Beckett Grading is trying to find out who has been creating fake copies of its holders, putting lesser quality cards inside and passing them off to unsuspecting collectors.
The company was recently alerted to the issue by an Instagram account that’s been tracking the phony graded cards, including a Michael Jordan Fleer rookie card. The owner of the account has stated that nearly 100 non-genuine BGS slabs and labels have been uncovered. They contain what are believed to be genuine, but slightly inferior cards. The holders state the card is a certain grade–usually high on the scale–but the label and the holder are homemade. Instagram account, Cardporn, believes the total amount fraud involving the fake slabs that have sold so far surpasses $1 million.
“There are fake BGS slabs out there right now and whoever is doing this is doing a good job with it,” admitted the company’s Director of Grading, Jeromy Murray. In a Beckett Live interview Wednesday, Murray, said the company is investigating where the cards may have originated and does have some leads in the case. Murray indicated both “investigative” and “legal” methods were being used.
So far, Murray says the fraud appears limited to modern era cards and that the cards themselves appear to be authentic and close enough in condition to fool potential buyers. “They were putting cards that were 8.5 and 9s into 9.5 cases,” he said.
After examining fake holders that were sent to the company, Murray related that the patent number stamped at the bottom of the clear plastic holder stands out more than those on genuine Beckett holders.
He also stated that the label on the fake holders was created by putting two stickers together, something that can only be seen when the case is taken apart and that the clear inner sleeve used by Beckett is slightly different than the non-genuine versions. The phony holders are also thinner than those used by the company.
Murray says Beckett plans to retool its cases, adding additional security measures but didn’t have a timetable for when the new model could be put into place. The company is hoping to keep the design of any new holders as close as possible to the current look.
Fake holders have been an issue for grading companies over the years. In recent years, PSA has enhanced the security features of its holders in an attempt to stop ongoing criminal efforts to counterfeit them.
According to Murray, there are currently between nine and ten million cards in BGS holders.
The entire discussion is below.