Almost every multi-disc boxset release by major artist is followed by a counterfeit. Usually, these fakes are made somewhere in South-East Asia. Initially they are sold by Asian/Chinese dealers as ‘brand-new and sealed’ at bargain prices. Sometimes they are on sale from the other parts of the world and even can be found in big-name shops (like at amazon from the third-party sellers through ‘fulfilled by amazon’ program). In those cases, they are priced cheaper comparing to the official version, but not as cheap as advertised by ‘Chinese ebay dealer’. Some of these counterfeits are well known. There are numerous posts on music forums and videos on YouTube ‘how to spot fake box set xxx’ with detailed instructions and comparison original-to-fake.
In the case of The Rolling Stones counterfeits of the following box sets were documented:
2008 - The Rolling Stones: Greatest Albums in the Sixties (17 SHM-CDs+DVD 12” box) [UICY-91317]
(actually, counterfeit box contains not SHM but regular CDs).
2010 - The Rolling Stones – Remasters, US version  (14 Rolling Stones CDs 1971 – 2005)
2011 - The Rolling Stones – The Singles 1971-2006 
2016 - The Rolling Stones In Mono (several counterfeit versions exist)
In many cases it is hard to recognize counterfeits because the sellers use stock images. However, if the seller uploaded the images of the actual item it is possible to recognize the inconsistencies. Here in brief ‘How to spot fake box-set of The Rolling Stones’. I put information from different sources in one place.
General rule for all – stay away from Far East-Asian sellers, 3rd party dealers at amazon and avoid ‘$45 deals’ on from untrusty online sellers. Sure, amazon, bullmoose or similar can offer big discount during promo actions. But one should jump on those only if it is 100% sure the sale is from the official site but not from 3rd party.2008 - The Rolling Stones: Greatest Albums in the Sixties (17 SHM-CDs+DVD 12” box) [UICY-91317]
At least two fake versions were on the market. One was reporter by our own theo1954. It is numbered as ? 000003. Another fake was reported by Jessa on the other resource with box number ? 001962. The other one was discussed by Beave on Steve Hoffman’s music forum (no information about the number of the box).
In all cases the 1st marker is slightly different colors of the box and slightly different fonts for box number.
Inside the box – TSMR is without 3D picture on the cover, Rock’n’Roll Circus in gate-fold sleeve
CDs carry strange SID mould codes like ifpi B100 or ifpi CC309
Although, SHM-CD logo is printed on the hub, the catalog number, SID mastering code and Universal logo are present in the inner mirror band of the CD the fonts that are used are different from official. Also, the CD shape is different from those that are pressed in Japan.Problems with identification:
It is very hard to recognize the fake from outside from low-quality online images. One should pay attention to box number. The only way to distinguish the fake is to open the box and check the CDs. SID mould codes ifpi B100 or ifpi CC309 directly point to Chinese fake.2010 - The Rolling Stones – Remasters, US version 
The safe choice is EU box. On the red side of the box there is barcode only. The CDs in the box are in modern ‘super jewel’ cases. Apparently, these were not faked.
Problematic are copies of the US version of the box.
They are characterized by the following:
Bar code: 600753204429.
Red side of the box contains FBI ani-piracy warning.
Discs are in regular jewel cases.
For ‘Black And Blue’ there are no credits – catalog number, Polydor and The Rolling Stones logos - on the blue spine of the CD.
The things that can be seen only if one opens the box:
Exile on Main Street came with 2010 CD1 EU label and catalog number
For CDs with printed/picture label (EOMS, Dirty Work, Steel Wheels, Voodoo Lounge, Bridges to Babylon, A Bigger Bang) there is an extra ‘silver’ ring on the label side around the hub.
Different shape of the CD. Originals from USA are ‘clear plastic’ hub CDs. Chinese fakes came with relatively broad ‘clear’ ring, but part of the hub is covered with ‘silver’ foil.
Weird font for mould ifpi code (no code reported but the ifpi style on low quality images pointed to ‘Chinese ifpi B404’ type).Problems with identification:
There is little information on the US made boxes. Seems that not too many fans purchased originals.
