[Final Update: Not an Error] Charizard Base Set Unlimited - Printing Error?

Looking to get some thoughts on this Base Set Unlimited Charizard. I believe that it is a printing error, though I’ve seen almost nothing like this previously. There is a somewhat similar printing error Fossil Dragonite listed on PWCC, but they differ in many ways.


  • The card has very few scratches/wear on the front surface. It’s not like any acetoned cards that I’ve ever seen.
  • Pictures don’t do it justice. The holofoil pattern can be seen across a large portion of the card in normal light.
  • Notably, the black ink layer can be seen. Many of the words can be read even though much of the underlying cyan, yellow, magenta (CYM) ink is missing.
  • Those printing patterns that you see in the holofoil box are real.


I think regardless of it being an authentic factory error or aftermarket, the end result is a card that appears damaged. I don’t think its very appealing personally!

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I agree with acebren, I prefer my cards to not look like they were scraped across the road


It’s one thing not to like errors but from the perspective of people that do, the more dramatic the error, the better.


Here are some additional pictures.


Sun faded or this? I’d much prefer this. Definitely has added value. Did it grade a 1?

Looks more like road rash than a printing error. Or maybe something got spilled on it that dissolved the ink.

I’m an error collector and normally I would agree but this card in particular looks like doodoo :poop::joy:


Not for me either but it will sell for a premium. I’m unsure if this is real or faked with acetone a boot and a pavement so wouldn’t be for me.

The more dramatic the error the better is usually true, not really in the case when the error is or appears to be damage though.

And just to clarify, I’m a big error collector and enthusiast!


The joiner ran out of sand paper Charizord error

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Here’s a high-def scan (1,600 ppi). Apologies for the cat hair on the scanner. :joy_cat:


I drew a thin black line where I would guess there was masking tape. Just to the right of the line the the holo becomes more saturated which is where I would think acetone would pool.

Just my guess but the card looks off to me

Hi All,

I did some investigative work to see if I could recreate the pattern or something even close to it using acetone and a card from the same era.

:headstone: Rest in Peace Fossil Hypno. :headstone:

I have a few comments from this experiment:

  • Acetone acts very quickly and removes all of the ink down to the holofoil layer if left on too long (see bottom-right quadrant by Dark Mind).

  • I tried to do the “streaking” effect that is seen on the Charizard holo box and, well, I removed all of the ink instead (see Hypno’s holo box).

  • The closest that I got to the pattern seen on Charizard was near the psychic energies by Dark Mind. As you can see, portions of the ink were removed. Notably, the black ink was more resistant than the CYM as it has a “solid” second printing during the print process and is therefore thicker.

  • Most importantly, I wanted to note that the matte texture on Hypno was severely affected after acetoning it, but the Charizard’s matte texture is preserved. There were microscopic pieces of paint on the surface (see the bottom or right yellow borders) and a streaking residue from the acetone. If there was anything pointing to a factory-related error, I believe that it would be the preserved matte texture. For example, if the Charizard was affected mid-production, it would still receive the matte spray before being packaged.

Looking forward to your thoughts and comments.


I don’t know about the matte texture, but could lighter streaking be achieved with diluted acetone? I’m assuming you’re working with it straight, which is going to be strong. But maybe it’s possible to dilute it to a concentration where it’s not just absolutely obliterating paint layers? This does mean you might be exposing the card to liquid that may linger longer though, which might have its own effects on the card.

I thought about this too, so I used two different concentrations.

The first concentration was much weaker (had more water in it) and it wasn’t removing the ink very easily at all. It was also leaving too much liquid on the card, which would likely result in water damage if left on for too long as you suggest.

The second concentration (100% acetone) is what resulted in the patterns above.

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What happens if you apply tape and pull it off? I guess since we’re destroying it might as well do some science! Or maybe an eraser?

Please join me and complete a follow-up study using tape or erasers.


I don’t know if I can hurt a wotc holo!

Let me go through my collection and see what I shall sacrifice in the name of science!


I don’t have acetone, but would be willing to sacrifice and interested to see results.

Looking at the pattern on the zard, it looks to me like something may have been on the plate that caused the ink not to stick.
Similarly, acetone might create the desired pattern if a cloth was saturated in it, and then left to sit on the card face. I kinda traced the pattern and outline I’m seeing. When I look at it, I’m seeing a piece of something with wrinkles and folds sitting on the card and dragged or wiped away after a little while…

Also, in my experience, the black text requires more acetone to remove because it has a more solid coat. If you look at the card under magnifier, you’ll see that the dot patterns create voids, while the black ink is solid, allowing for a more uniform and stronger bond within the ink. Were it a dirty plate, I’d imagine the ink might be missing from all layers, not just the color, BUT IDK much about printing.