In some ways unlicensed aka counterfeit cards have become a way of life. At one point they mainly seemed to be based on shows that would never get a non-sport set — like Avatar.
Today unlicensed cards are being sold right along side their legitimate counterparts. In just a few minutes of searching I found cards that infringed on the licensing deals put together by Topps, Rittenhouse Archives, Upper Deck and Cryptozoic. The really said part is that these are now selling for decent money $15-30 isn’t uncommon. The Spider-Man costume card shown here brought over $100! At least the prop cards have some minute intrinsic value in a small piece of a prop, but the ‘autograph prints’ for $30? Please — anyone paying real money for these must think they are legitimate cards (I’ve heard from several folks who have been snookered by these con artists).
Sadly it doesn’t seem like the manufacturers are doing anything about it. As a collector my complaints to eBay go wholly unnoticed (or ignored), so I don’t even bother anymore. Manufacturers are in the position to complain, and it is their brand that is being damaged, so why aren’t they speaking out about it? Why don’t I see warnings on manufacturer sites pointing out counterfeits, or an email address so send counterfeit alerts to. . . or anything.
While I’m sure the manufacturers do care, they don’t show it. And their apparent apathy on the subject almost validates the cards in an ‘if they don’t care about it it must be ok’ sort of way.
The newest thing I’ve seen — gold stamped/sealed counterfeit cards similar to Ink Vault. Manufacturers please make it stop!
Here are just a few of the newer offenders. . . there are tons and tons out there.