DIY Matchprint cards

And the whole point of my responses was to prove there’s a relatively easy way to authenticate genuine examples with the right machines and grading services.

BGS grades them, and I guarantee you they aren’t using technology to make sure they’re original prints.

I agree, I wouldn’t personally buy one of these cards without a provenance backing the card. Unless the card was graded by a service which guaranteed the authenticity. Period. End of story.

@pichufan Being that this thread attempts to solve a problem we don’t even have yet with respect to this specific card, informing on how to make a fake one is rather counter to the end goal.

It wouldn’t be appropriate to research and post a “how to counterfeit“ the collector Zard. How is this different? I mean, there are many other items in our collections that are subject to the same possibilities, and I could list them, but I won’t. That’s why when the discussion arises, we suggest caution as needed.

My interests and thoughts are solely for the people that don’t immediately have access to information. And the fact that this creates an issue we haven’t even had yet.

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@jkanly Speaks the truth. There are approximately 2 of each Matchprint variant card available. These can easily be linked back to Rusty as they have most likely only exchanged hands once, if not twice. Its extremely easy to document and trail where these cards came from to avoid any “Matchprint scams” that do not exist yet…

It would be extremely obvious if someone started listing hundreds of “Matchprint” cards like @pichufan is afraid of… No one would purchase these. Matchprints themselves are a collectors item and not sought out by the general public. No one is going to purchase random low DPI printed cards ripped off from the Pokemon website as @pichufan describes. Its essentially someone attempting to create an issue out of something that never existed.

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The difference between this and the COLLECTOR Charizard you use as an example is that this isn’t something I researched for the intent of wanting to know how to make them myself. This is something I found by simply searching the web for “Imation Matchprint Commercial Base Digital Halftone” which is printed across the backs of these cards; that took me to Xerox’s website and took me to a user guide on how to calibrate the Xerox printer to print on Imation Matchprint sheets. It gave me the exact product list I needed to create halftone proofs using the Imation Matchprint technology.

If you search for “COLLECTOR Charizard” you’re not going to stumble upon any company names associated with stamping Pokémon cards, you’re not going to stumble upon the exact font used, and you’re not going to stumble upon ways to make this yourself. You’d have to intentionally search for ways to stamp Pokémon cards, and I’d guess that there are few articles out there that would accurately document that process.

I agree, if someone started selling hundreds of these it’d raise a red flag. But what if someone only sold a handful of them? What if someone sold them privately to collectors who advertised that they wanted them? Would that also be “extremely obvious”? It’s not like these are $10 cards which would have to be sold en masse to make any kind of profit.

You say “low DPI” but I shared an image in response to your original post which you’ve not replied to. Do you believe that to be too low quality to realistically scale down by around 50% and print on a piece of paper in a way which makes it appear legitimate? Furthermore these artworks are from a mainstream set: anyone is able to get hold of any of these cards and scan them at much higher DPI.

If you believe this to be a non-issue then that’s absolutely fine, but for me it’s enough to have made me back away from these.

Exactly, and that’s what I’m hoping will retain value in these for existing owners of them. My thread here isn’t an attempt to take away from their value, it’s an attempt to make people realise that these can be reproduced with relatively little expense so as to let them know to err on the side of caution when dealing with these.

The purpose of this thread was to impart some knowledge so that if anyone in future claimed to have dug out more in their WotC buddy’s storage unit we could almost immediately cast serious doubt on it. As I said before, whilst I’m backing away from the Pichu I do still value their historic significance. I don’t believe this thread will put off any serious collectors who do want a legitimate Matchprint card in their collection, especially if it can be traced back to TCA Gaming.

