(... of new releases, new-found rarities, discovery of oddities from the past...)

June, 2002
Vol.1, Issue 2

I've obtained the "other" pirated copy of the UK "Happy The Man" 7" PS release, and I can now review this "second" fake I've come across, how it compares to the other one and to the original. The second fake issue is clearly a sister to the first, only without the mistaken fold-over of the cover, most likely the same "issue" only the first was the botched fold-over batch, the second the correct issue.

To re-cap: there have been a number of pirated copies of the UK "Happy The Man" 7" PS release being offered and sold on eBay (by two different sellers, one of whom has used at least two different usernames.) There are two different ones. The first is clearly a botched print of the second, which is being sold by a different user. The second fake has not been offered on eBay for some time now since the first few (about 4), while the first (the botched one) continues to pop up every few weeks.

How to tell the original HTM from the fakes:
Lets start with the sleeves. The rear cover of the first fake has the top and bottom edge of the front cover folded under the back cover, while the original had the front cover top and bottom flaps folding over the back cover. The chuckle here is that on those little fold over edges is where the "CB 181" was printed ... the fake sleeve obscured the "CB 181" with the mistaken fold-over of the back cover. Looking closer, the fake also had the "CB 181" at the left top of the back cover (albeit obscured) while it is on the right top on the original. The second fake has not got the "fold over" manufacturing error, but does still have the "CB 181" on the upper left corner of the back cover, not on the right as with the original.

Original Issue Fake Issue #1 Fake Issue #2

Similarly, the original had "Printed and made by the E. J. Day Group, London and Bedford" at the bottom right of the back cover, the first fake has it under the "fold over", and at the bottom left, the second fake as above, has the fold-over mistake taken care of, but still has the printing on the wrong corner.

Original Issue Fake Issue #1 Fake Issue #2

Other details of the sleeve differences include the lack of "cut out" on the back side of the opening edge: the original had it, the fake does not.

Original Issue Fake Issue #1 Fake Issue #2

Looking even closer, now at the front cover, the original was printed in a screen pattern. As such, the fakes had to be "de-screened" to avoid the "moiree" effect of screening a screened image. If you look closely at PG's forehead on the original, you can see this screening, or dot pattern. The fake, on the other hand, while screened, is at a much higher resolution, so the dots are so small they are almost invisible, and the original dot pattern is gone, having been descreened.

If all else fails, if the sleeve is immaculate, too perfect for any original picture sleeve from 1972, then its probably a fake ;-).

The disc is much easier to discern between fake and original. The original Charisma vinyl singles all were printed on vinyl discs with ribs along the edge of the label, like little teeth running the full circumference between the label and the vinyl dead wax. This is extremely hard to reproduce in any cost-effective manner today, and as such any pirated discs (including these) of the old Charisma issues will without a doubt not have those teeth.

Failng this, the fake has "CB 181" hand etched into the dead wax, whereas the original had it machine stamped.

Finally, if only a scan of the label is available for inspection, note that the original had the copyright text running the edge of the labels very close to the edge of the label, maybe an 1/8" off at best (about 2 or 3 times the height of the letters). The fakes on the other hand have the same text running an average of a 1/4" or more from the edge (about 6 to 8 times the height of the text).

Original Issue Fake Issues

To many a collector, a pirate is an interesting collectable (although typically worth far less than the official release,) and a few have been clearly sold as "re-print." But some of these are being sold in such a way as to gloss over or otherwise distract from the fact that they are not the original item. I'm going to refrain from publishing usernames here to avoid any issues, but just keep in mind: if you are planning to purchase on eBay, and its not clear in the item description, always ask the seller what you need to know. Keep the e-mails until you receive your item and are satisfied. Ebay is very good regarding its "safe harbor" policy and you stand a good chance of getting at least some of your losses mitigated if you have some basis for your claim. If you know what you are buying, and the user is clear about it, the sale should be a smooth one. Ask first!

Well, that's it for this issue. Ideas for the next issue are welcome, but failing any suggestions, I'll cover the various different issues of the new PG remastered CDs...