New information has come forth that solidifies that fact that there are counterfeit vinyls floating and being distributed by a select few, if not the same person. So this is what I was going to write…
I am going to throw a wrench into this “fake” discussion as I do not believe there to be fakes at all.
Let me premise this article by saying that my heart goes out to forum member and VK staffer Crazy4Vinyls. He has wanted a Balloon Chaser for a very long time. After months and months of eyeing the market he was able to get one. What he got was not what he expected. That SUCKS. Sorry Crazy. This article means no ill will to you. You know that I agree with your approach in this and would have done exactly the same thing. Keep on swinging Crazy, you may hit that holy grail jackpot and get that Balloon Chaser yet.
OK on the the discussion. We will consider a fake something other than a scrapper. A scrapper is waste. Product that was made by the manufacturer, was not up to par and thrown away. Trash. Nothing more. Nothing less.
A fake is something that was made as a knock off of an original. Counterfeit. A for profit deception. Something that is not produced by the manufactures the original item.
So let’s focus on the Fake. We all know that scrappers exist. But what about fakes?
The first question that came to my mind when I heard of this the other night is – How is it that someone would even be able to do this? We all know that these are not airbrushed pieces. They are factory produced. Again I ask, How is it that someone was able to do this? Making a counterfeit is quit the operation on many levels. It would take a boat load of cash to set up the art, machinery, paint, tools, raw material and whatever else is needed to do this. And for what? To produce a handful of high end figures. I keep an eye on ebay for Balloon Chasers and I can not say that I have seen an influx in balloon chasers. Please Pete if you are out there correct me if I am wrong. But maybe the counterfieters avoid eBay to fly under the radar. A stealthy move that may save them from being discovered. And up until this point that tactic has worked.
If these are really fakes and these were made with the intention of making money, the maker/seller would have to put them out there. Right? If someone counterfits an $500 dollar bill they do not make only 5 of them. They make thousands. They have to. Simple economics proves this. It costs money to make these things. You must sell more than you make to see a profit. Not sure what the start up cost is for a counterfit vinylmation, but it can’t be that cheap. Logic dictates that if fakes exist, then many of us may have them in our collection already. A humbling and disturbing thought.
But, in my humble opinion there are no fakes in circulation. Or at least I will not believe it to be so until proven. You know an innocent until proven guilty sort of thing.
So what did Crazy get? I believe that he got a prototype. The kind of thing that is made to pitch the item to the higher ups at Disney. These “prototypes” were made in very small quantity to show off the Vinylmation idea to the important Disney people. This is how it works. Have an idea. Make a prototype. Show your product to the big wigs. Then, if they like it – you are good to go. A new product line is born. It makes complete sense to me that a chaser and a regular were made for the pitch. We know that there are Balloon Chasers and Kermits floating around. It would not surprise me if there are more somewhere. Maybe even sitting in homes of unsuspecting collectors.
How did these get out? A few theories. Well I remember when trading was first introduced at the parks, there was the thought or maybe the statement that older vinyls would make their way in. Did these Balloon Chasers get released that way? Maybe. Or perhaps a few execs had them laying around and gave them to family members. Who knows. Maybe they are really scrappers. Not sure where the prototypes were made. Maybe it was here in the States. I really have no idea how that would work.
It is also possible that these were sold at one of Disney’s warehouse sales. You know the same type of sale that allowed the leak of the typo Kidadas as well as cases of ‘scrapped’ Furry Friends and not up to par 25th Anniversary sets.
So knowing that it is one of the few prototypes out there would make me feel a bit better about it then knowing that it is a fake. And who knows what the value of a prototype Balloon Chaser would be. We would need an official word from Disney on that. And we all know that will not happen. We will never know how they got out. Or if they are fakes or prototype or scrappers.
Would I pay alomost $700 for what is not an authentic Balloon Chaser? A fake. No way.
Would I pay $700 for one of the very few prototypes of a Balloon Chaser? If I had official word that it was – you bet I would.
Unfortunately, we may never know. So in the mean time I would be super careful in any of your Vinylmation related dealings. You know what the old saying – If it is too good to be true than it probably is.
Disclaimer - The ideas presented and expressed here are soley my opinion. Just thought that I would give you all something to think about. That IS what I love to do
As you can see. I was 100% wrong. I hoped for good of the world the shine through here. But I stand corrected. Counterfeit vinyls are in circulation. We know that the Balloon Chaser and Kermit have been produced. The Gold Chaser and P1 Figment are also strong possibilities
As collectors we need to be careful. We need to be knowlegable. I will do my best to keep you all up to date on any new counterfeit vinyls that I find out about. I do not want to presume anything. It is not only the opinion of this author and many others that fake vinyls are in circulation, but we have proof. These fakes may even be more abundant that previously thought. So friends, keep a watchful eye.
I do not take this lightly and neither should any of you. This is HUGE news and everysingle vinylmation collector needs to be aware. Tell all of your friends and get the word out.