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 Post subject: BEWARE: Fake or mislabeled sets on second hand sites
Post #1 Posted: Tue Aug 24, 2021 9:10 am 
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I wanted to raise a warning about fake and mislabeled sets on sites like Ebay. I've hesitated to do this since I sell stones and don't want to appear as though I'm attacking competition, but since I'm not as active now and there are several mislabeled sets at overly inflated prices showing up in my feed, I felt I shouldn't stay silent anymore.

The most common mislabel I've seen (by far) is glass being substituted for slate and shell. Here are a few current examples.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/324732052335?

https://www.ebay.com/itm/124829786323?

The first warning here is that the pictures are the same on both auctions, yet under different usernames. The stones are clearly glass and not slate and shell (and definitely not moon grade as the second auction says...in fact the box holding the stones in the picture says Jitsuyo [practical] grade).

Brand new, these glass stones would be, at the most, $70, and more likely as low as $30 depending on where you bought them. Used glass stones on Yahoo Auctions Japan with wooden bowls are easy to find for less than $5.

Here are two more offenders I found just from a cursory glance at stones on ebay...

https://www.ebay.com/itm/234105203991?

https://www.ebay.com/itm/234084858264?

The last one is hard to see, but from the side shape of the stone it is not clamshell.

--> If you're not sure whether the stones are clamshell or not there is a simple rule to follow. If you can't see the grain, don't buy it.

The word "vintage" gets thrown around so often it seems to have lost all meaning. Be wary when you see it because someone might be using "vintage" to paint some equipment as being worth more than it actually is.

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Boards are also a commonly mislabeled offender. Usually its Shin-kaya (spruce) being passed off as real Kaya, but I've also seen old, cracked, and smoked over Katsura boards sold as kaya too. The differences between Kaya and Shin-kaya are harder to spot if you don't know what you're looking for. Shin-kaya has a much darker grain and will almost universally be in high quality Shihomasa or Tenchimasa cuts, I've never seen Shin-kaya in an itame cut or oimasa cut, and almost never in tenmasa.

If you buy a board labeled "kaya" and think its not simply run the smell test. If it has a sweet cinnamon scent then it's real kaya. Sometimes the smell dissipates over time (after about a century or so), so cover the board for about a week and then smell it afterward. Alternatively you can carefully remove one of the legs from the peg and smell inside the hole (make sure to put the leg back exactly as it was or it might not fit and you'll damage the board).

Cheap katsura boards I've seen sell for hundreds of dollars as "kaya" are often found on yahoo auctions japan for about $5 or less. Old, dirty, shin-kaya boards are also often sold at that same price.

Here are a few current offenders on ebay...

https://www.ebay.com/itm/353607533546?

This board is Shin-kaya, and could probably be bought from $5 - $30 on Yahoo Auctions Japan.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/154341888262?

This board is not kaya. I can't quite identify the wood but I believe it is ginko.

Watch out for any auctions from Japan that list "New Kaya Board" or something similar. They might not be stating that the board is "new" but rather that it is "shin-kaya" which roughly translates as "new kaya"
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Over the years I've seen cheap chestnut bowls sold as expensive mulberry, glass sold as slate and shell, slate and shell stones sold as an incorrect grade (Jitsuyu stones sold as Yuki [snow] grade) and any number of other issues.

I don't believe most sets are sold as scams, and that the issue is generally ignorance. Someone who knows nothing about Go equipment either runs a second-hand shop in Japan or inherited grandpas Go stones and doesn't know anything about them. They see prices on Ebay as significantly higher for most equipment than Yahoo Auctions Japan and they sell the stones there. I suspect mislabeled products come from a cursory research into what is best and these individuals, who know nothing of the different grades of equipment, simply label them as such. Then again there are scammers out there too. Either way please be careful when buying second-hand equipment. Even though I know what to look for when buying, I will occasionally get burned from time to time too.


This post by Erythen was liked by 4 people: EdLee, EricBackus, Galation, Joaz Banbeck
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 Post subject: Re: BEWARE: Fake or mislabeled sets on second hand sites
Post #2 Posted: Tue Aug 24, 2021 2:09 pm 
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Hi Erythen,
what you showed is really incredible, but I have seen myself many cases of auctions that did not offered return of the goods (or that have most of the price in packing/shipping so that returning the goods is probibitively epensive) and sellers that use clever statements, like:
I am not an expert, but I believe the wood is Kaya, also when their pictures tell a different story :-?

