How to Spot & Avoid Fake Funko Pop Figures

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At the time of writing this I had already written a specific article about spotting a fake Captain Spaulding Funko pop and it has apparently been quite useful, so I thought I would do a more in depth version which can be applied to any Funko pop. If you want specific examples I will still be including a list at the end of this document of all of those specific examples.

Hope this helps, and happy pop hunting!

Simple check list!

Just a quick-look check list for things to look out for – just in case you really can’t be bothered to read the whole article, but don’t blame me if anything doesn’t make sense!

  • Does an online seller advertise the item in one location but their profile says that they are in another (often China or Hong Kong)?
  • Is the online seller showing a photo of the actual pop or just a stock photo (mainly applies for private sellers)
  • Does an online seller in a public marketplace / forum have good reviews / feedback?
  • Is the seller a reputable business / person in the Funko pop community or an authorised Funko stockist?
  • Does the Funko pop figure have a serial number on the back underside of the head or foot?
  • If it does have a serial number does it match the serial number on the bottom of the box? (although this may not be as accurate as you might hope – see more later)
  • Is the paint on the figure crisp, clean, detailed and accurate?
  • Does the figure have excess plastic left from the molding?
  • Does the design of the box match the design of the pop (colours, hairstyles etc.) if it is not a chase figure?

Want to know more? Read on!

A lot of people think that just because an item retails at £14.99 or so brand new, that they won’t be worth faking, however that’s not the case, especially when you take in to consideration things like special edition and vaulted products amongst the ranks of Funko Pops.  Don’t make the assumption that just because it’s a small plastic toy that people won’t make and sell fake ones – it’s potentially more widespread than you think.  Also, companies producing these fakes have little shame about the fact.

I was interested in the process of making vinyl toys and the costs involved in small scale independent releases and of course the cheapest place to have them made is in Asia, more specifically China.  Just a quick search showed not only companies advertising what looked to be Funko pops, but even putting in their sale title that they will produce Funko pop figures.

You need to buy a lot of them to bring the price down, and if you wanted to sell them from the UK or USA then thankfully the price of shipping and taxes would make the process completely unfeasible from a price perspective, but not so for Asian sellers.  The vast majority of fakes come from China and Hong Kong, so let’s get right in to discussing how to avoid fake Funko pops!

Purchase your Funko pops from an approved or trusted source

This is not so much the case with brand new common pops as the price is often too low to make it worthwhile, however that’s not always the case with exclusives and special editions, especially if you live outside the USA (where most exclusives are).  This seems to be especially the case with Funko shop exclusives, which by the time they hit the UK for example have at least usually doubled in price, without factoring in the shipping and sometimes import tax.  So now, all of a sudden, the payoff is a little higher, so be dubious of those online private sales of exclusives.  I really think Funko could help curb this exploitation of their own exclusives by opening their online store to international sales – I really have no idea why they don’t.

A few instances where this is especially true are if those figures (exclusives, special editions, chases etc.) which have come from the USA or France or UK etc are suddenly being sold in China or Hong Kong…  Especially if there are multiple sellers with them or they have a large number in stock. Be careful of things advertised on eBay in your country or maybe somewhere else in Europe which might not seem quite right. Just because the product says it’s in the UK that doesn’t mean that the seller is! I once purchased a pop from Dublin, but it turned out that it came from Hong Kong… It was fake.

Check the sellers profile for their location and while you’re there don’t get too hung up on their rating. If you get a fake pop and go through the resolution center and manage to get your money back (which with good evidence you will), you won’t be able to give bad feedback, which I think is an absolutely terrible decision by eBay. Also just because no one before you noticed that a big batch of pops are fake, that doesn’t mean that they’re real. Remember a lot of people buy pops as presents! I couldn’t tell you if a baseball card was fake so why would someone who collects baseball cards and buys me a pop as a present know that the pop is fake.

Another giveaway is if these items (which might usually by now be £30 for the UK, or in the case of some vaulted items, in excess of £100) are suddenly available for the original cost of $15 again…

Your biggest giveaway (unless in very rare exceptions where someone genuinely doesn’t know what they have), if a price is far too good to be true – it is!  That pop will most likely be fake or have something very wrong with it.  Don’t take that risk!

Sadly a time which you need to be very careful with this is when someone connected to a certain pop passes away and demand spikes, so do copies.

So what is an approved or trusted source?

