A Guide To Authenticating A 1984-85 Star Jordan #101 XRC 

 March 12, 2021

By  Star Basketball Cards

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As Jordan rookie cards continue to increase in value, more counterfeits continue to infiltrate the hobby.  For now, most are focused on spotting fake 86 Fleer Jordan rookies, but collectors need to be aware of some of the fake 1984-85 Star Jordan XRC #101 cards.

Note that the 84-85 Star Jordan XRC was not a part of the 'Shop At Home' scandal or a part of the Type counterfeits that came to market in the late 80s/early 90s.

While some are more distinguishable than others, I've seen some that would trick many novice collectors and those not as familiar with Star basketball cards.  Thus, I've created this guide to help prevent collectors from getting scammed.  I hope this helps.  

First, I want to point out something about centering issues on the #101 card.  It has notable centering issues, left to right-- nearly always, there will be a wider border on the right hand side.  Thus, if you have a Jordan #101 Star card that is perfectly centered, be aware that you either have a diamond in the rough, a fake card, or a real trimmed card.  Here is great information from the ever resourceful Basketball Gold website

The #101 was located in the top, left corner of the sheet which lead to centering issues and caused over 90% of the cards to be cut shorter. Someone telling you a #101 you own, but have not yet graded, is short could be an unscrupulous person trying to take advantage of you and buy it cheaper. The larger size #101's are referred to as full-size #101's and measure 3.5 inches from top to bottom. While the #101 is notoriously off-center, well-centered #101's in fact exist but the card often suffers from Diamond cut issues.

First, let's take a look at one of the more common counterfeit Jordan XRC #101 cards.  This one is a dead giveaway.  I've provided a comparison to the real card (on the right) -- you can first see the darkness and dullness on Jordan's face and head, arms in comparison to the original.  Additionally, the text on the front of the card is blurry and fuzz--under microscope it would not look clear and it would look quite distorted. (note we have more images here in another article we wrote on the XRC Jordan)

A fake 84-85 Star Jordan #101


An authentic #101 XRC Jordan

Here is probably one of the better fakes on the market (shown on the left).  Remember my note about centering.  So, first red flag is that it it has a wider border on the left.  Also, notice the top of Jordan's head--see how he looks bald in the first picture?  Definite sign of a fake.  Compare it to the real card and see the difference.


Another fake XRC Jordan #101


An authentic #101 XRC Jordan

Note that a closer examination under loupe is always in order.  On the Bulls logo, you will likely see a major difference in print detail.  Even Bob Lemke notes in his fantastic book from the 90's on counterfeits the following about one Star Jordan #101 reprint:

..The counterfeit exhibits graphic details that are created of many tiny vertical lines, rather than solid lines or dot structures found on a genuine card.  The color in the Bull's face and horn tips on a genuine card is created through the use of many tiny round dots; on the fake, the color is created by the vertical lines.

Lastly, the back of the card is always a great place to compare for authenticity.  First, I'll post an image someone sent to me of three Jordan's they were asking to authenticate.   Here are the fronts.


A trio of fake Jordan Star #101 cards

And here are the backs.


First, if someone approaches you with three nearly identical looking Jordan #101's .. I'd immediately have some hesitation.  So, we can look at the fronts of all those cards and determine that the card is grainy all around---image quality is fuzzy and the text is fuzzy.  

I actually had one of these fakes lying around and if I take photos in the right light, you can almost try to make it look like the real card (uh, yeah don't forget that's what eBay scammers are doing).  Here's my copy:


Fake 101 Jordan Star card

And so I took a few closeup images...just to show you how much of a butcher job these fakes are. One of the most noticeable things on this fake is there is a large series of missing pixels in the black border surrounding the Bull in the Bull's logo.  There are more as you can see, but this one is quite noticeable.  

Missing pixel in fake #101 Star Jordan

And the text shows extreme fuzzines--whereas on the real card there will be crisp lettering under magnification.  Here's the 'ca' in Chicago....note the extreme blotchiness of the print here.

Once we get to the back of the card, we can see that the back on the fake is a bit bolder and darker.  One thing that is also quite noticeable on this particular fake, is that the border backs have a smudged black ink.  Sometimes it can be hard to see from the picture, but I've also provided another closeup below.

A real #101 Jordan back

A fake #101 Jordan back

Smudging on fake borders

Also if we examine the print on the back of the card, we get the same issues as on the front:

NBA lettering on back of the fake #101 Jordan card.

The 'EL' in Michael on the back of a #101 Jordan fake

Have a question on a Star Jordan #101 card?  Leave a comment below or send us an email at help@starbasketballcards.com

Most Watched 1985 Star Michael Jordan #101 on eBay

Most Watched 1985 Star Michael Jordan #101 on eBay

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