Revisiting the “Flashlight Trick”

Yesterday I wrote about a Clayton Kershaw game-used patch card I recently acquired. In that piece I mentioned a “Flashlight Trick,” and apparently it’s still not something a lot of people know about.

I’ve written about the trick here before, and on Twitter, but it’s probably worth revisiting again.

Basically you take your Panini brand (Or Donruss, Leaf or Playoff relic card from early 2000s) and then the card relic-side down toward the flashlight. Through the back of the card you generally can see an adhesive paper on which the relic is attached. That paper has a bunch of codes on it, as well as the name of the player and sometimes a description of the relic. This generally only works with single-layer swatches, or really thin patches. Sometimes if you get a patch swatch with a little of the base jersey material it’ll work as well as long as the material isn’t too thick.

In the case of this Kershaw patch card I can see the words “Clayton Kershaw Gray” and a bunch of numbers. This helps assure me that at the very least I am not looking at a fabric swatch from someone else.

The trick isn’t fool-proof, and by no means is it the end-all, be-all. But it offer some reassurance.

Personally, I’ve been using the trick since 1999 when I obtained a three-color Time Couch Leaf Certified relic. I was curiuous as hell what was on the other side of the swatch. I held the card over a lamp and could see there was some writing underneath. I also could see the name “Couch.”

The trick does not work on Topps, Upper Deck or other manufacturers. It’s pretty much a Panini (or early DLP) as best as I can tell. However, it doesn’t hurt to hold the relics over some light and see what’s going on inside. Sometimes you see pieces of thread, old stitching holes, pen marks or other things that made the relic a tad more interesting.

One Response to “Revisiting the “Flashlight Trick””

  1. Very interesting – thank you!

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