Monday, July 28, 2008

Beware Of Bootlegs

What do you get when you have a really hot, popular player left out of a card release? You get a poorly done bootleg card! I acquired this card somewhere around 1990 at a card shop that no longer exists.

I knew it was a bootleg, just by looking at it. I knew Will Clark did not have an Olympic card in the 1985 set. I just wanted it to show to all my friends. I did. They all said that they didn't know that card existed. I said that it doesn't because it's fake! I think that impressed them even more.

There were several things wrong with this card besides the obvious fact that it wasn't in the actual set. The graphic looks like it was produced on a low end printer. Those two facts sent red flags up even at the young age of 13.

When I got the card in my hands, the card stock felt completely wrong. Not only that, it just didn't look right. The back didn't even try to pass itself off as Topps. It tried to pass itself off as an "Official USA Olympic Sponsor Card". It never said sponsor of what, exactly. Plus, on the back, it said that Will Clark was number 22. That was his Major League playing number. He is pictured wearing number 23 on the front of the card. He wasn't even a first baseman in the Olympic games. He played left field and DH.

The back is plain white with minimal black text. I'm thinking that was a good way to go. They already screwed up the front. No one who collects cards is going to be fooled by a card like this. It's probably a good thing that whoever made this card didn't use the Topps logo on the front. Topps can be very sue-happy when it comes to trademark infringement and such.

This is not the only bootleg card that I have in my collection. I have a few others, that don't blatantly rip-off designs from other baseball cards. They are cards of Bo Jackson pointing a bat at the camera in a White Sox uniform. I used to see those all over the place when he was first signed by the Sox. I have one with a black border and one in a shiny blue border. At least that's what I remember of them. I haven't took a good look at them in years. Those Bo Jackson cards also had some corny saying like, "What do you think I'm going to do this summer?", or something like that.

These cards usually fill some type of void. Others are downright malicious, like the 1963 Pete Rose rookie fake. The higher the value of a card, the more likely it is to be counterfeited. I can think of a few 1990 Frank Thomas cards that are highly bootlegged. Most, though, are trying to correct an oversight by the card company. That doesn't make it any better, but at least it shows that a few of them listen to the public's complaints. I can remember talk of how Topps could pick players like Mike Dunne over Will Clark. Can you?


Andy said...

Does anybody know the story of the fake Pete Rose rookie cards? I remember hearing about it, but I'm not even sure which card it was. The fakes became worth a lot, didn't they?

Spike Glidden said...

The 1963 multi-player card is Rose's RC, so that's what people worked on. His chase for Cobb's hit record pushed the value higher and higher during the early 80s, until it was economically feasible to take the trouble to print mock them up. PSA's got a page on this card with some details on what to look for.

Spike Glidden said...

And yeah, you could get some money for even the faked versions. There must be collectors out there interested in notorious cards like that, right?

Andy said...

Thanks Spike!

White Sox Cards said...

I also remember that after the court case, the remaining cards were stamped "counterfeit" on the back, so they would never fool anyone again.

thewritersjourney said...

I love bootleg cards. Not fake or counterfeits, but those that "fill a void" as you mention (like your Will Clark). I have a Michael Jordan done in 1986 Donruss style with the Rated Rookie logo and everything. It's one of my favorite Jordan cards. I've also seen a Ken Griffey Jr. done in a 1988 Topps theme (though the fonts and namestripe are slightly different and wouldn't fool anyone with half a brain). I don't have it, but if I ever see it at a flea market for fifty cents I'll buy it.

gulfcoast said...

I got the will clark card.I gave nothing for it.if someone wants it u can have