How to Spot a Fake Sports Card

One of the biggest issues that a collector can encounter as they’re expanding their collection is the potential to purchase counterfeit cards from a seller. Whether it’s fake baseball cards or other fake sports cards, the reality of this hobby is that there are those out there who may wish to take advantage of you by selling you cards that are worth nothing in order to turn a profit. The good news? You can avoid most (or all) counterfeit sports cards by knowing what to watch out for ahead of time. If you’re worried about potentially being sold a fake sports card in the future, here are a few tips you should know!

Your Card Glows Under a Blacklight

Most of the tips in this guide on how to spot fake baseball cards or other sports cards will largely pertain to vintage cards given that these are the cards most likely to be faked in an effort to dupe buyers. One of the best pieces of information to know if you’re shopping for vintage cards is that fakes will glow under a blacklight. Why? Old cards won’t glow, but fake cards will because of the brighteners that are present in the ink on the paper. If in doubt, hold a blacklight up to the vintage card to see if it lights up. If it does, that’s a good indication you have a fake on your hands!

The Printing Techniques Don’t Match the Times

A modern printing press

Most cards have unique printing patterns that are unique to their time and would be near impossible to recreate. Fake sports cards will often feature more uniform dotted patterns in their printing that have been created by modern printers. Much like you should have a blacklight on hand, carry a magnifying glass too to see if you can spot these imperfections in fake baseball cards or other cards. Most counterfeit sports cards will easily reveal themselves to be fakes when you take a look at the finer details like these. 

The Card That’s Graded Isn’t in the System or Isn’t the Card Described

One way that counterfeit card makers will pass fake baseball cards off as real ones is by making them look as if they’ve been graded to increase the trust that buyers will have. Unfortunately, this might work with some people because they believe that a card with a grade is automatically a real one. However, this is simply not the case. The first thing that you should always do when you come across a graded card is to see if it’s registered by using the cert number on the card. If it doesn’t show up in the system, it hasn’t actually been graded, and it’s fake. 

However, some might swap out a reprint or fake baseball cards in place of the card that they’re supposed to sell. You can also look into the card’s history to see if this is actually the card that has been graded. But with all this in mind, a graded card doesn’t have 100 percent confidence anyways. Take the above precautions and do your own research to make sure you’re not being scammed.

There Are Major Inconsistencies or Discrepancies Between the Real and the Fake

A magnifying glass that can be used to spot fake baseball cards

Knowing what fake baseball cards look like in comparison to the real deal means knowing everything about the card. This includes the dimensions of the cards (it’s not uncommon for people to shave off/trim down an edge to help make a corner sharper than it was), the type of paper used to print them, the weight of the cards, and other identifying features that can help you spot fake sports cards. Most counterfeit sports cards may also feature qualities like fake aging and other small things that help to give away their status. Always do your homework before approaching a seller to avoid being ripped off!

Always Buy Your Sports Cards From a Reputable Seller!

All of the above tips are an excellent way to identify fake baseball cards before you invest in a piece that’s not as it’s advertised. However, one of the most important tips to help you avoid buying a fake sports card is to always purchase from reputable vendors and sellers that you can trust, especially if you’re purchasing large quantities of sports cards via hobby boxes or hobby cases. If anyone on eBay has no feedback or someone offers you something too good to be true, remember that it probably is.

Here at Giant Sports Cards, we’re fellow collectors and enthusiasts who aim to provide you with the best possible experience as you build your collection. We offer all the newest releases at the lowest prices, and our focus on product condition integrity means that you’re not only getting genuine sports cards but that they’re in great shape when they make their way to your doorstep. Explore our hobby boxes to continue building your collection or get $10 off of your first order when you sign up for our newsletter!