Counterfeit Card Alert: 1970 Topps #712 Nolan Ryan

Posted on 10/13/2022

If you’re offered a card like this, don’t swing for the fences. Here’s how the CSG grading team identified this fake.

The 1970 Topps set captures a snapshot of the early career of Nolan Ryan. It highlights his part in the New York Mets’ 1969 World Series title — the only one of his career, which also included stints with the California Angels, Houston Astros and Texas Rangers. The stats on the back of this card point to his pitching prowess. In his astounding 27 seasons in Major League Baseball, he set dozens of records, including most strikeouts (5,714), double-digit strikeout games (215) and no-hitters (7).

1970 Topps #712 Nolan Ryan graded CSG 8
Click images to enlarge.

The 1970 Topps #712 Nolan Ryan is one of the Hall of Fame pitcher's more popular cards, and genuine examples can sell for hundreds or even thousands of dollars at auction. CSG recently received a submission of a purported example of this card, which has numerous problems that point to its counterfeit nature.

Counterfeit 1970 Topps #712 Nolan Ryan
Click images to enlarge.

The incorrect stock used for this card resulted in its weight and thickness being different from a genuine card. The gloss on the surface of the card is also wrong, and when placed under ultraviolet light, the stock fluoresces in an unexpected manner.

Overall, the print quality is poor, giving the impression that this card is a mere copy of a copy. This is especially noticeable in the image of Nolan Ryan on the front of the card.

The printing technique that was used to create this card sprayed dots of ink on it, which is not how a genuine card is created. As a result, the word METS on the fake appears to have dots in it, while a genuine card does not. Ryan’s name also is not solid black, and it has a fuzziness around the edges, another result of the inferior printing process used here.

Close-ups of the front of a counterfeit 1970 Topps #712 Nolan Ryan (left) and a genuine card (right)
Click images to enlarge.

The same issue shows up on the back, within the TOPPS 712 circle and the colored jersey of the cartoon Nolan Ryan appearing to be peppered with dark dots. In addition, these dots also show up in places where the background should only consist of the natural stock, such as in the speech balloon next to the cartoon.

Close-ups of the back of a counterfeit 1970 Topps #712 Nolan Ryan (left) and a genuine card (right)
Click images to enlarge.

This isn’t the first counterfeit that CSG has seen of a Nolan Ryan card. Last year, CSG identified a particularly high-quality counterfeit of a 1968 Topps #177 Jerry Koosman/Nolan Ryan. While the printing process used to create it was exceptionally well done, it was still printed on incorrect stock. To learn more about that counterfeit, click here.

CSG uses world-class expertise, advanced technology, innovation and operational excellence to provide sports card collectors and dealers with accurate and consistent certification services. CSG backs these determinations with the industry-leading CSG Guarantee, which adds significant confidence, liquidity and value to the hobby.

Related Links

  • More Counterfeit and Altered Card Alert columns
  • CSG Population Report: 1970 Topps #712 Nolan Ryan
  • CSG Registry: Nolan Ryan Player Sets

  • Stay Informed

    Want news like this delivered to your inbox once a month? Subscribe to the free CGC eNewsletter today!


    You've been subscribed to the CGC eNewsletter.

    Unable to subscribe to our eNewsletter. Please try again later.

    Articles List

    Add CGC Card

    Create a Set

    Join CGC for free to add cards, track your collection and participate in the CGC Trading Cards Registry or CGC Sports Cards Registry.

    Join CGC

    Already a member? Sign In
    Add to CGC Card Registry Example
    Add to CGC Card Registry Example