Analyzing the Authentic 1986 Fleer Michael Jordan Card
The 1986 Fleer Michael Jordan rookie card is possibly the most commonly found counterfeited card. When making the decision to buy this card, especially in higher grade, it is highly recommended to buy the card graded by a reputable grading company, such as PSA or Beckett. Most of the counterfeits are fairly easy to find if you know what you’re looking for.
1986 Fleer Michael Jordan Front
1986 Fleer Michael Jordan Back
- The arrow on the fleer logo should be a darker shade of yellow, almost a golden color. The reprints typically show the logo and arrow as the same shade of yellow.
- There should be a very distinct transition between colors between the blue and red. The reprints commonly show a “fuzzy” transition.
- The black border should be solid black ink. On the reprints, under magnification, this line will not be solid, but rather made up of small dots or pixels.
- The word “Chicago” should be seen clearly. On the reprints, this is usually fuzzy and unclear.
- On the nameplate, there should be clear distinction between the background color (light blue) and the white font for Jordan’s name. The reprint will usually have a “fuzzy” transition.
- The “R” logo should be clearly distinguishable. On the reprints, it is not printed clearly.
- The lines in the eyes of the bull should be separate and cleanly printed. On the reprints, the detail in the eyes is very poor.
- The “C” logo should be clearly distinguishable. On the reprints, it is not printed clearly.
- The lines inside the basketball on the NBA logo should be visible. On the reprints, the ball is typically solid ink.
- There should be a period between the 27 and 2. This is missing on many reprints.
- The lower half of the card should be a darker pink color. The reprints have a very light pink, almost peach color.
Examples of the 1986 Fleer Michael Jordan Counterfeit
- Notice the overall “graininess” to the front of the card.
- The fleer logo and arrow are same color.
- There is a fuzzy transition on the nameplate between the background color and white lettering.
- The lines in the bull’s eyes are not distinguishable.
- The period is missing between the 27 and 2.
- The lines in the basketball for the NBA logo are missing. The ball is solid blue ink.
- The overall colors on the front are very dark.
- The background color on the nameplate is a shade of blue too dark. It should be a light blue.
- The fleer logo and arrow are both the same color. The arrow should be darker.
- The font used for “Michael Jordan” is different and spaced too far apart.
Detecting Counterfeit Cards in PSA Holders
As the hobby moves into the future, very seldom are high profile cards sold ungraded, but rather are sold entombed in a tamper-proof holder from a third party grader (TPG). The most well known TPGs are PSA, Beckett, and SGC. PSA is the most well known TGP and has a majority of the market share. In the past, one could feel relatively safe when buying a graded card that what they were buying was authentic and not altered. However, when it comes to high dollar cards, that is no longer the case. Counterfeiters have figured out how to compromise the holders by opening them, swapping out the cards or flips and resealing the holders again. The holders that are most commonly targeted are from PSA. In the past years, PSA has made changes to their holders to prevent or minimize the fraud, but the older holders are still at risk. I have written an extensive article to better understand this and steps you can take to prevent being a victim of fraud. Here is a link to the article.
In regards to the Jordan rookie, many of the new counterfeits that are coming out of Mexico are very difficult to detect via picture or scan. Now with the prices of PSA 8s and 9s rising substantially, seeing counterfeit cards placed in PSA 8 and 9 holders will become more common. Here is a picture of some counterfeit cards that were shared by the counterfeiter based out of Mexico.
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