The year 1994 saw a dramatic change in the career of Michael Jordan. After leading the Chicago Bulls to three consecutive championships, a feat that hasnít been duplicated since the 1960s Boston Celtics. On February 7th 1994 Michael decided to step away from the game that he so truly loved to pursue a childhood dream of playing professional baseball. Michaelís swift monumental decision sparked a major shift within the sports collectibles market. "Corporate America" were scrambling to produce "Jordan" baseball related products along with major card companies racing to produce newly made cards with Michael donning his new uniform. With all of the newly found "hoopla", forgers also found the golden opportunity to take advantage of a money generating venture, spawning a new string of forgeries that were readily scooped up by the unsuspecting collector.

During 1994-1995 I have noticed a heavy forging trend leaning towards baseball related items. Baseballs being the most heavily forged items that I have seen. Unfortunately most of the baseballs offered on internet auctions outside of UpperDeck are forgeries, with only a handful of legitimate signed ones around.

In this segment I will be discussing a particular style of forgery which I call the case of the "Twin Peaks.



Example:(A) is a genuine signed photo circa 1994 originally obtained from a March of Dimes silent auction in Chicago. I have chosen this particular style due to itís similarities with the items that I have deemed in my personal opinion "not genuine" By looking at Figure (A) notice the "Twin Peaks" that make up the "H" and "L" in Michael, it seems like this was a particular style that someone decided to use as example to mimic.


Side by side comparisons made with the Genuine example (A) and the items in question: Figures (B) and (C). I will start by pointing out the numerous mistakes that are made.

#1 Again, abnormal foreshortening of the ending downstroke of the "M" in Michael

#2. Incorrect placement of the "Twin Peaks" making up the "H" "L" which is situated too close to the "M"

#3. Key mistakes are made with the execution of the "figure 8" in the M that connects the M to the rest of the "ICHAEL" same mistake is made with the J.

#4. Abnormal overextension with the ending of the circle "D" loop that finishes the "Jordan"

Identical mistakes and stroke patterns are noted on both items "B" and "C" indicating that both items (baseball bats) were signed by the same person.



 Magnified view of the "key" mistake made while executing the figure 8. Notice the forger does a backwards counterclockwise stroke before exiting the "M"connecting to the "ICHAEL" in Michael. Whereas, with a genuine example, Michael finishes with a stroke going left to right.




Side by side comparisons done with a genuine "non certified" in person autographed baseball (A) and a forged baseball (B). When comparing both, itís distinctly obvious that example (B) is a poorly executed example.


Hereís another side by side example comparison with an authentic autographed "non certified" baseball bat and a forged bat. Results are clear and concise on which is the real deal and which is not.


The particular collage,  demonstrates one of Michael’s various signing styles. This autograph style (circa 1989-1994) demonstrates a "single stroke" continuation of the "L" in "Michael" and "J" in Jordan. This signing variation is most likely due to Michael trying to fulfill the demands of his many fans seeking an autograph.

Most of the "in person" autographs during the period of 1989 to 1992 were signed in this style, with the exception of a few scattered examples that were signed between 1992-1994.


This collage demonstrates multiple examples that I have deemed "not authentic". Each autograph has itís problematic stroke patterns. By doing "your own" side by side comparisons with the provided authentic collage, you should be able to draw your own conclusion on why the examples are not authentically signed.


My final example is one that makes my "A" list with regards to forgeries. Detecting this particular style of forgery takes time and research along with years of experience. In my opinion, this style could easily fool some of the most knowledgeable Jordan collectors.



By evaluating this collage, I urge you to attempt and single out the forgery. If you are not certain or basically donít have a clue, I suggest that you continue reading on.




 Item seized from the Operation Foul Ball sting-Chicago 1997. One of two forgery styles noted coming from this sting operation. This forger gets "4 Stars" for an almost near perfected execution of Michaelís autograph. This "stealth" like autograph infiltrated the sports memorabilia market undetected, without even raising a question whether it was legitimate or not.

Detecting this style of forgery takes years of experience with MJís autograph along with an extensive side by side evaluation. .

The one thing that I did noticed with this particular style, is that the forger is too consistent when signing Michaelís name. There are some subtle areas that are repeated on a consistent basis when evaluating multiple items. The forger lacks "spontaneity" that only Michael has when signing his name.


The image to the side and below are two collages of genuine Upper Deck Authenticated basketballs that I put together demonstrating "spontaneity" I have evaluated more then one hundred basketballs and I have noticed that every single ball was signed slightly different, none were the same. This is what the forger lacks, "MJís signing spontaneity"which in easier terms means a long stride here or a shorten loop there. This is the subtle key mistake the forger isnít able to replicate and still maintain a fairly believable autograph.

UDA Basketball Collage #2

 Illustrated example of the key areas that I have singled out.

#1. Foreshorten ending downstroke of the "M" also taking note that the "figure 8" that takes up majority of the downstroke before exiting the "M" to connect to the "ICHAEL"

#2. The peaks that make up the "I C H L" in Michael

#3. Loop at the end of the "J" in Jordan



Side by side comparisons demonstrating the replicated stroke patterns on multiple items. The atypical stroke patterns are consistently repeated, demonstrating that none of these items  were signed by Michael.

In conclusion, most of the Jordan forgeries that are circulating the market are fairly easily detected by doing some kind of comparisons with authentic examples. In regards to the subtle and difficult to detect autographs like the ones  that originated out of Chicago, takes much more time and research. Luckily, majority of the items have been confiscated and the particular forgers are no longer active. Be extremely cautious of the residual items that are still circulating within the market especially items signed around 1994-1997.