Any U.S. football card collectors specializing in identification and authenticity?

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Thibault St john Cholmondeley-ffeatherstonehaugh the 2ndConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Rather than buy one (unless you collect them), have a look to see if there are any collectors shops near you that would let you compare some. I'm sure there are thousands around. We saw one in Chicago that specialised in baseball merchandise, broken bats, shirts, old medals, player's autographs etc. And there is the second-hand comic-book shop in the Simpsons, so if one is featured in there they must be fairly commonplace.
If you see the ordinary and the refractor cards side by side there is so much difference that they don't need a special R as an indicator, the difficulty comes when there is only a single card.

Extra thought, if you are not certain of identifying a refractor card then buying one, possibly from someone else who isn't sure might not be a safe option?
Thibault St john Cholmondeley-ffeatherstonehaugh the 2ndCommented:
according to the answers on here they should be marked refractor if they are after '93
nickg5Author Commented:
The two cards I posted above are both for 1995.
I see a difference on the back.

Here is a description from an internet search.
This set contains 220 cards and was issued in six card packs. The chromium technology used for these cards give them a glossy metallic look on the front. The fronts also have a color player action photo that extends out of a football shaped frame. The horizontal backs have biographical information, statistics, and a summary of the player's finest moment.

Mine fits that description, but someone said mine are not refractors.
Something to do with the back of the cards. The two Ebay items above are the same sport, same year, but the backs are different.
However both are being sold as "refractor" cards.

I've joined that card forum and waiting for approval to post. Those on that thread are vague on their answers. Some say, maybe before 1999, others say the word "refractor" is on the back, so I wait to ask again on that card forum and see what turns up.
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Thibault St john Cholmondeley-ffeatherstonehaugh the 2ndCommented:
That John Elway one on ebay has the metallic rainbow look that has been described. The only cards like this that I have seen are my son's pokemon cards (printed by the same company) where what he called the 'shiny' ones look as if they have been printed on a metal film rather than just ink on card. I can't make out from the different questions on forums whether there are just plain cards and refractors in your football cards or if there are other rare types as well.

Down the bottom of this page it says that consumer relations will be happy to answer all general product related questions, it might be worth contacting them for information. 
nickg5Author Commented:
Look at those cards again, close.
The John Elway does not have an R on the back, the other one does.
One of those two cards is not a true refractor.

Mine all fit the description based on the front of the cards.
Here is a photo.

nickg5Author Commented:
I sent them a

The high dollar Elway card looks just like the back of my cards.
The other card has an R on the back.
Then someone said the word "refractor" must be under the number.

The guy that bought my cards, wants a refund and I have no choice on that.
Thibault St john Cholmondeley-ffeatherstonehaugh the 2ndCommented:
If they're like the pokemon cards it is very obvious if they are the metallic type or just card, the card ones are just glossy like a magazine page and the metallic ones shine like chrome plate and show different colours as you move them under a light. Other than that the cards are printed with exactly the same colours and information. It sounds like there might be different runs of different rarity of your cards so it is harder to tell, but this sounds unlikely as most of the information points to football cards being the first to introduce this type of finish in a parallel set and so I would think that refractor or not would be the only difference.
In a still photo it might be hard to see the shine, it depends how it is lit. If you get it so it is reflecting all the light then you wouldn't see the picture properly in the photo.

Bad news about the refund, but as you say you have to comply with that even if the item is good.
Thibault St john Cholmondeley-ffeatherstonehaugh the 2ndCommented:
nickg5Author Commented:
Mine shine, have the colors of the rainbow, the chrome front, everything is 100% the same.
If you look at theose two Ebay cards top window, they are the same sport and the same year, but one has an R on the back and the $650 Elway cards does not.
My cards meet all the metallic, chrome finish, criteria.

That Elway card does not appear to be a real refractor though the seller says it is. It does not have an R on the back like the other card.
nickg5Author Commented:
I have to stick to the actual name of the card.
Topps Finest Refractor.

I need to stay on football and 1994 to identify the cards.
There are no 1994 on Ebay that show the back of the card.
I posted links to the ones that did show the back and they are 1995.

