A Guide To Authenticating A 1985-86 Star Jordan #117 Card 

 March 12, 2021

By  Star Basketball Cards

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The Michael Jordan second year Star card #117 has become a big time card in the hobby, witnessing a more than 10 fold increase over only the past year alone.  With the popularity of the card, collectors need to be more informed about the many counterfeits that exist.  This guide will review the common fakes and help you avoid getting scammed.

First, let's start with the Type II Counterfeit Jordan #117 card.  As a reminder, Type II counterfeits were Star factory rejects that were not authorized for release and pushed into the hobby by former Star employees. These cards are viewed as 'counterfeits' and hobbyists should not consider these to have any sort of value.

Here is a Type II Counterfeit Jordan side by side with the original card from the set

There is really one key area to examine, and it is that white border, surrounding the frame of Jordan's photo.  I've circled on the counterfeit where there are noticeable differences with the borders on the two cards. Take a look at the first image (the counterfeit) and notice how the white border extends into the red border in different places and with a bit more choppiness.  


A Type II Jordan #117 Counterfeit card.


An authentic Star 1985-86 Jordan #117 Second year card.

While the border detail should really be enough to help distinguish a Type II #117 Jordan from an original, it should also be noted that any 85-86 Star base cards with colored borders will have some front border color "bleed" to the back edge(s).  Thus, if you can't really tell from the front borders, check the back edges to look for bleed.  Type II cards will not have the bleed.  This can sometimes be challenging to see with the naked eye, so use a loupe to examine. 

Here's an authentic #117 Jordan with some minor bleed at the top of the card: 


Ink bleed on the authentic Star 85-86 cards is a helpful way to try and distinguish from a Type II counterfeit.

Note, that there are other fake Star Jordan #117's circulating aside from the Type II counterfeits.  Some are very easy to identify, such as this fake which has the wrong font on the left--versus the original card. Note that it gets the border lines right (which the Type II does not).


A fake Jordan #117 Star-- look at wrong font in Jordan's name


An authentic Star 1985-86 Jordan #117 Second year card.

Here's another common reprint with a few noticeable areas to look out for.  Note how on the fake card, Jordan's left hand is cut off by the border, whereas on the real card, nearly all of his hand is visible.  Also, the Bulls logo circle is missing the four little lines that surround the logo. 


A common fake #117 Star Jordan


An authentic Star 1985-86 Jordan #117 Second year card.

There have been fake bags that have also circulated with the Bulls 1985-86 Star set.  Some include a fake card, and others have cards of lower grade.  I don't have any images currently of a fake 85-86 Bulls bag, but if you come across one shoot me an email at help@starbasketballcards.com.

Here's what a real bag looks like:


An authentic 1985-86 Star Bulls poly bag

Most Watched 1985-86 Star Michael Jordan #117 on eBay

Most Watched 1985-86 Star Michael Jordan #117 on eBay

Star Basketball Cards

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