The Problem with Fake Trading Cards
With the total trading card sales in Japan reaching an estimated 200 billion yen (roughly 1.3 billion dollars) in 2022, there’s no doubt that there’s a lot of money to be made with trading cards in Japan. This number of sales also includes those sold online, via online auction sites or secondhand online markets such as Yahoo! Auctions and Mercari.
For collectors, this boom of the trading card business in Japan can come with negatives – the biggest of which is the spread and increase of sales for fake trading cards. While there are ways for you to check for yourself whether a card is fake or not even for online listings (you can find our article about that here), because of this increasing problem, some of the biggest sites in Japan such as Yahoo! Auctions and Mercari are now taking their own steps to ensure that their users can avoid being duped by fake cards.
In this guide, we’ll share the latest details as announced by Yahoo! Auctions and Mercari to their Japanese users so that you’re also in the know!
About Yahoo Auctions’ Measures Against Unauthorized Sales of Fake Trading Cards
Yahoo! Auctions is arguably the most popular website in Japan for card collectors and traders to interact on, meaning it’s a popular site for fake card sellers to use too. Yahoo! Auctions has made the following statement regarding fake trading cards on their site:
We have established guidelines for prohibited items and conduct patrols based on these guidelines. In addition, we operate an intellectual property rights protection program, and in cooperation with rights holders, we take measures such as removing items when rights holders point out infringing goods.
In addition to this, Yahoo! Auctions just started a new system for legitimate trading card sellers and trading card stores to prove that their cards are authentic. This system involves Yahoo! Auctions partnering with a professional trading card appraiser in Japan, and offering the appraiser’s services to legitimate sellers for FREE!
This generous new system truly helps ensure that Yahoo! Auctions users have an easy way to know that what they’re purchasing is an authentic card. Once the cards from the sellers have been appraised, sellers can then list them on Yahoo! Auctions with a badge on the upper left hand corner that says “Authenticity Checked”. You can find an example of what it looks like displayed on the Yahoo! Auctions site below:
When browsing cards on Yahoo! Auctions via One Map by FROM JAPAN, you can take a look at the original Yahoo! Auctions listing by clicking on the “Open Original Item Page” link that appears within the item listing.
At the time of this writing, Yahoo! Auctions offers this appraisal service for 3 types of trading cards (listed below), however they have stated that they have plans to open up the service for other types of cards in the future.
Types of Trading Cards currently verifiable by Yahoo! Auctions’ Card Appraisal System
- Pokemon Cards
- Yu-Gi-Oh! Cards
- Magic: The Gathering Cards
If you feel reassured by these new countermeasures from Yahoo! Auctions, you can browse a few trading card categories and purchase them from outside of Japan below:
About Mercari’s Measures Against Unauthorized Sales of Fake Trading Cards
Regarding the sales of fake trading cards on their site, Mercari have made the following statement about their current countermeasures:
Counterfeit products are strictly prohibited on our site, and if it has been determined based on reasonable grounds that an item falls under the category of prohibited items, we may take measures such as canceling the transaction, deleting the product listing, or restricting its use.
In addition to this, Mercari is also currently using an 24-hour AI detection system that helps automatically determine any fake listings on their website.
Lastly, as of June 2023, Mercari has been officially partnered with The Pokémon Company for their “Comprehensive Collaborative Agreement for the Establishment of a Safe and Secure Trading Environment”. What this means is that The Pokémon Company provides Mercari with “information on specific new product launches, product information, product images, etc.” beforehand, and any listings that have been found that do not comply with this information will be removed from their website.
You can browse some of the most popular trading card categories on Mercari below:
For a Safer Trading Card Shopping Experience
With these new measures, we can see how important this fake trading card issue is even to these two giants in Japan’s trading card online marketplaces. We hope that with these actions from these companies, we will continue to see a reduction in fake card listings online and a smoother and safer experience for trading card collectors all over the world.
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