Has it Become Impossible To Determine Cards With Fake Patches?

I have always hated scammers that try to take advantage of other people, especially those who may not know any better. For instance, when it comes to fake patches, more people need to know the history behind cards like this. I have similarly condemned the lack of homework done in many of these cases, but its easier to police the criminals than educate the ignorant. That hasnt stopped me from trying to educate, but it has gotten extremely difficult these days.

The issue is that so much of card value in memorabilia cards comes from the content of the patch included. If the swatch is one color, it is worth significantly less than a logo patch. So much so, that the card companies have started to use exponentially higher numbers of jerseys each year at the rookie premiere. This gives them enough yield from those jerseys worn for less than 5 seconds, to produce logo cards well into the season. That’s why there are 100s of logos like this in cards over a season. As a result, we have lost a major deterrent for fake patches in the hobby. If every patch card has the potential to be a logo, how can you tell the fakes from the real?

As recent as five years ago, all of these cards would have been labeled as “too good to be true.” Now its impossible to determine:

2011 National Treasures Andy Dalton Benglals Logo Auto

2012 National Treasures Robert Griffin III Redskins Logo Auto

2011 Exquisite Cam Newton Bowl Championship Patch Auto /99

Here are some more likely examples of cards that I would stay away from:

2012 Topps Andrew Luck NFL Logo Patch – there were no shields in this set.

2008 Exquisite Matt Ryan Falcon Head Logo Auto /25

Just because its graded or slabbed “authentic” doesnt mean the patch is real, just that the card is real:

2010 National Treasures Sam Bradford Rams Head Auto Patch

In the end, there are a few things we know:

  • Many of the sellers of the cards may not be the original scammer. So many of these cards have been passed around more than ever before, so its difficult to trace it back to the source. Because of this situation, we also know that researching the seller may not provide the best indication of whether cards are real. This used to be a prime defense.

I have always spoken out against patch quality determining value, especially on non-game worn jerseys from the rookie season. Design and look should speak more volume than a swatch barely even touched by the player. Obviously, not many people agree with me, especially in more of the hideous cases. We have legitimately made our own bed, and now we have to sleep in it, something that makes me incredibly unhappy. We like ridiculous patches more than well designed and conceived cards, and the manufacturers arent stupid. They have played to our wants, even though those wants arent what is good for anyone.

Think about it – kid WANTS candy an hour before dinner. Do you give him it because he wants it? I get that this is oversimplifying the situation, but the concept is similar. The difference is that the kid is a captive audience, and collectors have and will take their business elsewhere. Im just saying, in most cases, patch quality shouldnt matter, and yet, here we are. For some reason, it no longer matters if a patch is game worn – just that its a logo.

We wonder why its so easy to dupe us, we have blinders on.

3 thoughts on “Has it Become Impossible To Determine Cards With Fake Patches?

  1. One of the problems in recent years has been that companies are using more 3-4 color patches in high #’d print runs. It’s be so easy if they just made every “base” RPA a 1 color and reserved the 2+ color patches for low #’d parallels. Might not stop the entire problem but it sure would help.

    I’ve heard that, in practice, the opposite is done because it drives value on the secondary market, which in turn drives sales for the card companies. Low #’d cards aren’t as much of a priority for sick patches because, hey, they’re low #’d so they will sell regardless. High #’d cards won’t sell for squat with a single color jersey so let’s stick a bunch of multi-colored jerseys in them to bump up their value. Not sure if this really happens but it’s plausible.

  2. Arent they all fake now?

    If it is not game used and stated as such by the card company, then why do we as a hobby really care?

    I dont place any value on “event” worn or touched by or in the general vicinity of the player depicted on the card…

    How hard is it for the companies to keep a database of the low serially numbered cards and what the swatch looks like. Oh yeah thats right, they dont really care about the market after they have sold the box..

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