Collecting Suspected fake card - fakes are getting better

Discussion in 'Pokémon Trading Card Game' started by Collectibleses, Dec 4, 2019.

  1. Collectibleses Aspiring Trainer


    Dear all,

    New member here. I used to collect Pokemon back in the early 2000's and wanted to get back into it. In the past, it was easy to spot counterfeits (very different holofoil, incorrect fonts, incorrect colors, etc.).

    Recently, I bought a few single M Charizard Ex (both X and Y) off eBay. Being back in the game after being gone for so long, I was far from an expert for spotting counterfeits by photos alone.

    The Orange M Charizard EX (Y) 107/106 had no obvious issues (and I hope I am not wrong). The holofoil was very vibrant and the card texture appeared normal.

    Being aware that there are many counterfeits, I was picky on the sellers (i.e. no oversea sellers, no sellers with negative feedback indicating they were selling counterfeits, no new sellers, etc.). I won an auction for M Charizard EX (X) from a reputable seller with 100% feedback. The individual even provided extra pictures when I asked, so I did not suspect anything.

    Upon receiving the card, I compared it to the Orange M Charizard EX (Y) and noticed the foil looked slightly off. I looked up a few guides on YouTube and did not notice the most common issues which were border looked "added" on the card, colors being too dark, etc. I took it out of the sleeve and immediately noticed the following key differences:

    - Glossier when compared to the legitimate one
    - Felt "thicker"
    - The shading on the back is off when compared to a legitimate card (VERY SUBTLE - the bottom half of the Pokeball had less of a "shadow" than the legitimate card, and the blue looked like it had a slight tint of purple)
    - The back is really off-centered (although this is not definitive as it can happen for legitimate cards too, although rarer)
    - The star beside the card number 108/106 remained white (i.e. did not have holofoil) when you shine it against light (my 107/106 was foil on the star - I assume this is what it should be)

    Here are a few images:

    I just want to make sure this is a counterfeit before I follow-up with the seller. I truly believe the seller was not aware. I could not tell from the pictures until I saw the card in-person and compared to a legitimate card.

    It's frightening to see how good these counterfeits can be. The closest I can compare to is this video at 11:30 here:

    Can anyone refer me to a more definitive guide for what to watch out for? I would like to do more to confirm my suspicions. I would hate to ask for a refund if I was wrong, so I want to be sure.

    Thank you in advance!
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2019

  2. bbninjas Ready or Not!

    Advanced Member Member

    Yeah, sorry man, this card is definitely fake. By far the easiest way to pick a fake card from a real one is by checking the fonts. Compare it to the official scan:


    The attack name and 300 damage is very wrong - it's using a serif font instead of a sans-serif as is used on the official card. A trained eye can also spot differences in the attack effect font (it looks like your run-of-the-mill Calibri or Arial font). The illustrator "5ban Graphics" isn't italicised on the fake card, and the "x" in "x2 weakness" is much too small and thin.

    The second best way to spot fakes is to look out how the holo effect is applied. It should refract and shine in varying rainbow patterns -- more than just looking glossy:


    Notice the slightly slanted shines over the Pokemon-EX rule box, and the "Evolves from" text. In the XY-era (and most modern eras), the holo on non-Full Art rares is only visible on:

    - the background of the art
    - art effects (like the blue flames)
    - gold sections (i.e. the Mega Evolution rule / Pokemon-EX Rule).

    The holo should NOT be seen on the Pokemon itself (except for its eye) and it should not be seen on the blank texture. For Dragon-type cards, that's where the murky yellow-gold background where the text goes.

    For Full Art rares, like the Umbreon-GX, you should see more fancy holo patterns and - depending on the type of Full Art - textures on the art.

    It does require a trained eye to spot these subtle differences, but once you get more familiar with official cards again, fake cards will stick out like a sore thumb. When in doubt, always check an official scan. It's also worth Googling the card and looking for a photographed version of the card, to see what the holo should look like in a photo.
  3. Collectibleses Aspiring Trainer


    Thank you SO MUCH for the detailed explanations. I thought something felt "off" but now with these points in mind, I can DEFINITELY see the difference in fonts.

    I think fonts will be how I will filter these on eBay. Since these are my first purchases after the WOTC era, I still struggle with the foil (even in person). Maybe I'll get better as my sample size increases (right now I'm just comparing 2-3 cards). I would definitely not be able to tell whether a foil is fake by photo alone unless it was something completely incorrect (e.g. "starfoil proxy" listings I saw). I also read somewhere that a "rainbow gleam" is a common issue on counterfeits (perhaps this was in the context of the whole art having rainbow foil instead of only the background, fire, eyes, etc.).