Thank you for your warning,
Galation

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 Post subject: Re: BEWARE: Fake or mislabeled sets on second hand sites
Post #3 Posted: Tue Aug 24, 2021 2:43 pm 
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Thanks for the warnings! I hope everyone shopping for go equipment has the sense to carefully observe, ask questions, and compare products against those from known and reputable sites and sellers who have good reputations. A $2000 set from, say, Kuroki is a known value while a $600 used set from a disreputable or ignorant seller could be $550 wasted.

Easy for the innocent or foolish to get ripped off in a seller's market.

All of the used go equipment I have bought off eBay has arrived exactly as described. I could just have been lucky, I guess, but those deals never appeared too good to be true and the email exchanges with the vendors had a nice ring of honesty and respect to them.

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 Post subject: Re: BEWARE: Fake or mislabeled sets on second hand sites
Post #4 Posted: Wed Aug 25, 2021 8:37 am 
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Erythen wrote:
I wanted to raise a warning about fake and mislabeled sets on sites like Ebay...
...current examples.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/324732052335?...


I was curious, and looked at the first item that Erythen listed. The title said 'clam', but the photo was clearly of glass stones.
So I wrote to the seller ( japan_gate_design ), asking if he perhaps made a mistake. He replied within 10 minutes, and doubled down on the bad description.

Quote:
Thank you for your message.
This item is Clam go stone.
They are very beautiful.


It is getting hard to believe that this is anything but a deliberate scam.


Erythen wrote:
Here are two more offenders I found just from a cursory glance at stones on ebay...

https://www.ebay.com/itm/234105203991?

I wrote to this seller also.
He replied:
Quote:
Hello.

Removed clam notation.

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 Post subject: Re: BEWARE: Fake or mislabeled sets on second hand sites
Post #5 Posted: Wed Aug 25, 2021 9:10 am 
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Joaz Banbeck wrote:
Erythen wrote:
I wanted to raise a warning about fake and mislabeled sets on sites like Ebay...
...current examples.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/324732052335?...


I was curious, and looked at the first item that Erythen listed. The title said 'clam', but the photo was clearly of glass stones.
So I wrote to the seller ( japan_gate_design ), asking if he perhaps made a mistake. He replied within 10 minutes, and doubled down on the bad description.

Quote:
Thank you for your message.
This item is Clam go stone.
They are very beautiful.


It is getting hard to believe that this is anything but a deliberate scam.


But, what about the description?

Description wrote:
ALL my product are 100% Authentic.

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 Post subject: Re: BEWARE: Fake or mislabeled sets on second hand sites
Post #6 Posted: Thu Aug 26, 2021 11:38 am 
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Joaz Banbeck wrote:
...
So I wrote to the seller ( japan_gate_design ), asking if he perhaps made a mistake. He replied within 10 minutes, and doubled down on the bad description...


Now the cheeky bastard has sent me a 5% off coupon, for something that we all know is falsely described.

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 Post subject: Re: BEWARE: Fake or mislabeled sets on second hand sites
Post #7 Posted: Thu Aug 26, 2021 11:41 am 
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[admin]

As an admin, I thought that online fraud was important enough that I stickied this thread.

If you see more clearly fraudulent listings, please add them to this thread.

[/admin]

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 Post subject: Re: BEWARE: Fake or mislabeled sets on second hand sites
Post #8 Posted: Thu Aug 26, 2021 3:49 pm 
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Focusing the first seller getting the most attention (Japan_gate_design), his other Go-related listings do seem to be accurate as to the material description. He even shows close ups of the scuff marks on a set of bowls.

As I type this, the seller has more than 580 items for sale. Is it possible this one listing just got screwed up?

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 Post subject: Re: BEWARE: Fake or mislabeled sets on second hand sites
Post #9 Posted: Fri Oct 08, 2021 12:16 pm 
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I think what Erythen spotted are very good examples of fake/mislabeld sets on ebay.
Clam shell go stones are pretty easy to be identified.
What is tricky is the material of goban.

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Post #10 Posted: Fri Oct 08, 2021 12:53 pm 
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Does Katsura wood have a scent?

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