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The Real Deal

After McGwire hit 70 home runs in a single season in 1998, collectors scrambled to purchase his 1985 Topps rookie card. Con men were also scrambling. Not to buy cards, but to produce forgeries to sell to the collectors. At $200.00 a card, con men were raking it in.

The best of the fakes were hard to detect. Because they were screened from the original, they are a bit fuzzier, but only slightly and not enough to know for sure. 

The real tip off wasn't the imperfections of the fake, but the perfections. For instance, the fake has sharp 90 degree angles on the borders, the original's are slightly rounded. The letters USA on the original has some random yellow dots surrounding them, the fake doesn't.

When I was buying mine last year, I looked through a magnifying glass and closely examined it for the imperfections to know it was real. Sure enough, the border was slightly rounded, and there were yellow dots surrounding the USA logo in the top left hand side. These imperfections are only visible under 6X magnification, but with the glass they are evident.

So after a high level negotiation with my wife, I got out the check book and bought an authentic, imperfect, McGwire Rookie Topps rookie card. Authenticity doesn't mean perfection. Those things (and people) that are too good to be true, usually are.

If you want an impressive looking McGwire rookie, and buy one without the imperfections you will have a card without value. If you want the real deal, you'll have to settle with the rounded border and yellow dots around the USA logo, but you will have something of value--something authentic.


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