The main purpose in writing this is to follow-up on a suggestion made in response to a previous editorial of actually posting pics of homemade and even professionally forged CDRs so as to help identify scams/rip-offs as well as prevent anyone else from losing their hard-earned scratch on something that isn’t “legit” (I realize this is somewhat of a subjective term for some traders and so forth, but I’m not here to debate morals this time around). Let me cut to the chase here…..although there are various reputable shops and vendors for newer releases, the only ways to procure older titles – especially considering how limited pressings often are, would be: eBay, Record Conventions, and private collectors/traders.
These are not bad options in and of themselves; sure, chances are this equates to shelling out a bit extra, but this is more than a hobby for most of us, and sometimes we do establish great connections that last years and are mutually beneficial, but it seems this is becoming more and more of an exception rather than the standard; every day there’s evidence of a new scam on the news, and I’m sure everyone drifting over to this site has been burned at least once.
The problem here isn’t just limited the “known offenders” out there knowingly peddling fakes though; there have been several instances where I genuinely believe that some honest folks who are casual collectors or sellers have no idea they’re dealing with forgeries! How bust is that to think that you’ve scored a “holy grail” or have made someone’s day selling them some “ultra-rare” item only to later find out it’s a clever and well-made fake?
Well, I’ll tell you it sucked to realize that I had bid a whole lot of cash on a Sirene release that I later came to find out is completely fake! A couple in fact! I’m sure many of you have noticed a recent upsurge in Sirene items coming up on eBay – and I imagine the demand will only increase as items become more and more scarce; a vast number are already permanently out of print, so it’s no surprise there are some “enterprising” types out there out to strip you of your hard-earned cash and leave you feeling quite down later on!
So, without further ado, I hereby begin a hopefully ongoing pictorial report of fakes, offering comparisons to the legit releases wherever possible!
Let just say first that I apologize for the lo-res pics – I’ve only got my camera phone to work with at the moment; in the future I’ll take some hi-res pics and update this editorial, but in the meantime, I’ll point out the details as best as I can!
My first example will be of my own Sirene misfortune mentioned above, involving Pink Floyd Offenbach 1971 (Sirene-023).
As for the packaging and inserts, from a jpeg on the Net they are nearly identical – this is a really detailed forgery, not at all fuzzy like some copies; only two things really give away the true nature of the fake: some of the text is mildly blurred on the back cover, and the inserts are actually 2 one-sided laser-copies back to back under the CD trays! Chances are, you’d never know if you didn’t physically check! There’s NO way to tell from a single pic on an auction listing for sure!
How about the discs? Well, these are a DEAD GIVEAWAY…..that is provided you have other Sirene releases to reference them against. They are SO obvious in that instance it’s not even funny…..but to a new or casual collector? Geez, just look at the differences:
First of all, in case you didn’t know, all the genuine Sirene discs DO utilize a similar font and style on the printed face of the disc, BUT they will vary according to the colour scheme of the inserts and even during what phase of the catalog they were released during. Also, the real Sirenes always have a code related to that specific release burned into the center silver ring on the underside of the disc. They are also made in Asia for sure. The real Sirene here is the blue disc.
NOW, notice the offensive green colour of the printed face of the forgery? The totally different font? Can you make out where it says “MADE IN ARGENTINA” ? Yep, this gives it away.
Also of note are the absence of matrix numbers completely, and a silver underside. This is not just a homemade CDR rip-off, but a semi-Pro counterfeit!
Now, check THIS out…first, the fake:
Now the genuine Sirene disc:
ANOTHER fake Sirene release! Notice how similar it is to the Offenbach 1971 forgery?
All this being said, what about the music contained on the discs? Well, it’s definitely what it’s supposed to be, and there’s no noticeable difference A/B-ing the real item from the fake, but I’ll have another go with headphones and get really specific just to be sure before my follow-up.
What other information can I offer about these particular fakes? Well, from what I understand they came from a guy in Florida, USA and sold to 3rd party vendors. That being said, I think these fakes may very well have come from Argentina originally , and I’ll explain that in a future edition of this series, HOWEVER, I’ll leave you with a disturbing thought: the guy I bought these two from was absolutely STUNNED when I showed him the pics and explained that these were fakes (Yeah, I gave him the benefit of the doubt) – he informed me that he “got these from a guy in Florida” and that he’d literally “sold hundreds and hundreds of these without a single complaint” – until mine that is…..
So…..keep up on your toes, request pics of the discs themselves, and really as many pics as possible before going overboard on some auction!
Remember: these Sirenes are only ONE of many examples out there, and it’s no secret that there are fakes of Highlands, STTPs, and even of some of the Pro-CDR labels out there now!
Next up? Fake Ayanamis and Blue Cafes…..I’ve got pics ready to go already for these…..so…..soon, and all the best to the lot of you in the mean time! Happy collecting!”
Update: In addition to adding a pic of the genuine Racial Violence release, having gotten permission to use some pics taken from the collection of a fellow enthusiast (thanks Hoka!), I’ve decided to include several other examples for reference purposes – especially considering the variations demonstrated below.
All of these items appear to be from the same source as the examples in the original article. Since the artwork is typically a scan of the Sirene originals, I won’t bother with more examples of inserts, and focus strictly on the discs.
On the left I’ll post the scan of the fake disc and the genuine item to the right. I will eventually update my own scans with higher resolution examples, but again, you’ll get the idea. Without further ado…
Portchester 1970 (Sirene-003):
Prog King (Sirene-099):
Roar Ends (Sirene-066):
Boston 1972 (Sirene-068):
Live In Rotterdam (Sirene-095):
Boston 1973 (Sirene-056):
Offenbach 1971 (Sirene-023) *note different colour of fake* :
A fake promo apparently was included with the Offenbach 1971 forgery; check THIS out…notice it says Hiwatt…not even Sirene! (I guess it’s safe to say there are some other Hiwatt forgeries from the same culprit based on this too!):
Double Bubble (Sirene-008):
Double Bubble, like Offenbach 1971 is a numbered item, and we know all the fake Offenbach discs can be identified as being #141; here’s a scan of the rear insert of the fake Double Bubble:
It is likely that there are other numbered Sirene items that have been forged, and as this information comes in, I’ll continue updating accordingly.
Also be aware that there is a confirmed forgery of Wolfsschanze (Sirene-100), but I don’t have any scans of it to include at this time. It is safe to assume the format/scheme of the discs are similar to those shown here.
What’s especially disheartening about some of the fakes I’ve just added is that several titles are among those most highly sought after and difficult to locate currently including: Boston 1973, Live In Rotterdam, Offenbach 1971, and Racial Violence (these along with Darkest Moon (Sirene-007), Oaklands (Sirene-055), Damn Braces, Bless Relaxes (Sirene-060), Munich 1973: Collector’s Edition (Sirene-006), and the first (blue cover) pressing of Wembley 1974 Pre-FM Master (Sirene-009) are virtually impossible to find now, and like all Sirene items, are out of print).
So be careful when preparing to purchase these rare and elusive items, stick to the reputable vendors if you can or request a scan of the discs/inserts from anyone else before you spend your pounds, shillings, and pence!
Plomerus, July 5th 2008