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COUNTERFEIT E3 1997 controllers are a reality
Topic Started: Sep 4 2013, 11:53 AM (21,191 Views)
finngamer
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We have had some concerns over the authenticity of the (supposedly) incredibly rare E3 1997 controllers, as they might be easy to fake and member Thegt550 being able to find one after another for sale. My controller was among the first to be initially discovered and I'm quite confident it is authentic. Lithium017 sent me his controller for a comparison, as his was the first that Thegt550 sold.

Straight to the point: the controller lithium017 has is A FAKE WITH 100% CERTAINTY.

The actual controller is just two authetic parts of a gold and a black controller combined. I had fears that the gold N-emblem is easily counterfeitable with just a blank sheet of gold sticker and a craft knife to cut it into shape, and that's exactly what has happened here.

-Every detail of the fake emblem is slightly off: every corner is too soft or too undefined, many corners and details are in the wrong place altogether.
-The fake emblem is too big: the real one is 1,8 millimetres high, fake is 1,9 millimetres. Fake's width is also very slightly larger than real's width.
-The edges of the real one are smooth to the touch, the edges of the fake one feel coarser when the sticker starts and ends.

Here are the two controllers side by side. As you can see, it's difficult to find anything different with them, let alone if you're looking at a picture of a lone fake controller.

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Here are more detailed pictures. The real is on the left and fake is on the right. For best results, click the pictures to open them bigger on a new page, and toggle between the picture pairs, the differences in the corners and details are evident. The single biggest difference is the field of gold in the top middle of the N, the proportions and the start and end points for the field are way off.

The first set of pictures reveal best the differences in details. The second set of pictures reveal the size difference and also clearly show how they have a different finish to the edges.

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If my pictures seem blurry or you need further proof, I'll be happy to provide them. But as it stands now, I'm 100% confident the first controller ever sold by Thegt550 was a fake. This coupled with the fact he has found unbelievable amounts of this rare controller AND his unwillingness to tell exactly how he did it, we MUST assume that every single one of the controllers sold by him were fakes.

By my count that's 10 owners of fake controllers, that have paid a premium price for them. Hopefully you will get your money back. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news to you.

If you are unsure about your own controller I'll be happy to provide authentication service for free, if you cover the shipping costs to and from Finland. At any rate, no Thegt550 originated controllers can be resold without a huge disclaimer. All buyers, beware of non-Thegt550 controllers as well, as this cancer can easily spread via other "industrial" sellers as well.
Edited by finngamer, Sep 5 2013, 03:13 AM.
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Xephyrian
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Master Chief of the Universe
Oh gosh! :( This is terrible! I feel so sorry for Lithium, hope he can get his money back.

I also hope TheGT didn't know these were fake. :-/ I did purchase a daiei hawks controller from him but I compared with another one that I know is legit and it seemed perfect to me. I don't think all his controllers are fake, but it's certainly scary that this one is...
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ddr2nite
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finngamer and Lithium: you guys did a great service. I had my doubts about Thegt550 from day 1 and the way he was able to find so many of these.

In the next few hours, I will be cleaning up the E3 owners list and adding in these disclaimers and notes into that topic thread.

By the end of today, I will also provide some additional pictures to help verify and support the evidence that finngamer has concluded in his post. I believe I also have 2 authentic controllers (at least 1 of them is 99% certain to be authentic) so this will be even more proof about the research and data.
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lithium017
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Finngamer had informed me of the fake controller prior to making this post. I am sincerely disappointed and sympathize with those who bought counterfeit controllers from TheGT550.

Let me explain my view:
The method TheGT550 had informed me he was using to find the controllers was copying a URL of an image of the E3 controller and pasting it into the Google Search Images page. Upon first inspection, this method brought up several forum posts and sites of the image. I originally deemed the method within the realm of possibility; however, after testing the method myself for over a month with the E3 controller and other rare items, I deemed the method questionable at best. I had also asked TheGT550 to provide me with the URLs of his controller finds which he made excuses and did not provide them. It was then that I decided to pursue the issue further and I sent my controller to finngamer. Now that we have undeniable proof that the controller is a fake, I will be pursuing action with Paypal to try and get my money back. I highly suggest those members who have purchased an E3 controller from TheGT550 to find their transaction history in paypal, and begin the process of filing for reimbursement due to it being a fake.

I have taken down my video of the controller on Youtube and added an annotation about the controller to my N64 Controller Pricing Guide video.

