+ Buyer Beware: Seconds, Reproductions, Fakes, Frauds and a few collecting myths
Early 90's blind, World Industries, Plan B, and 101 decks(originally published in 2001 / edited with additional information in 2013)
This Leprechaun was not such a lucky find for some people on eBay in 2001.
We all remember these...the always controversial graphics...great slicks with great artwork or photo-graphics....the decks that everyone would love to have again and pay top dollar to get! Well, they always seem to pop back up on eBay now and again and with an amazing number in mint condition....or so it would seem....bad news... most all of them are not the actual, original production run decks! But how? What are they? Where did they come from? Here is where the story gets a little muddy...
The collecting world first saw these hitting the market around 2000/2001...the "early years" for skateboard collecting...and in fact, it was part of the reason that AOS came to be at all. I and many other collectors noticed these "odd" decks on eBay being sold as the originals, and furthermore, they were selling for some big bucks back in those days. Many of us became suspicious. Something just looked "off" on them. I began adding the old photos/ads/etc of the actual original decks to the AOS Price Guide and then comparing them to these. Once you saw them side-by-side, it was hard to not see that they were not the real production runs of decks. That is when more and more information began to come in, and we shared more and more of it on AOS. It began to affect one of the main people/company that was pushing the decks on eBay to the point where...well, as they say in the old movies..."the jig was up!". Of course, that person/company did not take kindly to AOS being a big part of taking them down...to the point that we got threatened. However, we had the collecting world on our side, they were in the wrong and go caught, so there was not much that could be said. Those decks slowly trickled away from eBay all together at least for a short time.
But what was the story back in the early 2000's? Here is the original info from the first article posted on AOS:
...this distributor is also the one responsible for the blind,world,plan b decks that have been showing up on ebay.These are new school decks with new school hole patterns with laser copies/left over slick graphics sublimated on to them. Remember these decks are not slicks like the old school boards.These bootlegs are sublimated. A process that didnt become popular untill 1998.Maybe 1997. Beware any Plan B-Sal Barbier Pollution, Plan b -Danny Way Lepercaun,Blind- Guy Mariano Accidental Gun Death ,Plan B-Danny Way Shotgun,101 - kris markovich Evil Kenivel , 101 - Gabriel Rodriguez Punisher/Penalizer , World-Jeremy Klein kid w/black eye world....and i think a couple more...
Yes, stay away from all the boards that <above> listed unless you prefer to skate slicks because that's about all they're good for. Not only are they bootlegs, but most of them were done really shitty. Most of them were super off-center. The only question I had on them was with the concave. They do have the concave of a board from around 93-94, which is kind of unusual. You know that really flat concave. Most of these bootlegs were originally boards from 92. But shapes & hole patterns were definitely not right. The Way Plan B deck has a really muddy graphic too, which makes it look even less real. Anyway, I have one comment to add. I'm not so sure the Klein "black eye" is a 100% bootleg, but rather a World remake. This is what Sean Cliver had to say about some bootlegs: "here's the deal: somewhere in 94 or so, rocco discovered a huge back stock of "skins" at the woodshop--jason lee burger boards, jeremy klein black eye kid, and others--so he had them put on boards and sold them as "classics." That give some credit for the Klein in my opinion. Like the other reply on here sort of touched on, Rocco may have just slapped these together as completes to get them out the door. I don't think that holds true for these ones we're seeing a ton of though. They may all have been made with original skins though, which is what McKee's theory was on them. Who knows the truth that LIES behind these bootlegs, all I can say is it better stop, because it makes collecting really wack. I shouldn't have to hold any board I come across under the microscope.