When you’re talking exclusives, of course the trusted source will be the company who has that exclusive, be it Walmart, Target, EMP, Pop in a Box etc. or in the case of commons, you’re again very lucky if you’re in the USA as the Funko website has a very handy search tool for finding your nearest official stockists:

Funko.com

In Europe and other parts of the world you need to use a bit more savvy than that.  The official European distributor of those Funko exclusives is EMP, but beyond that you have to use your gut with the big companies you know; Pop in a Box, HMV, Primark, MenKind, the Entertainer, Game, Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s, Zavvi and so on.  When it comes to smaller stores like your local comic book shops, you need to just see what sort of vibe you get from them, or if you know them, you’ll have a better idea anyway.  To be honest most of these smaller shops are generally a good source if they’re buying their stock new.  If they buy and sell second-hand pops, then you need to put a lot more faith in to that shop owners knowledge and integrity.  The good thing about a physical location is that you can grab that pop and have a good look at it.

This is something you cannot do online.  Whilst there are many legitimate pop sellers on places like eBay and Amazon, there are also plenty who are not.  I have sold pops on ebay which I know were real, they came direct from places like Pop in a Box, but I have also been screwed over with fake pops.  Generally speaking, if the person is selling a pop using a stock image rather than a real photo of that pop, especially in the case of a vaulted pop, I’d recommend that they are not likely to be an authorised or trusted seller.

The final way to buy pops of course are events – so we’re talking Funko meets, special sales events (the only one I know of in the UK for example are the London Pop Market events organised by Showmasters) and comic cons.

With these you have to just take in to consideration the same things as the independent comic shops, who may well be selling fake items without even knowing it… Some of them are pretty well made! But again the positive about these events is that you can physically check out the product, and anyone who refuses to let you have a close up look at their product in one of these events I personally wouldn’t buy from anyway!

What to look for on the product itself

Serial Numbers

Every Funko pop figure has a serial number which can be found at the bottom of the head at the back, or underneath one of the feet, and that is without exception. So if your pop does not have a serial number at all, then it is not a genuine product. Also this serial number will be on the base of the box and the two of them should match.

However I am currently in discussion with a company as to whether this also applies to Funko Pocket Pops, which do have a serial number but it is currently unclear to me as to whether it always matches the box, although I’ll update this as soon as I hear back from them or Funko on the matter.

Check out my article about the fake Thanos Funko pop pockets here for more details – especially as I have so far not received an official answer from Funko, and have lost hope of doing so!

That’s a really simple check, although its not fool proof!

If someone is sophisticated enough to copy the whole pop figure, then a serial number (which is on the figure they took their mould from) isn’t exactly the toughest part of the figure. So just because it has the number and it matches that doesn’t mean its 100% genuine. It is often one of those things which forgers overlook, especially putting a serial number on the underside of the box, or for some reason putting them on as a sticker rather than printing on the box – but the more people forge these things, the more sophisticated they seem to be getting.

Another area where people making fake pops seem to struggle with and where you can some times see mistakes and flaws is in the packaging. Often they will take a box, dismantle it, scan or photograph it and then print out a new box shape using that lower resolution image.

What this means first and foremost is 2 things –

  1. Especially on small boxes and parts of the box with small detailed print (such as the contact details), quality will be lost and the print quality may not be as sharp.
  2. Colours might be off (although you’d likely not know this if you didn’t have a real comparison).

However there are a couple of other little things which might not be quite right about the box, such as cut lines not being straight, or the white between the edge of the pop graphic on the front and the box window being extraordinarily thick or thin.

Finally, the boxes are often also made of a cheaper material just like the pops themselves, so you may well find that the box itself just doesn’t feel quite right… flimsy and weak even.

I’m afraid however that a lot of this does also come down to a gut feeling. There might be certain pops which have known fakes where a certain thing is glaringly wrong.

The biggest advice I can give is that if something seems to good to be true, it probably is – and if you’re in doubt, be very reluctant to part which big cash, as there is a good chance that once the sale is done, your money is gone.

Specific example articles

13 thoughts on “How to Spot & Avoid Fake Funko Pop Figures

  1. Funko says “We do not issue serial numbers” the bottom of the box and whats on the figure are production numbers. A Hamsel that i got direct from funko has a different number on the foot then on the box and its a 2020 release.

