Star Wars collectors beware! I stumbled across a disturbing thing in a vintage toy Star Wars figure collection I acquired recently. In the collection I purchased, there were about 20 original carded figures from the 1970s and 1980s. Those interested in Star Wars collectibles know that the Holy Grail of figure collecting is getting original carded figure. If you are unfamiliar with this, an original carded figure includes the figure and accessories still in the packaging (figure inside the holding bubble secured to the original un-punched card backing). Obtaining an original carded Star Wars figure can be quite rare and can carry a lot of value.
When I started looking more closely at the collection I purchased, I noticed that one of the figure’s card backing looked strangely new. Upon closer examination I concluded that it was a reproduction of a card backing and figure holding bubble made to look authentic. In my opinion this was done to deceive collectors into paying more money for the item. Because this was done so well I figured I would provide some tips in detecting fakes so that you don’t fall victim to such deception.
Tips for detecting non-authentically packaged figures
The keys to spotting a fake can be pretty simple if you look close enough. My suggestions are to look for the following:
- Whiteness on the card backing – the original figure’s card backing will age in color. Whites on the card backing tend to fade, darken or yellow. If its a bright white this likely means is been recently printed.
- Visible aging – even the best kept figure will have signs of wear on the card backing. Corners may be frayed or bent. There may be some bowing. Perfect edges usually are not possible on a collectible that is 40 years old.
- Text crispness – printing on original cards will have crisp text. Replica’s will have a less clear look because they typically are done on an inkjet printer and are a second generation copy of an original.
- Clarity of the plastic bubble – the figure holding bubble on an original will look to have a yellowish tint. It’s normal for aged plastic to yellow. On a fake the bubble will look clear because most likely it’s a reproduction done more recently.
In short, trust your eyes. You should be able to detect a fake if you are looking close enough.
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