Up until 2010, SP authentic and Exquisite were the top of the mountain when it came to autographed rookie cards. They were the most valuable, the most collected, and the most sought after. Obviously, because of those three things, they were also the most faked sets around. Even though the materials in the patches were not game used, a one color or two color patch had such a value decrease, that it could mean up to 100 bucks to someone that pulled them. This led to three colors and logos being inserted at a drastically higher level upon release, thus diluting the amount of one color and two colors in the product, but also making it that much more impossible to tell what is real and what is fake.
Right now, in 2011, there are so many fake patches that continually pop up for the sets from 2007-2009, it is no longer safe to purchase the logos or even the three colors on eBay. Many of the fakes have changed hands so many times that the person selling them is rarely the person who created them. I see people buy some of the most questionable patches for thousands of dollars, and that is what I cannot understand. No matter how reputable the seller may seem, its gotten to a point where no one knows authenticity for sure.
Look at these logo patches, and see what I mean. In the past I wouldnt have hesitated to say fake, but now its not half as clear due to the way the sets were structured.
All of the above cards are out of 2009 SPA, and there are 60 others like them available now, as well. Who knows whether they are real, as they are all hugely popular players with a lot of collectors. Many of these sell for a lot of money, regardless of questions about authenticity, and this is where I think the approach needs to be corrected.
We are very much in understanding that none of the hobby media sources will even talk about this issue to educate. Add in that none of the card companies are able or willing to police eBay, so that is why it becomes a bigger problem than it already is. There are some bloggers who have taken to catalogue the auctions at release as they pop up, but this is just a simple solution to a complex problem. We all talk about a patch database sponsored by the manufacturers, but that seems to be a pipe dream. As the patches in NT and Five Star get larger in size, and more logos are used, it becomes essential to have a system in place. Right now, collectors in the know are FORCED to buy early, as the fakers have a lag time on any new product. However, even that lag time is shortening, as many are now getting started as quickly as they can.
Here is my guide to buying old patches, with qualifications:
- Never buy any base patch auto logos from a product out longer than 3 months, unless you are sure it was pack pulled.
- ALWAYS check seller history and do a google search before buying a logo patch.
- If the player is a top tier rookie, automatically cast doubt on any questionable card.
- Do not buy logos from 2007-2009 Exquisite, 2007-2009 National Treasures or 2007-2009 SP Authentic.
- Compare colors on a 3 color patch to another 3 color patch of the same player to determine if they are different.
- Logos were not common in products until 2008, immediately cast doubt on any from before that date.
- Titans, Ravens, Vikings, Eagles, and Steelers are all prime targets of scams due to patch complexity and popularity.
- NFL logos and tags are not used in base RPAs from Exquisite, NT, or SPA.
- Team logos and multicolored patches were very common in 2010 NT Patch Auto parallels.
- Adrian Peterson is the player in football with the most fake patches. Do not buy 3 color or logos from 2007 sets, there are too many fakes.
- When in doubt, ask before buying, there are a lot of resources at your disposal.