    I looked at the borders again and when comparing with the art you posted, I realized that the Mega Evolution rule and Pokemon EX rules on the 108/106 should also have gold borders around the text, not silver as with the 69/106 version.

    To make sure I'm understanding correctly, the silver borders for the Mega Evolution rule and Pokemon EX rule on the non-secret rares (e.g. 69/106) should not shine. However, for these "secret rares" with the gold borders (e.g. 108/106), should the gold shine?

    It is quite scary how "good" these counterfeits are now. I was quite surprised. Back in the WOTC era, the counterfeits were nowhere near as high quality as the legitimate ones.

    All is good - I should be able to follow-up with the seller. I hope he/she is able to recoup their loss from where ever they received it from. I truly believe he/she is an honest seller. He/she shipped it with care and provided their business card too and had 100% feedback.

    I just made my first full art rare purchase on eBay - based on what you described, I have to do some homework on the texture I should expect to make sure the card I receive is legitimate.

    Thanks again - your post was very helpful!
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2019
    bbninjas likes this.
  4. bbninjas Ready or Not!

    Advanced Member Member

    Yup, counterfeits generally have the whole card gleaming.

    The gold borders should not shine on 108/106, just the gold parts between the borders (i.e. the EX symbol, the background of the EX-Rule box, the background of the Mega-rule box, background of evolves from box). Same as the 69/106. Again, best to look for an actual card and compare to that:

    Otaku likes this.
  5. Otaku The wise fool?


    The WotC era was from 1999 to 2003; think of the difference in printing technology, the availability off quality card scans, etc. compared to then versus now. Those who do a little research can misapply the body of knowledge with producing fake cards. No, not all fakes are intentional counterfeits; a lot of people like designing cards and then making them "for fun". A counterfeiter who lacks skill or knowledge is still capable of doing a better job than their counterpart from 16 to 20 years ago.

    Yes, it has been that long! XD

    I'm not bringing that up to make you feel old (hint: I've been playing since back then XD) but just as a "heads up" so you're not caught off guard by it again. :) Not that I can offer much more than that, and @bbninjas has given you far, far more valuable information.
  6. Number51x Blasting off at the speed of light!


    The "screen door" print quality is also a dead give-away. Colors should be smooth and uniform.
  7. bbb888 One Life. One Dream.


    Try to buy cards from reputable sources like Collectors Cache, DA Card World, or even Walmart. Legally, places like these are not allowed to sell counterfeit products.
  8. Collectibleses Aspiring Trainer


    Thanks again. This feedback prompted me to look into my other Charizard a bit more. I thought this one was fine but based on the descriptions here I thought I should double check.

    The card's fonts and colors generally look good compared to the actual official card.

    Card album:

    - First image shows the gold shine, overall fonts, etc.
    - Second image shows that the silver star is foiled (unlike the counterfeit), but you can also see the right side of the gold border around the "Pokemon-EX rule" has a slight gleam (i.e. not completely matte)
    - Third image shows another angle and you can somewhat see a "door screen" effect. It's not bad at all compared to the counterfeit but I wouldn't call it completely uniform. I don't have another card to compare to, but I thought it was fine until it was brought up here
    - Fourth and fifth image show some of the gold borders that appear to shine when they should not (unless I misinterpreted). It is not as shiny as the EX symbol, the background of the EX-Rule box, the background of the Mega-rule box, background of evolves from box, which are a bright gold; but it's not a matte solid either (more of a "murky" gold with a light shine in certain angles)

    I would be a bit more confident if I had a legitimate one to compare to. I guess I'll go pull some packs to compare the textures, uniformity of colors, etc.

    Thanks again everyone.
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2019
  9. Collectibleses Aspiring Trainer


    Great tip. I guess I am used to going to eBay from 10 years ago as there are many deals to be found. I am also based in Canada, so when I find a deal in Canada it's significantly cheaper when factoring exchange and lower demand (less bidders from the U.S. due to usually higher shipping costs).

    Very fair point - it's just very scary how good these counterfeits are. It absolutely makes sense, but it's also too bad. I also watched a video where someone ended up with a repackaged 1st edition base set booster box. It's stories like these that deter buyers from collecting.
  10. bbninjas Ready or Not!

    Advanced Member Member

    That other Mega Charizard looks fine to me from the photograph.

    You could put the card to the side and look at the edge of the card in good light. If it's a real card, you should see a very thin black line between the front and back pieces of cardboard.

    CardPone likes this.
  11. Number51x Blasting off at the speed of light!


    That M-Charizard looks good. That very slight fine granieness is how the printing should look.

Viewing Now: 0 Members + 0 Guests

There are no registered members viewing this forum. Why not register here and start a discussion?

Share This Page