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>Fakes, Frauds and Facelifts: How to identify counterfeit and altered Magic cards v3.0
1.0 There are fake Magic cards???
2.0 Am I in danger of being scammed?
3.0 How will I know one when I see one?
4.0 Some important things to know about the real cards
    4.1 A special word about Alternate 4th Edition
5.0 Some examples
6.0 Contributors
4.0 Some important things to know about the real cards
There are many little facts and bits of trivia that you should know about the real cards. These are useful not only in spotting a fake, but also in preventing you from calling something fake when it is in fact real. Here is a short list of just a few things you should keep in mind.

  1. Without getting into too much detail, Magic cards are printed using four colors. Black, Cyan, Magenta, Yellow. If you look closely at a card you can see a pattern that resembles rings that all blend into each other to form the colors on the image. They are not dots, and they are not lines.

  2. Alpha cards have much rounder corners than all the other cards. In the picture below, the Alpha card is on the left, while the same card in Beta is on the right. Every set since Beta has had the same corners.


  3. There's no such thing as an Alpha Volcanic Island or CoP: Black, and there were also only two versions of each Alpha basic land.

  4. Alpha and Beta cards will often have little white spots on the front in each corner. This is because there are actually two borders on the card. The outer border is the dark black printed edge, while the inside is a not actually black, but a near black that comes from how the rest of the card is printed.


  5. Some Beta cards have a darker inner border than others to the point of almost looking fake. They are not, it's supposed to be that way.

  6. The black mana symbol on all cards up through Arabian Nights and some Unlimited have a line extending down out of the middle of the card. A good example of this appears on the Beta Nether Shadow seen here.


  7. There are two versions of any common Arabian Nights card with a non-colored mana symbol on it, except Desert Nomads: A dark version and a light version, as seen here on the two versions of Fishliver Oil.

  8. All card sets except Revised have a beveled edge look to them. Revised cards did not have this 3D look and just looked flat.

There are lots of little things that changed on individual cards from print to print, but they are too numerous to list here. Try to be familiar with the text on a card. This won't help much for fake cards since most are made from a scan of an original, but it's great in spotting an altered one.

The vividness of the colors on cards from set to set has also changed quite a bit. Keep this is mind as well when you think a card may not be real.

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