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Spotting Fake Jerseys on eBay

This guide was created to assist 49ers Webzone fans in spotting the growing amount of fake jerseys being sold on eBay. This guide will focus on authentic jerseys and not the replica style jerseys found on sites like nflshop.com. I hope that this guide is useful. Throughout this guide, I will give examples of current and throwback jerseys.

How to spot fake jerseys

Incorrect style of numbers

Badly done numbers are one of the simplest of ways to spot a fake jersey. If they are not stitched on (except for a few throwbacks from the early 80's), then they are not authentic. Let's take a look at some badly done fake number stitching and compare them to how they should have actually been done.

The image on the left is of a fake Vernon Davis jersey. The image to the right is of an authentic Jerry Rice jersey. Let's focus on the number 8 sewn on the jersey. Notice the shadow on the 8 of both jerseys. This is a dead giveaway. The black shadow on the fake does not surround the number. It exists to the right and under the 8, but does not have the thin part of the shadow that exists around the rest of the number.

The image to the left is of a badly done fake 1994 Jerry Rice jersey. The image to the right is of an authentic 1994 jersey. A very popular jersey to create a fake of on eBay. Again, the same shadow rule applies to this style of jersey. If the black part of the number does not completely surround the numbers. All they did to make this fake was get black numbers, sew them on and then get white numbers of the exact same size and sew those on top. Also, the 1994 jerseys did not have smaller numbers anywhere else on the jersey. So if you find one with smaller numbers on the shoulders or sleeves, it is a fake.

Also of note was the number style during the 1996 season. It changed as the season progressed from more rounded number edges on the inside corners to the sharper edges you see in the right image. Also, it was the only season where the gold outlining the white (or red on away jerseys) of the number could also be seen in the player's name on the back. After 1996, the 49ers got rid of this gold in the name and just went to the white letters (or red with away jerseys) with the black outline.

Material does not match throughout the jersey

While some authentics go from solid to mesh throughout the jersey (for example, the new Nike jerseys introduced in 2012), a badly done jersey will appear to be made from two completely different materials. You can see the difference in the material in this example. Some will also be more shiny toward the top. This is also a dead giveaway.

Logo or stripes are sewn on

Another dead giveaway. If the team logo and stripes are sewn on either a current or throwback jersey, it is a fake. Even on replicas, the logos and stripes are screen printed as they are on authentics.

Wrong style jersey

Not only are the numbers on this one done wrong, but a Joe Montana jersey in the 1996 to 2009 style? This jersey never existed. Montana was traded years before this style of jersey ever existed. Also look for other signs of incorrect styles. I have seen Rathman and Montana jerseys with the NFL's 75th anniversary patch, Rice jerseys with the current NFL logo sewn into the bottom of the collar. Rice left the 49ers prior to the NFL changing this small patch.

Size of numbers

The numbers sewn into the back of jerseys should always be larger than the numbers sewn into the front. If they are the same size, it is likely a fake.

Incorrect anniversary patches

Sometimes you will see a Montana 49ers jersey with an NFL 75th anniversary patch. Montana was playing with the chiefs during the NFL's 75th anniversary. Or a Rice 49ers jersey with a 60th anniversary patch. Rice had left the team prior to the team's 60th anniversary. While some of these jerseys may still be authentic, they are likely custom authentics that were made with incorrect patches.

The NFL's 75th anniversary took place during the 1994 season. If you see a 49ers jersey from this year (like the ones that they wore in Super Bowl XXIX, it MUST have this patch. The patch was sewn in one of two spots. Either the top if the patch should be perfectly aligned with the seam near the collarbone that separates the body of the jersey from the top of the jersey. Or it could be placed about half an inch to an inch higher so that the left and right corners of the diamond shape are aligned with this seam. Also, it is a common misconception to see a jersey in the style of the 80's teams with this patch. This may still be an authentic. The 49ers wore their regular jerseys during the beginning of the 1994 season and did not switch to the "shadow" style until later in the season.

The 49ers 50th anniversary patch was worn during the team's 1996 season. It should be located near the right side of the jersey near the collarbone. It should cover the same seam mentioned above with about 33% of the patch above the seam and the rest below it.

The 49ers 60th anniversary patch was worn during the team's 2006 season. It should be located near the right side of the jersey near the collarbone. However, this one was usually sewn just above the same seam mentioned above. About 60% of the patch should be above this seam on most authentics.

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