In recent years Subbuteo has become very collectable and as such it has become haven for the unscrupulous repainter.If buying the more modern lightweight teams then on the whole you are fairly safe. These teams are machine painted and as their value is small compared to heavyweight teams, it is highly unlikely that you will buy a fake item.Earlier lightweight teams were hand painted but again as the value is low compared to heavyweights you shouldn't have any worries.
Now the problem, heavyweight teams......there are over 300 to collect some of which are very hard to find.In over 50 years of collecting and dealing I've never even seen some of these rare teams, yet some sellers are selling ten or so of these rare teams every week! As many of the con artists don't know the hobby, they paint teams up which never existed as heavyweights!
I could name these repainters but I won't, there are Subbuteo sites and messageboards where you can find out about these criminals.Beware of blurred photos, poor descriptions etc, check feedback, most repainters have private feedback to avoid being exposed.
If you should purchase a team there are easy checks you can make to see if your team is legit.
Bases ( including lettering should be the same colour/shade and have the same size writing of the word "Subbuteo".Check the boots, is brown painted over black or vice versa?, check the bar the players stand on, again look for a different colour on the bar to the boot colour.Check the skin tone is uniform on all players, check the areas under arms and on players sides, these are sometimes missed by repainters.There should be no paint on the base top, players were painted on sprues originally and not in their bases. Look for paint over the top of the original glue fixing the player to its base, a sure sign of repainting. Watch for missing paint on the front of boots, the sign a player has been rebased.Compare to other teams in your collection, see if the shades match.Colours such as green and yellow are very hard to match by repainters.Lastly don't be conned by the "correct ref number on box" con,anyone can do this on a pc, the number should have the correct font and the label should be the same colour as the box. A box in aged condition will not have a bright white label!
Finally if you get a dodgy team contact the seller and ask for a refund. If it is not forthcoming put in a dispute claim wih Paypal / Ebay and advise your local trading standards officer.
Repainting common teams and selling them as rare items is obtaining money by deception and a criminal offence. Don't be frightened to report these people who are spoiling a great British institution.
buying Subbuteo teams
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28 February 2008
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