Altered Card Alert: 1999 Upper Deck Ovation Super Signatures Gold #JM Joe Montana

Posted on 3/7/2023

CSG uncovered both an altered signature and serial numbering upon evaluating this Joe Montana autographed card.

For many NFL fans and analysts, Joe Montana is arguably the greatest quarterback to ever play football. In the 1980s, Montana was at the forefront of the San Francisco 49ers dynasty as he led the team to four Super Bowl appearances, lifting the Lombardi Trophy in each championship game. Montana was a two-time NFL MVP, three-time Super Bowl MVP and eight-time Pro Bowler who earned every individual and team accolade imaginable during his legendary 16-year pro career.

CSG recently received a coveted Montana football card that includes the famous quarterback's autograph. The submission was a 1999 Upper Deck Ovation Super Signatures Gold #JM Joe Montana #'d/150. The Ovation series is a premium set from Upper Deck made of high-quality materials with sleek card designs. While the base set could be somewhat standard, the inserts and autograph series were (and are) highly sought-after cards.

Altered 1999 Upper Deck Ovation Super Signatures Gold #JM Joe Montana #'d/150
Click image to enlarge.

Yet, upon further inspection, the CSG grading team noticed alterations to the signature itself and the serial numbering on the submitted football card. Using industry-leading technology and expertise, CSG was able to determine that parts of the signature and numbering were re-traced, which altered the natural state of the card.

Upon close examination of Montana's signature and his accompanying hand-written serial numbers, one can see a difference in certain areas of the ink. When placed under different light sources, alterations become clearly visible. Utilizing different lighting, including infrared lighting, it is apparent where someone touched up the signature and manipulated the serial numbers.

Extreme close-ups of the serial numbering on the obverse of the card under different lighting.
Click images to enlarge.

In a bid to improve the value of the autographed card even further, the fraudster enhanced small portions of the signature and completely altered the serial number. The serial number was changed to "16/150" because Montana famously wore No. 16 (which the 49ers retired in 1997), so whoever altered the card was likely banking on an increase in the card's value, as long as no one noticed the alteration.

CSG experts caught the alteration and did not certify the card because it has unauthentic additions. 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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