If instead of making this thread I had gone ahead and bought the printer and the paper and spent time perfecting the look of the cards I could have posted here as some new account claiming to have been a former Wizards employee, getting the ball rolling by posting some fabricated stories of what it was like to work on the inside, then suddenly dig out several dozen Matchprint cards I had tucked away in my attic all this time - which could even serve as the concrete to my fabricated claim that I used to work for Wizards. I could have shown pictures of the cards and shown that they’re all printed on the same Imation Matchprint paper. Sure, some people would cast their doubts as to who this new account would be, but would I have been completely dismissed as a fraudster if these looked real and my fabricated story sounded even vaguely believable? I think the excitement of such a ‘discovery’ would have compelled collectors here to offer serious money for some of the cards - especially if I showed up with chase cards like the two Expedition Charizards or even aimed at cards from other sets like Gengar from Skyridge.

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Scanning/Printing cards is not as easy as you make it sound. This holds especially true for E-reader Card Dotcode’s. Did you try to resize the image you provided? The quality is not to scale of an actual card, the dotcode is especially atrocious. Additionally, even if you attempted to upscale the image using an AI image enhancer, you’d get a similar result. Dotcode’s make counterfeiting this set extremely difficult, scanned or not. You can research this yourself by looking at all the attempts counterfeiters have made over the years to produce bootleg MTG cards. Attempting to even get the colors correct is impossible enough, mix that in with something as refined as Dotcode’s, you’d never get a favourable result.

I recommend taking an expedition card that has a dotcode and looking at it closely. The sheer detail is astounding, making it a counterfeiter’s nightmare. Therefore, I have absolutely 0 doubt in Matchprint cards. You shouldn’t undermine print quality so easily.

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You may be right, I can’t say I’ve ever tried to make a detailed print of a Pokémon card. I have neither a Game Boy Advance nor e-Reader device, however, let alone software capable of relatively losslessly resizing images, so can’t really test that. I’d imagine however that the e-Reader dot pattern is pretty forgiving to allow people to scan damaged cards or cards which are not properly positioned going through the device, right? I’m assuming a decent enough scanner would be able to pick up the intricate detail on e-Reader card dot codes also, meaning as long as the scanned image DPI and printed image DPI are consistent the size of the card would remain the same?

I don’t think this is on par with counterfeit MTG cards though as this isn’t something which is printed on regular cardstock. It’s something which is printed on what is essentially strong glossy paper (I’m guessing from pictures) and, unless they printed this on a different machine for whatever reason, we likely know exactly what hardware was used as well.

If it is the case that the dot code is simply too hard to accurately print from a scan then that’s great, I guess that means that all but the energy cards from TCA’s leak should be pretty safe. It would be great to have that verified, however, as I have my doubts that it’s impossible to achieve.

@raycollect … this, 100%. As I’ve said in my previous posts. Making a fake Matchprint card “sounds easy” on paper. But getting the actual material to do it and have the print quality and color come out looking “real” is harder than it sounds.

So you’ve tried? People said this about collector charizard too.

I’ve personally never held a matchprint card and haven’t heard anyone say or show that matchprint cards have the typical dot pattern or whatever that real cards do. Perhaps they are just printed on this printer with its regular ink. I mean they were just mock ups that were “saved from the shredder” and never were intended for release. Who is to say that Rusty or his source even had all of them ever made.

It’s a little tough to tell on my scans if it’s identical because the scans didn’t come out as good for the Matchprint (because it is a bit glossy as has been mentioned) but from what I can tell it appears to be the same dot pattern. I’ll have to pull out my binders and compare later on the Pikachu.

If it would be helpful towards the conversation I have pretty decent DPI scans that can be looked at for Pikachu between Matchprint, Sample, and standard Expedition Pikachu, but some of the scans are a little better than the others so it’s not a super easy 1 to 1 comparison.

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I was curious so I gave this a shot and it failed every single one of the machine authentication tests at CGC when using the copies I own from Rusty’s original find as the core basis.

Anyone given this a try and made convincing fakes? Would love to try some from different sources.

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Is this what under cover cops sound like?

