ST Dupont Fakes / Counterfeit / Buyers Guide

All about the luxury lighters from Simon Tissot-Dupont
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Xero
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Joined: Mon Jun 22, 2009 1:58 am

ST Dupont Fakes / Counterfeit / Buyers Guide

Post by Xero » Sun Aug 02, 2009 7:05 am

This is a general buyers guide, describing not only counterfeits, but things to look out for in general. There's been numerous guides out there to fakes and the best way I think is to look around for some pictures of fakes and compare them side-by-side. The tell-tale sign is the lettering on bottom but I've noticed that on a lot of fake ligne 2's, the ridging on the top of the flint cover is almost "u" shaped in the middle, kind of like a ligne 1's, but to a lesser extent. A real L2 is always a downward slant and never slants back up again. Older ones had a shorter slant. I've been able to use this method of determining fakes without having to actually see the bottom of a lighter, which is useful if you're buying online

Visual Cues
fullsize1.jpg
real
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10559.jpg
fake
10559.jpg (10.55 KiB) Viewed 108080 times
Another thing to remember is that real vintage ligne 2's are somewhat easy to spot if they have the shorter style filnt ridges. I've not seen fakes like this. Vintage Gatsby's also share this trait:
vintage.JPG
vintage.JPG (16.4 KiB) Viewed 108080 times
This isn't an entirely reliable way to tell unless the picture shows that portion of the lighter clearly. On some real ligne 2's it looks like it's slanting back up if the photo is at a slight angle, but they should taper downward and stay relatively the same size until the end. They will not get any higher and if you notice the ridges getting higher towards the hinge side it's probably fake.

I'd expect most older style ligne 2's to have the older emblem, which has dupont spelled across the bottom. The newer lighters have either just a D with wings or no emblem at all. I have not seen any fakes trying to emulate the older style emblem so generally they are trying to copy the one with just a D and the wings. Generally the ones with no emblem come in the newer black/purple boxes although that may not always be the case. Limited editions often don't have emblems either, and will have an issue number rather than a serial number, such as 0001/1000.

Generally the fakes with lacquer look somewhat plastic-like in the pictures, almost looking too shiny. Also if it says lacque de chine and it's not lacquer, it's a fake. Anything with FK in the serial number is fake, as well as lighters with the serial number 06D08A8 or similar (a couple letters/numbers swapped but otherwise the same). Serial numbers are generally 6 or 7 digits long but never longer and should end with a number.

Pricing Estimates
All estimates are USD and are for reference purpose only. These should not be used as actual pricing guidelines, but rather as minimum prices to use when avoiding fakes.

Ligne 1
Ligne 1's are often sold between $50 and $250 used for most common models, depending on condition. New old stock can often be found for $200-400 range. Damaged/heavily used ones can sell for extremely cheap sometimes - $30 - 50. Note that there's a few generations of Ligne 1's, the oldest have a slot on the fuel cap and a older style flame adjuster valve:
oldflame.jpg
old flame adjuster
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oldbottom.jpg
old bottom w/slotted fuel valve
oldbottom.jpg (10.72 KiB) Viewed 107790 times
These are pretty common and generally aren't worth as much due to their age and older mechanism. These lighters cannot use the double flame and/or pipe fuel nozzles that the later Ligne 1's and ligne 2's can accept. These are probably the cheapest of all used dupont lighters, and you can get one of these for less than $100 easily, regardless of the pattern and size. Some of the ones with heavier gold plating might be worth more, but the later heavy-gold-plated models are still more desirable yet.

