News from the Snark: Counterfeiting

March 14, 1994

Counterfeit cards really burn me up. All that we've seen so far are handmade one-off counterfeits of rares. They're not hurting our sales, I'm sure, but I've seen so many, that there must be bunches running around, and that means there are probably a lot of Magic players getting taken to the cleaners. What a pain in the

Fortunately, the counterfeits are pretty easy to spot if you know what you're looking for. There are basically four kinds of counterfeits so far.

1. Color copy onto cardstock. Color copiers can't reproduce the full range of printing colors, so usually the artwork looks wrong. OK, so you may have never seen the artwork before. Turn the card over. The back will be blotchy. That's the sign of a type 1 counterfeit.

2. Color copy onto paper glued to a Magic card. Since it's a real Magic back, it looks fine there. Like all of the cards, this one has had its corners trimmed, and usually it's a bad job. The giveaway is the edge of the card. If you look carefully, you'll see that the card is two layers.

3. This one's lame. People have used black marker on a Collector's Edition card to cover the gold edge, trimmed the corners, and scraped the gold "Collector's Edition" off the back. The scarred up back about one third of the way from the top (right under the Magic logo on the back) is the key clue here.

4. This one's surreal. People will soak Collector's Edition cards until they separate, then glue the front half onto a normal Magic card. Often the front edge of the card is a mess, but again, it's the double layer look on the edge that is the sure-fire way to spot this one.

Please, everybody print this message out, and give it to friends, local stores, or clubs in your area. The only way to stop these petty forgers is with knowledge. Caveat Emptor.

Dave Howell, aka Snark

Cyberspace Liaison, Wizards of the Coast, Inc.