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How to Spot a Fake KAWS Figure : Every Collector Should To Know

In the dynamic world of contemporary art and collectibles, few names resonate as powerfully as that of KAWS, an artist whose work transcends the conventional boundaries of street art and high-end galleries. KAWS, born Brian Donnelly, has carved a unique niche for himself, merging pop culture, street aesthetics, and fine art to create a style that is both accessible and profoundly artistic. His figures, especially the iconic ‘Companion’ series, have become more than just collectibles; they are a statement, a fusion of modern art and pop culture that speaks directly to a generation that values both aesthetic and cultural significance.

However, with the meteoric rise of KAWS in the art and collector’s world comes a significant challenge: the proliferation of counterfeit KAWS figures. These knockoffs, often indistinguishable at first glance from the genuine articles, have flooded the market, exploiting the high demand and limited availability of authentic KAWS pieces. The exclusivity and allure of KAWS’ work, often released in limited editions and snapped up rapidly by enthusiasts, have only fueled this burgeoning counterfeit market.

For collectors and aficionados of streetwear and contemporary art, the distinction between real and fake KAWS figures has become a crucial skill, akin to an art form in itself. This guide aims to equip you with the knowledge and tools to navigate this tricky landscape, ensuring that your collection is both authentic and valuable. Whether you’re a seasoned collector or new to the world of KAWS, understanding the nuances that differentiate a genuine piece from a counterfeit is essential in preserving both the integrity of your collection and the value of your investment.

In the following sections, we’ll delve into the various aspects that mark the authenticity of a KAWS figure, from the quality of craftsmanship to the nuances of packaging and branding. By the end of this guide, you’ll be equipped with the keen eye of a seasoned collector, able to discern the real from the replica, and secure in the knowledge that your collection represents the true spirit of KAWS’ artistic vision.

kaws collections
kaws collections

Understanding Authentic KAWS Figures

Delving into the world of KAWS collectibles is an exhilarating journey, one that merges the realms of high art and pop culture. To ensure that your foray into this vibrant world is both rewarding and genuine, it’s crucial to understand what sets an authentic KAWS figure apart from its counterfeit counterparts.

The hallmark of an authentic KAWS figure lies in its impeccable craftsmanship. Each genuine KAWS piece is renowned for its solid and dense feel, a testament to the high-quality materials used in its creation. This weight and solidity stand in stark contrast to the often hollow and flimsy nature of counterfeit products. When you hold an authentic KAWS figure, you’re not just holding a piece of art; you’re holding a symbol of quality and dedication to craft.

Another critical aspect in identifying genuine KAWS figures is the meticulous attention to detail in their production. The paintwork on these figures is flawless – clean, precise, and evenly applied, ensuring that each figure aligns perfectly with KAWS’ original vision. The proportions and symmetry are also consistent with the artist’s design, leaving no room for the discrepancies often found in fake versions.

Familiarizing oneself with the specific models of KAWS figures is equally important. Each model has its distinct colorways, dimensions, and design features. Authentic KAWS figures exhibit a consistent quality across these elements, which counterfeiters often struggle to replicate accurately. For instance, a particular figure might only be available in certain colors; any deviation from this palette can be a red flag for collectors.

Additionally, the finish and texture of genuine KAWS figures are smooth, without any bumps or rough spots that might indicate a rushed or careless manufacturing process. This level of quality control is a signature of KAWS’ production, ensuring that each piece meets his stringent standards before it reaches the hands of collectors.

In summary, discerning the authenticity of KAWS figures boils down to a keen eye for quality, detail, and adherence to the artist’s original specifications. By familiarizing yourself with these key characteristics, you can confidently navigate the market, ensuring that your collection is both authentic and a true reflection of KAWS’ artistic vision. For collectors and enthusiasts alike, this knowledge is not just about safeguarding an investment – it’s about honoring the artistry and legacy of one of the most influential artists in the contemporary scene.

Key Features to Inspect

To thoroughly analyze the authenticity of a KAWS figure, it’s important to delve into the finer details of what distinguishes an original from a fake. This detailed examination focuses on specific features and characteristics that are consistent in genuine KAWS figures but are often poorly replicated or missing in counterfeits. Below is a breakdown of these key features, followed by a comparative table at the end for easy reference.

Paint Quality

  • Authentic: The paint on genuine KAWS figures is immaculate. It is applied evenly, with clean lines and precise edges. The color is consistent, and there’s a uniformity that speaks to the meticulous production process.
  • Fake: Counterfeit figures often have sloppy paintwork. This can manifest as uneven application, smudges, or misaligned colors. The paint might appear too thick or too thin in places, lacking the uniformity of an authentic piece.

Facial Details

  • Authentic: Authentic KAWS figures feature the iconic “X X” eyes that are bold and deeply engraved or molded. The nostrils and other facial features are also well-defined, maintaining a consistent depth and shape.
  • Fake: Fakes often get the facial details wrong. The “X X” eyes might be too shallow, uneven, or not as sharp. The nostrils and other facial features might lack definition, appear superficial, or inconsistently shaped.

