Wednesday, September 12, 2012

I Bought a Fake and I Liked It

A few nights ago, I was reading yet another article about fraudulent memorabilia sellers, which Cardboard Conundrum had some wise opinions about. You've all read about these fake memorabilia assholes before, I'm sure. And it got me really thinking about how much I care. I guess it would take something away from my cards, to find out my piece of Pudge isn't real.

I'd be saddened, sure, to find out some college kid trying to earn an extra buck took batting practice with a random bat, scuffed it up, and then his boss sold it to Upper Deck so that they could throw it in the wood chipper. Sure, I want to believe this is Pudge's bat, that he used it, and, in my mind, he hit a freaking grand slam with it.

And do I want to believe Miggy wore this pinstripe rather than some gibroni who besmirched it by rolling around in a gravel parking lot to make it look all game-used? Well, hell yeah. Of course I want that. I want to believe.

Would I still pay two bucks for one of these cards to be shipped to my doorstep if I didn't know for sure. Yep. I want this stuff to be real, and I hate to question these issues, but when it comes down to it, these cards are still cool. And that's also why I always look for the bargain; if it's not real, I still have a cool card for cheap.

If I really cared and worried, I'd just buy vintage. But then there are tons of vintage counterfeits out there and sneaky reprints. Even scarier to consider. Maybe. But sometimes a counterfeit can be pretty great, too.

I picked up this card on eBay a few weeks ago. It was clearly marked a counterfeit, but I almost couldn't believe it when I saw the condition. Who would counterfeit so much damage? When you think about it, one might be less inclined to think such an ugly card (which would have a much lower, seemingly bargain price) would be a fake. And that's what makes this a work of art, in my book. Everything looks perfect on it. The size is right. The colors looks right, faded perfectly. And the wear is really amazingly detailed.


Not only did the counterfeit artist put in some scuffs and iconic crinkles, Kaline has what look like fine knife scratches across his forehead.

And on the bottom, in a brilliant blur of colors, we find the counterfeit artist's abstract painting turned water stain/tape stain. And what vintage card would be complete without some dinged, peeling corners?
The back is perhaps my favorite part of the card.
Once again: Enhance!
I love how the artist made sure the stain carried over to the back and actually looks much worse. If he put it on the front, he knew he'd risk too much of a price drop, though I bet this card would still bring in around $100 if it was real and in this condition.
Just looking at this card, my amateur collector eyes couldn't identify this as a fake. However, when I hold it in my hands, I can actually feel that it's too thick to be real. They must have used a thicker card stock that could handle more counterfeit abuse.
Anyway, the main point of this all is that I love this card. I'm happy to have it in my collection, which has a place for fakes. On the other hand, I knew what I was buying and paid a counterfeit price for it. The situation is a little different if one was buying super upper-tier cards and getting fake patches.


  1. what a brilliant post, and cool open mindedness for your collection.
    u sold me on the counterfeit kaline as a work of art. i love that 'oak leaf' staining on the rear.

  2. It is indeed a work of art, in a very skewed way. That's probably as far as I'll go.

    If I found out any cards that I had were counterfeit, they'd go right in the garbage (or maybe I should send them to you!). It's not that I'd be upset that they're not genuine. It'd be because I would have obtained the cards from a counterfeiter, one of the lowest of the low. You kill trust, you don't have much left in life.

  3. I worry about my Pete rose (ken mcmullen) rookie. I don't think I want to know.

  4. Wow... it's amazing what lengths people will go to to counterfeit things. And I'll agree with night owl... it's definitely a work of art, but not necessarily in what I'd call a good way.

    But who am I to judge, it's your card and I admire the fact that you love it. That's what matters, right?

    Actually, what I really wanted to comment on was the way you view relic cards. I feel the exact same way. I've had numerous conversations with other collectors about the possibility of companies using jersey swatches worn by bat boys, pieces of bats swung by little leaguers, and autographs signed by friends and family members of players.

    But in the end... I choose to look the other way and think positively. I also keep these things in mind before I drop big money on specific pieces of cardboard.

    Anyways... thanks for the great post. I'm a huge fan of any post that gets me to think about anything other than my next meal.