This post is aimed at newer collectors who are starting out in the hobby. As we all know, patch cards are hugely popular because of their scarcity and general eye appeal. Oversized, multi-colored logo patches fetch huge premiums on eBay.
Unfortunately this has led to a large number of Fake Patches. Unscrupulous patch fakers will insert nicer looking patches into cards in order to jack up the prices. This is especially common with cards with large patch windows, such as the Absolute Memorabilia Jumbo Patches.
If a patch looks too good to be true, it probably is. You want to be careful, so here are some things to watch out for:
This is a screenshot of a recent auction by photoking0313, one of eBay’s most notorious patch fakers. AVOID EVERYTHING THAT THIS GUY SELLS. The card is of Albert Pujols from 2005 Playoff Absolute Memorabilia #’d to 50.
Notice how the User ID of the High Bidder is kept private? That’s a definite red flag. Patch Fakers hide the User ID of the high bidder so that people can’t contact the bidder to tell them that the patch is fake. You also might want to look into the seller’s selling history. If he is selling crazy patch cards every week, chances are he is manufacturing them out of his basement.
Another thing to look at is how the card is labeled. Notice the “Game Worn Jersey” on the side? If it says Jersey they mean Jersey. An authentic patch from this set would say “Game Worn Jersey Prime.” Different sets have different labelling systems. A good idea would be to search for completed auctions of similar cards to see how they differentiate Jerseys and Patches.
For Comparison a Real Patch:
Another thing to be mindful of is the serial number on the card. The fake Pujols card is #’d to 50. This is a pretty high number for a prime logo patch. Generally, card companies put the better patch pieces into lower numbered cards.
Also you want to take a good look at the patch itself. Don’t be seduced by lots of pretty colors and breaks and take a second to think about where the patch actually comes from. For example take a look at the Fake Pujols patch. It appears to be from the Cardinals World Series patch:
But the Cardinals won the World Series in 2006. Obviously there’s no way a game used patch from 2006 could make it into a card issued in 2005.
Now its very unfair to assume that all crazy logo patches are fake. Just do your homework and keep an eye out for some of these red flags and hopefully you can avoid shelling out big bucks on a fake patch.
For more information on fake patches and an archive of known fake patch cards check out The Fake Patch Report.