A fake Beckett (BGS) graded sports card has the following characteristics – the top gold label has smooth edges all around, the plastic sleeve has a straight edge on top, and the patent number doesn’t have a period between the T and the 6 at the bottom of the slab. The font is slightly different and the top of the slab is slightly different as well.
This became a big story when Panda Shop on Twitter posted a side by side pictures of a fake BGS (Beckett Graded Services) slab and a real one. This was discovered by a Chinese card shop. As per Deadshot on Blowout forums, this is how the story went:
“The first LeBron was sold via consignment in his store last year. The buyer reached out to the store months after and told them he/she bought an identical card on eBay with the same BGS cert number. The buyer sent the photos to the store and agreed to send both cards to them to examine. Nobody could have a definite answer for what exactly happened. The store later decided to make the post to let others know about the situation.”
Here is the Lebron James cards side by side.
Comparing these two cards it is rather difficult to tell which is real or fake. The font may be the hardest to ascertain whether the card has an authentic slab or not. You can see the subgrade headings are bolder and spaced differently. This is difficult to see unless comparing it to a real BGS Slab. What are some other indicators that can help us determine whether this card has been slabbed in a fake case?
How Does the Beckett Label show it’s a Fake BGS slab?
The fake Beckett (BGS) graded sports card label will have a smooth edge all the way around.
A real Beckett label will have jagged edges because the machine that cuts these labels has teeth which creates this edge type. See the picture to see what I am referring to.
As you can see the label to the left has jagged edges and the fake label is a smooth straight cut. The next thing to look for is the plastic sleeve the sports card is put into before being put into the slab. See the picture below.
The fake graded card once again has a smooth straight edge. The real Beckett (BGS) sports card has teeth like marking on the sleeve as well. Now there are cases where you won’t see the jaggedness as pronounced but you will see an indentation on top of the sleeve.
This next indicator will only be seen if the seller takes a picture of the top of the slab, which is never done. Obviously, you can check this if you’re buying this Beckett graded card in person.
The one on the right is the fake slab. It has a more rounded edge between the two plastic pieces that come together to make the graded slab. It’s also slightly wider. If you have a doubt about the authenticity of a graded Beckett slab you can request the seller take a picture of the top of the slab.
Can you tell by the Patent Number if a Beckett (BGS) graded card is Fake?
Yes! The patent number on a fake Beckett graded card doesn’t have a period between the T and the 6. This is a clear indication that the BGS slab is fake.
If you are buying a card off of Ebay it can be difficult to see the Patent number on the slab due to glaring issues. Have the seller take a close up picture so you can ensure that the card has that period between the T and the 6.
As you can see there is no period or even a space between the T and the 6 making this an obvious fake BGS slab. It is difficult at times to see this period. So if you see a space and it has all other indicators, ie jagged label, sleeve, etc. then you more than likely have an authentic slab.
What is Beckett’s response to these fake Graded Slabs?
When this first was tweeted out back on November 12, 2020, Beckett had the following response:
We are aware of the situation and have already taken actions to protect the brand/service. If you look closely, there are differences with these cases/labels so be sure to buy wisely. Jeromy Murray
It’s not a very heartwarming response. They should have told us what to look for, instead of making the card community figure it out. This will only leave collectors abandoned and not wanting to buy BGS slabbed cards because they can’t be trusted. At this point would you really want to send your card to be graded by Beckett? You will have an even lower resale value because you will have collectors not wanting to get burned by these counterfeit slabs.
The one good thing is the cards in the fake Beckett slabs aren’t fake themselves. If these cards were graded by Becket, they would have received a lower grade. If you check to see all of the indications that I have laid out in this article, you should be able to buy an authentic graded Beckett card. I say should because I am sure the people who worked on these fake slabs know their mistakes. They will eventually correct them. Hopefully, by that time Beckett has changed their labels where counterfeiting will be much more difficult