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Once you get into collecting Pokemon cards if you ever decide to trade or buy card outside of a retail card shop, you may very well run into FAKE Pokemon cards. The problem is, there are so many fake cards and some of them are really well done. This guide is here to help you figure out if your card is indeed a fake or if it is the real deal.
If you find a card that is in question always just do a quick check on the front and back to see if it looks real. If you are a collector you have been around Pokemon cards enough to have a basic idea of what a card should look like.
This Charizard is easily seen as fake because of how different the holo foil is. This particular foil pattern Charizard was one of the first fakes to be discovered for Pokemon. There are others with the same foil pattern as well as non-holos from the same run. Another key feature found in these Shadowless cards is size. They are all slightly too big. If you but them into a stack of real cards you will be able to feel the fake.
The fake attributes in this picture may not be immediately noticeable. The card on the left is fake. The outside blue border is faded instead of having a more deep color than the inside of the border like in picture two. The border on Pokemon cards are suppose to be distinct and this is not just assumed. I have spoken with the former production manager about the printing process before. The borders, both front and back, are DOUBLE STAMPED . Now she has not worked for WOTC in a while so this may not still be the case for newer cards, but this is how it was done while Pokemon was under WOTC.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR - Faded blue borders, Size variance, obvious differences from card known to be real
In the first picture here again you see the backside of two Pokemon cards that look very close to being the same product. The first card is missing the "TM" trademark, giving it away as a fake card. On many fake Pokemon cards there will be very subtle differences that are quite important(like the "TM" marking). On the Spiritomb card(second one) you can see where "may" was misspelled as "ma". Many fake card from the DP era had misspelled words or incorrect punctuation. Not only will you notice that but take a closer look at the font, and you will see that it is quite different, especially with the energies.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR - Incorrect punctuation, misspelling, different font, missing trademarks.
Using the LIGHT is a great way of determining if your card is fake. This particular example with a Ninetales you could probably tell right from the start it was a fake since it is non-holo, but it works as a great example in showing an even better tool. If you take a regular ENGLISH Pokemon card you know to be real and hold it up to the light you will see that almost no, if any at all, light passes through the card. Now if you have a Japanese card handy and hold it up to the light you will notice that it is translucent. With only a few exceptions, any English Pokemon card held up to the light that is translucent will be fake. Again this is not just something that is assumed, but there is a reason why the light can be used to determine if a card is fake. Pokemon cards have a blue/black strip that run through the middle of every card. This strip blocks out light. You can see what a real card looks like in the photo above. On the right is a typical fake card on the inside. Some fake cards can block out the light so this trick is a good bet for determining if a card is fake not if it real. The only exception are a few English cards printed on Japanese stock like the CD Shadowless Pikachu.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR - Light passing through your ENGLISH card
Now this is the hardest fake to tell apart in my opinion. Here recently, a few people have been fake stamping Shadowless cards. The stamp they have looks very convincing, but if you take a closer look you will be able to see that it is not original. I just bought a Charizard 1st edition myself for $180, and when it came in, I was able to look at it with much more discretion. This particular Charizard was a dead giveaway for a number of reasons.
-The first being that it has been cleaned on and directly around the 1st edition stamp area.
-Secondly the condition of this Charizard is played to say the least, and there are scratches literally all over this card as well as bends, dings, edge wear etc. The stamp itself however, is unblemished! There are even scratches running straight into the letters and coming out the other side.
-Thirdly the ink from the stamp is super fresh. It has all of its original sheen and is very deep colored. All around the same area is smudging and color deterioration. Just take a look at the yellow border, which would have twice as much ink as the 1st edition stamp, and you can see how damaged the surface is.
-Lastly, the FONT is different! Take a close look at the "E", "D", and "N" . Compare them to the 1st edition stamp on the right from a Machamp, and you will clearly see there are two different fonts.
Now if you are still unsure check out the short video below of How to REMOVE a FAKE 1st Edition STAMP:
As a collector this is a real blow for me. The fact that someone took a $15 shadowless Charizard and put a 1st edition stamp on it means there must be others out there. I have seen a few sellers on eBay even getting away with it! So WATCH OUT, I am always open for questions and would gladly give my advice on any card you have.
Please do not forget to vote with a thumbs up if the guide was helpful, and I really appreciate the time given to read this guide.
The Charizard Authority