As often happens, as the success of an artist grows, also those who try to take advantage of it to sell counterfeit works are growing. What to pay attention when buying a KAWS work?
We are writing this article as we have been able to verify the existence of some internet sites that unfortunately sell counterfeit works of art and art toys by KAWS. We received an email from a collector who wrote to us to get an opinion on two KAWS art toys purchased through a website at a “bargain” price. We had the opportunity to personally view the two products and it was easy to see that they are counterfeit objects. We obviously reported the website that sells counterfeit KAWS products (not just art toys unfortunately) to those who deal with KAWS copyright and market protection.
Although, we must admit, the two KAWS art toys were of a very high quality (even packed like the originals) and many details seemed to match, we were able to verify the following discrepancies:
Counterfeit art toys generally differ in weight from the original ones. In the specific case, there was about 200 grams of weight difference between the counterfeit KAWS art toy and the original one.
Although the hologram that certifies the authenticity of the product was also present on the counterfeit KAWS and despite the quality of the details, it was easy to see that the hologram on the inauthentic KAWS was larger in size than the original one, as well as having a slight discrepancies also in the writings and colors.
Hologram on original KAWS
Hologram on counterfeit KAWS
The colors of the original KAWS works are unique and, probably, no counterfeit product will ever come to have the same shade of color as the original KAWS art toys. This finding, in general, can only be done by comparing an authentic art toy with a counterfeit art toy or on the basis of solid preparation and experience.
Up: Authentic KAWS detail photo; Down: same detail of a counterfeit KAWS
Very often, as in the present case, it happens that the counterfeit KAWS art toys do not bear the barcode including the product name on the back. Even in the original KAWS the barcode is not always present, but it certainly is on the packaging of the 2016 Companion Flayed sculptures. So, in this case, it depends on the type and date of the object.
Despite all these discrepancies found, we admit we were very surprised by the quality and attention to detail in the counterfeit product and we can say with certainty that it would be difficult for a collector or an enthusiast to notice the differences with an original product as details can only be found by comparing the counterfeit product with the original one or in case you have solid experience.
As with any other work or form of art that has an economic value, even in the case of KAWS art toys, we always recommend buying KAWS works only from serious professionals and from reliable websites, always paying close attention and wary of “unmissable business”.