I can give you the full scoop on those decks. I've been to the place where they are stored and sold. Many of the guys on ebay and even in the S&B forum know the place and have been there also. In fact I've run into and "met" in person people from ebay there. It's a "sports warehouse" in Orange County, CA. I figured out months back that diablosk8 is related to the owner of the place. Any of you guys that have been to ASR would have seen these guys there...They do have some cool stuff, but 99.2% (yes, exactly) of the stuff they have are factory blems, 2nds, cosmetics, etc...The whole operation is very slimey... For example, I was there a few weeks ago and there was a guy taking blem blanks (yes, blem blanks) and putting a sticker (world ind., etc? I can't remember) with the deck and shrink wrapping them. There was a stack of 50 that had been done and another 50 that were waiting... They have decks from about every company that are stamped with blem, cosmetic, 2nd, etc. Basically, they think they are the $#!t, but they don't have a clue. Most of the companies out there know this guy and use him to dump messed up crap or stuff that doesn't sell. When I first talked to this guy, he told me that he bought thousands of Powell decks at the firesale in (1994) for about $5 each (this is probably true). If you ask him now, he will deny it because it doesn't make him look as cool. He also bought probably 25,000 (minimum) old school decks that are blems for next to nothing... There are a few guys that make a living by buying from them, and reselling on ebay, which is totally fine. Have you noticed a whole lot of Alva Fred Smith "loud" decks or whatever...? Well, anyway, I've gone there with other ebay/s&b guys many times and each time, they have those danny way decks. Because I don't have much of a perspective on that deck, I thought it was kinda cool anyway, since it's an old and an off-centered legit graphic, just on the wrong deck. But I understand the concern. If someone stuck an early 80's bootleg graphic on a new school deck, it would be kinda cool if it was cheap. But, if you think you are buying a danny way original, and you're getting what I saw at that place, uh, you are going to be very unhappy.
- Someone found/bought a bunch of old, NOS graphic "sheets" (what was under the "slick" layer).
- In some cases, the person/people did not even have the original graphic sheets. They took a photo/image of an original graphic (either from a deck or other source), then enlarged and printed it out (laser printed/copier?) to be applied just as a regular graphic sheet.
- These graphic sheets were then applied to newer, generic blank popular decks of the day which were NOT the original shapes (and sometimes not even the same wood) as the original production runs of those same decks. The original shapes for these graphics were mostly "football" shaped with thinner, narrower tails and noses, shorter tails and the concave is different. Because all of them are on smaller "popsicle decks ", many collectors suspect this was done around 1996-1998 when that particular style came into more popularity.
- Some "tells" for these decks....a. they are all the same generic, popsicle shape (8 inch wide?)....b. stained top....c. no top graphic for the company
The only exceptions to the above are the small run of World Industries "Classics" that Rocco pushed out (some were sold, some were given away for things like a Big Brother magazine subscription). As noted above, Sean Cliver said "here's the deal...somewhere in 94 or so, Rocco discovered a huge back stock of 'skins' at the woodshop--Jason Lee Burger boards, Jeremy Klein black eye kid, and others--so he had them put on boards and sold them as 'classics'."
In the examples of the Jeremy Klein "Black Eye Kid" to the left, you can clearly see the difference in shape from the original to
the non-original versions. Also note the muted colors in the non-originals. The name is a bit off centered as well as cut
off on the ends. Lastly, the graphic itself is cut off on the sides (the background blue circle
is trimmed). Photo of original deck provided by Sean Cliver.
So how do we classify these? "Fakes"? Well, not exactly...World Industries made them originally and just put them out later on different shapes. "Seconds"? Well, no...the graphic sheets were fine....just "old". "Reissues"? That concept did not exist yet, but wait a second....maybe Rocco was really way ahead of his time....reproduce popular graphics again at a later time for yet another money grab? Sounds like Rocco's M.O...... maybe these are the first true "reissues"! (haha) An interesting way to look at it if nothing else....and how many companies have followed his lead since? Hmmmmmm......but let's get back to our story.
We thought that was the end of it. Years passed. Fast forward to now....2013. Skateboard collecting has gotten way more popular. The money involved has gotten bigger. Art galleries are having actual art shows for skateboard decks! You can see TV commercials with skateboards hanging on walls like artwork in the background! It really is amazing to see. But with all this new found popularity brings with it a slew of new collectors. Many of which may not be savvy, experienced and as hip to the skateboard collecting world's past, especially like the stories above. And then, wouldn't you know it...we started seeing some of those decks appear on eBay again!
