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Star Basketball Cards: An Interview With A Hobby Expert

1984-Star-Jordan-101Star Basketball cards were issued from 1983 to 1986 and were the only licensed NBA basketball cards on the market until Fleer came to town in 1986-1987.

The cards were a bit of an anomaly in that they were released in polybags, either by team issue or in various subsets and not in wax packs.

The Star company also has a bit of a checkered past; the ‘Shop At Home’ scandal involved the former owner of Star- Robert Levin selling counterfeit cards on a home shopping channel.

Star cards were produced in fairly limited quantities – it is believed that most sets had production runs under 5000 cards – yet most collectors I know sort of dismiss the cards as second fiddle to any of the later Fleer issues. 

Thus, I really made it my mission to figure out if Star cards are either:

A) an underappreciated and undervalued long term investment  

or

B) not worthy of the time, just too confusing, too checkered a past, and too littered with counterfeits.

So, I got a hold of the hobby’s most renowned expert on Star Basketball Cards – Steve Taft.  Steve has been dealing with Star Cards since the beginning in 1983 and had once consulted with the major grading companies on how to identify counterfeits.  Steve knows Star Basketball cards inside and out.  

The ultimate goal of this interview is to help collectors with some of the confusion on the various issues and to help provide some more legitimacy to the cards.  

My ultimate conclusion: Star basketball cards deserve more attention. 

I hope you enjoy this interview with Steve Taft. 

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How To Spot a Trimmed Card

blowout-trimmed-berraWith all of the latest trimming scandals running rampant throughout the hobby, we’ve had many collectors ask us about how easy it is to spot a trimmed baseball card.

We’ve spent a lot of time discussing how to detect counterfeit cards, but haven’t spent much time discussing cards that have been altered or trimmed. 

My hope is that this guide will become the premier resource for collectors and help educate everyone in order to avoid buying any altered cards.

Let’s face it; PSA, SGC and Beckett are just third party authenticators.  There is no guarantee, whether intentional or not, that the graders will get it right. 

It’s now on all of us, to be a ‘fourth party grader’ of sorts to ensure that we are not getting scammed.  

If you come across any graded cards that look like they might be trimmed, shoot me a note at chris@allvintagecards.com

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Jordan Rookie Card Fakes – Don’t Fall For It

Jordan-Fake-One-Front

This is a FAKE Jordan rookie card.

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 collector’s 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.

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How To Spot A Fake 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle Card

52-topps-mantle

The 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle card is one of the most iconic and valuable cards in the hobby.   A mint condition version of the card sold recently for nearly $3 Million.

It’s not even a rare card, as it was actually double printed by Topps, even despite the fact that thousands of the high series 1952 Topps cards were dumped into the atlantic ocean

And while it is Mantle’s first official Topps issue it’s not technically his rookie card (that award would go to Mantle’s 1951 Bowman card), although many often refer to it as such.  

As with all desirable cards, there exists a fairly prominent counterfeit market trying to dupe vintage collectors into believing their fakes are the real thing.   

With this guide, we examine the 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle card and help collectors in distinguishing a real Mantle from a fake one. 

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Everything You Need To Know About Counterfeit Cards

real-fake-cardsThe advent of eBay and other card collecting marketplaces has opened up the lines of communication between buyers and sellers, creating a more liquid and transparent card market.

However, with the ease in buying and selling comes a dark and mysterious side of the hobby that continues to infiltrate for sale listings. 

Of course, I’m talking about counterfeit cards. Now, this isn’t a new thing, fake baseball cards have been circulating for decades. But, the sophistication of the printing methods will only get better and better as time goes on. 

To this point, we’ve put together single card forgery guides, such as the one on spotting fake Michael Jordan rookie cards along with the guide on detecting a Wayne Gretzky rookie card.  

This piece will take a closer look at the overall counterfeit market, including telltale signs of spotting a fake vintage card along with other key information to help you all become a more educated collector.

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Step By Step Guide to Spotting a Fake Wayne Gretzky Rookie Card

gretzky-rookie-cardThe 1979-80 Topps (and corresponding O-Pee-Chee) Wayne Gretzky rookie card is one of the most iconic cards in the hobby.

‘The Great One’ as he is commonly referred is the NHL’s leading all time scorer, with more goals and assists than anyone in the history of the game.

His rookie card has forever been in huge demand, with his popularity among hockey card collectors akin to that of Babe Ruth or Mickey Mantle in baseball.   The easily chipped blue borders make for a tough find in nice condition.

But as demand increases for Gretzky rookie cards, so does the counterfeiting activity.   While Gretzky’s O-Pee-Chee rookie card is more commonly counterfeited, this guide will examine both versions.

As always, buyer beware; we often recommend novice collectors opt for a graded version of a highly copied card such as the Gretzky rookie.  Still, we’ve found both PSA graded Gretzky and Jordan rookies that were complete fakes. Thus it helps to be armed with as much information as possible before investing your hard earned dollars. Onto the guide!

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Step By Step Guide to Spotting a Fake Michael Jordan Rookie Card

michael-jordan-rookie-cardThe 1986 Fleer Michael Jordan rookie card is one of the most iconic basketball cards of all time.  Since Jordan’s retirement in 2003, the collector demand for his rookie card has grown even stronger.  Today, a PSA 10 Gem-Mint Jordan rookie card can sell for upwards of $30,000.  But with the popularity of the card, a thriving counterfeit market has emerged in which the Jordan rookie has become one of the most popular forgeries in the hobby.   

In several Facebook collecting groups I belong to, questions about the authenticity of a supposed Jordan rookie seem to be posted on almost a daily basis.   Those without a trained eye for a fake Jordan rookie could be duped out of some serious money.   The scammers are even resorting to putting the fake Jordan rookies in re-used or fake PSA holders.  

Thus, I wanted to make the most comprehensive guide available to help collectors pinpoint those fake Jordan rookies.  Hopefully this guide helps you avoid any potential disasters!

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