Most of the newer style will use the pull-down style fuel cap and the newer style flame valve:
newflame.jpg
new style flame adjuster
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flipdown.jpg
flip down bottom
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However, even some newer Ligne 1's have the older style slot, with the newer style flame height adjuster. This is generally only seen with certain plating/finish options, typically diamond-head patterns in palladium. However, the tell-tale sign as to whether it's a newer or older Ligne 1 is always the flame height adjuster valve. The newer lighters with the slot generally have newer markings, and tend to use one of the heavier platings, like this one:
newoldbottom.jpg
new lighter with heavy plating and old-style slot.
newoldbottom.jpg (16.25 KiB) Viewed 107790 times
Ligne 2
Used Ligne 2's and Gatsby's can range anywhere between $150-350 used for most common models. I have seen a few in bad condition sell for as little as $80, generally worn silver plated models in undesirable/outdated patterns, or badly cracked lacquer, but this is somewhat uncommon. You can find often find new-old-stock or like-new in the $350-500 range. If you see a like-new Ligne 2 for less than $300, something is probably not right. Also note there's a lot of fakes posted in the $150-300 range. In terms of age, there's not as much that varies between the ligne 2 and gatsby models over the years, generally condition and desirability of the finish is going to be more important than age alone. As mentioned before when identify fakes, the older models tend to have shorter ridging on the flint area, but I have not seen this to effect the value, especially if the condition is good. Mechanically and functionally they are all pretty much identical to my best knowledge.

Limited Editions
Limited editions are generally not cheap, regardless of whether it's ligne 1 or ligne 2. While in general ligne 1's are less expensive, the design can easily make up for it. It's rare that you will see a limited edition under $500, and usually they will sell for $800 at a minimum. Commonly counterfeited limited editions include the james bond 007 lighter with the bullet spark wheel, and many variants of engraved + lacquered lighters, generally resembling art deco, medici, nuevo mundo and the like. There's also a lot of fakes with dragons and other such designs. Some counterfeits were never real designs at all, but resemble a limited edition design. Most if not all real limited editions can be found at http://www.dupontcollector.com for reference.

I've also heard of custom-order dupont lighters, typically in smaller batches between 100-300, often for a specific purpose, generally a company, brand or event of some type. These are not very common and I'd imagine the person selling it would more often than not be the original owner, or know some history about it to prove it's authenticity.

Almost all limited editions will have an issue number, rather than a serial number, like 0050/1000. In addition, the markings on the bottom are often slightly different, and there may be no dupont emblem at all on some limited editions, although almost all still have the "ST Dupont made in paris" text.

Ligne 1 Fakes? Not usually...
I've never personally seen a ligne 1 fake, so it's usually safe to buy used ligne 1's, they also generally sell for pretty cheap. However, I have seen counterfeiters store listing ligne 1's but the pictures appeared to be stock pictures of actual ligne 1's, listed around $30-50. My guess is that they'd end up sending you a solid-patterned fake ligne 2 or something that doesn't entirely resemble a ligne 1. I'd be curious if anyone has any experiences with fake ligne 1s.

Starting out?
Ligne 1's are generally cheap on ebay, and ligne 1 small's are fairly reliable lighters, and make a good starter lighter. Ligne 1 large hold the most fuel out of any dupont pocket lighter, and are one of my favorites, but because they can often be very old (even models with the newer style flame valve could be over 30 years old now), and their red refill valve tends to go before the yellow valve of the ligne 1 small, they often need repairs. At $65 + shipping for a full repair (in the USA), keep this in mind when bidding on a ligne 1 lighter, especially a ligne 1 large.

My ligne 2 I bought new-old-stock, so it was working perfectly when I received it. However my Gatsby (ligne 2 small) was leaking out of the flame height valve. Luckily, ligne 2's are a bit easier to fix and I have instructions on how to fix this problem in my repair thread. You will generally spend more for a ligne 2, and at that you could still end up with a broken one, however you also have a higher chance of fixing the leak without having to send it in for repair. This is because the ligne 2's mechanism is overall, simpler and easier to repair than the ligne 1's, and doesn't require as much dis-assembly.