The 2009 remastered series that were made in the USA, Canada and Argentina were packed with regular jewel cases. Thus, one can distinguish the fake only opening the box and checking CDs and mould ifpi codes2011 - The Rolling Stones – The Singles 1971-2006 
There was only one version of the box. The CDs carry hub imprint MADE IN GERMANY BY EDC
Japanese version [UICY-5011/55] contains the same box with extra barcode sticker (it covers original barcode with one for Japanese market 4 988005 649799), additional Japanese booklet and OBI. A resealable clear protective sleeve holds both OBI and additional booklet together with the box set.
The Singles 1971-2006 boxset is numbered. Thus, the task to spot the fake is slightly simplified. A suspicious box is *011914. It is common on ebay and different ‘exotic’ e-commerce platforms like Southeast Asian shoppee. Sometime several boxes with this number are listed simultaneously from different parts of the world.
Characteristic features for fake box:
– the hype sticker is glued on the top of the sealed box. The official one had the sticker on the front, bottom left corner.
– the asterisk (*) in number string. For *011914 box so called ‘Heavy Teardrop-Spoked’ asterisk was used. All spokes of the asterisk are connected by sharp ends in the center. Tear-drop shape of an individual spoke is formed smoothly. For official edition the shape is more like ‘Balloon-Spoked Asterisk’ with ‘bold spot center’. I.e., there is a bold spot in the center where thin spokes began. The ends of the spokes have ‘balloon’-like rather than ‘tear drop’ shapes. Also, (due to fine texture of the carton or fading of the stamp???) many official boxes have printing defects on the asterisk’s spokes. For *011914 box the asterisk is defects-free.
- slightly different fonts were used for numbers. The details are almost indistinguishable at the first look. To name a few: straight vertical ‘inner’ lines for ‘0’s and ‘9’s for official editions and curved for *011914, longer and sharp ended left part of the ‘horizontal feet’ for number ‘4’ for official, different shapes for ‘nose’ and ‘feet’ for number ‘1’, different thicknesses and curvatures of the lines (compare the bottom part of number ‘9’ for *011914 (fake) and *011981 (original)).
Unfortunately, there is only limited information about the content of the fake box. The only obvious difference is an extra ‘silver’ ring around the hub on the label side (marked here with red arrow). It is absent for the official version of the disc. The shape of the CD is different too (compare the width of the clear plastic ring surrounding the central hole). There are, probably, more differences (ifpi codes, fonts for matrices etc.) but they are yet unknown. It is necessary to have in hands a CD from counterfeit box to track all the details. Well, good quality image will also do. As well, there were no inner plastic sleeves for the official release. The CDs from box *011914 have those.
If you are about to purchase sealed The Singles 1971-2006 boxset cheap ask the seller for the number of the box and a picture of the actual item that is up for sale. Close up image of the box number is a must. Stay away from *011914.2016 - The Rolling Stones In Mono
Only EU and US boxes with CDs in 5” paper sleeves were faked. Several counterfeit versions exist. This time pirates learn their mistakes. It is almost impossible to recognize the fake from outside. The box itself was reproduced faithfully. There were reports the flyer attached to the back of the box was printed pale. But one cannot recognize this from online picture.
Things to check is the shrink is already cut (none of these are 100% signature of fake):
- magnetic lock in the cover. Some fakes boxes do not have magnet. The others do.
- pale/incorrect colors of the sleeves. Poorly glued sleeves. It is to be pointed out that the official US version came with rather sloppy sleeves.
Things that point directly to fake
- no outer plastic sleeves for individual CD covers, but CD is packed with the inner protective plastic sleeve. The official US version did not carry any plastic sleeves. The official EU version had resealable outer plastic sleeve and protective inner plastic sleeve (as pictured, official EU version)
- SID mould code ifpi B404 (or similar) or IFPI O8N5. Different fonts for matrix string. Different shapes of the CD.
Here are scans of fake Chinese CD provided by urbansteel
This is CD from official US box by dafnaplus.
Note different width of the inner mirror band. Different fonts for matrix number, different width of barcode.
For both USA and EU versions of CDs SID mould ifpi code is printed close to the edge of the central hole and is barely visible.
Here is another fake with IFPI O8N5
Apparently, there was a fake of EU box too. But at the moment I cannot find confirmation with graphical evidences.
Feel free to add your details..
Edited 5 time(s). Last edit at 2021-05-03 11:31 by ironbelly.