For a long time I have been reluctant to become involved in the issues surrounding fake Customs Insignia. However, in more recent times, in order to protect the integrity of this site - and the contributors to it, I believe that it is time to provide insignia collectors worldwide with the information that they require, in order to make accurate and informed decisions about the collection of Customs Insignia.
Over time I have become painfully aware that this site is being used by some unscrupulous insignia manufacturers to source, copy and then manufacture reproduction insignia. I have been looking at technology to thwart this process, including a mandatory subscription model, watermarking and applying greyscale filters to images featured on this site in an attempt to prevent this abuse.
However, I believe that to do this would be ultimately futile. Education is the better solution. To this end I would like to draw your attention to two sellers of Customs Insignia on eBay, namely THAYLANDER (Poland), FARSCAPE0_2 (Spain) and now DOBERMANNSHARPEI (Australia)
THAYLANDER and DOBERMANNSHARPEI have reproduced insignia (not just Customs insignia) from a number of countries, including but not limited to the following countries:
Nauru, Palau, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Liberia, Bermuda, Wallis and Futuna
I know these are reproductions based on several facts, including the following:
1. I personally know the manufacturer who has the departmental invoice requests to manufacture the insignia for the following countries: NAURU, PALAU
2. I have previously purchased from THAYLANDER and DOBERMANNSHARPEI insignia which I have been able to ascertain are reproduction items and are not genuine
3. I have received correspondence from insignia manufacturers identifying commercially produced insignia for a number of Customs administrations - under official contract - indicating that THAYLANDER has manufactured reproductions of this insignia.
4. I have checked eBay and THAYLANDER has offered for sale extremely poor quality reproductions from a number of countries
5. I have received correspondence from several countries Customs administrations (including NAURU, SEYCHELLES) which confirms that neither have an ongoing business contract to produce these items on behalf on these Customs administrations:
6. I have a hard time believing that THAYLANDER and DOBERMANNSHARPEI is in the process of seeking a business contract, or have an expired business contract and are just disposing of surplus insignia items, based on the volume of and frequency of items offered for sale on eBay.
Reproduction and sale of these insignia represent a breach, in some cases, of Crown Copyright and Intellectual Property rights of the affected countries involved. Further to this, the manufacture of fraudulent insignia, including those from Palau Customs K9 and Wallis & Futuna Customs seek to undermine the legitimate identification of genuine insignia, as opposed to the creation of "fantasy" insignia.
Let the buyer beware.