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Posting this for your reference and for @pichufan

These images are from @casual, taken from the recent E-reader thread. I’d write out the difficulty of scanning cards or taking the low DPI pictures provided earlier to produce these same prints… But I’m hoping the images alone help you understand why it would be impossible. The Dotcode adds a level of complexity that is beyond current counterfeiting. Additionally, if someone had the means to counterfeit to such quality, they wouldn’t choose Matchprints. Hopefully I’m not coming off as brash, attempting to convey why “DIY Matchprints” are impossible to create given the 3 ingredients you post.

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I did have a video in that thread too actually, showing that it IS possible to print ereader cards even from a regular printer (let alone this expensive matchprint printer) that can be scanned.

We know matchprint cards can be scanned (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=\_v9N7o97fns) and we know ereader compatible cards can be printed (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mBoPNIIaL5c)

I would be surprised if a TEST print meant to be used internally used different ink and a different printer [than a standard matchprinter setup] (and only the matchprint paper). However I agree we won’t really know until someone tries.

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I believe the Xerox printer could only print up to 600 DPI (I say only, that’s still quite high). You can pick up ‘all in one’ home printer/scanner units which can both scan and print in 2,400 DPI these days. If anyone has one of those I’d be really interested to know what the quality is like when doing the following:

  1. Grab a minty e-Reader card (or at least one which has no damage over the dot code);
  2. Scan the card at 2,400 DPI;
  3. Print the scan at 2,400 DPI on glossy paper (disabling any auto-scale the default printer settings may have);
  4. Scan the printed scan at 2,400 DPI and compare the results.

That should give a like for like copy of the card matching the exact size and at 2,400 DPI should also pick up all of the dot code without any issue (I’d imagine 300 DPI would be enough for this as well, mind you).

Did you mean to say wouldn’t here? From my limited experience of working for a company which had a printing division several years ago, designers and print/press operators tend to stay separate. The designers will be up in an office somewhere and the print/press operators will be in a ground floor warehouse/factory unit possibly even in a completely different location.

TCA Gaming acquired these from a designer, not a print/press operator (although it wouldn’t surprise me if one of those did claim to have been a designer years later). I’d strongly imagine the copies printed by the designer would have been printed on a much smaller-scale and easy to use commercial printer (like the Xerox one mentioned here) rather than having the designs fed through to the same machine which mass-produces Pokémon cards.

Since topic also addresses tracking original cards, does anyone know who has the 2nd Mew from the initial leak? TCA has one they’re not willing to part with, and I’m still in search of the other one :3

This practice is actually pretty common in general even when not concerning printing companies. For example the factory I work at, the designing engineer will make prototypes on a 3d printer upstairs before sending the finalized prototype off for proper production. The concept of having test versions or prototypes be made on something that is NOT the main production line is pretty common. Using the main production line for a few test versions would halt regular production and is overall not an efficient way of doing things. Having a smaller type printer like the one mentioned for test versions makes perfect sense as it’s more convenient for the people in the office doing the actual designing and testing, and does not interupt actual production progresses that could be spewing out thousands of proper finalized merch rather than be used for a handful of test versions.

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@churlocker rather than going off topic in the other thread I’ll reply here instead:

I would love for that to be true but I really don’t think it was tested enough to claim that it failed. Did you use the same hardware? Did you see my follow-up to your test? Did you see @casual 's comment above about accurately printing E-reader strips?

I have no idea how gold stamps are applied to cards but I think accurately altering an existing card in any way would be a lot more challenging than accurately printing a high DPI scan.

I think the burden of proof is on a successful counterfeit.

Have you produced one?

Maybe I missed something. The thread looked like theory crafting since you’ve never actually had one. We gave it a shot and weren’t successful.

Was there a comment where someone succeeded? They should send it to me to test.

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I don’t even own a printer at the moment as mine packed up just before I moved house and it’s not high on my list of things to buy (and likely won’t be for a while now that I have a thermal label printer instead), otherwise I’d definitely give it a try.

I’m not in any way saying it’ll be an easy thing to achieve, but I certainly don’t believe it’s impossible given that the ingredients are all now known.