How to Make Baseball Cards Look Old

How to Make Baseball Cards Look Old

Ageing baseball cards allows the card to appear much older than it actually is. This is a common process done by counterfeiters and enthusiasts alike for very different reasons. The easiest way is simply to handle and scratch the cards.

There are many reasons why people want to make their baseball cards appear older than they are. However, the most common reason is that the card is a fake. Unfortunately, many people will attempt to sell these fake baseball cards on the market to unsuspecting collectors who are unable to tell the difference. But many people also willingly buy fake cards or replicas for a cheaper price. 

This could simply be because they cannot afford a certain card, or cards, and so will use a counterfeit in order to fill this space in their collection. Another reason may be that it is used as a placeholder until the collector is able to get their hands on the real deal.

How Do You Make a Baseball Card Look Worn?

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There is no set way to make a baseball card look worn. It will all depend on the exact look and level of wear that you are after. Obviously typically the older the card is supposed to be the more worn it would be. 

However, there are collectors out there who take amazing care of their baseball card collection. So, it is not unheard of to find a very old card in pristine condition whereas a newer card can be found in a worse condition.

So you can choose to age your baseball card lightly or a lot. The choice is yours.

However, you will want to make sure that you make the ageing process appear as realistic as possible. Everyone knows the old tea stain trick and this will certainly not fool anyone with a good eye.

Instead, try the following tips.

  1. Collect a bunch of cards. The ageing process works better on a stack rather than individual cards.
  2. Shuffle the cards. Make sure you gently bend and flex them as you do so.
  3. Use a sharp object to create nicks on the sides and back of the cards.
  4. Make sure you rub down the nicks so that there is no fresh paper sticking up.
  5. Dig your nails and thumbs into the cards to create dents and creases.
  6. Run the edges and the nicks over sandpaper. This will create the effect that these scuffs are old.
  7. Using a dry brush scrub a small amount of dirt into the cards. This will make them appear as if they have been handled a lot.

Following the above steps will provide you with light to medium wear. If you prefer a heavier look then try the following:

  1. Holding the cards in your hands run your fingers back and forward over the edges and corners of the cards many times. This will create the impression of them being handled.
  2. Use sandpaper lightly over the front of the card. Be careful not to be too aggressive as you can ruin the ink.
  3. Do not forget to scratch up the back of the card. This is just as important to age as the front!

Try to keep the cards as dry as possible. A little water damage can give an authentic look but can make the cards swell.

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Is There a Market for Old Baseball Cards?

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There is indeed a market for old baseball cards. Anything produced before 1980 is typically considered ‘old’ and will be included in such markets. 

Beyond this, there is also the market that is known as ‘vintage’ cards, or ‘pre-war’ cards. 

However, as with all good things are not created equally. Certain cards will be worth more than others, even if they are in a worse condition. So, before you start selling, or buying, old baseball cards it is worth doing your research to get a better understanding of exactly how much a certain card is worth.

Obviously, the rarer a card is the more it will be worth. Similarly, the better condition a card is the more it will be worth (comparatively to other cards of this type). If you are looking to sell your cards in the future make sure that you look after them very well!

Collectors consider the 1909 T206 Honus Wagner card to be the holy grail of all baseball cards. So, if you just so happen to come across one of these count yourself lucky!

If you are looking to buy an old baseball card make sure that it is either from a reputable source or you trust your own knowledge enough to be able to spot a fake. 

Unfortunately, counterfeiters are getting very good at imitating the natural card ageing process. So, there are sure to be plenty of fakes on the market that are waiting to be sold to unsuspecting customers.

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How Can You Tell a Reprint Baseball Card?

If you think that you have found a great deal on a baseball card you should check to see if it is real. 

The best way to do this is to check it against a card that is known to be genuine. This will allow you to easily spot any printing mistakes. 

If you are unsure there are experts out there online who may be able to help. However, bear in mind that often you will not be able to see the card in question in person and authenticating online images is much harder and they can be faked.

In some cases, the card may simply be a reprint and not a fake. A reprint is simply a card that has been produced again at a later date and often has extra features added as well as having the word ‘reprint’ visible on the card.

Final Thoughts

There are many reasons why people want to age baseball cards. They can be both good and bad.

If you are looking to fill a hole in your collection then ageing a fake card is a great cheap option to do so. It can also act as a placeholder until you come across the missing piece.

Unfortunately, counterfeiters are very good at falsifying cards, so make sure that you look for telltale signs of the fake ageing process when buying vintage cards.

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