I have sent TheGT550 this message:

"Finngamer just received my controller and has compared it. He has told me his findings - there is no question that it is a fake. Multiple members of this forum will be extremely interested to hear the outcome. If you do not reply, I am prepared to pursue this issue much further and very seriously. If you are not willing to provide financial reimbursement to those individuals you have swindled along with an apology, I am prepared to seek out an investigation against you with Paypal and the authorities."
Edited by lithium017, Sep 4 2013, 12:23 PM.
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danilochka
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Excellent detective work Janne, but such a shame this has happened to our community. Hopefully buyers in the future can use this information to be extra vigilant and make sure they are getting the genuine article.
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mjwatts26
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Thanks for the great info finngamer. Something tells me we won't be hearing from TheGT550 anytime soon...
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The Red Shadow
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He hasn't visited the forum in awhile. I wonder if he felt the approaching revelations and knew his time was short.
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TheJuice401
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:cussfit: man thats crazy!! hope you can get a refund
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wtb - really want an extreme green controller cib :/
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lithium017
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I know his real name too - I have heard of several people buying authentic controllers other than E3 controllers from him in the past. As long as those who have purchased any controller from him test its authenticity and compare it to a real one, they can make their own conclusions.

Now that we know how easy it is to fake the E3 controller, I highly stress to everyone that they question the purchase of buying it. Since the controller never came with a box or any sort of paperwork, it can be easily faked.
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mjwatts26
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What is his eBay username? I tried searching TheGT550 but can't find it, I assume it's something different? It would be nice to know so people don't continue to buy these from him should he try to sell more.
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sanni
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Wow, the fake one really looks super bad. He could at least have used a laser cutter instead of the exacto knife -.-'

Great detective work!
Now lets hope every owner of a E3 controller makes high resolution pictures so we can compare if this is just one fake controller or if this epidemic has spread further.

Ofc, the downside is that future fakers probably won't make the same mistake now and it will be even harder to tell if the controller is legit or not. :(

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Cabanon
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post that on nintendoage as well Lithium, there's lot of n64 collector there as well.
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buddy1983
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thats a shame, hope you get your money back
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CoachLuke22
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Im glad I never bought one of his "E3" controllers. I almost bought one but before I did I researched them a little bit more and found out how many he had sold and changed my mind.

I feel bad for all those who were duped by TheGT550. I bought a fake Millennium 2000 and understand how youre feeling. I was able to get my money back and I hope y'all(im from texas :) do to.

I agree with Sanni though. While this is a very informative thread on how to spot fakes, I fear it will be used by people to create a "perfect fake".

Is there a way for this thread to be private? Maybe the only way you can see this thread is to PM a mod or something?
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lithium017
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Interesting suggestion to remove the thread or make it private. I believe those who purchased a controller from TheGT550 need to see this post and have the right to the information.
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Xephyrian
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How bout just make all the proof hidden, so others can know it's fake but don't get to know how or why unless they have special permission.
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flmadness
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wow! I was always concerned and wondered how he found so many. Its really a shame that this happened and happened to so many people. I really hope that everybody gets there money back! It scares me into buying some of these rarer controllers.

I really hope this turns out well for everybody
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Vinyl
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Well this was a surprize .. Shocking.. Poor buyers, This can go in a law suite 0.o

GT550 should be ashamed and now, pretty much screwed.

I am very sorry for everyones loss and faith. I hope everything turns out well.

((PS: small suggestion: can make this a sticky? ))

PPS: Why make everything hidden? People need to be aware of fake controllers no?..
Edited by Vinyl, Sep 4 2013, 01:27 PM.
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finngamer
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CoachLuke22
Sep 4 2013, 12:58 PM
While this is a very informative thread on how to spot fakes, I fear it will be used by people to create a "perfect fake".
That is a possibility, but I believe having this public raises buyer awareness more than the desire to counterfeit.

Besides, a counterfeiter could buy his own official one and start making his copies from there, keeping these pictures private wouldn't prevent that.


But even if someone could make an emblem with the exact dimensions, there's still the obstacle of the right material and cutting it. It's quite possible the edges will always look and feel fake if produced at home.
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TNT737373
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CoachLuke22
Sep 4 2013, 12:58 PM
While this is a very informative thread on how to spot fakes, I fear it will be used by people to create a "perfect fake".

Is there a way for this thread to be private? Maybe the only way you can see this thread is to PM a mod or something?
My biggest fear also, we're not talking about the intricacies of a Rolex watch, this is merely a decal. Kudos to DDR, Lithium, and Finngamer for taking these preventative measures before the market becomes flooded with more proper, harder to spot fakes. Thanks to DDR's list, damage control can be done and the authentic controllers may be spotted to get an accurate count. Because of Finngamer's fame and following, I think it would be a great idea if he became the leading authority or at least a public figure to decide what controllers are genuine and what are not. Not only as a service to us, but as a service to the market.

