So you’ve bought a Funko Pop and you’ve heard that there are fakes floating about? Or you’ve seen one on eBay for a bargain, but something smells fishy about the pictures?
Everyone gets worried from time to time if what they’re buying is the real deal or not. As with many toy lines, Funko suffers from fraudsters producing knockoffs.
The problem is, these fakes are becoming difficult to spot. The molding and printing techniques used by the fake factories are much more sophisticated than they have ever been.
How do you spot a Fake Funko Pop? There are many things to consider. Where you bought it, how much you paid, the box art, serial numbers, packaging, the quality of the moulding and paint job of the Pop, and more.
To make it easier to help you out, check out our Funko Blog below as we show you 13 ways to tell if your beloved Funko Pop is either fake or real.
The place you bought your Funko Pop Vinyl from
Knowing where you bought your Pop Vinyl from is a good indication of whether or not it’s a fake.
If you’re purchasing Pops from online stores such as Amazon, Forbidden Planet, Pop in a Box or Entertainment Earth (Which I highly recommend by the way – click here to go to their sweet website! – they have over 2000 Pops to choose from), then you have nothing to worry about – they are trustworthy sites. (Edit – 99% of Amazon retailers are safe – look for where they ship from, if it is China, avoid like the plague).
Other safe places to buy from are many Funko Pop Facebook groups – the community on these group chats are wonderful and people are keen to offer advice and help out on all Pop matters.
Places to be wary of are auction sites, namely eBay. Now don’t get me wrong, eBay is brilliant for picking up real Pop Vinyls, just check where they are shipped from. I’ve written an article specifically on this topic. Check out Should I buy Funko Pop Vinyls From eBay?
If it’s China – do not buy it. All the fake Pop’s are shipped from China, which is ironic, as the official ones are made there. Basically, if the seller has to ship it from China, it’s a fake, no matter how good it looks.
Another well known website that sells Chinese Fake Funkos is Wish – so avoid this place too.
The price you paid for your Funko Pop Vinyl
The price you pay for a Pop Vinyl is a very good indication of whether they’re real or not. This topic of discussion is really relevant if you’re purchasing from sites like eBay or dodgy Facebook sellers.
The majority of Pop sellers on eBay know what their Pops are worth. If someone is selling a rare Pop that you’re after and it’s a lot of money, it’s always natural to shop around and see if you can get it cheaper. Make sure though you don’t veer off too much from the ball-park figure.
For example, if you come across a Pop which you know is £80, yet you’ve found it for £15 with Buy it Now or no bids are on it at all, then something fishy is going on. It’s 99% likely its a fake, because if there was a chance this is the real deal, something like this would have been snapped up by a Pro Pop Collector.
The Funko Pop box is in poor condition due to delivery
This is a grey area.
Most reputable sellers of Pops (and other toys and collectibles) knows that the whole package is important for display purposes, so your item will be packaged properly to avoid damage as one would expect.
Sometimes though, if you’re buying off eBay or privately, the seller may cut corners and not package it as thoroughly. Boxes get bent or torn. In this case, you can usually get it sent back, replaced or refunded. This doesn’t necessarily mean they are selling fakes, you just have to be careful who you’re buying from.
In other instances – you may receive it in a postal bag and maybe with newspaper as packaging. The boxes will be mashed up and crushed, torn, bent and just rubbish. These are fakes from China. For some reason, many don’t put them in boxes despite having to travel the greater distance. Also, if they think to use shredded Chinese newspaper to give some protection, it’s a bit of a giveaway.
The Funko Pop box is in poorly made
This is an obvious one – a cheap knock off has many tells with the quality of the box and packaging.
If the cardboard material of the box is flimsy, very thin or has a very glossy sheen to it, then it’s likely a fake. Also if the plastic window is really thin (warps if you breathe on it), it’s a knock-off.
The packaging inside a real Funko Pop is designed to hold the pop in place, even if it is slid out of the box. If this pops open and the Pop falls out, it’s not real.
Funko boxes are pretty tough and durable, with packaging on the outside and inside designed to protect the Pop for years – it is a collectors item at the end of the day.
The Funko Pop box art is different from the website
This is important but easy to spot, providing you’re using a website that has the official images of the box art and design so you can compare and contrast what you have in.
This however is only really relevant when you have the box in your hand – as if you are buying a Pop online that is fake, they are likely to use the stock images (so always ask for photos if possible).
So what are the main tells of the box art and design?