Just remember, the older the lighter, the more likely it is to be leaky / needing repairs, and the oldest ligne 1's can be significantly older than the oldest ligne 2's. Even a leaky lighter can still often light, so just because there's a picture of it with a lit flame does not mean the lighter is leak-free. It may have been refilled just prior to being photographed, while the average slow leak might take 24 hours or more before it's fully drained.

Fake Boxes / Documents
The box is usually easy to spot a fake as it's generally only the red boxes. The text looks gold with a very silvery hue when taken with a flash on a real one, a fake box the text will almost always look gold. Also, the real boxes have a little felt tab for lifting up the bottom of the box to reveal the documents, the fake boxes sometimes do not have this and just have an indent in them which you can pull upward with your fingernail. I have not seen fake older boxes (which were typically black with tan insides) or newer boxes (which are black with purple insides).

Real instructions manual's will have almost pure white pages, fake may have orange or other color pages. The warranty cards are often also orange on the fakes.

Even the fakes sometimes have both the inner and outer box, however on a real outer-box, there's generally a sticker with a bar code and the model name describing your model. It's probably possible that retailers mix up the boxes, so this might not always be correct, but realistically you should be getting a box with a label describing your lighter on it. Fake's often do not have any such labels or bar codes on them. I'd be interesting in comparing the UPC bar codes on legitimate boxes, this might be an easy way to tell a fake using a UPC scanner and/or making note of the numbers.

Ebay Tips
If it's on ebay or the like, look at the other items the person is selling, if they are selling other commonly counterfeited brands like channel, prada, tiffany, rolex etc, this might be a sign they are selling fakes. It should be easy to tell if the person is a retailer or not and if they are not, it's unlikely all those name brand items would be coming from the same place. There's also a lot of fake dupont pens on ebay, so if they also are selling tons of dupont pens very cheaply, this might also be a sign.

Most people selling counterfeit Ligne 2's will list them between $50 and $250, the pictures and text generally look stock, and they'll often have stock text regarding the lighters, like "Refill: Gold" or "Refill: Yellow" somewhere, even if it's a lighter that shouldn't have a yellow refill. Not all auctions that list the refill type are fake, but most fake listings do list the refill type, most likely off some sort of stock-text. Their feedback will generally be between 20-60. Don't be fooled by locations either, hong kong and china is definitely a no go, but they sometimes are listed as being in the united states or other locations.

Here's some other good resources on fakes:

http://newsgroups.derkeiler.com/Archive ... 01846.html

http://blog.vintagelighters.com/?p=6

http://reviews.ebay.com/Fake-Counterfei ... 0003678466

http://reviews.ebay.com/FAKE-DUPONTS-TH ... 0000998743
in german:
http://testberichte.ebay.ch/S-T-DUPONT- ... 0001216125
translated:
http://translate.google.com/translate?p ... ry_state0=

bassmonster
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon May 19, 2014 8:16 pm

Re: ST Dupont Fakes / Counterfeit / Buyers Guide

Post by bassmonster » Mon May 19, 2014 8:22 pm

hi the early ligne 1s wheel on top I've found out after a weeks of searching and many emails to many dealers is that its not a flame adjuster wheel its an on off switch for when cleaning it , to adjust the flame you have to twist flame nozzle , even some dupont reps didn't no this ,
cheers

bassmonster
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon May 19, 2014 8:16 pm

Re: ST Dupont Fakes / Counterfeit / Buyers Guide

Post by bassmonster » Mon May 19, 2014 8:27 pm

the early ligne 1 wheel on top is not a flame adjuster its an on off with for when cleaning , to adjust the flame on these you have to twist the flame nozzle , it has taken me a long time to find this out and many emails to duppont reps in many countries many dupont reps didn't no this ,
hope this helps people , even repairers who are charging people silly money are sending them back saying there faulty

bBykakklksa
Posts: 1
Joined: Thu Sep 11, 2014 3:32 pm

Re: ST Dupont Fakes / Counterfeit / Buyers Guide

Post by bBykakklksa » Fri Sep 12, 2014 7:54 am

It’s really great posts.

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