It is incredibly disheartening to hear GT has been pushing these fakes, what I thought was a great outlet for this community has turned out to be a sham. My heart sinks as I feel horrible for Lithium and the other members who've purchased a fake E3. Like the others I expect punishment. From what I've seen here he's both aware and responsible. Time and time again the biggest lesson I've learned in retro-collecting is "if it's too good to be true, it is..". Being as these controllers have sold for hundreds, close to thousands of dollars with the possibility some will not get their money back, I don't believe it is harsh judgement to boot GT from our forums here and blacklist his name. Give him a chance to explain himself, but if he doesn't present any evidence immediately just boot him. Zero-tolerance policy on screwing other members over, whether it was intentional or not he is not longer viewed as a creditable source.
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i8ablueskittle
and it tasted good...
Thank you so much finngamer for finally figuring all this out. If anyone has thegt500's info, he should be contacted and demanded to refund all people that bought his E3s. I'm glad I got rid of mine, however to feel very bad that I also sold one of these after I upgraded mine.
I'll also definitely be checking my measurements as soon as I go home!
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complyordie
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Is it not possible to open a claim on Paypal if the transaction is older than 45 days? :/
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sanni
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Can you VGA grade used controllers? That would be a good solution, the controller would be verified to be authentic and incased into acrylic glass so you can't exchange it with a fake after getting the real one verified.
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KelamyAUS
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sanni
Sep 4 2013, 03:10 PM
Can you VGA grade used controllers? That would be a good solution, the controller would be verified to be authentic and incased into acrylic glass so you can't exchange it with a fake after getting the real one verified.
I have emailed VGA about this, they can't grade it, but can authenticate it and have it nicely displayed, with the certificate and all that. Something I have definitely thought about doing. But just how accurate can their authnenticity be?
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finngamer
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sanni
Sep 4 2013, 03:10 PM
Can you VGA grade used controllers? That would be a good solution, the controller would be verified to be authentic and incased into acrylic glass so you can't exchange it with a fake after getting the real one verified.
They can grade loose stuff, if it was never sold as sealed (like this controller). Problem is, VGA probably hasn't seen a single one of these controllers. :-/

But like I said, I'll be happy to authenticate any controllers for free. Can't seal them though.
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ddr2nite
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mjwatts26
Sep 4 2013, 12:39 PM
What is his eBay username? I tried searching TheGT550 but can't find it, I assume it's something different? It would be nice to know so people don't continue to buy these from him should he try to sell more.
I did some investigation regarding TheGT550's EBay account... here is what I've come up with:

Firstly, Nadim9067 had purchased an E3 controller on EBay from someone by the name of nintedo64_fan. This can be viewed at the following page and you'll find some of the threads here: http://s9.zetaboards.com/Nintendo_64_Forever/topic/7296109/11/
**Side note - there are some high-res photos of Nadim's controller that they purchased from Thegt550 - from my eyes, that logo looks a bit poorly made and could very well be a fake just from those photos**

When you Google "nintedo64_fan EBay" you'll see that the first search result shows a link to take you to: eBay My World - nintedo64_fan

When you click on it, it redirects you to http://www.ebay.com/usr/classic_parts_source

Apparently, this user has now changed their name to classic_parts_source. If you click on their feedback profile and scroll down, you'll find the feedback from Nadim9067 from earlier this year for the E3 controller which was sold for $550.

So for now, we can assume that classic_parts_source is TheGT550's EBay account. He may potentially have other EBay accounts out there.
Posted ImageClick here to check out my N64 collection.
N64 Controllers: 30/30 Completed | ASCII Controllers: 15/15 Completed
N.A. Boxes: 8/8 Completed | Japan Boxes: 21/21 Completed
Full NTSC-J CIB Set: 198/198 Completed


"trust me, we all started with just one or two games
and then things kinda got out of hand
" - MK II
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DeeMoney
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Great work Dan for pursuing this issue. This really makes me angry that he has done this to some of our members here.

Hopefully we can get a good result all round and people can start recovering there money.
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SicCooper
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If anyone is pursuing this in any sort of legal manner, please let us all know, because myself, (and I am sure everyone else who bought one from him) would like in on it.


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Xephyrian
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SicCooper
Sep 4 2013, 04:25 PM
If anyone is pursuing this in any sort of legal manner, please let us all know, because myself, (and I am sure everyone else who bought one from him) would like in on it.
Did you check the dimensions of yours? I'd be curious to know if we have any more confirmed fakes.
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KelamyAUS
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SicCooper
Sep 4 2013, 04:25 PM
If anyone is pursuing this in any sort of legal manner, please let us all know, because myself, (and I am sure everyone else who bought one from him) would like in on it.
I have called PayPal and my bank. Paypal of course wont have anything to do with it, being more than 45 days. And as for the bank, with a credit card charge back. They can only do that IF I can get written proof from the person that I bought it from to declare that it is fake, send the controller back and attempt to get a refund through them. I dont see that working out, so I will be trying to find an alternative method.
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