It’s a Fake

December 31, 2015 by  
Filed under New, Spotlight

It’s a Fakegive than take.

We accept it. It’s the built-in cost for acquiring the latest “whatzit”. If you want something badly enough there will be costs involved to find and acquire it. Those costs will begin to rack-up long before you make an offer.

Collectors know the pros and cons of this activity well and most wouldn’t change a thing. Sometimes those costs are worn as a badge of honor, or a souvenir of our participation. Other times they may be worn as battle scars when we recount the hills we climbed to plant the flag on Mount Whatzit.

They accept those costs that come with the territory of being a dedicated collector. Because at the end of the day they also know their dedication to tracking down that perfect new addition will have paid off. This is how the scenario plays out over and over again.

But let’s suppose it’s time for an appraisal of the items in your collection. You’ve done your due diligence and located a qualified appraiser.

The day of your appraisal arrives. The appraiser studies your collectible for a few minutes. Looking concerned but remaining silent, he methodically scrutinizes your whatzit for the most minute details …the tiniest of variables that gauge the authenticity of your item.

You bite your lip as you watch and wait. Putting your collectible down he now looks to you and says …

…those words you never want to hear …It’s a fake. 

What could be worse for a collector than to find out that a counterfeit collectible, a fake, has found it’s way into their collection?

Most collectors, or anyone for that matter, have a very close kinship with what they do or what they collect. Just as a tradesman identifies with his trade. An artist identifies with their medium. It’s the same with a collector.

To be informed you have allowed a fake into your collection will affect different people in different ways, to different degrees. It all depends on how seriously you identify with your “trade.”

The more serious collector among us may suffer a huge blow. They may feel humiliated and defeated. At the very least they could wonder about their future or their credibility.

Imagine someone who has collected for the good part of a lifetime. Someone who may have even been a go-to source when others  needed a qualified opinion.

If you were that person and then found out you had been duped by a counterfeiter would probably be devastating as well.

If you’ve been the victim of a deal where a fake was involved then you are not alone. But I will say this, the chances of being sold a counterfeit, or a fake, are extremely high. It could happen to any of us and the more fringe the item could possibly make it even more possible.

It doesn’t matter how much you know or how long you’ve been doing this. There are some basic rules to any transaction that unfortunately seem to get thrown out the window when a collectible is involved. Or I should say when emotion is involved.

The words you never want to hear,… “It’s a fake”.

Think about this for a minute. When we go to the grocery store to buy a loaf of bread and watch the cashier scan our purchase. We pretend to casually glance to the monitor as we recall the price in our head. If that price is out of whack by even 2 cents we speak up…well, my wife does anyways.

Now think back to your last big collectible trade or purchase. My guess is that hundreds or even thousands of dollars flew out of your wallet as you pictured that newest ‘whatzit’ sitting in your home. And you were probably happy to do so.

We have to accept some of the blame… for being human anyways. Get to know this human condition well because it’s something we all own. The counterfeiter knows it very well too. They know that to present us with the newest brand-name whatzit or the shiniest whatzit to have seen daylight in 50 years …and at a huge discount, they will own that deal.

Wikipedia’s two cents…

To counterfeit means to imitate something. Counterfeit products are ‘fake’ replicas of the real product. Counterfeit products are often produced with the intent to take advantage of the superior value of the imitated product. Counterfeit products tend to have fake company logos and brands.

This can include copies and imitations of brand-label clothing, brand-label handbags, and brand-label shoes. Unbelievably it can also include mechanical parts for equipment and vehicles including automobiles and aircraft.

Counterfeit products have also a reputation for poor and even dangerous quality. Sometimes the fakes don’t even work at all which may be a blessing in disguise considering many have been found with toxic elements.

Probably most affected by collectors is when the counterfeiters set their sites on watches, toys, art and movies. In cases like those it results in trademark and patent infringement. Both of which affect the collector directly.

While the counterfeiting of money directly is dealt with aggressively by individual governments the same can’t be said for goods. So unfortunately at this point in time as collectors we must be hyper-vigilant.

Take a few minutes and really analyze where your collectible of choice sits in the great pecking order of things. For example, are you only interested in high end luxury watches typically available from a single factory?

In that case you will have an easier time researching and gathering reliable information on your items. New ROLEX watches are available only from the factory or established dealers. Secondary markets are another story though.

One example where it starts to get tricky is if you are collecting vintage music memorabilia. Items like that may rely on a handful of people and their memories as to exact details. Now you are in the vulnerable gray area of collecting.

A good example is Beatles memorabilia. There is a ton of fake merchandise out there with duplicate logos and images. It’s easy enough to do with current technology. The market is there. The margins are there and the brand is still hot.

The skill level required to duplicate a logo is a lot lower than say to craft a counterfeit luxury watch. Depending on what you are collecting, and at what price level, you will have different options for researching.

If you haven’t decide on a collectible niche yet you may want to consider accessibility to accurate research before you do. It may make all the difference, depending if your goal is to make cash collecting or losing your proverbial shirt. Remember, the last thing you want to be told is that it’s a fake.

Best of luck and collect well.


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