Counterfeit Card Alert: 1949 Bowman #50 Jackie Robinson

Posted on 1/5/2023

This card might look authentic at first glance, but upon further inspection, the CSG grading team identified some red flags.

Jackie Robinson is arguably the single-most important player in MLB history, on and off the field. As the first African American to play professional baseball, Robinson broke barriers that had a lasting impact on the game and society at large. He made an immediate imprint on the league, winning Rookie of the Year in 1947, earning six straight All-Star nods (from 1949 to 1954) and helping the Brooklyn Dodgers win the 1955 World Series. In 1997, every MLB team retired Robinson’s No. 42 jersey number, and in 2004, the league debuted an annual tradition where every player on every team wears No. 42 on “Jackie Robinson Day.”

1949 Bowman #50 Jackie Robinson graded CSG 4.5.
Click images to enlarge.

The popularity of the iconic player means Jackie Robinson’s baseball cards are highly sought-after by collectors to this day. One of the most-desirable Robinson cards on the market is from the 1949 Bowman baseball series, which features brightly colored, solid backgrounds and a player’s portrait in the foreground. The 1949 Bowman #50 features a photo of Robinson smiling in his white and blue Dodgers uniform against a vibrant red background. It’s a stunning card, but collectors should be wary of potential counterfeits when searching for this gem.

As is often the case with collectibles that are worth a lot of money, there are counterfeits in circulation. This particular card can fetch thousands of dollars even with a relatively low grade. However, higher-graded cards can sell for tens of thousands. For example, on July 21, 2022, Heritage Auctions sold a 1949 Bowman #50 Jackie Robinson graded CSG 6 for $7,506. Additionally, on November 20, 2021, Heritage sold a high-grade example for $360,000.

Recently, CSG received a submission of a purported 1949 Bowman #50 Jackie Robinson. Unfortunately for the submitter, the CSG grading team noticed some issues with the card.

Counterfeit 1949 Bowman #50 Jackie Robinson. Click images to enlarge.

At a glance, the card above looks similar to authentic ones that have been certified by CSG; however, further review of the finer details shows there are some major differences. While the card stock looks comparable to an authentic card (though more porous), the print quality gives it away. In this case, the counterfeit is darker all-around, the colors are not as vibrant and the image is fuzzy.

Scattered dot structure of the counterfeit Jackie Robinson card.Click images to enlarge.

A close-up view clearly shows an incorrect dot structure in Robinson’s Dodgers jersey. The dot structure is scattered throughout the image, which is another sign this card is counterfeit.

LEFT: Scattered dot structure from counterfeit card.
RIGHT: Uniform dot structure of an authentic card.

Zooming in even further on the Dodgers logo, the difference becomes undeniable. On the counterfeit, the dot structure is scattered, while a genuine example is uniform.

Reverse side of the counterfeit card.Click images to enlarge.

There are also red flags on the back of this counterfeit 1949 Bowman #50 Jackie Robinson. It has the same issue with dot structure that the front has: the back text should be printed in solid ink instead of the printed dots containing different colors. Under high-magnification, dots of other colors can be seen where they would not be expected.

Extreme close-ups of the reverse side of the card under different lighting. Click images to enlarge.

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.

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