Fake Alpha corners

Questions about Magic items and events.

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Alphafoil
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Fake Alpha corners

Post by Alphafoil » Fri May 02, 2014 9:15 am

Do you think Beta cards' corners can be cut to make they seem like Alpha ones?

I have talked to some dealers and collectors and the majority of them think it isn't possible to fake Alpha corners. But I'm still quite worried about it. It seems to me that you just need some kind of corner cutter with the appropriate dimensions.

In the case of cards in bad condition, the "new" corners may seem suspicious, as that part of the card would be in perfect condition. But in the case of Near Mint or Mint cards, that wouldn't be so obvious.

I started an Alpha collection years ago that I didn't complete in part because of this issue, so I'd like to know your opinion to decide whether to continue or go with Beta.

cataclysm80
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Post by cataclysm80 » Fri May 02, 2014 3:13 pm

I think it would be possible to clip the corners, but keep in mind that several cards have printed differences between Alpha and Beta.

Tav

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Post by Alphafoil » Fri May 02, 2014 3:32 pm

cataclysm80 wrote:I think it would be possible to clip the corners, but keep in mind that several cards have printed differences between Alpha and Beta.

Tav
Not that many. Tropical Island (wrong artist), Elvish Archers, Orcish Oriflamme, Orcish Artillery, Cyclopean Tomb, Red Elemental Blast... Then there are some Beta cards that are darker. But for the majority of cases, including P9, the only difference is the corners.

If they can't be faked, Alpha should be more valuable than Beta. It's the first set and print run is 3.2/1.1 times smaller. But if corners can be cut precisely, then only those cards that have more differences in the Alpha version should cost more, and for the rest of cards Beta should be even more expensive than Alpha.

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Post by Jmaschme » Fri May 02, 2014 4:08 pm

There are many other differences between Beta and Alpha besides card misprints and corners. If you put Beta cards side by side with Alpha cards, the colors on Beta cards are noticeably darker/deeper than Alpha cards. Also many Alpha cards have centering and print-dot issues that their Beta counterparts do not. I think collecting graded cards, for anything valuable, is a great way to mitigate risk of fakes/counterfeits. Another great way is to do a side-by-side comparison. Alpha does not look like Beta. Just like unlimited does not look like revised.
Last edited by Jmaschme on Fri May 02, 2014 8:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Alphafoil
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Post by Alphafoil » Fri May 02, 2014 8:42 pm

Jmaschme wrote:There are many other differences between Beta and Alpha besides card misprints and corners. There is not one single Beta care that if you put it side by side with an Alpha card it won't look different, even if the corners were somehow faked. Beta cards are noticeably darker than Alpha cards. Also many Alpha cards have centering and print-dot issues that their Beta counterparts do not. I think collecting graded cards, for anything valuable, is a great way to mitigate risk of fakes/counterfeits. Another great way is to do a side-by-side comparison. Alpha does not look like Beta. Just like unlimited does not look like revised.
Maybe I just don't have enough experience, but I can't differentiate them in many cases except for the corners.

For example, if I look at these Royal Assassins, if I try not to pay attention to the corners, I really can't tell which one is from Alpha: http://www.abugames.com/images/products ... 493463.jpg
https://www.abugames.com/images/product ... 206340.jpg

Can you?

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Post by Jmaschme » Fri May 02, 2014 8:55 pm

the problem with those two scans is that the Alpha scan is blurry. try these two... notice how the Alpha colors are brighter. Really hard from scans.

https://www.abugames.com/images/product ... 382450.jpg

https://www.abugames.com/images/product ... 904524.jpg

The point is that even if corners were trimmed, a side-by-side test is another pretty reliable way to tell Alpha and Beta cards apart. I haven't tested it with all cards though.

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Post by Alphafoil » Fri May 02, 2014 9:59 pm

Jmaschme wrote:the problem with those two scans is that the Alpha scan is blurry. try these two... notice how the Alpha colors are brighter. Really hard from scans.

https://www.abugames.com/images/product ... 382450.jpg

https://www.abugames.com/images/product ... 904524.jpg

The point is that even if corners were trimmed, a side-by-side test is another pretty reliable way to tell Alpha and Beta cards apart. I haven't tested it with all cards though.
That's a good example, I can see how the Alpha one is brighter.

Let's try something :)

I have scanned 4 Sol Rings that I own and edited them so we can't see the borders. Which ones are from Alpha?

http://s27.postimg.org/dnoea2snn/Sol_Rings.jpg

Jmaschme
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Post by Jmaschme » Fri May 02, 2014 10:10 pm

I would guess top left is beta and top right is alpha. I can't tell the bottom two from the top two because of my computer screen. But the bottom two look like they're from the same set, maybe both Alpha?

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mystical_tutor
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Post by mystical_tutor » Sat May 03, 2014 1:43 am

I think that an examination with a 10x jeweler loop would tell the difference on a corner. Remember, First edition corners were not stamp cut they were ground off. That is why Alpha corners are so delicate. There is actually a very small lip on the corner that can not be duplicated with a pair of nail clippers. Now could they be "buffed up" to have a lip after snipping them? Possible I think.
Bottom line is that almost anything can be duplicated given enough time and care--even money.

In the case of really rare and expensive cards grading does serve a purpose, if nothing more than someone to blame if it is wrong.

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Alphafoil
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Post by Alphafoil » Sat May 03, 2014 11:27 am

Jmaschme wrote:I would guess top left is beta and top right is alpha. I can't tell the bottom two from the top two because of my computer screen. But the bottom two look like they're from the same set, maybe both Alpha?
Only bottom right is from Alpha :)

Image (How can I reduce size if it's too big?)

It's quite difficult to differentiate them if you don't look at the corners.

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Post by Jmaschme » Sat May 03, 2014 1:24 pm

Well it's hard from scans too... at least I got one right

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Post by dragsamou » Sat May 03, 2014 3:49 pm

Alphafoil wrote:(How can I reduce size if it's too big?)
On Photobucket for example, click Resize, select 900 Width, Copy/Paste link to put it on the forum. If not, on your scanner directly select the Max Width to 900.
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fvzappa
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Post by fvzappa » Sat May 03, 2014 8:49 pm

according to Crystal Keep, 23 cards have changes, and 7 cards were added.

And yes, I've seen many cards changed from Beta to Alpha to get rid of corner damage back in the mid 90's, and sold to dealers as "Alpha.'

http://crystalkeep.com/magic/products/limited.php

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Post by Alphafoil » Sat May 03, 2014 8:54 pm

fvzappa wrote:And yes, I've seen many cards changed from Beta to Alpha to get rid of corner damage back in the mid 90's, and sold to dealers as "Alpha.'
:-\

I think my Alpha set will remain incomplete, I still feel uneasy with this issue.

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Post by fvzappa » Sat May 03, 2014 8:58 pm

I understand. But now you've got 23 cards you can be sure of :-) A good way is to go for graded copies, I'd assume that'd eliminate most of these issues.

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