How To Spot a Fake 1986 Fleer Michael Jordan Sticker
Michael Jordan’s Fleer Rookie card has been on a mind-bending, stratospheric price increase over the past few years. A PSA 10 Jordan rookie card just sold for over $200K back in December of last year.
Like anything else with dollars behind it, the scammers have come out in full force trying to peddle fakes for thousands of dollars to unwitting buyers. We’ve tried our best to educate collectors (here, here and here), but I keep hearing about swindles all the time.
While Jordan’s #57 Fleer rookie card has seen a monstrous rise in price, his sticker from the same set (#8 of 11) has also garnered a ton of collector demand, driving up its price by XX over the past year on average.
While scammers have focused on Jordan’s base card from the Fleer set, there are definitely fake Jordan sticker cards in circulation.
This guide will helpfully help you avoid buying a fake Jordan Fleer rookie sticker card.
PS – If this guide or any of other articles have helped you in getting scammed, please let us know in the comments below.
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Examining A Real 1986 Fleer Jordan Sticker
As we always like to do in the guides, let's first take a look at a real 1986 Fleer Michael Jordan sticker. You'll notice that even on a real card the image is a bit blurry and not crystal clear.
A real Jordan sticker is smooth and shiny on the back. Here's a look at an authentic back.
The cards often have stains due to gum residue from gum included in the packs. (Side note, nylon or dryer sheets can help remove any wax stains on the backs of the cards). Cards with a stain that can't be removed will earn an 'ST' (stained) qualifier from PSA.
The commonality in staining on the stickers however is important in helping to identify a fake Jordan Fleer sticker. If you have one you're unsure about, if it has any gum residue/staining, it is very likely an authentic card.
The 1986 Fleer stickers are also notorious for poor centering and cut issues. Stickers will vary in size, some came from the factory a bit shorter than others, so if you match up a sticker to another and it seems smaller in size, it's not always a guarantee that it has been trimmed. Jabbar's sticker card is known to be a bit short on the sides, due to it being the first one on the sheet.
Many Fake Jordan Stickers Have Darker Colors On Back
The good thing about authenticating a Jordan Fleer sticker is that most of the fakes are fairly easy to identify and not as good as the #57 Jordan card from the Fleer set. One of the most noticeable differences being the colors on the front of the card.
Based on some fakes I've observed, the yellow name plate on the left side of the card is commonly a darker yellow in color.
This is probably the best fake Jordan I've come across. The front is really hard to distinguish from the real card unless you use a loupe to examine the borders and text, which would show a fuzziness not evident in authentic Jordan Fleer stickers.
However the back helps piece together the puzzle. The one clear difference being the darker-more maroon like red on the fake card versus the authentic sticker. Of note as well, take a loupe and examine the edges of the card to confirm that it is a sticker. This fake is actually just printed on heavy paper and is not actually a sticker.
Different Yellow in Jordan's Nameplate
Texture Of The Back Of The Card
Note that as previously stated the stickers from the 1986 Fleer set have a smooth, sort of glossy feel on the back, thus this is another important way to distinguish an authentic Jordan sticker from a fake. It's hard to show in pictures, but you can sort of see the difference between the back of sticker card and a card from the base set below. If you ran your finger over the sticker back it would feel smooth sort of like many modern Topps/Chrome issues. The regular #57 Jordan has a rougher feel, and it's because the sticker card is what it is --a sticker! Thus, if the card in question doesn't have that smooth sort of texture, it's a fake.
Different Color Fonts On Back Of Card
Some fakes I've found on eBay were actually graded by some very questionable, defunct grading companies--however with the notation that the card was indeed a reprint. Here's one I discovered recently. The front might fool many collectors, although I would point to the clarity of the image as the first thing I noticed.
However the back of the card is a bit more telling
You'll notice that the text on the fake card has a darker, sort of navy blue, whereas the real card's text is a regular sort of blue. The lack of boldness on many other areas of print on the fake card is another sign of a counterfeit. Many of these discoveries could easily be identified with a loupe.
So, suggestion...buy yourself a few fake Jordan stickers on eBay (shouldn't spend more than $5 a piece. Buy yourself a loupe (note I really like the ones that clip on to your phone). And then buy yourself a really beat up cheap authentic sticker from the set.
Examine the colors of each, examine the borders and see how they compare.
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Have a question on a Jordan sticker? Want to share your authentication findings?
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I'm learning everyday still, there are always new fakes coming to market, and I want to see them all!