Counterfeit Card Alert: Unlimited Edition Black Lotus

Posted on 10/5/2023

Power None — The CGC Cards graders detected a bogus Black Lotus during the certification process.

In Magic: The Gathering, there is no card more sought-after than Black Lotus — a legendary card, and the highlight of the Power Nine that continuously sets records as the most expensive Magic card. The card was so powerful that it was banned in most formats soon after its release. Because of its scarcity and in-game power, Black Lotus is extremely rare and valuable to collectors.

Unfortunately, some counterfeiters try to take advantage of Black Lotus' significance by creating forgeries of the fabled card. CGC Cards™ recently received a purported example of an Unlimited Edition Black Lotus. While it looks perfectly normal to the untrained eye, CGC Cards’ graders were quickly able to identify the card as a fake.

Some of the differences between the counterfeit Black Lotus and the genuine example are easier to spot. For example, the rosette pattern in the Lotus is incorrect on the counterfeit. In addition, the card’s texture feels different and more “papery” than a genuine Black Lotus, which was printed on a thicker cardstock that is standard for normal Magic: The Gathering cards.

Looking closely at the font reveals that the text on the counterfeit Black Lotus is not as sharp or clear as it should be. In addition, the font is slightly more bold than normal. It is also blurry — a clear indication of the card’s illegitimacy.

The counterfeit Unlimited Black Lotus (top) and a genuine example (bottom).
Click images to enlarge.

To further help in the analysis of high-value cards, CGC Cards’ graders use specialized lighting to analyze how the cards react under different wavelengths and types of light. When placed under infrared lighting, it is revealed that the counterfeit example's inks react differently to the light, appearing much darker than the inks on the genuine Black Lotus.

The counterfeit Unlimited Black Lotus (left) and a genuine example (right).
Click images to enlarge.

Meanwhile, when placed under ultra-violet light, it is revealed that the ink and paper of the counterfeit Black Lotus react differently than that of the genuine example. Taking a close look at the card's text box, the genuine example's mosaic background mostly disappears under this wavelength of light, while it is clearly visible on the fake. Lastly, the borders on the fake Black Lotus have a much splotchier appearance than what is seen on the genuine card.

The counterfeit Unlimited Black Lotus (left) and a genuine example (right).
Click images to enlarge.

It is important to exercise caution when purchasing ungraded cards, especially cards that are rare and valuable, like the Black Lotus. Every card certified by CGC Cards is guaranteed to be authentic and not overgraded under the CGC Guarantee. For more information, click here.

To hear CGC Cards Vice President Matt Quinn explain the differences between the counterfeit Black Lotus and a genuine Magic card, go here.

About CGC

Since revolutionizing comic book grading in 2000, CGC has grown to include certification services for many other types of pop culture collectibles. These divisions include CGC CardsCGC Video Games and CGC Home Video. CGC Cards provides expert card grading for TCGs, sports cards and non-sports cards. CGC Video Games is dedicated to video game grading for the most popular consoles, including Nintendo, Sega, Atari, PlayStation and more. The newest division of CGC, CGC Home Video, provides expert VHS grading in addition to other types of videocassettes.

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