They look like mine as far as the exact type of card.
Topps Finest Football.
Thibault St john Cholmondeley-ffeatherstonehaugh the 2ndCommented:
Elway says 1994 on it, the other one is 1995. On the information side in the copyright  line. And the ebay advert titles agree. Or is it something to do with the season the player is from?
nickg5Author Commented:
Here is the explanation (see below).
I gave the buyer a refund and he returned the cards.

The 1994 Topps Finest and 1994 Topps Finest Refractors have the same card numbers. Both sets had 220 cards.
Ex: Emmitt Smith is card #1 in both sets.
I think Topps should have numbered them this way:
The "refractor" should have been numbered #1-R.
The non refractor just #1.

I see chrome, metallic, rainbow colors, all of it on my cards.
I'll have to buy a Refractor and compare or just sell mine as non refractors.

the aikman card with an R is from the 1995 set.
the smith card is a 1994. so it's like comparing apples and oranges.
the very first refractor set ever produced was the 1993 baseball set.
there are no R's on that set and the word refractor appears nowhere either.
and yet they are refractors.
and the only way to tell the difference between the 1993 refractor and the 1993 regular set is to look at the card.
it's the same with the 94 football set.
the refractor cards have the rainbow holographic appearance while the regular cards do not.
the 94 football set does not have the word refractor or an R printed on the back.
in the early days of refractors the word refractor or the letter R did not necessarily appear on the set.
it wasn't until later years that topps started printing the word refractor on the back of the card.
u can only tell the difference between these and the regular cards in the set by the holographic/rainbow appearance on the front of the card. here is what beckett says on their website about the 94 football set: "These specially designed refracting foil cards parallel the 220 regular-issue 1994 Finest cards. One of these standard-size foil cards was inserted in every nine packs. The difference can be seen in the rainbow-effect gloss as it stands out from the basic card."
notice they don't say anything about the word refractor or the letter R printed on the back?
that's because the word refractor or the letter R does NOT appear on the back of this refractor set.
i challenge your buyer to produce a 94 football card with the word refractor or the letter r printed on the back. i've never seen one.

"The difference can be seen in the rainbow-effect gloss"
.........I would have to say, my cards have this.
But, they are not refractors according to the buyer and he knows more than I do. If he did not, he would have kept them.
nickg5Author Commented:
I have not posted on that card forum yet. My membership has to be approved.

Topps Finest and Topps Finest Refractor are two different animals.

The refractor shines under the light. Mine to do.
I'll have to buy one from 1994, football and compare to mine.
nickg5Author Commented:
Here is a photo of mine with light shining on it.
When the buyer asked if mine were refractors, I concluded from the description that it was.
I'd like to see a real refractor that is more metallic or gloss effect, than mine.

Even the refractor card will have to be held in the light and at an angle to see it.

Topps could have put any single character, as small as they wanted on the back of the card, to designate refractor.

The flash of my camera on closeups usually makes the item distorted to see, and not just brightness.

This card like you see it, before the photo was taken. The camara flash did not affect the shining, colors, metallic-chrome appearance.

I volunteered like an idiot, to sell cards for someone and my commission was 20%.
We're deep into year #2 and yet to reach sales of $1250 for over 25,000 cards.
What I see on Ebay is unbelievable. I have one card here, if it was graded a 9.5 (grades are 1-10), it would sell over $500. So, if graded, out of the 25,000 cards, only 2-3-4 highly graded, cards could have gotten the $1250 sales goal.
I did send one card to be graded. I compared it to 4-5 just like it that had been graded a 9. I used a magnifying glass and felt my card was at least an 8 or 8.5. It came back graded 6 and it cost $30 to get it graded. It finally sold for under $30 or a loss. The people who wanted that card wanted a higher grade. No grade might have been better than a 6. At least, an ungraded card allows the looker to visualize in their mind what grade it would get if it was graded. If they think it is a 8 or 9, they will bid according.
nickg5Author Commented:
nickg5Author Commented:
Here is a 1994 Troy Aikman Topps Finest Refractor.
Mine is a 1994 Troy Aikman Topps Finest non refractor, it seems.

The light shining on this "refractor" card highly resembles mine from above.

There seems to be too much visual detection required between the card below and mine above.
Thankfully, Topps put R on the cards after 1994.
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