Star has certainly had its share of controversy and one scandal still leaves many collectors confused. As a reminder, back in the late 80's, early 90's a few former Star employees released some old factory rejects to the public. While some slipped through the cracks at a few grading companies, they were ultimately identified as unlicensed, unauthorized issues--and came to be known as 'Type II Counterfeits'.
A big portion of the Type II Counterfeits consisted of the second series of cards from the 1985-86 Star base set. These included cards numbered from 95 to 172 in the 85-86 Star set, which includes the Michael Jordan second year and Patrick Ewing rookie cards. (Be sure to see our guide to identifying a fake 85-86 Star Jordan and our guide to spotting a fake Patrick Ewing rookie from the same set).
In the 1985-86 Star set, there are two variations of the Boston Celtics team set. One variation featured white borders, and another variation featured green borders. See two variations of the Bird issue below. These are both authentic cards.
The thing that makes it all so confusing, is that there original white and green bordered issued in the Star 1985-86 release, and there were also white and green cards that were released as 'Type II' Counterfeits.
Based on my discussions with Star expert Steve Taft, if the 85-86 cards have a colored background (such as the Green Celtics) on the front, then the original cards will have traces of ink bleeding onto one (or more) of the back edges. Taft says the following:
The amount of bleed can vary a lot, from tiny specs you can only see with a magnifier, to bleed you can see very easily. The bleed can be on one edge, or multiple edges. Type II counterfeits do not have bleed, (assuming someone isn't adding bleed in an effort to trick potential buyer's).
Taft also told me that with the white bordered Celtics set, it's a lot tougher to identify, just because there isn't any bleed. But, the cards are a bit glossier than the originals and the backs can be a big brighter.
Given, the challenges in distinguishing these cards, I'd probably opt for one that has been graded, and if you can find one that has been graded more recently, the better off you'll be, as some of the Type II's did fall through the cracks early on with the grading companies.
I don't have any Type II Celtics cards in hand, but if you do have any, please let me know, so I can add some images to this piece. Please email me at email@example.com