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    1. Thanks, maybe I will try to update this article soon. I wrote about something similar with a Thanos keyring where the serial number on the box and figure were different when I purchased through Pop in a Box but the 2 fake ones I came across the serial numbers matched. Even Pop in a Box couldn’t get an answer from Funko so well done for getting through to them. I was hoping to attend the London Toy Fair and book a chat with Funko there but sadly that was cancelled so maybe I need to try and get hold of their press teams to help me get this article as up to date as possible. Thanks for the tip!
      How are you enjoying that Pop around the world line? I’ve only got Barkingham and Finley – I do like Hamsel though!

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  2. I am curious about a Funko Pop Sigmund # 853 I just bought on Ebay. The seller has very expensive ones on there and he took pic of the # on the bottom of the feet as well as pics of every angle on the box. However the cheaper ones he did not do this with, and that I can understand. People want proof on the expensive ones. My Sigmund looks authentic, but I wonder if the box coloring may be off. In comparing online, it is rough because people who did take pics used a flash, had better lighting in some more than others. Also, I have sold on EBay, there are adjustments you can make to the pic before submitting. But, Sigmund does not have a serial/production number on the box and none on his feet. Now granted, the bottom of the pop is awkward because he is a sea monster. And the words printed are so very small and hard to read, they are moulded into the vinyl, not in a black print, as I see on other pops. I can’t even take a photo because it is so hard to see, but I can see the year and Funko and the Kroft wording. What do you think? IS this fake or authentic? It is hard for me to guess because it may have been impossible to get a number onto his bottom.

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    1. Hi, have you got a picture of it? You can email me on figuresnfilms@gmail.com – I wouldnt get too hung up on the number underneath as they seem to be a little inconsistent and I got a comment from some one recently who heard from Funko to say that the numbers don’t always match. The general quality of the pop and box are usually the best indicators.
      The colour of the box can be affected by being in direct sun, although with that pop only being out since 2019 it shouldn’t have been affected too much.
      I’m not aware of this pop being widely faked and the prices on ebay seem to be fairly consistent so I think they’re probably generally alright.
      I think it was a san Diego comic con exclusive right? Does it have the sticker on the box?

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  3. Hello! Great informative article! It was a good read!

    Anyways, is my Funko Pop fake? I have an Annie figure from the Attack on Titan series. Box is in mint condition, and has a sticker on the bottom of the box. Also when I scan the barcode with the Funko app, it’s says that I have the Annie figure. But what I’m concerned about is that even though all my owned Funko Pop have serial numbers on the back of their heads, the Annie figure does not. However, I see a code in white saying ‘A400’ on the bottom of the feet? Is it a legitimate figure? It has a little excess plastic from the molding too.

    You said in the article that the code can be found on the head and feet but I’m skeptical since I never had a Funko Pop with a code on their feet before.

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    1. Hi thanks, glad you liked the page.

      To be honest when it comes to serial numbers I have tried a few times to talk to Funko, and will try again because it is one of the things a lot of people focus on but there are some inconsistencies. I have had an item come from Pop in a Box direct from Funko where the serial numbers on the box and figure didn’t match and have spoken to people who have heard from Funko with mixed results as to what the serial number actually means.

      However if you have a stamped number on the foot I wouldn’t let that ring alarm bells as I have a few figures, especially those a few years old (I think that Annie is the one from 2017?) which have a number stamped on the foot and this doesn’t always correspond to the number on the box.

      As for the excess plastic this can happen and I have seen excess adhesive at the bottom of the head before too. These could just be production flaws. I would look more at how intricate the details on the figure are. When they make fakes they take a mould by casting plaster or latex etc around the original figure from Funko so often details are lost in that process… That’s the biggest give away. With the Annie figure I would focus on something like the belt buckles on her legs or the details on the equipment on her hips – if those are nice and crisp then that would be a good thing.

      Hope that has helped and thanks for reminding me to look in to the serial number thing again with Funko.

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  4. Do you know if SDCC exclusives ever have production codes after the event it was released at? I know Funko’s that are released at SDCC can also be bought through some shops after the event – Popcultcha and PopInABox for example, but is it possible that Funko make a set for sale at SDCC and then did another run to send to the shops?

    I have a SDCC Exclusive Bloody Hannibal 146 which is limited to 1500 pieces and was released at SDCC 2014. When I bought it (via Ebay) I did find a couple of images online of other Bloodies that had the same base of box code as mine, but recently every one I have seen has an earlier code. My issue is that I know the codes are production dates in reverse and mine is JJL 141106, which is after SDCC 2014 took place.

