1963 Topps Pete Rose

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1963 Topps Pete Rose: The rookie card of baseball's all-time hit leader, and the key card in one of the best designed sets ever.

When "rookie-maina" began in earnest in the late 70s, Rose's RC went from $1.50 to $150 literally overnight. Because of this, it also has the unfortunate distinction of being one of the first cards that was heavily counterfeited.

The most famous (or infamous as it were) counterfeit Rose began to show up around 1982. According to hobby lore, when the counterfeiters got busted, a judge ordered that all of the confiscated fakes could be allowed back into The Hobby, provided that they were clearly marked as such. Mainly due to the novelty, and the backstory of the card, you can still find "genuine fake" Pete Rose RCs on eBay for about $50.

Buyer beware: not all counterfeit Rose's are stamped. A phony should be relatively easy to pick out, as most were printed on very flimsy card stock. If you hold up a '63 Rose in front of a strong light source and are able to see the outline of your fingers, it's probably a fake. Another telltale sign is to look at Rose's hat. If you see a black outline around the white part of the hat, it's also bogus.

Despite the fact that Rose has been banned from baseball for life -- or perhaps because of it -- interest in his collectibles never really waned. After all, even if he did bet on his own team, somebody got those 4256 hits. Ungraded and in near-mint condition, a Rose RC books for about $800. Professionally graded copies in mint condition (PSA "9" or equivalent) regularly sell in the $15,000 range.

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