Updated: Oct 30, 2022
Sadly, fake Be@rbricks are in plentiful supply, particularly as the collector and second-hand market continues to grow, and their popularity and value shows little signs of diminishing. So if you are looking to start collecting, or buying a one-off gift for someone, then you need to know what to look for to make sure you are getting the authentic MedicomToy experience, and not a cheap substitute.
We've included below a checklist you can go through to inspect any Be@rbrick you own, or are thinking of buying. Not every fake will fail every test, but if it fails even one, then you'll know you have a fake on your hands.
#1 - Iconic shape
Be@rbricks have a very consistent underlying body shape regardless of design, and come in set sizes (100%, 400% and 1000% are most common). The ears, head, torso, arms, legs, hands and feet are the same and a tell in many of the early fakes on the market were slight variations in height, the ears were a different shape, or the hands or legs were not consistent with Medicom’s design. The easiest way to check this is to stand the suspect Be@rbrick side by side with one you know is legit and see if there are any differences.
#2 - Stamp your feet
On virtually all Be@rbricks, there is a logo stamp on the base of each of the feet. Normally the MedicomToy logo on the right foot and Be@rbrick logo on the left foot. If the feet do not have these stamps, you know you have a fake. Also some have holes on their feet where the logo would go; these are also definitely fakes. The image here shows the stamp on the feet of an authentic Wonder Woman (WW84).
#3 - Made of the right stuff
Real Be@rbricks are typically made from hard plastic (most commonly ABS) and have a hollow sound to them when you tap them. The cheaper fake ones are often made of a softer plastic, so can be squeezed and give a duller sound when tapped. Also the seams that join a real Be@rbrick's material together are visible as lines across the top of the head, and on the body and limbs. The fake vinyl ones are often produced as a single mould and do not always have these visible seams.
Be@rbricks do come in a variety of other materials as well as plastic though (look out for our upcoming post on the different materials that Be@rbricks have been released in). These are more expensive to produce and not typically faked as often, but if you suspect one then really it is best to get it verified by someone who has seen that Be@rbrick before and who can validate whether the material being used is correct.
#4 - Design is king
If you haven’t seen or owned a particular Be@rbrick design before, then the best way to verify this is to compare it with images of the Be@rbrick from a trusted source. An obvious place to look is Medicom Toy’s own Be@rbrick website which has virtually all the bears they have released over the years with usually a front and back image of each bear, and sometimes the packaging it comes in.
NB due to the manufacturing process for Be@rbricks, those that are a repeating print will all be slightly different as the print process means the layout varies from bear to bear, although the underlying design is still the same. The images of the Basquiat bears below show this well.
#5 - The Be@rbrick click
If you have the Bearbrick in your hands, then you should check the movable joints work as expected, with the right "clicking" sound and stiffness of movement. Limb joints on fake models can be really loose and often move quite freely and don't have the satisfying Be@rbrick click we all love.
#6 - Do judge a book (Be@rbrick) by its cover
Assuming your Be@rbrick comes in packaging (and if it doesn't then that could be a red flag on its own), then ensure it is the right box and internal packaging as issued by Medicom. The 400% and 400%+100% models often come in a relatively standard sized box, and although they vary in design according the Be@rbrick inside, they all have the familiar copyright and other Medicom Toy details on the base. Common mistakes on fake Bearbricks are errors in the copy and logos on the outer boxing which can often be spotted with a close inspection. The image here shows the base of the box from a legit 2022 Cheer Bear Care Bear, including warning and copyright text, hologram label and hidden tag.
Inside the box, the majority of Be@rbricks come in a transparent packaging mould through which you can see your bear. Some of the fakes, miss this packaging altogether.
#7 - Hidden Tags
Alongside the hologram that is common on all the Medicom boxes, since early 2022, Medicom have started to include "Hidden Tags" on Be@rbricks. Not that well hidden, these tags are displayed on the box and the bear, these can no doubt be faked as well, but if you are looking to buy a new release, then check it has these included with it.
#8 - Valid size/combination
Is this a Be@rbrick that Medicom actually released, and was it released in this particular size/combination.
Quite often Be@rbricks that were released as a 400% and 100% pairing, are sold as 400% only fakes as cheaper to manufacture. Look on the Medicom site to check how your bear was first released.
#9 - Legit seller
Of course, one of the best ways to ensure you are buying an authentic Be@rbrick is to purchase from a reputable retailer. If you are not buying from an established store (online or physical), but are buying on an auction site, then do as much checking on the product you can, and also look into the seller as well. And as the old adage goes, if it seems too good to be true, then it probably is!
#10 - Phone a friend
If all else fails, and you're still not sure about a Be@rbrick, then get it checked out by someone who has more experience with them. Not everyone has a Be@rbrick expert on speed-dial though, so if you feel a bit on your own, then you could try the friendly group of knowledgeable Be@rbrick lovers on the subreddit r/Bearbrick who have helped people with this in the past. If you post a selection of photos of the bear in question, they can help you look for any obvious warning flags.
You can also mail us at email@example.com and we'll happily look over any ones you are not sure of.
Buy with confidence
Although there are fakes out there, if you use common sense in where you buy from and apply the above checks, there's no reason to be worried. And if you see any you like here on GrokStok, you can be sure we have fully authenticated them before selling, so you can buy in confidence. Happy collecting!!
Let us know if you have any comments on this post, and particularly if we have missed out other things to look out for when checking authenticity, as we are keen to keep this checklist as an up to date source that collectors can use to feel confident they have the real deal.