    I’m quite good at spotting some of the fakes as I know the details to look out for on the exclusive label, and a lot of the fakes the colours are off, they don’t have the corner upturn and the spacing between the lettering is off. Everything about my Funko screams real, but the later production date concerns me. The Standard Hannibal has a variety of production dates, but one of them is also JJL 141106, and I know people sometimes try to fake Bloody by painting blood on Standard and the box window as that’s the only difference apart from the SDCC sticker. Usually those ones are also easier to spot but I’m concerned I may just have a supremely good fake.

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    1. Thanks for sharing this. I don’t have this figure myself (wish I did though) so I don’t have one to compare to. With the blood I do know that people fake them, I have seen a fake of this particular figure and if you do a google search you should be able to get a bunch of pictures together which all look the same and then compare your blood splats. To get the splatted effect you can’t meticulously paint it on and come out exactly the same as the originals which in turn use a template to get it perfect each time. Also it should feel exactly the same as the rest of the pop paint job – if it is added at a later date it often has a slightly raised texture.

      The same goes for the box – the blood splatter should be printed on the window as well as the image of the pop on the box rather than having been added later so the same applies there.

      I do know that Funko of course do the whole shared exclusive thing which does confuse matters, and I always think if something is exclusive it should available just there… but that’s just my opinion. However when they advertise it as exclusive and limited to a certain number then that SHOULD be all they produce of that figure. Personally I would be a bit dubious of a production date which was after the con. But if everything else looks perfect it does make it difficult – especially as stickers are one of the easiest things to fake, so that’s not the best thing to base that decision on – however! It can give you some clues because while I was looking in to this for you I did see an SDCC stickers version of this pop… clearly fake anyway, but also had an SDCC sticker saying it was limited to 2500!

      One final thing to consider is that if the pop seems perfect it could well be that it is real, but that the box has been replaced.

      I sent off the box for my real Captain Spaulding shortly before Sid Haig sadly passed away so I had one without the box, but also had a fake pop which I got rid of but have kept the fake box for my real pop. I don’t plan on ever selling this pop, it means too much to me and meant that I didn’t waste all my money on the fake one I got tricked with and still can display the price of my collection in a box. The same could have happened with that.

      I am trying to get in touch with Funko at the moment and have some questions but I will certainly add one about later print runs for exclusive pops. I do know that generally speaking when they send out a limited number they do stick to those numbers.

      I hope that has helped a little.

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      1. Thank you for your reply, it’s appreciated! The blood on the Funko itself feels the same as the rest of the face so it’s not been added on later, as does the blood on the plastic window, so that’s good. One of the complicating factors is that almost every picture the blood pattern is slightly different which makes a comparison hard, but the blood on the knife matches a few as does a lot of the splatter on the face. I’m a bit more on the side of it being real than I was before though.

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      2. You’re welcome, and even though there might be some discrepancies the blood splatter will be very similar at least on the real ones. I have seen couple of fake ones and they really are totally different. Most people who work with pops to customise them use acrylic paints as it just holds so much better but does dry a little raised. You can use alcohol based inks which dry far more flat you don’t tend to have the same level of control as the ink just doesn’t react as well to the vinyl. There is of course the option of using something like a Sharpie but on close inspection that’s just not going to look good.

        After 7 years if the print still looks just as good and nothing feels off with it I think you’re probably in good hands. As I said it does strike me as really weird that it would have a production date later than the con and that’s the only thing that concerns me – but if there’s anything I have learned it’s not to worry too much about codes on boxes. I have had pocket pops direct from Funko where the numbers on the figure and box are totally different.

        I’ll update my article if I manage to speak to Funko about it and will maybe add some bits about con stickers and blood splatters as they’re not the most difficult thing to fake but are difficult to fake and make look good! It sounds to me that you think yours looks pretty good, and some times your gut really is all you have to go on when all else is said and done.

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  5. So i got the Joel Miller pop #620 and it has the Only at Game Stop and Sony sticker, but no Silver Special edition sticker. Does this mean its fake?

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    1. Hey Elliot, Not at all, the GameStop and Sony stickers would be the official exclusive stickers, if they then sell the same pop abroad (usually if they’re doing a shared exclusive to somewhere here in Europe), that foreign one will have the sticker replaced with the silver special edition one. It’s a sticker we see over here a lot and sadly it’s one of those things most of us would rather see go and replaced by the exclusive store they are coming to here in Europe. Just 2 stickered versions of the same pop so I wouldn’t worry about it being missing if you have the gamestop sticker!

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