Jordan Rookie Card Fakes – Don’t Fall For It
Since writing about authenticating Michael Jordan’s 1986 Fleer rookie card, I’ve been inundated with inquiries.
When I offered up my services to anyone in need of help, I figured I might get a few responses.
But when I say inundated, I mean I have been INUNDATED…multiple requests per week, often multiple times a day.
Thus, it’s clear there is a TON of demand for Michael Jordan’s rookie card.
But, the problem I’ve found, is that many collectors are getting scammed out of lots of money.
So it’s time for a follow-up.
I will REPEAT that the Michael Jordan 1986 Fleer rookie card is the most counterfeited card in the hobby.
So, my first recommendation to those who write me is to find a graded Jordan Rookie card, graded by either PSA, SGC, or BGS.
Yet as I know many of you are the adventurous type, I write this article with hopes that we all can be more educated on the topic, and that the wide variety of fake Jordan cards are on display for the masses.
In this piece, I am posting many of the fake images that I’ve received while helping to explain some of the differences between the fakes and the real card.
Some are REALLY bad counterfeits and it’s super easy to figure out.
But some are quite good and it’s hard for even me to tell.
I hope this helps everyone in their quest in securing a Jordan rookie card.
Fake Jordan Rookie #1 – Misplaced ‘Premier’ Arrow and Off-Colored Back
Here’s a decent Jordan fake that was recently sent to me. At first glance, many of us might mistake this for the real thing. But the front gives us one tell-tale sign that it’s a fake. It’s all about the yellow arrow.
Here's a close up of the Fleer logo. If you have one that looks like this, it's a fake...CASE CLOSED!
Here's the Fleer logo on a real Jordan rookie below. There are many differences (most which we discuss here) but that little difference in the arrow is the one major sign on this card. We can see how on the real Jordan below the arrow doesn't quite touch the top of the yellow 'Premier' box. Now take a look back to the fake above--the arrow is above the box.
So this fake also has some good signs on the back of the card which can help us out. Here's the back of the fake card. Again, for those not handling Jordan rookie cards on a day to day basis...this looks pretty clean, right?
But then look at a real Jordan back and for me..there's one thing simple...it's the colors. The fake card has a lighter red color on the top whereas the real card has a more distinct red (hard to explain in words)--but can you see it. If you have doubts...just pull up this image below and compare the colors directly
Fake Jordan Rookie #2 – Bulls Logo Unclear Eyes
We discussed this in our last piece on authenticating Jordan’s card, but this is one of the more popular features of the counterfeit Jordan.
Here’s the Bulls logo on a fake. Take a close look at the Bull’s eyes and you can the lack of definition on the Bull pupils.
Now let's take a closer look at the bull's eyes on an authentic Jordan. As we can see below, the definition surrounding the pupils of the bull is clear and there is white space between the pupil on the outer edge of the eye. Compare this to the fake above and there's a clear distinction.
Fake Jordan Rookie #3 – Thin Borders
I see a lot of these counterfeits in circulation now, often sold on eBay as a reprint, but many times I get buyers that are in the midst of getting duped for thousands of dollars. One collector told me he purchased this one at an auction house in Sydney where it was advertised as authentic.
These should be an easy tell; compare this one to the back of an authentic Jordan and you should be able to eyeball the difference.
So, here's the back of a fake 'thin border' Jordan reprint. As shown there is minimal border padding between the edge of the card and both of the red boxes.
Compare it to the authentic back in the prior section and you can easily see the difference. Now it could be possible that someone went on a trimming rampage, but not likely, so if you see one like this, move on.
Fake Jordan Rookie #4 – Wrong Yellow Arrow on Fleer Logo
As we pointed out on our first piece on detecting counterfeit Jordan rookies, the logo is one of the best places to look in order to find a fake.
Now on a real card, the little yellow arrow near the Fleer logo is a mustard like yellow. Some of the good fakes have the right color arrow. But on some of the BAD fake Jordan’s, the yellow can be the same yellow as in the ‘Premier’ background (bad) or an even darker mustard yellow than on the original (also BAD).
Here’s one version with the lighter yellow in the arrow:
And now here's another one with the yellow that's TOO dark:
And well, then there's this disaster. Do you even have to ask?
Fake Jordan Rookie #5 – Fake Authentication Label
I think for many this is an obvious red flag, but I’ve had numerous questions on this one. Scammers will put Jordan reprints in a top loader and then cover the top with what looks like some sort of authenticity bar-code sticker. These are easily purchased on eBay or Amazon, although I really wish they weren’t. If you see a Jordan like this, it is a 99.9% probability there’s a fake card in that top holder. Stay away.
This isn't all of the fakes, but these are the ones I seem to be getting the most questions about. So, the goal of this article was to make sure you don't get ripped off! Don't forget, if it isn't graded, there's a VERY good chance it is fake.
Certainly feel free to continue emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I can attempt to help identify the authenticity of your Jordan card.
We are also buying Jordan rookie cards as well (assuming they are real) so if you have one to sell, you can email me on that as well.