Proportions and Finish

  • Authentic: The proportions of a genuine KAWS figure align perfectly with the artist’s design. The finish is smooth, with a texture that feels even and refined. There are no rough spots, bumps, or inconsistencies in the material.
  • Fake: Counterfeits may have distorted proportions, not adhering to the precision of the original design. The finish might feel rough, bumpy, or uneven, indicating inferior production quality.

Inscription on the Sole

  • Authentic: On the sole, authentic KAWS figures have clear, correctly spelled, and precisely positioned inscriptions. These include the creation year and © KAWS mark. Some may also include series names or manufacturer details.
  • Fake: The inscriptions on fake figures are often misspelled, poorly positioned, or completely missing. They might use incorrect fonts or have inaccuracies in the year or other details.

Comparative Table: Authentic vs. Fake KAWS Figures

FeatureAuthentic KAWS FigureFake KAWS Figure
Paint QualityEven, clean, preciseUneven, smudged, misaligned
Facial DetailsBold, deeply set “X X”, well-defined nostrilsShallow “X X”, poorly defined facial features
Proportions and FinishSymmetric, smooth textureDistorted proportions, rough texture
Inscription on the SoleCorrect spelling, precise positioning, © KAWS markMisspellings, incorrect positioning, missing details
Kaws Figure Comparison of true and false forms

This detailed comparison should equip collectors and enthusiasts with the necessary knowledge to discern the authenticity of KAWS figures. It underscores the importance of a meticulous inspection, focusing on the finer details that reveal the true nature of these coveted collectibles. Remember, investing in an authentic KAWS figure is not just about owning a piece of art; it’s about appreciating the artist’s vision and the craftsmanship that brings it to life.

Packaging and Branding

For collectors and enthusiasts of KAWS figures, the packaging and branding of these coveted items are as crucial as the figures themselves. Authentic packaging and branding not only assure the legitimacy of the piece but also contribute to its overall aesthetic and collector’s value. In the realm of trendy toys, where attention to detail is paramount, these aspects can be the deciding factors between a prized possession and a regrettable purchase.

Importance of Authentic Packaging: The first line of defense against counterfeits is often the packaging. Authentic KAWS figures come in packaging that is a work of art in itself. The correct font and text on the packaging are essential indicators of authenticity. Genuine KAWS products feature specific fonts and design layouts, which are consistently used across products. Counterfeit items often overlook these subtleties, resulting in fonts that may be slightly off in size, style, or alignment. The quality of the packaging material also speaks volumes; authentic boxes are generally made of high-quality, durable materials with a finish that aligns with the luxury status of KAWS’ art pieces.

Significance of Product Stamps and Edition Size: Equally important are the product stamps and information about the edition size. Authentic KAWS figures will typically have detailed information stamped on them, including year of creation, copyright information, and sometimes, the edition size. These stamps are meticulously applied and contain precise information that is hard for counterfeiters to replicate accurately.

The edition size also plays a critical role in the value of a KAWS figure. Limited edition pieces are more sought-after and therefore hold more value. Each genuine KAWS figure from a limited series will have information about its position in the series (e.g., 50/500), underscoring its exclusivity. Counterfeit products often either omit this information or provide incorrect or inconsistent numbering.

In conclusion, the packaging and branding of KAWS figures are not just about aesthetics; they are about the integrity and authenticity of the product. As a collector, understanding and recognizing these details can make the difference in building a valuable and authentic collection. The joy of collecting KAWS figures lies as much in appreciating these nuances as it does in owning a piece by the renowned artist. Therefore, always pay keen attention to the packaging and branding to ensure that your collection is both legitimate and of the highest quality.

Caring for Your KAWS Bearbrick

Owning a KAWS Bearbrick is not just about possession; it’s about preservation and appreciation of a unique piece of art. These collectible figures, known for their distinctive designs and cultural significance, require careful handling and maintenance to retain their value and beauty. Here are some essential tips for caring for your KAWS Bearbrick, ensuring it remains in pristine condition for years to come.

  1. Avoid Sunlight: UV rays can be detrimental to the colors and materials of your KAWS Bearbrick. Continuous exposure to direct sunlight can lead to fading and discoloration. To preserve the vibrant colors and intricate details of your figure, it’s recommended to display it in a location that avoids direct sunlight. Consider placing it in an area with diffused lighting or in a display case that offers UV protection.
  2. Handling with Care: While KAWS Bearbricks may seem sturdy, they require gentle handling to maintain their condition. It’s advisable to handle your Bearbrick by its body, avoiding excessive pressure on the limbs or head. These parts can be delicate and prone to damage if handled roughly. When moving or repositioning your figure, do so with care, ensuring all parts are supported.
  3. Dust Regularly: Dust can accumulate over time and detract from the visual appeal of your KAWS Bearbrick. Regular dusting with a soft, dry cloth can help maintain its appearance. Avoid using water or cleaning agents, as they can potentially damage the surface of the figure. For hard-to-reach areas, a soft-bristled brush can be gently used.
  4. Temperature and Humidity Control: Extreme temperatures and high humidity levels can adversely affect your KAWS Bearbrick. It’s important to store and display your figure in an environment with controlled temperature and humidity. Avoid places like attics or basements where conditions can fluctuate significantly.
  5. Storage and Display: If you need to store your KAWS Bearbrick, do so in a cool, dry place. The original packaging can be ideal for storage as it offers protection and is designed to accommodate the figure’s dimensions. When displaying, consider using a display case that protects from dust and potential physical damage.
  6. Avoid Chemical Exposure: Keep your KAWS Bearbrick away from chemicals, including household cleaners and sprays. These substances can react with the materials of the figure, leading to damage or discoloration.
  7. Regular Inspection: Periodically inspect your KAWS Bearbrick for any signs of wear or damage. Early detection of issues can prevent further deterioration. If you notice any damage, seek advice from a professional conservator or a knowledgeable collector for the best course of action.

