CSG Graders Detect Power Erasing on 1960 Jim Brown Football Card

Posted on 4/15/2021

Without special equipment, power erasing is not easy to notice.

Because some modifications are done so well that they are not visible to the naked eye, it’s not always immediately obvious when a card has been altered. The experts at Certified Sports Guaranty™ (CSG™) are equipped with forensic and state-of-the-art technology to detect even the best deceptions.

One such modification is power erasing. A power or electric eraser is used to remove a portion of the original printed area in an attempt to improve the centering of the card. When done skillfully, it’s nearly invisible to the naked eye.

“Power erasing is one of the more deceptive alterations that CSG graders must be diligent in detecting,” said Andry Broome, CSG Senior Grading Finalizer. "Because CSG does not certify cards with evidence of tampering or alteration, collectors can be confident that CSG-certified cards have not been doctored in any way."

CSG detected evidence of power erasing on a 1960 Topps #23 Jim Brown card that was recently submitted. The top and left borders were different when compared to the right border, and the glossy layer is missing from the two altered areas. When examined under certain wavelengths of UV lighting, the exposed stock was clearly visible.

1960 Topps #23 Jim Brown
A 1960 Topps #23 Jim Brown card with evidence of power erasing.
Click image to enlarge.

Power erasing is most commonly found on vintage cards without a defined border. For modern cards, power erasing is typically done to remove small print defects.

Another card with evidence of power erasing was submitted with the altered Jim Brown card.
Click image to enlarge.

Without special equipment and lighting, power erasing can be difficult to spot, but collectors can attempt the following if they suspect such an alteration has been made:

  • Use a standard incandescent or halogen bulb. (Clear-glass halogens and fluorescent lights are not recommended here.)
  • Hold the card flat under the lighting and start tilting it.
  • Pay attention to how the light reflects off the surface. Altered areas will appear dull, and at a certain angle, blemishes and differences will be noticeable.
  • A loupe with a 10x triplet lens is a helpful tool for spotting power erasing.

To be sure a card has not been altered, trust CSG certification. An advanced grading process and a team of experts ensure every card certified by CSG is authentic, unaltered and accurately graded — an assessment backed by the industry-leading CSG Guarantee.

Are you a sports card enthusiast interested in card grading? Do you want to expand your knowledge and be part of a team of qualified experts? Look no further — CSG is now hiring graders! Click here to learn more about this incredible opportunity or to explore other careers at the Certified Collectibles Group.

Related Links:

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