For some reason, Pokemon cards - first edition - are going for insane prices. Folks are spending millions of dollars on them. Part of this is because the sale of first edition cards like a Charizard have sold for over $200,000 USD. People are investing in Pokemon cards instead of property.
However, because of this, we’re seeing an increase in fraudulent cards. The most public of which is a $375,000 USD box that ended up counterfeit. This isn’t a new trend - art forgery has been documented even two thousand years ago - where Roman sculptors produced copies of Greek sculptures. However, at the time, it was very likely known by the art buyers of the time that these were not genuine pieces.
In 1496, Michelangelo sculpted a work of art - a sleeping cupid. Through acid washing techniques, the piece was artificially aged and sold to a cardinal - who learned that it was not a true antique. However, being so impressed by Michelangelo’s talent, he let the young artist keep the money he was paid. It was still placed with other true antiques, and was thus passed off as if it were one.
It leads me to think about Phillip K Dick’s “The Man in the High Castle”. In it, we have Frank Frink who makes and ages Colt Pistols as well as other memorabilia. Does it matter more that they are actual Colt Pistols from the civil war? Or that people that are collecting them can say that they are? It’s all in the “historicity”.
Getting up, he hurried into his study, returned at once with two cigarette lighters which he set down on the coffee table. “Look at these. Look the same, don’t they? Well, listen. One has historicity in it.” He grinned at her. “Pick them up. Go ahead. One’s worth, oh, maybe forty or fifty thousand dollars on the collectors’ market.” The girl gingerly picked up the two lighters and examined them. “Don’t you feel it?” he kidded her. “The historicity?”
She said, “What is ‘historicity’?”
“When a thing has history in it. Listen. One of those two Zippo lighters was in Franklin D. Roosevelt’s pocket when he was assassinated. And one wasn’t. One has historicity, a hell of a lot of it. As much as any object ever had. And one has nothing. Can you feel it?” He nudged her. “You can’t. You can’t tell which is which. There’s no ‘mystical plasmic presence,’ no ‘aura’ around it.”
How much does it matter if the Shiny Charizard in Mint 9 condition is a forgery without true historicity if nobody could tell?