Non-Sport Update's Card Talk
Are official promos important?

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February 22, 2021, 01:12 PM
Brian T
Are official promos important?
I was planning to purchase some Picard promo cards online believing them to be official as they contained the CBS logo. Having searching through some past posts on this forum I found that they were not an officially licenced product.
With cards openly on sale containing CBS, Netflix, Marvel etc logos, how do you determine what products are official and is it even important to collectors?
If you like a card, do you purchase it irrespective of it's authenticity?
February 22, 2021, 02:09 PM
Official licensed cards are extremely important.

I determine which products are official by buying from well known manufacturers.
February 22, 2021, 02:20 PM
Originally posted by Brian T:
If you like a card, do you purchase it irrespective of it's authenticity?

First of all, welcome to Card Talk. If you do a little surfing in the various threads, you will find many posts concerning the pros and cons to buying unlicensed cards. That is what you are talking about, whether they proport to be promos or previews or an actual set, they are unlicensed cards when they are manufactured by any maker who has not paid the copyright holder for the licensed permission to produce cards on a certain title, for a certain period of time.

To answer your question, and others may take an opposite view, I would say emphatically NO, you shouldn't buy unauthorized/unlicensed cards, period. It hurts you as a collector and it hurts the card hobby as a whole to support the illegal printing of unlicensed material.

It hurts you because those cards will be shunned by other knowledgeable collectors who will never buy them because they consider them worthless. The cards will not be accepted for grading. They will never appear in price guides. They will never appreciate in value beyond the going price of the moment, which will usually stay at the first offering. You will never know how many were printed or if they will be re-printed. You will be mixing counterfeit cards in with your collection of genuine cards and that will devalue the whole.

It is bad for the hobby when collectors knowingly support unlicensed cards in any form because it ensure that the practice is profitable and people will continue to make them. This means that card manufacturers who are purchasing licenses for a lot of money are competing with cheaply made unlicensed cards and are losing revenue they could use to stay in business. It means that the market is being tainted with counterfeit material. And let's not forget who and where these unlicensed cards are coming from and where your money is going.

Now there are other nuances to this, as evidenced by the fact that many cards can be legally made without a license because in truth no license is required. There are also the instances where we have ACEOs or other handmade cards that are not mass produced, which sometimes fall into grey areas of a copyright. However that isn't what you are talking about. You are talking about the slew of "promos" coming from certain cable shows that are unquestionably unlicensed.

So if you don't think they are cheaply made and if they look nice to you, should you go ahead and buy them anyway? Well NO, for all the reasons I mentioned and probably a few I can't think of right now. But someone will be sure to say it's your money and you should buy what you like. Big Grin

People who want to hear that for the answer will take it as such. That's why we have so many unlicensed out there, because someone is buying them. Frown
February 22, 2021, 02:21 PM
I agree. If you buy unlicensed stuff if hurts just like buying pirated movies and music. If you question something being official search for other auctions of the same item from different sellers.
February 22, 2021, 03:05 PM
Most official cards have the manufacturer noted on the back at the bottom with copyright information. Promos for products connected to major franchises like Star Trek, Star Wars, Marvel are going to have it for sure. In the U.S. Rittenhouse Archives is the only company that has the license to make Star Trek cards though another company might have a license to have cards made for some kind of separate product promotion.

If the promos are being given away or were given away, it's a good indicator that they are official. If they are brand new and you see them only for sale, they could be unlicensed. Over the years, collectors get a feel for what might not be legit. You can always check here because the longtime collectors are likely going to talk about them because they stick out especially if it's related to a major franchise. You can check a site specializing in Star Trek cards too.

Most collectors avoid unlicensed stuff because it's fake and doomed to be worthless in the future. It's just someone's personal art project.
February 23, 2021, 08:16 AM
Brian T
Thanks for the response and I agree with everything you have said. I only want to purchase officially licenced cards but I am having difficulty in determine what cards are official when searching online (ebay). It's easy when the cards are produced by a card manufacturer but more difficult when supposedly promoted by the TV company. The post was to get some advice on how to determine the official from the fake.
February 23, 2021, 11:24 AM
Brian, there is a sameness to all the counterfeit promos. They don't cost much, usually under $5. They are available in quantity. The same seller has lots of different ones from different shows on Amazon, or CBS Access, or Netflix or even the CW and they bear the familiar studio logos. You can't really tell what company, if any, is the manufacturer.

Studios typically don't make the cards, they sell the license to someone who makes the cards. Card forums and card related websites generally have up to date posts and articles with information about which maker is getting what license. For instance, Picard promos are out from RA because RA is doing the Season 1 card set. Picard promos that don't come from RA can be assumed to be unlicensed.

The card backs of questionable promos are more revealing than the front of the cards, which often show well distributed pictures that may appear in ads or posters or even on other licensed cards. The card backs are light on the fine print and may have another picture.

Finally, if you don't know for sure, don't buy until you have an answer one way or the other. Some people like the novelty, some collectors truly don't care if they are licensed or not. I don't agree with that, I will always pass when I know it's an unlicensed card, but it is their money to waste. These cards are being called something they are not. No one should let themselves be fooled unless it doesn't matter to them.
February 24, 2021, 08:56 AM
Brian T
Thank you Raven that has helped a lot. I am glad I joined this Forum as it is a great place to find information. Happy collecting. Brian