How to Spot Counterfeit T206 Tobacco Cards – Part I FONT

T206 Mike Donlin

The famous T206 tobacco card set is now over 100 years old. It seems nearly as long that people have been counterfeiting the popular white border set. The thin stock lends itself to home printing and the many valuable and highly collected cards in the set mean that scams will be attempted for years to come. Knowledge is power and the best defense is to learn the characteristics of the set and some common mistakes that people make when attempting to sell fake baseball cards as the real thing. One of the most common giveaways is the font.

The simple font used in the T206 set is rarely duplicated correctly. The first thing to note is the general thickness, size and appearance of the real letters used. Forgers often use thicker letters and occasionally a totally different font style. The original T206 cards actually use a very dark brown ink for the text. The fakes are almost always black. One of the quickest ways to spot a counterfeit T206 baseball card.

Comparing T206 fonts: real and fake

is by looking at the CITY listed after the name. The first letter in the city is always bigger than the remaining letters in the word. See the photo on the right hand side of a real card and a bad fake. Most forgers rarely take the time to get this detail right.

Also, the city listed is a smaller font than that used for the name. Again, this is obvious in the photo. The counterfeit T206 has a uniform font size versus a staggered font size on the real cards.

Just these quick lessons on the font used on T206 tobacco cards can help you spot a large percentage of fakes on the open market. There will be other articles to follow discussing stock, backs, coloring etc. This will give you a good start. The T206 is a wonderful set to collect even if you can’t afford the Big 4 cards [Wagner, Doyle (NY Nat’l variety), Magie (Magee error) and Plank]. With over 500 other great cards and a wide variety of backs, there are many ways to collect this great set. Reprints can be a great reference source, but make sure you pay reprint prices!