Identifying Counterfeit 1952 Topps #311 Mickey Mantle Rookies

In our series of blogs focusing on identifying counterfeits, this week we wanted to discuss arguably the most famous card in our hobby, the 1952 Topps #311 Mickey Mantle rookie card.

In our previous post we promised to profile Michael Jordan's iconic 1986 Fleer #57 rookie, however after seeing several fake Mickey Mantle cards at this year's National Sports Collector's Convention in Chicago this past week, we wanted to address this card immediately - we'll get to Michael next week, we promise.

As always, side by side its easier to spot the difference between the two. However, not having a comparable real card right next to the fake can make it tricky to spot.

Using a jeweler's loop to zoom in on any spot, we chose the Yankees logo. In the counterfeit version, we see granular dot pixels indicating that the card has been photocopied, where the original is much more clean and dot free. Turning the card over to the back, real versions will have much more bold colors, solid brown paper stock with bold black writing and bright red printing. Counterfeit versions will all be slightly faded, which can once again be more noticeable under a jeweler's loop.

The last thing to always look at is the white print dot about a inch to the left of Mantle's eyebrow. This print dot is not always a perfect science, and isn't found on every authentic 1952 Topps Mantle rookie. However, it is on a high enough percentage that we will double check all of the steps above to ensure the card's authenticity. Due to the value of this card, and the inherent risk involved in its potential purchase, now is a great time to stay away from ungraded copies and focus on graded examples from a few of the industry's most trusted grading companies.

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