(photo from collector, Snake Williams)
(1994 Way "Alien")
(1994 Plan B gripped top)
These are showing up again not by just one seller, but a couple. In many cases, there is no mention about the nature/past of the deck...not that it is on a different shape and not a true original deck. For example, you might see a listing like...1992 (insert deck name) slick bottom skateboard 8" in mint condition never gripped or mounted THIS DECK IS RARE!!!!!!
So no, it does not say that it is on a wrong shape which a buyer would only know if they knew it was not originally on a 8 inch wide deck. In our opinion, calling it "rare" is further misleading the would-be buyer that this is a 1992 original deck and not actually a late 90's deck with a 1992 graphic slapped on it.
Then there are other listings like....NOS VTG DANNNY WAY PLAN B LEPRECUAN Deck 90s Slick....This is a 1990s Plan B Danny Way Slick bottom Leprechaun deck its 8"X31 3/4" it's rare and in mint condition! Please note the top is a blue stain ,thanks for looking So again, this listing gives deck specs (width and length) but fails to tell you that that is not the original deck, and once again, it claims that this is rare. In some cases, the seller might mention something like below: NOS (deck name here) SLICK BOTTOM DECK IN GREAT CONDITION NEVER SKATED THESE DECKS WERE SITTING AROUND THE FACTORY PRESSED AND UNCUT TILL ABOUT 1998 THEN SOLD TO MAKE SPACE IN THE FACTORY AND MOST ALL THE KIDS AT THE TIME WERE SKATING 8.0 DECKS SO THAT'S WHAT THEY WERE CUT TOO WITH THE NEW HOLE PATTERN THEY ARE SLICK BOTTOM DECKS THERE NOT FAKE NOR BOOTLEG IF YOU CAN NOTICE IN THE PICTURE IT HAS EARLY 90's CONCAVE
This one is about the most honest we have seen. They actually almost do tell the story correctly. However, they do seem to still leave out some key pieces of information that might help a would-be buyer a little more.
We actually did receive a series of emails from one of the more recent sellers and possibly the most involved and directly "in the know" person in all of this. Now keep in mind, this seller is not talking about all of the decks discussed in this article. They are only talking about a smaller, subset that they are involved with selling (1992 Plan B Sal Barbier Pollution, 1994 Plan B Danny Way Leprechaun, and 1993 101 Gabriel Rodriguez Penalizer). They had been posting on AOS asking us to correct the information on these decks and not call them straight out "fakes". I sent them the information above and let them know that if they had any proof on the contrary to prove those decks were not "fake" (ie. not the original production run decks) that I would update this article and include the corrected information. However, as I emailed to them, I found it highly doubtful that they could provide real evidence to disprove/discount all the information that was collected and passed among collectors...in other words, what was "well known" in the skate collecting world up until this point....and convince me that these decks should be considered as legitimate originals. Here is what I received (which really does not help their case, in my opinion):
I'll get you proof these deck came directly from Prime in Los Angeles. If you haven't heard of them they are the ones that pressed all the Plan B, 101, World, Blind and Shortys decks back then. I don't understand how you can say you have held one in your hand and that it's a newer cheap blank when in fact it has the early 90's concave its not even the newer concave. If you really haven't held one in your hand, I'll be glad to send you one so you can really check it out because you are wrong and I am right and I want the shit fixed. It's not right what you have done by telling everybody and their mother that they're fake when I'm 100% for sure that they're not fakes. We bought these from Phill at Prime personally. They were pressed sitting in the factory, not cut out yet for a few years, so he unloaded them to us and asked if we wanted them cut to 8.0 because that's what all of the kids were skating at the time. Yeh big mistake that was. So you call them fake and now your killin me because every time I sell one, the guy's friend tells him they're fake and then he doesn't want it after all. I just don't want to have to get a lawyer but if I have to I will. Just don't want it to have to come down to that. You guys have been misleading people for years and its not right. [us misleading people? haha] Believe me if I wasn't 100% on this I wouldn't even be bugging you. " (*edited for grammatical and spelling errors)
After replying back to him, explaining my (and other collectors') side, asking him for his side of the story and letting him know that we could handle this in a more civil manner than involving lawyers for no reason, I think we started a more friendlier conversation. He followed this up with more information in another email.
