Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Beatles Mono CDs: Fake Crap vs. Authentic

Counterfeit mono Hard Day's Night on the left. Notice the difference in font - especially the red title font. Also, look closely at the upper-right "mono" logo - the original letters should look slightly "off", the legs of the "m" and "n" are slightly short, which just screams "60s". The fake one on the left couldn't reproduce that, and the letters in "mono" are conventional type.

On the back, look closely at the catalog number in the bottom right corner, southeast of the "Use Emitex" circle. On the original, on the right, the number is very small. On the fake one, it's larger. Also note the cheap, crap-@ss glue seams coming up on the left one.

Now notice how the counterfeit, on the left, does not include the replica of the original LP paper inner sleeve, just a CD inside a crappy rice paper sleeve. Compare that to the one on the right.

Now the discs themselves. Notice how the counterfeit, on the left, is slightly different from the one on the right. The authentic disc has black printing all the way to the center; notice the ring around the center of the counterfeit, and how this ring goes through the title "...Songs from the film..." Also compare "33 1/3 RPM" - it looks much nicer on the real disc on the right; no shadowing on the fake one.

Close-ups of matrix codes and manufacturing whatnot on the REAL disc:

The IFPI code below, in the outer silver ring, is a mastering code.

The small IFPI engraved in the plastic hub is the manufacturing code and marks where the disc was manufactured. This is an SID code is required by law in many countries. For more information see here. This code, IFPI 28A, according to this database, signifies EMI Japan.

Now, the counterfeit disc. You can also see a little bit of the "bar code" around the bottom of the inner ring - compare it to the photo above. It looks like a cheap facsimile of a real barcode. Also notice the dent in the aluminum layer, black marks, and general shoddiness.

The mastering code on the silver ring, L154, is a copy of the one on the real disc. The IFPI code in the plastic hub may or may not be real: IFPI DB72.


  1. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU SOOOOOOO MUCH FOR POSTING THIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I recently received the mono box set and I could tell immediately something was wrong. This confirms my suspicions. Do you have any further information regarding these counterfeit sets? Posted warning from EMI or anything that I can show the idiot who sold it to me.

  2. I hate to say it, but these are pretty good fakes! The cheap glue and the dents (!) in the CD surface really give it away, more than the printing and font problems.

    What I don't get is why the counterfeiters were able to get the cover photo just right (presumably through a high quality scan) but then tried to typeset it themselves and ended up off. Why not just scan the typeset as well?

  3. A useful guide, thanks! Have you noticed any differences between the two outer boxes? For instance if we are inspecting sealed copies of the box set, is there a way to tell if it is real?

  4. I sent back the box before I got my real one, but what I remember is that the real box is sturdier, and better constructed. The real one has "www.thebeatles.com" on one side in small print below the title; I can't remember if my fake did. If the box is sealed, of course it will be hard to tell the construction, but I can say that my fake felt much lighter than the real box.

  5. Hi mate! do you know something about other Beatles' edition fakes? like "Live at the bbc"?

  6. Thank you so much DKP for writing this blog and for including so many great photos and comparisons. Regarding telling the difference between a fake and real Beatles mono box set without opening the outer box, a forum poster at Amazon.com who has a copy of both sets says that the real set weighs about 820 grams (about 1.81 lbs.) while the fake set weighs about 620 grams (1.37 lbs.).

  7. I just received both the mono and stereo box sets of the Beatles, and am relieved to find that my copies seem to be genuine after comparing the mono set to your notes and the stereo box set with YouTube videos and forum comments around the 'Net. The mono box set, on my scale weighs 820 grams (1 lb. 13 oz.). The genuine stereo box set weighs 1800 grams (1.8 kilos) or just under 4 lbs.

    Thank you again, DKP

  8. Its really a shame that honest fans (buyers) are purchasing this on ebay and not knowing there buying a fake. My brother recently bought a fake for 50 dollars, he was bummed to find out it was a fake. The Seller is named anfguy18 beware, he has them in stock.

  9. The discs are fine and play well which is the main thing. The covers may not be perfect but for £10 an amazing bargin. You want to pay £120 fine!

    1. It's a roll of the dice as to whether they play "fine". Some do, some don't at all. They are counterfeit of dubious origins and manufacturing. They are not worth paying $.01 for.