Did you see it? Newer players might miss it, but most old school players and collectors knows that the beta Volcanic Island don't have the small white dot in the lower corner. Almost all beta cards have this dot, but a few cards that changed (or were added) since the Alpha printing lack the dot. Volcanic Island is one of them.
The last few weeks there have been something of a mass hysteria in the magic community, as sophisticated new fakes recently hit the market. Chas Andres posted an article at StarCityGames about the new fakes, as did Quiet Speculation and a few other notable sources. I wont go into much details about the new batch of fakes, as you can read the info you need from Chas's article. The issue is that they are very well done and manufactured in a larger scale than previous fakes. The known batch contain 55 different cards, mostly standard and modern staples, but also a few revised duals and fetches thrown in. Nothing really new under the sun here, but I think it's time for a little more advanced follow up on my old post on how to spot fakes to avoid getting caught up in paranoia.
The first fake card I encountered was a beta Lotus back in 1998. I was hanging out at an old laser-tag place in Gothenburg when I saw it in a binder. The player who owned it assured me it was a fake one, but I hadn't seen anything like it before. I traded a Chronicles Concordant Crossroads for it, to have it as a show-off or proxie in the future. It was darker and thicker than a real card, but not very noticeable at a glance.
The second time I encountered fakes was about half a year later. It was a Time Walk and a Time Twister that had been printed out on hight quality paper and glued on to a real card. These were very easy to spot with touch alone, but looked good in a binder. I got them as throw-ins in a trade (this was around the time that the first proxie tournaments started). As a side-note, I would not trade for a fake card today, other than to possibly have it as a reference. Very little good could ever come from a demand for fake cards.
|Real Lotus, weighing 1.74 grams.|
First, once again, it's really hard to fake play tear in a convincing way. Be extra mindful of mint cards. Second, it's really hard to fake alpha cards or foils. Foils are hard because of the additional foil layer, an alpha cards because of partly the round corners, and partly because anyone who buys a high end alpha rare for a thousand dollars will test it. It's much easier to fake modern mythics, as they are usually in better conditions and wont be scrutinized in the same way.
So, the tests! Let's start with the weight test. A non-foiled magic card weighs about 1.74 grams (that's 42.6 millionths of a firkin-weight for all you non-metric readers). A scale that can measure this can be bought a high-end kitchen store for about $150, or a well sorted record player store for about $15. If a card weighs significantly less or more than your other cards, that's a warning sign. A heavier card may indicate re-backing, and a lighter card may indicate a professionally printed fake. There are beta cards that are real and weighs a few decimals below 1.70 grams, but it's unusual.
|This is a warning flag|
|Fake to the right.|
|Notice the lack of pattern in the black mana symbols.|
|Notice the line that goes through the edge on the lower card.|
|Freespace light-testing the 1.67 gram Mind Twist compared with a 1.74 gram Mind Twist.|
|Light-testing the Badlands compared to a real Tundra. The Badlands lets through significantly less light.|
|Real alpha and beta Lotus both illuminating nicely. The flower petals almost look foiled.|
We'll end today with a picture of Warp Artifacts on Copper Tablets to lighten up the mood:
|"Who's the beatdown now, newb?"|