By following these tips, you can ensure that your KAWS Bearbrick remains a valuable and cherished piece in your collection. Proper care and maintenance not only preserve the physical condition of the figure but also help maintain its artistic and monetary value over time. Remember, caring for a KAWS Bearbrick is akin to preserving a piece of contemporary art, deserving of attention and respect.

Where to Buy Authentic Figures

Navigating the market for authentic KAWS figures can be challenging, particularly given the prevalence of counterfeits. To ensure you are adding genuine pieces to your collection, there are several strategies you should employ when making a purchase.

1. Purchasing from Reputable Sellers and Authorized Retailers: The safest bet when buying a KAWS figure is to go through authorized retailers or directly from official KAWS releases. These sellers guarantee the authenticity of the figures they sell. Websites like are known for their reliability in providing authentic figures. They often have a direct relationship with manufacturers or artists, ensuring that their inventory is legitimate.

2. Research the Seller: Before making a purchase, especially online, take the time to research the seller. Look for reviews, previous customer experiences, and the seller’s history in the market. Reputable sellers typically have a track record of satisfied customers and transparent business practices.

3. Beware of Deals That Seem Too Good to Be True: If you come across a deal that seems incredibly low compared to the market value, proceed with caution. It’s a common tactic for counterfeit sellers to lure buyers with attractive prices. Remember, genuine KAWS figures, especially limited editions, hold significant value and are rarely sold for bargain prices.

4. Ask for Provenance and Documentation: A trustworthy seller should be able to provide provenance or documentation of authenticity for the figure. This might include original receipts, certificates of authenticity, or production notes. Don’t hesitate to ask for these documents before completing your purchase.

5. Inspect the Figure Upon Arrival: Once you receive your figure, inspect it thoroughly using the guidelines mentioned earlier in this guide. Check the paint quality, facial details, proportions, and inscriptions for signs of authenticity.

6. Avoid Unfamiliar Sources: While it can be tempting to explore new sources or platforms offering KAWS figures, it’s advisable to stick to known and reliable sellers. Unfamiliar sources may carry higher risks of selling counterfeit items.

7. Stay Informed: Keep up with the latest news and releases in the KAWS community. Knowing about the latest releases, retired figures, and market trends can help you make informed decisions while purchasing.

In conclusion, purchasing an authentic KAWS figure requires diligence, research, and sometimes, a bit of skepticism. By following these guidelines, you can significantly reduce the risk of inadvertently adding a counterfeit piece to your collection. Authentic KAWS figures are not just purchases; they are investments in art and culture. Therefore, taking the time to ensure the authenticity of your acquisition is paramount.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on Authenticating KAWS Figures

How can I verify the authenticity of a KAWS figure before purchasing?

To verify authenticity, closely examine the figure for key indicators: even and precise paint quality, deeply set and bold “X X” facial details, consistent proportions and a smooth finish, and correct inscriptions on the sole. Always buy from reputable sellers and, if possible, compare the figure to known authentic examples.

Are there any specific tools or techniques used in authenticating KAWS figures?

While there are no specific tools required, a magnifying glass can help in closely examining paint quality and inscriptions. Familiarizing yourself with high-resolution images of authentic figures for comparison is also beneficial. Remember, knowledge and attention to detail are your best tools.

Can I rely on the packaging to determine if a KAWS figure is authentic?

Packaging can be a helpful indicator but should not be the sole basis for authentication. Counterfeiters can replicate packaging quite well. Always inspect the figure itself, focusing on the detailed aspects outlined in the authenticity guide.

What should I do if I suspect that my KAWS figure is a fake?

If you suspect your figure is counterfeit, compare it against the authentication criteria detailed in this guide. For further verification, consider consulting with a reputable collector or an expert in the field. If purchased recently, check the return policy of the seller.

Are there any online resources or communities for KAWS collectors to help with authentication?

Yes, online forums and social media groups dedicated to KAWS collectors can be valuable resources. Members often share knowledge, experiences, and can offer advice on authentication. Additionally, websites like KAWS’s official site or archives can provide reference material.

How can I ensure I’m buying an authentic KAWS figure online?

When buying online, purchase from official stores or authorized retailers. Check seller reviews, ask for detailed photos of the figure, and cross-reference these with the authentication guide. Be wary of prices that seem too good to be true, as they often indicate counterfeits.

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