Some straightforward stuff – the colours used on the box, the fonts used for printing – especially the licensing of particular brands or logos. Also if it is a special edition, check that the sticker is the same (or is even there!) font type and design, as believe it or not, these are faked too.
Check the size of the main image is correct – some are slightly too big and the white outline around the figure is thin – the fakes are chunky and uneven. Also the header box and footer box sizing has a uniform size for Pop Vinyls.
The Funko Pop box does not have the serial number on the bottom
A really obvious one. If the bottom of the box does not have a serial number either printed or engraved on the box or on a sticker, it’s fake.
Also did you know – the Serial Number’s last 5 digits is the date of the pop’s production in reverse.
This is what you should be looking out for to know your Pop is real:
The Funko Pop box does not have licensing agreements printed
As mentioned above regarding the box art and design, licensing agreements, logos and fonts should all be there but are likely to be missing or altered on fake Funkos.
The logo of the brand should be at the top header of the box.
On the back it should be above the name of the Pop in the box (above the rest of the collection that is printed). Also it will be on the footer of the back of the box – brand, logo, date etc.
See the photos below for what I mean:
The packaging inside is not holding the Funko Pop in place
The Funko Pop Vinyl packaging inside the box – the clear plastic moulds that the figures are held in – can give an indication of a fake Pop. Here are 3 things to look out for with the plastic packaging:
The Pop shouldn’t fall out whilst inside. If your Pop is loose in the box, then it’s either been tampered with before it was sent to you or something is amiss with the item.
The plastic packaging should be purposely moulded to each individual Pop. The Pop should sit in the packaging comfortably and be reasonably ‘gripped’ within. If it is not sitting inside the sleeve or does not fit, properly, then it is likely a fake.
When you open the box, you should be able to slide the packaging out and the Pop remains ‘gripped’ in the plastic. If it just falls out without any effort (providing you ain’t ripping the box apart), then check the above.
The Funko Pop figure doesn’t have a serial number printed on it
This is a biggie.
The Pop figure should have a serial number printed on it – the same serial number that is on the bottom of the box.
This serial number will either be on the bottom of the foot or at the bottom of the head in a colour print – white, black, red etc – so it is clearly visible.
If it has no serial number, then it is fake. Simple.
The Funko Pop Vinyl is missing the licensing details
Similar to the box, the licensing agreements should be on the foot of the Pop Vinyl Figure or the bottom of the head. If it isn’t, it’s a fake.
This is what you should see:
The Pop’s overall design is different from the stock photos
This is the best option for checking if your Pop is real.
Comparing a stock photo against the Pop you have is a great way to make sure your Pop figure is the same as the image released by Funko.
Key things to look at are colours and moulding. Which areas are painted, where are the moulding lines etc. It’s pretty self explanatory – you are affectively playing spot the difference. Focusing on the intricate details like accessories and if they are painted or not is always a good tip.
The Pop’s moulding quality is poor
This does depend on whether it is a really old Pop or a recent one.
The old Pop’s moulding was really basic – uniform stance with arms to the side and arced legs. The newer ones are more dynamic and detailed, mainly due to the continuing improvements of the plastic moulding that is used.
It’s hard to tell alone by the moulding on an old Pop if it is fake or not, but you can look at the other ways on this list to cross reference it.
The newer Pops have great moulding and some are highly detailed. Fakes are getting better and better, however comparing stock photos to the fake Pops you can see some difference in contouring, edges and specific details related to that figure. It’s always good to check the photos of Pops from stock photos and pictures of other people’s who are collecting the same ones.
The Pop’s painting quality is poor
Similar to the moulding above, the old Pops paint jobs were not particularly great. New Pops are amazingly painted, however you can get some quality control issues even with Funko (sadly), where paint is on parts it shouldn’t be – but this is very minimal.
Indications of fake Pop Vinyls are clear when you can see that areas have not been painted the right colour, or correctly. For example, hairlines on the rear of the figure have been poorly painted (patches missing) or not painted at all in some cases. Also, the bottom of the feet that have not been painted are signs of forgery.
Again, always compare with photos 🙂
There is a lot to go through on this list. If you’re buying from the right sellers, such as Amazon, Pop in the Box, Forbidden Planet or your local stores, then you shouldn’t need to worry.
This list is really for when you are buying cheap Pops online either brand new or second hand, either on eBay (check out our Guide Should I Buy Funko Pop Vinyls from eBay?), Facebook Groups or some other website which isn’t familiar. Use the tips in this list and you can’t go wrong.
Just keep an eye out!