What I'm saying, these were the original decks from 92-94. They even have the same concave from that time because they were the originals. What happened was they pressed way to many of those decks, so they were pressed still in squares...not drilled or cut out yet. They were sitting in the factory for a few years still not cut out yet. By that time, all the newer decks had the new hole patterns so the guys at Prime drilled them to the new hole pattern and cut the decks to 8.0. They didn't get the left over skins and slap them together on a newer shape deck .They were from the original run of decks, so therefore they are original...just not the original shape. They were cut out to be skated...not to collect at the time. So now 15 years later, they're collectible and no one want to buy them because you guys say they are fake or reproduction which is not true. Once again, they were from the original run of decks, just cut out later not remade later." (*edited for grammatical and spelling errors)
Well like I said these boards were pressed back in the early 90's with the ORIGINAL run of boards and Plan B and 101 had the factory press up too many boards I guess they didn't sell as many as they thought they would and these graphics change like every 6 months so they get discounted/closed out so in about 98-99 they were offered to us so we had them cut to 8.0 to be skated not to collect and by that time Plab B and 101 were out of business and the factory wanted them gone so we bought them and that's the real deal so I'm really not sure what to call them you tell me just don't call them fake and also these decks do have the early 90's concave. " (*edited for grammatical and spelling errors)
I also have the 1993 Penalizer Gabriel Rodriguez, and yes I did buy 10,000 skins but they were from AZA and they weren't slicks. They were all screened shop skins that never got pressed, and we sent them to Prime and they pressed them up for us as blank decks....Hey, also one more thing...What really sucks is that when these big companies needed money, they would always call us then sell us the stuff and then want us to put it on the moon...kinda messed up...." (*edited for grammatical and spelling errors)
Yes, those decks were also part of that deal (ie. other than the Leprechaun/Pollution/Penalizer), but they're long gone as there was only about 50 pieces of each of those decks and there was about 20 of the Danny way 'Shot Gun'. We sold a lot of these decks back 15 years ago. The decks that I have the most of is the Gabriel Rodriguez 'Penalizer'.. about 200 pieces left. So in total I have about 300 decks left then they will be history. I wanna say thank you for helping me clear this up I just don't want everybody to think they are fake when I know 100% for sure they are not. But I do want to let the buyers know what they are paying for. And for all of those that still think this is a made up story well there's nothing I can do about that. I just want the truth to be told. " (*edited for grammatical and spelling errors)
Now, some of this does not sound quite as believable to me (why would a company leave uncut already pressed "squares" around with a graphic applied? That's a lot of storage room used up not to mention material used), but it is what this particular seller says. In his case, this might be true, however, other people have seen first hand the "stacks" of old graphic sheets lying around before. In that case, what we are seeing as the end consumer is a combination of events and things that went down. Collectors chimed in with their opinions and speculation:
Theres NO WAY these are cut down decks. The original shapes for this graphics were football shaped with thinner pointed tails and noses...and plus the tails were a lot shorter, lower, and concave is different. You wouldn't be able to cut a football deck into that shape of these popsicles. These decks have the shape and concave of 96-98 decks...wider nose and tails with some but minimal concave....I've seen the stacks of slicks in (name removed) old shop. I'm pretty sure he has moved everything to his garage or a storage unit
slicks are / were applied as part of the pressing process. not applied later on. the slick plastic is printed first. so there could exist uncut blanks with graphics already there, cut into pop shapes from old pressed uncuts. these would show a side view with much different nose and tail kicks. also could have some old printed slicks, pressed into newer molds / wood. these would show as a more current board side view.
