Card Talker Kris Gibson had the misfortune of finding two cards in his collection that were questionable — a Johnny Depp from Artbox’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and a Lili Taylor from Rittenhouse Archives’ Six Feet Under.
“The Depp is incredibly well done in all respects. Even the smallest. finest writing on the back of the card beneath the Artbox logo was crisp and blur free” says Kris. And while I haven’t seen the card in person I examined scans of Kris’ card along with a known real Depp autograph and the details are pretty much spot on. Perhaps the background is a little sharper in the real card, but without comparing the real and fake cards side by side it is impossible to tell if the differences are from the scanners used or actual printing differences.
The give away for this presumed counterfeit — like with many of the cards that are popping up — is the signature itself. The questionable card (seen here at the bottom of the scan) has an autograph that exhibits the same line density in through the entire signature — a sign it could have been created mechanically. Kris explains, “The signature itself is definitely ink and not a print – as I mentioned in one of my posts the sig is raised slightly, is distinct from the design where it overlaps, and the strokes overlap one another as they should. If I had to hazard a guess I’d say an autopen must have been used. The other fake card posted in the forum has an all-but identical signature, but is placed slightly differently to mine.”
There is also the issue of a missing ‘ducks head.’ If you look at the top scan you’ll notice there is a dark blob on the card directly under the ‘g’ in ‘Autograph.’ The blog looks a bit like an upside down duck or chicken. If you look at Kris’ card the duck is missing it’s head (the leftmost blob that extends from the main blob). Unfortunately this is another detail that’s very difficult to see in a scan as the ‘ducks head’ on Kris’ card falls right where two lines of the signature cross. “The duck’s head was definitely missing from my card. The signature does indeed cover where it should be, but looking closely you can tell the design is missing.”
Gibson’s Depp card is currently on its way to Artbox so they can examine it and investigate. Hopefully they will let the collecting community know what their findings on this card are. Kris bought this Depp on April 10, 2008 from now defunct eBay seller gbapack who had his real name listed as John Nyche. If you purchased a card from gbapack I suggest to take a close look at it.
To add insult to injury Kris wound up buying a card from loveandnewyork as well. Kris describes it: “As far as the Taylor card is concerned, when compared to other cards in the set the differences are easy to spot. The ‘feel’ of the card is very different – the card itself is slightly thinner than it should be, whilst the finish on the front of the card is far too glossy. As with all RA cards, the genuine ones, although glossy on the back, have much more of a matte finish to the front. The fake cards are uniformly glossy.”
“The red writing on both the front and back of the card is also too light when compared to a real one. Also the design on the bottom right on the front of the card isn’t as bold as it should be. As I mentioned, these differences are easy to spot when compared side-by-side with genuine examples.” This card might be slightly harder to detect than the Depp in a scan because the signature is so much smaller, but the signature on this card does exactly match the signature in the scan I pulled from one of loveandnewyork’s auctions so it would seem that the signature is again a good place to start looking at these. As NSCF and Card Talk member mishu2nite has pointed out to me signatures with lines that start and end with a ‘dot’ as you can this Taylor autograph does can be a sign that the signature was mechanically created.
Thank you Kris, for your scans and descriptions. Hopefully you can get some resolution to these issues. Good luck!