default Authenticating 1939 Play Ball (DiMaggio Example)

Posted By: Matt

Gil - would you mind sharing what the other indicators are? Can you use the scans I provided to show what would be different in a forgery?
thanks!

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Old 09-11-2007, 08:26 PM
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Default Authenticating 1939 Play Ball (DiMaggio Example)

Posted By: Chris Mc

I am close to finishing the set ,need 10 more. I think if you have a good quality scan that has not been photo shopped the differences are easy to see. The most obvious is the bright white color on the border and the bleached out photo portion of the card. Hope this helps.

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Old 09-11-2007, 08:32 PM
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Default Authenticating 1939 Play Ball (DiMaggio Example)

Posted By: identify7

Sure, I did not intend to be mysterious here. But in honesty, this is not my expertise, I am a student. And I may just be one chapter ahead of you. The book I am on now is entitled "Judging the Authenticity of Early Baseball Cards" by David Rudd Cycleback.

Quite informative, well written, inexpensive, and a standard reference material in our hobby. Also written by a board member. Typically available on line for $20 or so; and also on the Internet.

But to answer your question, another technique used is microscopy. Which sounds a little sciencey but it really is only looking at the ink so closely that you can sort of see each spot. And what to look for varies with the card type. At all times it is best to use the approach you are fostering. That is, have a real card handy for comparison with that under investigation.

For this type of card (of which I have none to check), I believe what you would be looking for is more of a 3-D effect in the microdot pattern, coupled with a dark rim around each halftone dot and also on the lettering.

However, trying to make sense out of this abbreviated presentation, is probably impossible. I recommend again that you try a little, then come back and we can all try to stumble through this together.

Oh - the microscope to use is a little plastic pocket job which you can pick up for $25 or so on ebay and elsewhere. Mine has a battery operated light built in and a plastic switch to select the magnification: 60x, 80x & 100x. But I understand that a jewlers loupe is good too; and even smaller.


If however your interests are more in the realm of (as you asked) what to look for, I would seek out FKW or others whose perceptive powers are strong and who have familiarity with various sets. Me? I barely notice a fire engine bearing down on me. If it ain't big and bright and red with bells, flashing lights and a sireen, I wouldn't notice it. Heck, I really do not care much for these cards, am unimpressed with their appearance in general, and only really enjoy the history and set design. But I do want real ones, if I bother to pay for them.

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Old 09-11-2007, 08:44 PM
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Default Authenticating 1939 Play Ball (DiMaggio Example)

Posted By: Matt

I read Cycleback's book - it's available online for free, but he doesn't didcuss anything after 1930 and my questions here are specific to the 1939 Play Ball set because it doesn't use many of the other indicators on earlier issues like players names or borders. If anyone has any more epxertise, it would be appreciated.

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Old 09-11-2007, 11:55 PM
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Default Authenticating 1939 Play Ball (DiMaggio Example)

Posted By: davidcycleback

I don't know who has done Play Ball reprints, but I owned some old Larry Frisch reprints and they weren't much like the real cards. The stock was thin and white-- nothing like the genuine Play Ball stock. I think other 'official' reprints, if they exist, will also look noticeably different in stock and visual ways ways.

Probably 99 percent of home computer reprints will have multi color dots, not black ink only like yours. Most home computer printers can't print on thick cardboard, so these fakes will usually either be really thin or have two pieces of paper pasted onto cardboard.

If you have some cheap commons, compare the stock, gloss, etc. As just mentioned, the Frisch reprints stock is very different and other reprints stocks probably will be as well. It's almost always the case that any reprints are on noticeably different stock.

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Old 09-12-2007, 12:46 PM
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Default Authenticating 1939 Play Ball (DiMaggio Example)

Posted By: Matt

Thank you Mr. Cycleback!

Any chance you want to weigh in on the '33 Goudey thread below? Or perhaps, would you be willing to post of the different Play Ball and Goudey issues, which fall into which printing category described in your book and some indicators aside from paper stock?

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Old 09-12-2007, 10:47 PM
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Default Authenticating 1939 Play Ball (DiMaggio Example)

Posted By: davidcycleback

I still say that if you have some cheap commons, you should have little trouble identifying reprints and fakes. All reprints and fakes should be clearly different, sometimes not even close. If you use a blacklight, even better. It may come across as mundane stuff, but reprints really do have a tough time duplicating stock color, gloss, thickness, opacity. I've compared Topps own reprints to the original cards, and the reprints failed with the flying colors all of the just mentioned tests.

On a more technical side, say you look microscopically at the dots on the front picture a 1933-4 Goudey. An isolated red dot should be pure red, blood red, pizza sauce red. In modern printing, they don't use red for halftone dots anymore, they use magenta-- which is like a darkish pink. You have to make sure the dot is isolated, as if you have different colors overlapping you will get new colors (magenta + yellow = red; red + yellow = orange).

In examining half tone prints, the red versus magenta dot is one of the strongest indicators of age. Though you usually know by then whether or not a print is a fake, magenta serves as final proof the print is modern. Below is a pic of magenta dots on a modern Topps baseball card. As you can see, it looks like a dark pink.



I don't have Goudey on hand, but on an authentic Goudey, an isolated blue dot should be dark, pure blue. In modern printing, they use much lighter blue. However, as dark blue and light blue can be harder to differentiate, this is less reliable. But if the dots and other blue printing are dark, solid blue, that's a good sign.

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