That story sounds plausible, except for one part where it all falls apart. If they were cut to 8.0 because it was what kids were skating, why were not sold in shops then? And in reverse, why cut these decks to 8.0 because kids were skating that - if you are not marketing them to those kids?! You're cutting them to 8 inches because it's 1998. But they didn't go on shop walls then, so who is cutting them like that and why? It's bullshit. Nice story though, marginally well thought out in comparison to other lies. It's pretty clear it's one dude sitting on stacks of them - (left over slicks on popsicles by the way), hoping to up his value by legitimizing these. Second time [in skateboard collecting circles] some random nebulous individual has pushed hard to make this happen.
Oh yeah, and for the record. There's just no doubt in my mind these are leftover slick bottom sheets from the correct era on popsicle decks from 98-00. Some guy had the sheets left over and put em on late 90's popsicles to try and make stock. It's far more feasible to think it's leftover unattached slicks. The era came and went so fast, to think there were plenty of leftovers is perfectly plausible. Why late 90's popsicles? Because the guy did it in the late 90's! These have been around for some time.
Probably decided to apply all the slicks he had, not thinking of not applying the slicks or just trying a few and seeing how they sell, rather than doing them all. You know how people can be - impatient, dumb, rash. Now he's sitting on a load of them. The slick era was a very short fad, and just like the shape decks and old school holes, it ended abruptly.
Why does someone cut down a deck to that shape when they're not selling it to the people who want that size and shape? That would be what someone would do in 1998 if they wanted to discount these to skate shops and get rid of them. This guy is saying it was the style of the time so that's what was done? Makes no sense, smells just like a bullshit story that sounded good when the guy thought it up but has serious holes. Postulating that he slapped the slicks on whatever blanks were being made then and were cheap, that's far more likely. Is his bullshit stories really that far from the truth where the truth is so hard to openly state? Just say they're fucking genuine leftover slick sheets from '94 applied to other blank popsicles in '99.
So yeh...there you have it. The graphic sheets appear to be original "old stock". They may or may not have been already applied to uncut "blanks" and pressed. However, they are not the original finished runs to be put out by the original company. They are also not on the original shape. Lastly, due to being "cut down" to fit the smaller shapes, they are not the full original graphic. So what do we call it if it is not the real, original decks? I am no lawyer, but I do know what the opposite of "real" is. (haha)
- Second/Blemish? Nope. The graphic sheets (in most cases) are just NOS applied to a different shape/deck much later (or possibly cut to a different shape later...but we find that hard to believe as the labor would be too intensive to justify). They are not "seconds" because they were not produced for the original company nor were they defective.
- Reissue? Nope. Because a. the original company did not reissue them and b. there are no markings saying they are a reissue of the original.
- Reproduction? Possibly...but this is a gray area for collecting...what do you call a reproduction that is not clearly stated as such?
- Bootleg? That's another can of worms...and not all of the ones we have seen fit that description.
Let's just say "bad non-original company ordered later production run reproductions on incorrect shapes". (hahaha)
What is ironic about all of this is since skateboard collecting has gotten so much bigger now, those original graphic sheets left as they were in sheets (maybe even framed nicely?) would be worth so much more than how they have ended up. I can see many collectors who would love to have them hanging on their wall. Now however, once applied to an incorrect shape, cut down, and not an original production run deck for the companies they came from, in our opinion, they really are not worth much more than the wood they are on. Nice cheap, wall hangers if someone really just wants to remember the art work or keep until they can get an original one.
SkateNoize.com also reported on these decks. Check out their 2010 article! Plan B Danny Way Leprechaun Skateboard Deck, Bootleg, or ???
Comparison of decks...
And as always, buyer beware! Check pictures on eBay very closely. Blemished decks or factory seconds are very difficult to spot. Before bidding, always check via the "Advanced Search" option, the seller's past history and feedback. Look for anything in the history that may look sketchy (i.e. using another user id to bid on their own items....yes, it happens....or listing the same deck every number of days). My best advice is to deal only with collectors you trust!