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  • by Matt Leslie March 17, 2022 3 min read

    At FSC, we’re all about helping you to route out the fakes on the market. From Kappa to Nike, Arsenal to Manchester United, and everything else in between, we have created a number of general and specific guides on what to look out for to avoid spending your shirt buying budget on a dud. 

    How to Spot a Fake

     General Nike adidas Kappa


    In this guide, we’re going even more specific than before by focusing in on one shirt in particular: The Netherlands’ famous 1988 adidas home shirt. Easily one of the most iconic and famous shirts ever made, the tiled design is notoriously hard to get.

    We’ll be delving into this shirt and its specs with the help and guidance of @Brickkithouse, who recently posted a very informative thread about this very matter. What makes this shirt particularly hard to decipher is the fact that there are multiple versions of the jersey, but @Brickithouse has gone through each of these variations, highlighting what to look out for.


    West Germany Spec

    The big thing to look out for on this shirt is the stitched on crest patch. It is off-centre from the adidas trefoil logo and its top right corner perfectly meets the point of one of the geometric designs coming off of the collar. Meanwhile, the collar itself is the classic overlapped v-neck, with the orange bordering on the outside.

    This jersey is at the top end of the market, as @Brickkithouse estimates it could sell for £500-700.


    Jaspo Spec

    Shirts with Japanese sizings are one of the big catch-outs for collectors, with the difference sometimes being up to 2 sizes between Jaspo and UK sizings (We wrote a guide on it all which you can read here).

    In terms of design differentials, the crest is the place to look once again, with a larger lion, featuring thicker outlines and no black colour fill. Notice also the ‘KNVB’ underneath with the registered tag, which is absent from the trefoil logo on the opposite side of the shirt. 

    This shirt could go for £400-700.


    Argentinian Spec

    @Brikkithouse is not a fan of this variation from South America and it is easy to see why. The crest is extremely hollow, but at least it lines up better with the trefoil logo than our previous two examples, and the pannel pattern continues underneath the sleeve stripes. 

    Elsewhere, though, the shirt is quite faded, losing the vibrant orange that made fans fall instantly in love with the shirt in ‘88.

    Still, this shirt could go for as much as £500, if the size was a popular choice. Beware though, as our expert warns it is a snugger fit than modern day sizing guides.


    Irish Spec

    When we talk about those vibrant orange colours, this Irish example is exactly what we mean. The perfect balance of fade in each individual panel makes this shirt stand out, but it is the absence of colour in the collar which acts as the key identifier with this shirt.

    Note also the smaller and more intricately detailed crest, which helps to give this shirt a value of £700-800.


    UK Spec

    This is another pretty vibrant example of this classic shirt. The usual KNVB is gone from under the crest, which itself is also totally filled in, and more in line with the size of the adidas trefoil.

    The colour bordering is also a slimmer line than previous versions, and a darker orange too.

    Very rare according to @Brickkithouse, an £800 valuation is applied to this shirt.


    West Germany Exhibition Spec

    The family tree of this famous shirt is so extensive it even contains different types of the same shirt. Interestingly, this shirt has player spec codes, however, @Brickkithouse is doubtful this is the true lineage of the shirt due to its crest and trefoil sizes, and instead suggests it is from an exhibition, or was a sample.


    Match issue/Player Spec

    And we have to finish things off with the holy grail. Player spec shirts is an especially tricky sub-genre of the shirt selling market, and even further complicated by the prices legit shirts go for. This example, taken from the CFS Exhibition, will set any lucky bidders back around £2500, according to our expert in the field. 

    Note the extremely detailed crest design, and placement of the ‘registered’ mark next to the KNVB and trefoil. When spending as much as this, you really need to get into the nitty gritty of a shirt.

    Thanks to @Brickkithouse for the guidance on this issue. Be sure to follow him on Twitter for more insights here.

    For more great hints and tips like this, sign-up to our weekly newsletter, the Collectors Club. You can sign-up here.

    Check out our range of Retro Holland Football Kits here.

    Matt Leslie
    Matt Leslie